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Phantom Effects haunted house and corn maze in Greenwich still a go in spite of Dorian


Corn maze survives high winds, heavy rain

GREENWICH, N.S. —

The fields at Stirling’s in Greenwich will be “echoing in screams.”

Post-tropical storm Dorian didn’t take the wind out of the sails of those organizing Phantom’s FreakShow Haunted House and Corn Maze.

Jaimie Corbin, co-owner of Phantom Effects with Aaron Peerless, said Dorian has set them back about a week in terms of getting the annual attraction organized but it’s still a go. Corbin said they didn’t want to be in the way of farm operations as Stirling’s prepared for and cleaned up after the storm.

Fortunately, although there was damage, Stirling Fruit Farms fared better than some others as Dorian tore through the Valley. The cornfield survived the heavy wind and rain. Phantom Effects and Stirling’s will be moving ahead with what they had planned, including the haunted corn maze.

“It’s pretty decent from what they said, so we have access to that for the nighttime haunt, weather depending of course, and our haunt is inside the warehouse, so as long as the roof stayed on that, we’re good to go there,” Corbin said.

Phantom Effects has a volunteer board of 15 members that helps out with construction and costumes. With a couple of weeks left to go before the Sept. 28 opening, there were multiple costumes still to be made and masks to be created.

Corbin said it would be a lot of work, especially considering full-time jobs, but she remained confident that they would pull it off “come hell or high water.”

“I have no clue how we’re going to get it done but we always do,” she said. “It always turns out fabulous and everyone has a blast, so I’m not too worried about it.”

20 years of experience and the fact that they do special effects makeup makes Phantom Effects haunts unique. Many haunted houses set up for the Halloween season use store-bought costumes and masks or animatronics but Phantom Effects is all original.

Corbin said they take a psychological approach, trying to “get into people’s heads” by developing creatures and nightmarish visions that make people feel vulnerable when they actually aren’t.

“We focus more on the strategy of things,” Corbin said.

She said the corn maze has always been open in the evenings to complement the haunted house but they’ve only been organizing a haunted maze for the past couple of years. Corbin said she had more volunteers for the haunted house than needed, so they asked about expanding into the corn maze.

They started with 10 people haunting the seven-acre maze, which Corbin said isn’t a lot. Last year, they decided to use half of the maze for haunting, which worked out “perfectly” given the number of volunteer ghouls. However, the weather wasn’t very cooperative with rain falling nearly every weekend.

“This year, fingers crossed, we’ve got it down,” Corbin said. “We’ve got really good characters for out there.”

She said they’re changing all the rooms, themes and characters for the haunted house, so it will be a new experience for those who have been there in the past. Some of the costumed characters used inside in the past will be moved out into the corn maze. Overall, there will be 72 volunteer haunters or “haunteers” making up the experience.

“Instead of the odd, cloaked goon here and there, there are going to be very high calibre haunteers right across the board,” Corbin said. “Inside and out, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.”

Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

IF YOU GO:

  • The Phantom’s Freakshow Haunted House and Corn Maze at Stirling’s opens on Sept. 28 with the “Screamtember Date Night”. The grounds are open from 6 to 10 p.m. with the haunted house and corn maze opening at 7 p.m.
  • Members of the Sunrise Rotary Club of New Minas will have a fully licensed tent set up for date night, selling local wine, cider and craft beer.
  • Opening night will include door prizes, live music, a DJ, concessions and fire pits set up on the grounds for roasting hotdogs, sausages and smores.
  • The haunted house and corn maze help the IWK Foundation, with a donation being made in support of mental health.
  • Ticket prices for the haunted house are $13 for people ages 10 and older or $10 for children under 10. Admission is payable at the door.
  • There is an additional $5 charge for the haunted corn maze, payable at the u-pick shack, or $7 without attending the haunted house.
  • For show dates and times or more information, visit www.phantomsfreakshow.com or the organization’s Facebook page.

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