If facing a global pandemic isn’t scary enough, the College of Piping in Summerside, P.E.I., has something it hopes will get Islanders’ blood pumping.
The college is hosting its annual haunted house and some of it is inspired by COVID-19.
“The premise is that we were on our last night of rehearsals and the cast was all ready to go. We had some specially invited guests and then all things broke loose,” said Sue McGiveron, special events coordinator for the College of Piping.
“Things went really bad, the pipers and drummers went mad, and no bodies were ever found and nobody ever left the building.”
Getting safely scared
COVID-19 had more influence at the theatre than just the plot. In order to hold the haunted house, a number of things had to be done to make the event safe.
When people arrive, they have to wait in their cars before being let in. The college is only allowing groups of six to eight to go through the haunted house together, and they’re encouraging friends and family to come together.
Once inside, participants will need to wear a mask at all times, said McGiveron.
“This year it’s a one-way journey. Last year you could kind of go back and forth a little bit if you wanted to. But this year it has to be a one-way path so that our smaller groups, as they come in, they can’t cross paths with another group,” she said.
As they journey through the haunted theatre, participants will meet a number of ghouls and goblins along the way, all keeping their social distance.
‘Can’t get as close as they used to’
“With COVID, our actors can’t get as close as they used to. They were never allowed to touch anybody, but they can’t get … that kind of creepy feeling when somebody is right in your face or right behind you,” said McGiveron.
Jennifer Beck, one of the technical staff at the college, said visitors won’t have to touch much.
“A lot of the haunted houses that people have probably gone through, I mean, some of them even involve crawling on the floor and going through tunnels,” she said.
She said there will be no crawling this year.
The haunted theatre runs on Fridays and Saturdays until Halloween, with Oct. 31 designed more for children. They’ll also have a calmer hour, with the lights and sounds down.
“We just wanted to offer something to the community. I know for me personally, it’s boring, you know, with nothing to do. So we just thought, you know, if we can do it safely and well, then we should,” said McGiveron.