"Meet the biggest kid on the block!" John McKeown exclaimed, as he welcomed a visitor to the haunted house he has assembled at his Pitt Meadows home.
The display at 11885 Springdale Dr. is open to the public on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. each night until Halloween - Oct. 31.
Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the Pitt Meadows depot of Friends In Need Food Bank.
It took about 150 hours for McKeown and an employee from his window cleaning/pressure washing business, Look 'N' Smile, to set up the ghastly exhibit that features a cast of characters including the fictional, sanguinary villain Michael Myers from the Halloween movies, the alien baby from the 1974 horror flick It's Alive, a ghoulish glowing head, an animatronic torso that "writhes in pain" on the floor, a skeletal figure that spews "blood" from its gaping mouth into a bowl, and a creepy butler who greets visitors at the door.
Adding extra ambiance is Halloween-inspired music that fills the room; it's like a mixed tape for the demented.
At the back of the display, there are other life-sized props, arranged side-by-side, that McKeown didn't want to make known publicly. He's hoping visitors will drop by and see them for themselves.
This isn't the first time McKeown has created a Halloween inspired display in support of the local food bank.
"A couple of years ago, I was also taking donations and I ended up filling the back of my pickup truck," McKeown said. "I was quite surprised, and that was just on Halloween night, I did it, too."
He spent so much time this year on his display, he didn't want to open it exclusively on Halloween.
"That's why I decided to do it these three nights, so I would get more people from the neighbourhood [to visit] and take food bank donations, and hopefully be able to bring two pickup trucks worth of stuff to the food bank," said McKeown, who is also is accepting cash donations for the cause.
This year, McKeown has upped the ante.
He used life-sized props that he didn't want to leave on his porch, in the event of inclement weather, one of the main reasons why he created the exhibit.
McKeown's home is situated in a fairly dense subdivision in Pitt Meadows, so there are a lot of youth and children in the neighbourhood.
"It's a popular neighbourhood," McKeown said.
McKeown has a fouryear- old daughter Jada, who he admits is "quite terrified of what daddy's been doing."
"She says, 'Daddy why don't you get some princess stuff,' and I say, 'because princesses aren't scary. You have to have scary stuff for Halloween,'" McKeown shared.
McKeown bought props from FX Studio, which works on sets, including the wildly popular The Walking Dead TV series.
"In their spare time, they made some props for me," McKeown said.
Hosting a food-and fundraiser on Halloween is a good fit for McKeown, a huge fan of the horror genre who rates Oct. 31 as his favourite time of the year.
"Halloween is my Christmas, you bet," he said. "I used to love trick or treating when I was a kid, and there were a few houses that I used to go to, where they would do something similar. They went all out, where I was kinda left standing at the door with my jaw open thinking, 'Holy cow, what did I just see?'"
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