The End is Near

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Picture 023The final touches, the last moments are approaching. The feeling is overbearing with sheer anticipation and excitement. Think of it like the last play of a championship football game, can we do? Are we ready? It felt so long ago when we were taking the pieces of wood from the side of my house, and now? The haunted house has grown dark, suffocating at times. Room are complete…I repeat ROOMS ARE COMPLETE!!!! Lighting is put into place….I really shouldn’t say anymore it’s up to YOU to check us out on Halloween night (or the 30th if you dare!). What I can say is that the haunted house has grown a little eerie. There are no more cutting corners or dodging through walls. If you need to work on say room 5 (we have 10 rooms this year) you have a little maze to find your way there! Last night before we called it a night we did a walkthrough to add any lose ends that needed to be done to our list. In the process we looked around and grew to amazement, you may ask why? We see this haunted house inside and out almost on a daily basis. I should say this is not any haunted house. How many houses in the lower mainland can turn their backyard (give credit to the suburb and city) and amass a 1500 sq ft fully enclosed haunted house? Who can boast having 10 different and unique rooms, each that has been cared for like a young infant child? Our main focus is not to try and beat the rest. We think of Halloween as a time for people to go out and have fun. For children to gather candy and reminisce about all the cool houses they came upon. And we like to think that in the process of all that, we could be in those conversations. And maybe just maybe we may be in the conversation of others until next Halloween. That is what Halloween is all about, isn’t it? For now, this is where we are, and this is what we have accomplished. 150 hours of hard gruelling work (this has been a second job to most) and with mother nature throwing everything our way this year. We like to think this is the most successful year and the doors have not even been open yet! Like the final stretch of 2 drag racers speeding towards the finish line, you never let up until you have crossed the line. For us there is still work to be done on the haunted house, and only when Halloween has passed will our finish line be crossed.

We hope to see you soon!

-Francesco

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The Battle On Thanksgiving Day

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IMG_2263What’s 50 feet long, shaped like a dome and provides shelter below? The complete and fully enclosed roof of a Dundas Nightmare. For the past 3 days the Halloween crew as endlessly put in several hours over the long weekend to complete the roof. At times only 2 members were available, imagine 2 guys holding a 4×8 sheet of plywood and balancing on a ladder. Imagine standing 15 feet high on the top of the haunted house and looking down below. Holding sheets of plywood in place, drill it, and repeat the process all over again. Let me take you back to a moment during this long weekend. The day is Monday (October 13th) and the six of us are ready to go. We have made a promise that the roof needs to be done today. The forecast will not be working in our favor over the course of the week, so it’s a do or die scenario. A group of four spilt off and start to chop pieces of wood, screw them into place for support and apply the plywood. The other 2 begin to sift through the debris throughout the haunted house and organize what can stay and what needs to be put away. Even though it may not seem like an important task, every little tedious job needs to be done before the walls are blocked and covered. After an hour the crew realize that more plywood needs to be purchased (a few pieces are broken). So off a couple of our crew go to make the trip. The rest of us agree we might as well place the supports up while they are gone so we can be ready to toss up the plywood. Just as we are talking about our game plan, I feel drop. Then the others feel a few drops as well, we all look at each other and know what we are all thinking, did you feel that? Eventually the drops of rain go away and we figure we are home free, but boy was I wrong. The rest of the crew arrive and begin to unload the plywood just as the sky decides to opens up and what was a drizzle now becomes a downpour. Like a team in an emergency situation we all get into position to try and battle the rain. Some of us balance on step ladders holding plywood into place. A few stand at the 15 foot peak of the roof to drill in the plywood. It seems the quicker we work the harder it rains. Each and every one of us is drenched head to toe, but we still must continue. A couple of us decide to break away from the group and begin to organize the 50foot tarp that will cover the roof. With only about a 10foot area to try and unravel the tarp, and the rain thundering down…this only provides more challenges we face. Just as the guys finish off the last little bit of the roof, we begin the challenging task of the tarp. As the tarp slowly covers the roof, we face another challenge of having the rain roll right into our faces! It seems nothing can go right for us today; nothing can stop a determined Halloween crew, not even the rain! We eventually get the tarp on, and some of us are already late for thanksgiving dinner! We quickly begin the task of tying the tarp (with rope) to the fence, it’s another challenging task. Why you may ask? It’s not the tying that is the issue; it’s the loss of sensation in our fingers. Our hands quiver from the freezing, torrential downpour of the rain. We have come this far, and we are determined than ever to finish the task. With the last piece of rope holding the tarp into place we breathe out in relief. Well somewhat you can say. We are completely soaked and we barely have enough time to say goodbyes or congratulate each other as we are all hungry and late for dinner!!! People may wonder why we did not wait for another sunny day. However we know that ever minute spent on the haunted house is very crucial. When the size of the haunted house expands (last year was 1200sq ft, this year is 1500sq ft) there’s no time for much error. Every moment counts, ever second ticks away to the most anticipated private attraction of the year, A Dundas Nightmare. Rain or shine the show always continues, and for now it seems we have battled and defeated the rain. With the unpredictable weather of the Lower Mainland, we hope that our hard work will pay off. And that maybe come Halloween the gods of the sky with grant us a wish dry and a frightful night! For now a warm shower and a cup of hot chocolate will do just fine. Cheers!

