Standout Halloween houses in New West: ghoulish, garish and creepy

Halloween is a magical time of year, when visibly normal neighbours often show their most macabre tendencies with their Halloween decorations. Sometimes, it’s pretty subtle – a single Jack O’ Lantern with a psychotic grin, for instance. Or, maybe is a liberal use of cotton gauze on the hedges, to make everything look like it hasn’t been dusted in a while.

But, other times, they come up with something original when it comes to Halloween decorations. So, with that in mind, and being something of a Halloween fan, I decided to venture forth to find out what some of your neighbours here in New West are up to, decoration-wise. Some things I found were kind of cute. Some were garish. Others, I have to say, really freaked me out.

So, without further ado, here’s a selected gallery of the ghoulish, album of the arcane, showcase of the shadowy to lift your All Hallows Eve spirits this Halloween.

Halloween front yard

Sometimes, just decorating the house isn’t enough. You’ve gotta do the whole front yard! This property used the standard Halloween staples. But, they also used withered corn husks to great effect. Who knew that corn could be this creepy?
Halloween front yard

Giant Jack O’ Lantern, with minions

There is something very unsettling about this that made me very hesitant to approach. The expression on the face of the Queen Jack O’ Lantern is inscrutible! Is this just a harmless Jack O’ Lantern with her many children, or a spheroid fiend in search of human blood?

Giant Jack O Lantern with Minions

Frankenstein’s Monster has a spot of bother with the villagers

They finally had enough. The grunting, the stomping about at all hours with those big, blocky shoes, the not clearing away his leaves. Enough was enough.

Entrance to the Foyer of Fear!

Dry ice is a gift to horror buffs everywhere. The spooky mist in this one is all down to a dry ice machine, perhaps not so freaky now. But wait, as they say, until dark …. (also to note – the handy puking Jack O’ Lantern. And – nice web-work.)

Psychotic Siddhartha

Normally a figure of peacefulness, detachment, and restraint, we’re getting a slightly more feral, Halloweeny version here. Halloweeny is too a word. Well, it should be.

Disembodied hands

From ‘Thing’ on the Addams’ Family, to the face-huggers in the Alien movies (basically crawling hands, right?) to the Hand of Eldrad (only classic Doctor Who geeks will get that one …), the disembodied hand is a thing of primal fear. Here, these ones add a very nice contrast to the fish-scale siding. Good choice.

Halloween Hands


I’ve seen a lot of spiders on Halloween decorations this year. I notice them because of how much I loathe spiders. I mean, good luck to them and they provide a great place in our eco system and all that. But, they freak me out. I walk to the SkyTrain every day past this decoration.

The first time, I didn’t realize that this spider is animatronic, and responds to movement. As I stared up at it, walking past, its spidery head twitched in my direction, and it’s legs quivered hungrily. It made me wish I was wearing brown corduroy trousers at the time.

Spooky group picture

You know, I think Death is really trying to hog the limelight from Frankenstein’s monster, the ghost, the witch, and the frat-boy trees (don’t they look like frat boys to you?). What a (soul) scene stealer!

Spooky group picture

Halloween helps us to celebrate the dark corners of our imaginations as a culture. And decorations like these help to add to the creepy ambience.

Happy and safe Halloween, everyone!

5 songs that are supernaturally inclined

BOO! Westminster: Local Halloween events for the whole family

The second annual Petrifying Pooch Parade, hosted by local pet-sitting business Calli Co., is Saturday, October 29 from 12-2pm in the Queen's Park off-leash dog park.
The second annual Petrifying Pooch Parade, hosted by local pet-sitting business Calli Co., is Saturday, October 29 from 12-2pm in the Queen's Park off-leash dog park.

Halloween is just around the corner, so here’s a handy dandy list of events for everyone (and we do mean everyone) in the family. The pets in your life will be snout over tail for the Petrifying Pooch Parade, the horror fan will scream with joy for the Haunted Hall and you can even get a chance to PUMP yourself up with a Halloween workout!

With all this Halloween fun, New Westminster has become BOO Westminster.

