Want to have your hair stand on end and a cold chill run down your back? If so, Six Pines is the place for you this month.
Six Pines, located three kilometers north of the Perimeter Highway on Sturgeon Road in the RM of Rosser, is open for its 14th October Haunt.
Owners Judy and James Thevenot are proud that it’s Manitoba’s only member of the Haunted Attraction Association (USA).
"Nobody in Manitoba does what we do," Judy said.
This year’s Barn of Doom, a renovated full-sized barn, has a terrifying hospital theme complete with hanging body bags, secret passageways and a mixture of props and live actors guaranteed to scare even the bravest fear seekers. In fact, Six Pines’ website carries a warning for pregnant women, advising them not to enter the Barn of Doom at night, but rather to take the less scream-inducing daytime tour for families.
Judy said even though she and her husband want guests to be frightened, they still want them to be safe. Any accident that happens at one of the Haunted Attraction Association members’ facilities sends a ripple of concern throughout the seasonal industry.
"Everything has to be safe," she said.
That’s why she takes the time to speak to all the guests who buy tickets during Six Pines’ October Haunt. She tries to screen out any would-be patrons who might cause trouble or disrupt other guests’ enjoyment.
Six Pines is alcohol-free, but the Thevenots do offer a shuttle bus service that can be booked to transport a group of up to 20 to and from their property.
The 35 actors, many of whom are local students, receive safety training, and video cameras are installed throughout the property.
"It’s a family entertainment business," said Judy, adding the couple works hard to provide a good experience for everyone who visits. Two of their children, Thomas, 13, and Tessa, 11, are dressed in costume and working every Thursday to Saturday evening until Oct. 30 — the last day of the October Haunt.
Judy said she loves to get to know the people who visit Six Pines each October, and she and her husband strive to add new features and scares to surprise their repeat customers. This year, they have a zombie shoot that reflects the current popularity of the undead.
The family attractions include a magic show, pirate adventure, Igor & Egor Show and Mother Goose touring children through petting zoo at Six Pines. Adults can get their thrills in the Barn of Doom and a few laughs at a raunchy comedy show.
The Thevenots don’t have a whole lot of down time even when all of the ghosts and goblins leave for the season. They take part in seminars offered by the Haunted Attraction Association, and tour other members’ facilities.
Judy looks after the business’ administration and James works on new attractions.
"He’s the mastermind behind the scares," Judy said.
The Thevenots open their petting zoo in the spring and host weddings and group outings until the end of August when they begin preparing for their October Haunt.
Judy admits that she and James don’t have much spare time, but she loves being able to work so closely with her family.
"I feel lucky to be able to do that."
The opening hours and directions to Six Pines are available online at sixpines.mb.ca or by calling 204-633-3326.