 

– Francesco

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Haunted House Framing

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Here we are, exactly three weeks away from Halloween and building seems to be on schedule. The crew met up about a couple weeks ago to discuss some ideas and the general layout of this year’s haunted house, now all we have to do is build the thing of course. For those who attended last year, based on the pictures you can probably notice that we’ve kicked it up a notch this year. We always try and make every year bigger and better by adding extra rooms and different features and this year is no different. One of the most distinct features of this year’s edition is the small upper-level hallway. You’ll be getting scared from every direction this year, so don’t even bother checking your surroundings while you walk through! Every year is a challenge when it comes to the framing because things just don’t line up the way you want them to at first, but we always seem to find a way to make it work. We’re pretty happy with our progress so far, but there’s a long road ahead of us. Next up is something that is arguably our biggest challenge every year: constructing a solid, leak-free roof to keep everybody dry in this Vancouver weather.
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A Dundas Nightmare…

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Quarto Front HouseIt’s Wednesday September 24, 2014. The phone calls and text messages are sent out. Only half of the crew are available to meet up, but that’s ok because the first meeting must go on. I agree to host a meeting at my house, we are not getting together to talk about how the weather is slowly changing and fall is approaching. And we are not talking about our plans for the weekend. No, September marks the month where we plan to bring back the city’s largest and scariest private event. Our annual Haunted House in North Burnaby, a Dundas Nightmare. The name has changed and yet we still have the same objective, to entertain and scare the wits out of the public on Halloween night. The plans to our haunted house are not quite simple. It takes special planning to make this month long process work. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, time, money (we purchase all wood, material and props from our own pockets) and fighting through different weather conditions to have this all up and running by Halloween. As the four of us sit in my basement, we huddle around a small clipboard in pure excitement. Each of us reminiscing about last year’s successful event, and how we can expand and make it better this time around. We agree to create a website which gives the public access to information about who we are and what we do. This also gives people access to donate to B.C. Children’s Hospital (something we have been doing in person on Halloween night for the past three years). Picture 4Social media is something we just starting doing as of last year, and the plan is to expand that further so we can reach out to a larger crowd of people (You can like and follow us on Facebook Dundas Nightmare). We then start to toss out ideas about the themed rooms and what we would like to bring back, and which ones we want to eliminate. You see every year the haunted house continuously changes, it provides us with new challenges to try out different things for ourselves and our audience. At the end of the day who wants to walk through the same haunted house over and over again? Not us! After agreeing on what will be taking place inside the haunted house, we begin to map out the layout. My cousin draws out a plan he thinks may change the face of the haunted house, something we have never done before. After a few minor touches, the blueprint to the layout is finally complete! We sit back congratulating each other, because we know this is the start of something amazing. Although the hardest part is far from underway we have this feeling that this year is going to be the most successful ever! Dundas Street is about to get a little creepier, dare to join us on Halloween night to see what we have in store for you? We look forward to providing you with our progress, until next time…. Happy Haunting!!

– Francesco

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