“This one, she doesn’t shut up sometimes,” Barb Stokes says of her creepy cackling sorcerer. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Esquimalt’s spooky spectacle

“Haunted” house on Norma Court is the pride of owner Barb Stokes

There’s still a few days until Halloween, but over in Esquimalt a spooky spectacle is already taking place.

If you go looking for the lady who lives at 1112 Norma Court, you’ll have to first dodge two guard witches, a dead-full graveyard and a slew of skeletons. It’s all the handiwork of Barb Stokes, who lives in the house behind the hedges full of the ghosts of pirates past. For 10 years, Stokes has been pulling out the cobwebs and the witch hats every year on Oct. 1. to decorate for what is undoubtedly her favourite holiday.

“It’s lots of fun,” she says, chuckling. “I always like to enjoy it. It takes so long to put it up, so you might as well enjoy it for a long time.”

At last count, she said, it had taken her almost 19 hours to set up this year’s display. Lights of eerie green and pumpkin orange animate the yard at night, and traffic is steady as the community comes to greet the ghouls.

It seems Stokes has inspired her neighbours as well.

A decade after she hung her first skeleton, creepy bones are hanging from the trees all along her cul-de-sac. And on Halloween night, the “haunted” house on Norma Court is the most popular spot for trick-or-treaters; last year Stokes counted 80 kids who came knocking.

“I’m going to dress up probably as a witch this year,” she says. “Although, I could probably hop in the coffin and scare [the kids] that way. That would be kind of fun.”

Get into the Halloween spirit with a free community pumpkin carving Oct. 29 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Sands of Victoria, 1803 Quadra St. This year’s event returns for its sixth year with face painting, Halloween treats and everything you need to turn your free pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern.


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