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Shania Centre goes ghoulie

Shania Centre goes ghoulie

Frightful family fun set for Saturday

By Kate McLaren, The Daily Press


Shania Twain Centre manager Tracy Hautanen cozies up to a local ghoul while preparing for the annual Halloween Spooktacular. The event will feature a haunted tour of the Shania Twain Centre, gold mine tour, and Hollinger House, and is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins are already flocking to the Shania Twain Centre for Saturday's Halloween Spooktacular.

The centre, along with the Timmins Underground Goldmine Tour and Hollinger House will all be transformed into horrifying haunts, something manager Tracy Hautanen describes as one of her favourite events of the year.

"We go all out and try to add new things every year to make it as scary and exciting as we can.

"This is the time of year when the centre goes from being a tourist attraction to a community centre."

The activities begin as soon as visitors step into the centre, where they can watch Halloween movies as they wait in line for the haunted house. After a guided tour through the centre, where monsters and skeletons roam among them, thrill-seekers will then enter into Beulah the witch's rec room for a spooky skit. The tour then continues underground, finishing with a visit to a fortune-telling gypsy at the Hollinger House.

"Beulah is a character we've brought back from previous years, except this time the premise is her friends have taken over her house and she doesn't know about it," explained Hautanen. "It's a good show with good characters and some humour thrown in there for the adults."

The amount of work is apparent in details, like plates of finger food (featuring actual fingers) and bottles of blood on Beulah's kitchen counter — details which Hautanen said complete the experience.

"A lot of the adults who come through come to see the decorations. I think they appreciate the detail more and recognize the amount of effort put in."

She explained it takes staff a few days to decorate and plan costumes, but it's well worth it when the centre sees crowds of up to 1,500 people.

"All of the programs that we run here, whether it's Halloween, St. Patrick's Day or Christmas definitely motivate local residents to come back again on a another day and see the centre under normal circumstances."

The haunted tour is scary, she added, so children under 12 must be supervised by an adult.

"It's scary, but it's fun too.

"We tested it out on school kids yesterday, and even though some of them were definitely scared, we had a lot of laughs."

Following the tour, snacks treats will be provided.

The Halloween Spooktacular is set for today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to dress in costume, and the cost is $2 each.


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Spooktacular fun at Shania's


William Street has braved haunted houses before -- like on a family trip to Disney World.

However, the young Timmins resident seemed a little nervous entering into the dark depths of the Shania Twain Centre on Saturday for the fifth-annual Halloween Spooktacular.

The centre hosted haunted house with Beulah the witch.

Visitors were treated to an interactive skit in Beulah's rec room and a trip down to the damp and spooky underground gold mine where sinister characters lurked in and out of the darkness.

"It's kind of exciting," said Street, as he entered the haunted house with his brother Sam. "I'm not scared."

Volunteer Rene Gaudreau said even though there were scary parts to the tour, staff tried to create a blend of thrills and entertainment.

"We want to make it both frightening and fun. Yes, there are some parts that are a little scarier, but there are also some really funny parts."

Gaudreau volunteers at the centre for numerous events, but said Halloween definitely sees the most participants, as visitors lined up out the door, some waiting for as long as an hour and a half to enter.

"It's a long wait, but we have movies playing for them, and it's definitely worth it in the end," said Gaudreau.

He said the centre hosts its Halloween activities during the day so it doesn't compete with the evening of trick-or-treating.

"It's nice for them to have something to do in the afternoon, and it's a good reason for them to get dressed up. And the price is right too."

For just a toonie, close to 2000 people went through the centre's haunted house Saturday.

"The same people usually come back year after year, to see what we've added or changed," said Gaudreau.

Shania Twain Centre manager Tracy Hautanen, disguised as Beulah, patiently waited to jump out of a box, accusing spectators of being in her house.

"There are some of the smaller ones who do cry, but I have teddy bears ready to hand out to them," she said. "It's all in good fun."


Tommy's #1 SHANIA TWAIN SuperSite

Our eyes are closed, but we're not asleep, We're wide awake beneath the sheets

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