Bob and Monica McCarey have had a cemetery in their backyard at Halloween for years.
And a 'chop shop', executioners, witches, eerie clowns, chains, scarecrow... every year there seems to be something new and different in the 'haunted house.'
"I just got this one," said Bob McCarey, propping up a zombie-like creature. "It's head spins, it's eyes light up and it makes noises."
This year he re-modelled the cemetery, adding new pathways and props.
"This here, we're going to have a light in it," he said, pointing to a composter. "And a sign that says 'lift me.'"
Yes... it's a shocker.
"I put the hangman out here this year and the Grim Reaper guy so it's a little different. I'll have the electric guy. Plus I've got new props. They're still in the garage right now – baby in a jumper, and another one that kind of waddles. I've got grandma in a walker – she moves. I can bring her out, I've got it all set."
There's also a wraith that 'flies,' body parts all over the place, red floodlights... and it's all coming together for the 700-plus people expected through the week.
"We try to make it a 'self-directed' walking tour so you can guide yourself through," said Monica. "You will only be able to go one way. Bob's usually wandering around (in costume) and I'm out front, and the students are here and there.
"My favourite?" Monica smiled. "I kind of like the zombie babies and the creepy granny. I think that's going to be a cool one this year. He's done a good job with the graveyard this year, too."
The McCareys and their team of student volunteers were setting up Monday and planned to be ready for Saturday night's opening at 7 p.m. From Oct. 24 to Halloween Night, Oct. 31, the haunted house will be open from 7-9 p.m. Admission is a donation for the local food bank.
"That whole coffin's full of stuff that we haven't got out yet," said Monica, standing next to a rack of clothes worn by their live actors. "These will be all the costumes that the kids get to wear.
"We're hoping to open Saturday the 24th, from 7-9 p.m., and then open every night until Halloween from 7-9."
"If anyone wants to bring a group for a tour, call me, I'd like to know ahead of time."
For those who like to see the haunted house during the daytime, come Sunday afternoon. The McCareys are open from 2-4, especially for the smaller children – without the actors, sound effects, smoke and mirrors.
Any students interested in being Halloween 'actors' can contact Monica (519-550-0645). They are still taking more volunteers, and would like help dismantling after Halloween.
"Admission is a donation to the food bank," she noted.
"Was it 1,600 or 1,800 pounds of food last year?" Bob asked. "Around 1,600 I think."
"It was 'lots'," Monica nodded. "It was one of our best years. Our goal is 1,000 pounds of food, but we'll take more. And I know Joan (Clarkson) will too."
The weather co-operated last year, but the year before it poured rain.
"But that one day that it poured, we had the most people," Bob noted.
The McCarey haunted house is located at 6 Third Concession Road, near Norfolk Mall, between Simcoe Street and Mall Road.