We were then beckoned into the haunted house…

review by Vickey Ziegler

Halloween is my favourite holiday, I get excited about it the same way others do about Christmas. I enjoy things like playing horror games, watching horror movies, and going through haunted houses.

I’ve wanted to go in previous years to Deadmonton (located near Gateway Boulevard and 71st Avenue), and now I finally had the chance. Heads up, there will be spoilers beyond this point.

The Deadmonton experience is like two for the price of one. The first (Dusk) is outside, and opens up after sunset. The second is a themed indoor house within the warehouse. This year, the theme for the main haunt is named after Area 51.

Their website advises against going if you are prone to seizures, have a heart condition, or if you suffer from any mental conditions that would lead to harm (like claustrophobia). However, I saw a girl with a flashlight that she clicked a couple times to make the actors back off .

It isn’t accessible to people who need assistance walking because of the stairs and very narrow hallways.

Angie, Carter, and I arrived a bit before 7. Masks were required before lining up, and there was a girl who helped ensure people were properly distanced in the line. The hand sanitizer there was icky, so I recommend bringing your own.

Past the ticket booth we entered a large, open space with a food truck, bonfires, a snack bar, and some halloween party music playing in the background.

We hung out by a smaller fire, getting in the mood by watching some actors. There was one actor who stood and stared at me for a while, but I stared right back. I commented later to my friends that the staring actor hadn’t bothered me, since locals on the bus late at night are the same.

Another favourite actor of mine was a guy wearing a biohazard mask with a box. He spooked me pretty bad but I liked him because he would laugh afterward, and it felt like he was having fun with us.

When we first headed to the haunt, we ambled through a little marketplace area that set the tone. There were some (fake) shops and we walked past the dj controlling the music. I liked him especially because he had a little “bit” about the big conspiracy surrounding Area 51. He acted nervous and jumpy, and waved his hands in your face. He remained out of my personal bubble, but exaggerated his movements to make himself seem closer. That section reminded me of when I used to go trick-or-treating with friends.

We had to wait in line a bit before going into the house, but I thought it was similar to amusement park waits.

We were then beckoned into the haunted house. The Area 51 security lady let us in and laid out the usual rules (no touching actors or props, no removing masks when walking through, and no cellphone use). Then she led us down a dimly lit, blue corridor, and showed us into a lab testing area with a few classic alien props, with the same dim blue light.

There was a really cool prop of a pregnant lady giving birth to an alien. At first it looked real, but the second I took in the face on the doll I knew it was fake. I kind of wish they had an actress do that, but I understand why they didn’t. The next room had giant tubes with Aliens sleeping in them. They were a little stereotypical, but they still looked cool.

photo by author

After the Area 51 themed space, a girl led us to what we thought was the exit. She asked us if we were being followed, and at that moment the hallway got foggier. I heard something behind me, but I assumed it was Carter. We went on, and the girl went back to fight off whatever was following us. I sort of wish I had gotten a better look at whatever was behind us to see what was there but, c’est la vie.

Angie set off a HUGE animatronic alien prop, but it got me instead! I’m only 5 ft 4, so this thing completely towered over me and it touched me a little. I felt like I had been completely caged by it, but I’ll admit I was more worried about getting in trouble because I technically touched a prop (even though the prop touched me).

Past my spook, we entered a space that looked like a little forest with a house. There was a big black tree in the center and jack o’ lanterns on the porch. The ground was fake grass that appeared to be spray painted. I absently rubbed my foot across the ground, liking the slightly squishy texture beneath my feet.

Inside the little house, we waited in the living room until a twitchy guy allowed us into the dining room area. It was decorated with conspiracy-esque work, newspaper clippings littered the table space and were taped to the wall with detective string linking topics. I was so impressed by the actor’s speed when he was talking that I wasn’t that frightened.

As we walked further into the house, it became cannibal themed. A lady came out with a leg prop and asked if we wanted any, gleefully saying “it’s fresh!” We walked on to a staircase where  a man asked us if we had wiped our shoes off before coming inside.

Recalling how I rubbed my feet on the fake grass outside, I said yes immediately. The actor laughed and ushered us upstairs, saying that it was good we wiped our shoes. Otherwise, he would have had to take our feet. The little pairing they did between the lady and him was a nice touch, even if I think the cannibal house trope is a bit overused.

the author with a mummy
photo by Angie

Another manic, but better educated actor stopped us upstairs as well, excitedly telling us about the alien conspiracy. They told us how there were no books about these life forms, so they would have to write one themselves. That part made me feel like the area 51 theme was prevalent even if we weren’t “at” area 51.

We exited the house and walked through some narrow halls.  That space was unsettling, and so cramped we ended up meshing with another group of people.

“I think those are actors,” one of them said.

Carter answered with “no, we’re people.”

Another person in the group asked us, “are you real people?”

I called back “Yes, we are real people”.

We chuckled as we properly distanced again.

At the very end, we entered the little store. We glanced at the merchandise they had but we went to the other haunt first.

We took a quick bathroom break, and I grabbed some snacks (popcorn and a coffee with Bailey’s). Altogether my food was under 10$ (even with a 20% tip).

Dusk was Halloween decorations on an extreme scale, with a crypt theme. It was short in comparison to the main haunt, but definitely still cool.

It was also special to me because the power of illusion was a bit better. Tricking us into thinking certain things were initially props was more effective because the lighting was poorer.

It started with a cloaked figure telling us he was going to take our souls before we were ushered through a graveyard with zombies. My favourite part, though, was a fountain with candles all around it, and leaves everywhere. It was like the calm before the storm. I was so distracted by how beautiful the fountain set was that I wasn’t afraid.

photo by author

We kept trucking along and ran into the staring actor from the beginning. He told us he had coffins for sale and that we were next. There were three plots outside, just right for our little group to be buried together. How cute.

There were some more garden areas to walk through, and we were starting to get chased by some actors. The three of us are well-versed in the “if you want the actors to leave you alone, don’t react” rule. So our reactions stayed pretty minimal, until the guy with a chainsaw.

He scared me and Angie with the loud revving noises and how close he got. I hope it was just dim lighting, a great prop and an even greater actor that convinced us that the chainsaw was real.

Finally, we headed back to the gift shop to buy goodies. I grabbed a t-shirt (30$) and a magnet (5$). The merchandise is pretty expensive but that shirt is now the softest shirt I own.

As we left I asked my friends how they’d compare this year to last year. They said the basis of the set was similar, but Deadmonton did a great job of revamping it to make it feel new and fresh.

If you’re really worried about getting in (and as we get closer to the end of the season) I recommend trying to buy some tickets online. If there are still a lot speed pass tickets available though, you’re probably fine to do what we did and just buy tickets at the door.

You definitely get your money’s worth. We got there at 7 and didn’t leave until 9:30, including the snacks and chatting a bit before going into haunts.  Deadmonton was so much fun, and I’ll definitely try to go again next year.

If you missed it during October, Deadmonton has a special lights out event held during the first week of November (see website for details).

Deadmonton Haunted House and Hallowe’en Store
7031 Gateway Blvd.
Edmonton, AB T6H 2J1

tickets: at door or on website