Mwa ha ha ha ha

Drag Divas Halloween
Saturday, October 29t, 10:00 pm, Heritage Grill
Join MZ Adrien and the Guest Divas Moaning Lisa and Erica Divine (with a special cameo by Tish Snooky). The gurls are planning some fabulous fun with some of the spoookiest characters around. Prizes prizes prizes, food, drink and a whole lot of fun! Wear your costumes and be ready some divalicious drag.

Halloween Costume Party
Saturday, October 29th, 6 pm -1 am Terminal City Pub
It’s the time of year to play dress-up and party like animals. TheTerminal City Pub is having it’s annual Halloween Costume Party. Prizes for the top three costumes, shooter specials all night, dance floor with killer tunes and UFC Pay Per View. Contact the pub for ticket inquiries.


BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and work out in costume at the October 31 Halloween PUMPkin workouts in various locations around New West.
BYOP (Bring Your Own Pumpkin) and work out in costume at the October 31 Halloween PUMPkin workouts in various locations around New West.

Halloween Fun
Friday, October 28th, 3:30 pm, New Westminster Public Library, 716 6th Avenue
Ghostly stories and a Halloween craft await kids ages 4 – 10 at this free event.

All Treats, No Tricks
Sunday October 30th, Noon -3 pm, 810 Quayside Drive,
The River Market is celebrating Halloween and the grand opening of four new merchants. There will be live entertainment, crafts, and pumpkin carving. Your kids can show off their costumes and trade for treats at select merchants.

2nd Annual Petrifying Pooch Parade
Saturday, October 29th, 12 pm – 2 pm, Queen’s Park Off Leash Dog Park
Save the date – you won’t want to miss it! Dress up your doggies in their favourite Halloween costumes and join other dog lovers for this SPOOKTACULAR event! Refreshments will be provided for both doggies and humans.

Halloween PUMPkin Work Out
Monday, October 31 various locations and times throughout Boo Westminster
Bring your own pumpkin (5 to 10 lbs), dress up in your spooky best and head out to the PUMP-kin work out. Be motivated, encouraged and inspired to a new life of health and fitness, and have a good giggle while you are at it. Email newwest@survivorbootcamp to reserve your spot.

World Animal Day Children’s Art
Sunday, October 30th from 12 pm- 4pm, Centennial Community Centre
The event brings animal awareness to young people and organizers are inviting children to wear animal costumes with prizes going to the best and cutest. It is being put on by the New Westminster-based Campaigns Against The Cruelty to Animals

The Metro Hosts 2nd Annual “Haunted Hall” – a Spooktacular Fund-Raising Event for the Entire Family
October 26-October 31 1 pm – 8 pm, 759 Carnarvon Street
This Halloween, The Metro will once again be transforming its 8000 square foot events centre into Haunted Hall – a spooktacular fund-raising event in support of local charities. Families of all ages will be entertained by over 8000 square feet of cobwebs, ghosts and goblins, spooky sounds, tricks and treats, pumpkin patch for little humans and haunted hall tours with live spooks for the not so faint of heart. Entry is $5 per person or $10 for a family pass in support of The WITS Anti-Bullying Program and Purpose Society.

Family Spook House Adventure
Thursday, October 27, 10 am – 12 pm, Queensborough Community Centre
Come enjoy the indoor Spook House and enjoy a celebration of costumes and carefree fun. Don’t forget to wear your costume for a spirited Halloween. Lots of equipment like the bouncy equipment, ride‘em toys, gym equipment and more. The activity leader will be sure that your morning is fun and interactive. This is also a great opportunity to meet other families
in the neighborhood.

It’s a Halloween Party!
Friday, October 28, 9-11:30 am, Queen’s Park Arenex
Ghosts and goblins from the Motoring Munchkins drop-in program are invited to dress as their favorite Halloween creature and join in the party fun. There are plenty of tricks and treats for all! Entry fee includes a digital emailed picture of your child against a spooktacular backdrop.

Monster Madness

Wednesday, October 26, 3:30 pm-5 pm Centennial Community Centre
No bones about it – prepare for that ghoulish night by making hobgoblin crafts, terrifying treats and mucous membrane milkshakes. The sca-a-ary activities continue with spooky stories and howling fun.

