BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN
Organizers continue to set up the Grim Acres Halloween display at Brian and Amber Sutherland’s Russell Street home on Sunday. The couple’s Grim Acres Scare Away Cancer yard haunt, a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society, will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., and from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Halloween.
It’s a spooky labour of love nearly a year in making and the couple behind Brandon’s scariest haunted house have two goals — to send a chill down your spine and scare away cancer.
Since the beginning of September, Brian and Amber Sutherland have been hard at work transforming their Russell Avenue home into Grim Acres, a truly spooky Halloween spectacle.
Brainstorming and research starts right after Christmas and construction starts in September to transform their front yard into an elaborate haunted display.
While the couple have been scaring neighbours for the past six years, the haunted house morphed from a small project to entertain the neighbours into full-fledged a charity event now in its third year.
Brian and Amber, who both lost parents to cancer, have raised nearly $5,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. They are looking to match that this year with hopes of getting donations from Brandon’s business community.
"It’s such a good cause and honestly, it doesn’t matter where you go in the world today, everyone has a story about cancer," he said. "It’s such a wonderful organization."
Each year, the production changes entirely and while it’s open to all ages, Brian said it’s not for the faint of heart.
"We want to provide something new. It’s like anything in entertainment, people are going to get bored, so every year we want to challenge ourselves and bring something new to Brandon that really entertains and keeps people coming back," he said.
And if children are too scared to take the tour, Brian said they’re still giving away candy on Halloween.
Understandably, Brian doesn’t want to give out too many details about this year’s tour, but said they are sticking to popular trends they’ve seen in other productions, including clowns and zombies.
"There’s quite a lot of storyline involving fairy tales, too, that everyone remembers from when they were a kid," he said, which will be a new theme for Grim Acres.
The haunted house expects to scare around 1,000 guests on Halloween and interest for groups to visit on Oct. 29 and Oct. 30 have grown in past years as well.
"It’s picking up steam so a lot people know about us and they keep bringing friends out. It’s been a success," he said. "It’s what we love to do."
Haunted tours at Grim Acres — located at 1002 Russell St. — are from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, and 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Halloween.
All donations will go to the Canadian Cancer Society.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 28, 2013