Friday the 13th happens at least once a year and is said to be terribly unlucky. The fear of the number 13 is so great, it’s estimated to affect 15 to 21 million people every year. Some would call Oct. 13 the most feared day of the year.
Some would, but the volunteers at Airdrie’s notorious AIRSCARES haunted house aren’t phased by a number. Opening night of the house of horrors kicked off the evening of Friday, Oct. 13 after hoards of Halloween-loving volunteers spent the past month designing, building and decorating a twisted labyrinth of dark rooms and hallways.
Actors start arriving hours before the lights are set to go dark. They trickle in one by one in crazy costumes. The energy before the haunting is electric – you can tell these kids thrive off others’ fear. I am about to join them on their quest for frightening fun.
The face of each volunteer actor, including my own, is transformed into a wickedly frightening vision, and there’s no end to the fake blood being passed around.
The theme is twisted fairytales – each room takes a seemingly harmless bedtime story and turns it into a haunting nightmare. Snow White lays in a real coffin, dragons hang overhead and the Queen of Hearts plays croquet with Alice’s head.
Between scaring lessons and practicing creepy laughs, I’m told the goal of the night is to get as many unicorns as we can. Acting as a safe word, if someone screams unicorn the actors must turn away and the scaredey-cat will be escorted out.
Finally we take our places in the house, hiding behind trap doors or waiting in the open to scare in plain sight. The lights go off and the music comes on, someone lets out a chilling scream and the first tour group walks in.
I can tell why the people involved come back every year, there’s something to be said for jumping out of the dark and yelling at people that is admittedly therapeutic.
Within the first 15 minutes AIRSCARES gets its first unicorn of the night, a screaming child is taken out of the building while the actors turn to hide their faces and their smiles.
Come take a tour if you dare, but don’t say I didn’t warn you the creepy guests in this twisted fairytale will haunt your dreams.
The house is open Wednesdays, Thursday, Fridays and Sundays from 7 to 10 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m., until Oct. 30.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit airdrie.bgccan.com