This year, Deadmonton decided that one scary course wasn’t enough. Additionally to their Area 51 theme, they added a New Orleans-styled haunt called “Dusk” to make sure nobody leaves unscathed.
The setup before walking into the warehouse is perfect for preparing you for what lies inside both courses. When you first enter the area, you have a few options. You can either go straight to the entry lineup or spend time enjoying the food truck and lightly-stocked bar. The decorations are all things spooky, favouring neither theme. All types of characters walk around, ready to scare anybody who gets too comfortable. While you are there, try to find the hiding alien.
As always, the detail of the courses is impeccable. The amount of nooks and crannies that the cast members crawl out of ensure suspicion and fear with every dark corner. The actors will not get too close due to COVID-19 rules, but they still find many ways to deliver a good scare.
Personally, even though I knew they were not going to touch me, I still felt like they might. A little tip for those who decide to go: if you go with a friend, make them walk behind you. It may seem scarier to be in the front, but for me I would rather take a jump scare than be stalked by an actor for who knows how long. When I was walking behind my friend, I was clinging on to them for dear life and pushing them forwards so we could move faster. I constantly looked over my shoulder and tried to run past places that looked like good hiding spots.
Jureen LeBlanc, 28, is a first-time actress with Deadmonton, and could not be more excited to be a part of the team.
“I’ve always wanted to act at Deadmonton. Halloween is my favourite season,” she says. “I enjoy all things gore, spooky, odd — it’s always been a goal of mine.”
Despite the pandemic, LeBlanc says that the sanitization rules are the same as her other job as a server. “We must be temp checked and answer all questions. Once we are clear, we have to sanitize. Masks are worn 100 per cent of the time, even under (costume) masks.”
Thankfully, the rules regarding characters are not nearly as strict. Leblanc is pleased with the freedom each cast member has.
“My rules are simple. Enjoy your role, maintain an air of mystery, and just come prepared for an amazing night. They allowed us to build and develop our character to be ‘ours,’” she says. “There’s this wonderful way they allow us to make our characters unique.”
When asked about her most amusing encounter so far, LeBlanc remembers two frightened girls. “These two girls that came in… super sweet, but also super terrified. You could sneeze, and they would jump. Made my night!”
This year is the first that Deadmonton has set up two courses for people to go through. LeBlanc says that the owner’s decision to put in extra work is to make Halloween 2020 extra special.
“The owner understood that so much of Halloween won’t happen this year. I think adding in the second haunt will create memories for people that I don’t think they’ve had before.”
LeBlanc ensures that Deadmonton is still worth a visit this year, having only high praise of the entire event. “I think the themes are wonderful. A lot of people have forgotten, but one year ago is when we stormed Area 51, so it’s funny and has given our haunt extra depth to Area 51.”
While the main event is Area 51, the actress promises Dusk is just as worthwhile.
“Dusk is its own separate entity that deserves just as much attention. It’s a New Orleans style of haunt that has so much character and so much time and effort has gone into it. Every detail is simply amazing; it’s a treat to have it this year.”
If I had to choose a favourite between the two themes, I think I would have to pick Area 51 because there are some certain surprise elements in there that were wonderfully put together. However, Dusk should not be slept on. Dusk is held in the open air, so the natural darkness makes the course even spookier and more lifelike.
Compared to other years, I did find this one special. The extra work that has gone into Deadmonton 2020 is noticeable, and getting to walk through two courses was an added bonus. With all the events that have been cancelled, it was fun to feel like the world was normal for a night.
For anybody interested in attending, the regular admission prices are $34.99, and speed passes are $49.99. Click here for more information about Deadmonton.