Tendrils of fog creep across the eerily lit graveyard that has mysteriously risen from the front lawn. In the unnaturally shifting half-light one might be forgiven if they believe that the the stone angel watching over the dead appears to be more than a little sinister. She may even have moved.
Upon closer inspection, you’ll find that living dead zombies are wandering the grounds. There’s also a six-foot mummy, a giant spider that seems to have captured a few passersby, and a host of other spooky, scary decorations and things that shriek in the night.
It’s all an illusion, but one that Tina Hospers and her family have laboured long and hard to create.
“We call it Hospers’ Haunted House of Horrors,” she said with a laugh.
Hospers loves Halloween.
“It’s the one day of the year when you can become someone else, be something different,” she said. “I’ve always loved horror stories and films as well. Stephan King is my favourite author.”
Hospers’ love of halloween is shared by her twin 16-year-old daughters and the team of 15 or so volunteers who combine their efforts to produce what is arguably one of the most elaborate private halloween displays in Greater Victoria.
It’s an annual event at Hospers’ 430 Beach Dr. home and this year they plan to make it even bigger and better.
“This year we’re expanding the display to include an indoor portion,” said Hospers.
That display will include a seance room, a children’s area (where the fright factor has been toned down a bit), an asylum and a very unhealthy hospital ward. “And of course, we have a lot of zombies, ghosts, vampires and monsters of all descriptions.”
As much fun as the haunted house may be for the Hospers family, it’s also for a good cause.
“We’re doing this to benefit the Victoria SPCA,” said Hospers. “We accept cash donations (actually cheques made out to the SPCA are preferred) as well as any items from the SPCA wish list.” That list includes a host of items like blankets, pet toys and even rubber gloves and photocopy paper; all of it helps to defray the operating expenses of the SPCA.
“I’m an animal lover,” said Hospers, who owns two dogs and five cats along with a collection of fish. “This lets me help out the SPCA while letting me enjoy my favourite holiday.”
The display is open to the public on Hallowen night (Oct. 31), beginning at 6 p.m., and spook enthusiasts of all ages are welcome.
Hospers warns that portions of the display can be quite scary but says that the volunteer zombies and other creatures are very aware of the ages and sensitivities of the people who attend and try not to frighten small children.
If parents prefer, they can watch the display from the safety of the sidewalk and a volunteer will bring the treats out to little trick or treaters without their having to enter the display.
“Most of the children do come in.” said Hospers. “We haven’t lost one yet. Kids actually love it.”
Details of the SPCA wish list can be found at spca.bc.ca.