Count Chocola’s Creatures
Wednesday, October 26 6-7 pm Centennial Community Centre
Have fun making creepy chocolate and tricky treats just in time for Halloween. You’ll create ghosts on broomsticks and spooky snacks that will captivate even the non-squirmish. Make special eerie decorations for your room and treat yourself to ghastly witches brew.

Family Halloween Hoopla
Saturday, October 29, 1:30-3:30 pm Centennial Community Centre
Calling all monsterous moms, Dracula dads, ghoulish grandparents and spine chilling children to an afternoon of witchy, wacky fun. Try your skills playing eerie games, get creative making creepy crafts and cookie decorating. There’s spooktacular fun for the whole family including a magic show by Johnny B Good.

Haunted Halloween Family Skate
Saturday, October 29 6:30 – 8 pm Moody Park Arenta
Moody Park Arena’s horrific Halloween experts have a “Spooktacular” evening of fun planned for the whole family to enjoy. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

Haunted Halloween Happening Party
Friday, October 29 6 – 8 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Join a fun filled ghoulish night of activities at the Queensborough Haunted Halloween Happening Party. Our leaders will be making wicked crafts, face painting help you carve some scary pumpkins. The night will end with a magic show by “Johnny B Good” Remember to dress up for this Family event.

Costume Contest
Friday, October 28, 6-8 pm Queensborough Community Centre
So you think you can make the best costume? Stop by the Haunted Halloween Happening Party for a night full of Halloween fun! There will be a costume contest that is fun for all ages – strut your stuff for a chance to win a prize! Contest starts at 6:00 pm! You may get in the contest line as soon as you register. Awards will be announced at 7:45 pm

Pumpkin Carving
Friday, October 28, 6-7:30 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Join us for our 6th annual pumpkin carving party at the Queensborough Community Centre. Bring your own pumpkins and we will provide all the tools and creative patterns. Best of all, they do all the clean up! Please RSVP your attendance as registration
is required.

Pumpkin Carving Contest
Friday, October 28, 6-7:30 pm Queensborough Community Centre
Halloween is just around fun and participate in our Carving Contest. Be as wild creative as you like! If you cannot get a hold of a pumpkin in your area, feel free to use any vegetable or fruit. The important thing is that you carve it yourself. Original carved pumpkins only, no generic stencil cut pumpkins allowed! Awards will be announced
at 7:45 pm sharp!

CGP Halloween in Wonderland
Wednesday, October 26, 6:30-8:30 pm
I’m late, I’m late for a very important date…No time to wait. Join Alice, the Cheshire Cat and
the Mad Hatter as they bring their Wonderland madness to Canada Games Pool.

For info on even more events in the Lower Mainland, this writer is a big fan of the yoyomama halloween and pumpkin patch listing.

Halloween pooch parade this Saturday

Dress up your pet for a chance to win prizes at Calli Co.'s Petrifying Pooch Parade on Saturday, October 30, 2010. Photo: Calli Co.
Dress up your pet for a chance to win prizes at Calli Co.'s Petrifying Pooch Parade on Saturday, October 30, 2010. Photo: Calli Co.

Royal City pets (and their owners) are invited to show off their costumes in the “Petrifying Pooch Parade” at the Quayside Off-Leash Dog Park at the corner of Rialto Court and Esplanade at noon on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.

The free community event, hosted by Calli Co. Pet Services, will feature a pet parade, Halloween doggy bags for all pet participants and coffee, hot chocolate and treats for the humans. The costumes will be judged and prizes awarded for Best Overall Costume, Most Original Costume and Funniest Costume.

“This event is a great opportunity for the community’s pet owners to gather together, practice doggy socialization skills and have some fun in the process,” said Brigette Mayer, owner of Calli Co. Pet Services, in a news release about the event.

Calli Co. Pet Services is a professional Queensborough-based pet sitting and dog walking company that offers daily and overnight pet sitting, private and group dog walking, midday bio breaks for puppies and senior dogs, pet taxi and light grooming services.

