It’s the stuff of nightmares packed inside Haunting on Hilchey, a haunted house inside an actual house in Campbell River.
“It’s certainly different being in an actual house and not a staged area,” said Stefano Tromba, communications director with Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North (VIN).
“So I think that adds to the authenticity of the haunted house.”
The non-profit is organizing the event, which is happening Oct. 30 and 31 at 461 Hilchey Rd. It’s open to the public from 6-9 p.m., and CHEK News got a sneak peek.
“I think this is new. It’s different,” exclaimed Tromba.
Add in some actors and a whole lot of cobwebs, skeletons, old dolls and “cockroaches. Lots of cockroaches,” said Habitat VIN events manager Chrystal Arnet.
“That creepy, scary factor.”
The Campbell River Museum, one of Habitat VIN’s sponsors, is pitching in too and decorating a room with a nod to an old local diner, Del’s Drive-In.
“Somebody salvaged that sign when the diner closed. It’s been used as props in different plays in town, so they were looking to find that sign and stick it up there,” said Arnet.
“It should be fun.”
A haunted house with a heart
But at the center of it all is a haunted house with a heart and a much bigger purpose. Plans are in the works for the house to be lifted and moved to a local First Nations community.
“To meet some of their needs,” said Arnet.
“Being Habitat, we didn’t want to destroy or deconstruct the home. So we wanted to make sure it went somewhere that was needed. But in the meantime, before that happens, I thought it was a good opportunity to do a little bit of fundraising and also raise Habitat’s awareness in our community and what we’re doing.”
Habitat VIN purchased the house a few years ago. After it’s donated, the land it sits on now will be developed into 20 new townhouse-style Habitat houses.
It’s something organizers say is needed now, more than ever.
“Housing is such an issue at this point,” said Tromba.
“It’s so far out of reach for so many families, given the lack of space and the lack of land and just the lack of finding appropriate housing.”
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Arnet says Habitat VIN builds safe, decent, affordable houses for families, and relies on donations.
They built the 11 townhouse-style houses located next door to the haunted house in Campbell River, which, through the years, have impacted lives.
“Today, on moving day, I feel so excited. I’m so emotional. I’m so grateful. The future is so bright. You’ve given my son and I a fresh start,” said Afton, a Habitat homeowner, in a 2021 video posted to Habitat VIN’s Facebook page.
So the non-profit is spinning another web of advocacy to once again bring the community together and raise even more funds, with help from Habitat families, of course.
“In order for a Habitat family to secure their home, they have to put in 500 volunteer hours. This will go towards their hours,” added Arnet.
“I’ve got two different families coming in to be a part of the haunt, and they’ve donated props, they’ve painted zombie heads for this event.”
Now they’re ready to get their scare on.
With a suggested donation of $5 per person, all ages are welcome, but kids 12 and under should be accompanied by an adult.
More details are on this Facebook page.
Haunting on Hilchey:
- 461 Hilchey Rd., Campbell River
- Oct. 30 and 31, 2023, from 6-9 p.m.
- Suggested $5 donation