Scare the hell out of yourself for a good cause

Ghost Ridge Haunted House in Albion fairgrounds opens Oct. 23

Joan Granholm helps set up Ghost Ridge haunted house at the Albion Fairgrounds. Arachnophobes beware.

Joan Granholm helps set up Ghost Ridge haunted house at the Albion Fairgrounds. Arachnophobes beware.

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The circus is coming to town.

But it’s not the kind that will bring you cheers, more like screams, on Oct. 23, 24, 25 and 28, 29, 30.

Those are the dates for Ghost Ridge Haunted House, which this year is titled “Cirque de la Lune.”

It’s based on the book Night Circus and tells what happens between circus people from dusk til dawn, said organizer Lorraine Bates.

Inside the old dairy barns on Albion Fairgrounds, volunteers have created sets depicting a circus freak show, a fortune teller, acrobats and mental asylum, all the things old circuses used to bring to town.

But this circus is not for the faint of heart.

“Everything is black and white this year and it’s just gory stuff that happens between circus people,” Bates said.

High school students work as actors at Ghost Ridge, earning credits for doing so, while four community groups this year are doing the grunt work of building the sets and decorations.

Maple Ridge Bruins Rugby Club, the Inritius Alliance Group (actors) and Maple Ridge Country Fest are the three host groups that will share in the fundraising this year.

In return for countless hours of toil, the groups split the gate proceeds, which usually amounts to about $20,000.

Ghost Ridge itself gets a 25 per cent share.

“It takes a huge commitment. They start building the sets in middle of September,” said Bates.

Halloween haunted houses are popping up throughout Metro Vancouver, but Ghost Ridge every year adopts a different theme.

“People want to see something new. They don’t have to go very far.”

Admission is $8 and if people go to Ghost Ridge on Oct. 30, the night before Halloween, they can see the fireworks show nearby.

Hours are from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., although there’s a “family friendly” hour from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Oct. 24 and 25 only.