DATE: Saturday, October 30, 2010

TIME: 12:00pm to 2:00pm

LOCATION: Quayside Off-Leash Dog Park, New Westminster (corner of Rialto Court and Esplanade)

Halloween Craft: My Little Pumpkin Frame

This is a guest post from Melissa Balfour from New Westminster’s Pretty Up Parties. Melissa provides themed party decoration rental kits and party planning services to Greater Vancouver hosts and hostesses.

Get the kids together to participate in this Halloween craft activity that makes a great gift for family and friends who also love your little pumpkin!

The finished Halloween photo frame
The finished Halloween photo frame

You’ll Need:

  • 2 orange pipe cleaners
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • 1 sparkly green pipe cleaner
  • 1 orange Halloween garland
  • 1 piece of black foam
  • 1 picture
  • glue
  • magnets
  • scissors
  • foam letters spelling BOO!
Here's what you need for the craft
Here's what you need for the craft

Glue picture to the black foam. Cut out the picture with foam back and set aside to dry. With the remaining foam cut out black squares to place underneath your BOO! letters. Glue letters to the foam and set aside to dry.

Place orange pipe cleaners side by side and twist both ends together to form a circle. Circle should be big enough to fit around your picture.

To make the frame, twist the pipe cleaners together and then wrap the garland around the pipe cleaners.
To make the frame, twist the pipe cleaners together and then wrap the garland around the pipe cleaners.

Wrap garland around the pipe cleaner once and then once more to hide all the orange pipe cleaner. Now you’ve got your pumpkin body!

Cut green and sparkly green pipe cleaner in half. Bend in half and twist together to form the stem. Attach cut ends to the pumpkin body by bending the end around the garland.

Place a line of glue around the edges of your picture. Carefully place your pumpkin body over the picture and mold into a pumpkin shape around the photo. Add glue to the back of your letter shapes and place on the front of your pumpkin. Place a book on top of your pumpkin frame until the glue has set. (For faster results use a hot glue gun to glue pumpkin body to the picture and letter shapes to the garland.)

Once the glue has dried, remove book and fluff up the garland! Peel back tape from magnets and place on the back of your photo. Trim the corners of the photo and foam so that it does not peek out from behind the pumpkin body. Place on your fridge and enjoy!

7 Spooky Spots in Hyack Town

BOO! Ah, autumn. I love it! The leaves… the smell… the pumpkins… the little ghouls! Halloween is one of my favourite events of the year, with a bit of something for everyone. Now that my son is getting to an age where he gets it (wear this, knock on door, say “tickoteet”, present candy holding device and be rewarded!) I’m started to realize how fun it can be. With a 150+ years history, New Westminster offers a lot in the way of creepy spots and stories, outside of the knowns like cemetaries. With that in mind, I present seven spooky spots here in Hyack Town, in no particular order. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

1. Galbraith House

Galbraith House c. 1995 by Mike Martin Wong (used with permission)

When I first moved to New Westminster, I lived only a few short blocks away from this fantastic building. I used to walk home from college and eye it suspiciously as I passed. I am fairly certain something watched me from its highest windows. Today, it houses one of my favourite spas, has conference rooms for rent (hello, theme wedding?), I credit witnessing its restoration as the catalyst for my developing interest in the preservation of New Westminster’s old buildings. Here it is, today – decidedly less spooky but still amazing. I’d imagine a Halloween Party in there could be some serious fun.

2. Boot Hill

I ran across this website some time ago, and find Deborah’s well thought out and well researched collection pretty amazing. Boot Hill is the name of the cemetery for the forgotten folks who died at the BC Penitentiary. These are the people with no family to claim their bodies and so they were buried, with only numbers to mark their lives. I find Boot Hill poignant and sad, and very, very spooky. This cemetery doesn’t really exist – although the piece of land is owned by the City of New Westminster, and a fence is around it, you cannot access it without trespassing, and unless you have a legend, you have no way of knowing where any of the buried are as the headstones are only numbers.

3. The Free Mason’s Hall

There is this culture of mystery and spookiness that surrounds the Free Masons. I know many Masons, and I know their current tagline is something along the lines of “to be one ask one” so today they are an open and welcoming group. Their website alone is a huge wealth of historical info. But still. Free Masons have such a long and storied history, and there is so much weird secretive urban legends surrounding it,  that it’s hard not to get a little shivery when walking past the building. One expects Tom Hanks to jump out of the building with some sort of secret code to crack.

