The heart behind the haunt

Honouring with Haunted Calgary: Haunted walk-through maze at New Horizon Mall’s underground parkade entrance displays a photo honouring Christine Campbell’s mother who passed away in June 2022.  (Photo by Jayden Gagnon/The Press)

Entering a haunted house can be tense, terrifying, and spooky; however, behind the scary scenes of Haunted Calgary, you’ll find a warm core.

The volunteer-run event is nonprofit and offers a variety of scare options, friendly to neurodivergent people.

The Campbells started Haunted Calgary as a fun Halloween family tradition, creating characters and collecting decorations over the years. The haunted house, consisting of a walk-through maze, has evolved into a city-wide attraction, taking place every weekend in October.

Since 2019, the event is located in the underground parkade of the New Horizon Mall in Balzac. The house offers high-scare, low-scare, and a new sensory-friendly low-scare option.

This year, Christine Campbell and her family are honouring their mother — who passed away in June —by expanding on the low- scare option, which was her favourite part.

People with sensory issues often avoid haunted houses because of things such as strobe lights, loud sounds, and starling scares; and so by creating this option, no one misses out.

“One of her big things was inclusivity, and just being a friend to all,” Campbell says.

One of her big things was inclusivity, and just being a friend to all. – Christine Campbell

Furthermore, the full-care option runs every October on Friday and Saturday nights.

John Lee, a Calgary resident, brought his family to check out Haunted Calgary in the full-scare option. Although his partner Laura said, “I was scared.” after finishing the walk-through maze, Lee shared that he remained brave and endured the event, “Because of what they are doing it for.”

Haunted Calgary donates its profits to local charities such as Alpha House, ARTS Senior Animal Rescue, Haunters Against Hate, Calgary Animal Rescue Society, Calgary Wildlife, Parachutes For Pets, and The Calgary Food Bank. At the end of the season, volunteers are rewarded with an honorarium to a charity of their choice. Any leftover profit the event has from donations is put into funding for Haunted Calgary for the years to come.

About Jayden Gagnon 3 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Jayden Gagnon is working as a writer for The Press in 2022-23.