Saskatoon haunted house still able to make people jump while following COVID-19 protocols

·3 min read

While many events and activities have been cancelled because of COVID-19, you can still get scared out of your wits in a haunted house this Halloween.

The 7 Deadly Sins Haunted House on Circle Drive in Saskatoon is a new entry for those looking to give their heart a jump-start.

It's already seen a lot of people walk with trepidation through it's seven sinfully spooky rooms, says creator and director Corrie Swallow.

The seven rooms are all distinct, as they were put together by seven different businesses, he says.

"They surpassed my vision," said Swallow, a comedy hypnotist who goes by the stage name of Corrie J.

He hasn't been able to perform much lately because of the pandemic, and came up with the idea for his haunted house while he was on the road driving to a show, and looking at an empty October schedule.

Swallow enlisted the help of some friends in Las Vegas who consult on seance tours and put together haunted houses and escape rooms.

"From there it was like, OK, how can we make this happen? I started talking to a bunch of my local business friends and yeah, they really came through," he said.

"Each local business … did up a different sin for their room. And it was a phenomenal experience."

Pandemic protocols

The province has put out specific guidelines for haunted houses, like requiring one-way traffic, physical distancing and spacing groups out 10 minutes apart, along with the use hand sanitizers and masks.

Swallow said his haunted house is virtually a touchless experience. For instance, there are no-touch photo booths inside the haunted house.

"You scan the QR code, and then all the instructions are right there on your phone," he said.

All traffic inside the house is one-way, and the actors who are part of the attraction don't touch any of the visitors.

"It's a huge building. I think it's like 10 or 12,000 square feet, so there's definitely lots of room for people to move about in there," Swallow said.

"The only thing that anybody touches is a door handle when they walk in and the door when they walk out. When it is busy, we'll have those doors open for people so they aren't touching anything at all."

Fright night

Swallow said the haunted house is designed to get scarier later into the night.

On weekends from 1-7 p.m. and Monday to Friday from 5-7 p.m., it's targeted to kids in the kindergarten to Grade 6 age range.

"And then after 7 p.m., with each hour, it gets a little bit scarier. The scares get a little more intense," Swallow said. "And then we have our midnight tours, which has been a huge, huge draw."

It's proven so popular, they are booking groups through to 5 a.m.

Swallow said it is gratifying to be able to see people have so much fun.

"Just the happiness that we hear from people is why I'm in the entertainment industry, that's for sure."