4. That Tunnel Under 8th Avenue at Richmond Street, in Massey Heights

Gah, this tunnel creeps me out. I don’t know why… it just makes me feel jittery and weird. Here’s a photo by Harry Traeger (and another one by bluja1 on Flickr and another one by Harry)

not such a nice place

Just tell me that’s not creepy as all get out?

5. The former Railroad Station (now the Keg Restaurant)

I’ve been told by more than one person that has worked at the Keg that there is no doubt this building is haunted.  Supposedly, the sounds of footsteps can be heard with regularity as staff are closing up and no one is upstairs. It’s an amazing building, with an interesting history. The Great Fire destroyed the original railroad station, so this is the replacement. Here is a little article about it’s architectural history. I keep hearing tell of tunnels under downtown New Westminster that start at the Railroad Station… I just wish I could get confirmation. Regardless, my imagination rates this place “spooky”.

6. The BC Gas building on 12th Street

To be honest, I love this building. I’d truly love to have the opportunity to walk through it, dirty though it may be. But, when I asked a number of people for spooky spot suggestions, this one came up a few times. Perhaps it’s the chain link fence or the scrubbly shrubs poking their way through the concrete surrounding the building. Perhaps it’s the odd way the paint has chipped. Perhaps it is the non-action and the marching of time that prevents this building from waking up. But it slumbers, and it spins legends and spiderwebs with each passing day.

Photo by Robert Hare, used with permission


And here’s a link to the New Westminster Heritage Preservation Society with a great article about why this building is in danger – so much so that the Society has deemed this the number one most endangered heritage site.

7. Poplar Island

Poplar Island is a beautiful little slip of land that you see if you look past Kruger toward Queensborough from most anywhere along Stewardson Way or the Brow of the Hill neighbourhood. Here’s a gorgeous photo of it by Flickr member boybleu.

The Georgia Straight ran a great article a number of years ago about the history of Poplar Island. It rates its own Wikipedia page (entertaining since ALL the rest of New Westminster combined seems to be mashed on a single concise page), and there is a nice article on Rhonda Larrabee, the chief for the Qayqayt, the New Westminster First Nations band for whom Poplar Island is a traditional burial ground. But it’s uninhabited by living people. Which in my book means it is likely inhabited by not living people. Spooky.


I’m sure there are many more spooky spots in New Westminster. What’s on your list?

Scares for a good cause at Metro’s ‘Haunted Hall’

On October 31, The Metro will transform into a 'Haunted Hall' with activities for kids aged 2-10 in the afternoon and scary movies later on for the grown-ups and older kids.
On October 31, The Metro will transform into a 'Haunted Hall' with activities for kids aged 2-10 in the afternoon and scary movies later on for the grown-ups and older kids.

New Westminster may have a great family Halloween tradition in the making with The Metro Hall’s ‘spooktacular’ Haunted Hall.

On October 31, The Metro will transform its 8000 square foot events centre into a Haunted Hall in support of local charities. The family-friendly event will feature creepy cobwebs, ghosts and goblins, spooky sounds, a bouncy castle, tricks and treats, Halloween movies on a big screen and haunted hall tours with live spooks for the not so faint of heart.

The event caters to the local community and particularly families with Kids aged 2-10. During the day, the focus will be on younger families and will feature the bouncy castle and haunted hall tours. In the evening, The Metro will be featuring larger than life “fear flix” on the 9’ X 12’ screen for families with older kids.

The Metro’s Haunted Hall is located at 759 Carnarvon Street, New Westminster and is open on Halloween Day from 2pm – 10pm. Entry is by donation in support of The Youth Centre at Moody Park and Purpose Society.

Located in Downtown New Westminster, The Metro is an 8000 sq foot banquet hall and events centre catering to clients seeking a more uniquely glamorous venue. The Metro opened in February, 2009 and has been host to an array of events including weddings, fund raisers, corporate events, award ceremonies, musical acts, arts and cultural events and more.