MIDDLETON, N.S. - When residents of Middleton and area make the long, creepy, creaky climb to the third floor of Macdonald Museum Oct. 30, some of them might turn right around and run back down. No shame! It’s guaranteed to be scary up there.
Middleton Recreation and some imaginative business owners are collaborating on scaring the wits out of people at the haunted Middleton Shopping Centre.
Some businesses are already on board for the annual spook show and Middleton Recreation’s Jennifer Coolen said just hearing some of the ideas has her creeped out.
The idea is to get businesses to set up a spooky version of their store on the third floor of the museum – and then invite the public in.
“All summer with our summer events the business community, especially this year, has been very, very generous and has gotten involved in our walking program and all of our special events and donating to programs,” Coolen said. “This is kind of a way for us to let them be part of the fun rather than just giving us products.”
Will it be fun and scary?
“We hoping it’s both,” said Coolen.
“We’re hearing rumours of plans from some businesses who are still deciding to be involved, but if the rumours are true and they do jump in, it will be a treat for visitors,” said Andy Kerr, the town’s Programs and Communications Coordinator.
“Or a trick” said Coolen.
“We’re getting inquiries from the public as to how scary it’s going to be and whether they should bring their kids,” said Kerr. “And we say well that’s strictly up to the parent, but we suggest if you have a doubt leave them in the downstairs young kids room, which this year is being handled by Family Matters. Then run up stairs and take a run through yourself and then you can judge if you should bring your kid up or not.”
Coolen is hoping that with the combined imaginations of town staff, volunteers, and the business people, this will be the best haunted museum event yet.
“All of the other years it’s been kind of our brains, and the volunteer’s brains,” said Coolen. “Us putting our heads together kind of, trying to come up with whatever we could come up with. Now we have a whole outside set of creepy people with their creepy ideas coming together.”
Coolen is already confident in the hair-raising, spine-chilling quality of this year’s event.
“There are some that came to the original idea meeting and they already have in their head how things are going to look,” she said in reference to the business people involved. “It was scary to hear about it, so I can’t imagine seeing it.”
“We hope to have the fire department involved again maintaining our bonfire outside to warm up as we’ve had in the last couple of years,” said Kerr.
“We’ve got the high school on board to help with decorating and ideas. Our Youth Ambassadors are going to help us out being our guides,” Coolen added. “It has to go up in two weeks and it has to come down in two days, so it takes a lot of hands to make it happen.”
While it’s a Town of Middleton event, Macdonald Museum director Jan Slauenwhite is already steeling herself for Oct. 30.
“This event is very popular. It’s growing in popularity. I’ve been asked by a lot of people if it’s happening, and yes it is,” she said. “We all look forward to it very much. It takes almost a couple of weeks to set that up, so a lot of volunteers involved. A lot of student volunteers were here last year and I’m sure they will be again. So they have a lot of fun doing it, a lot of fun getting it ready.”
The museum gets decorated from the first floor right up those wide, creaking, wooden stairs to the third floor where the most gruesome action is.
“The staff here gets a preview before everybody else, so we’re kind of pumped about that,” Slauenwhite said. “It’s fun. I’m a chicken so I usually go through it with the lights on because I don’t like to be scared.”
Slauenwhite likes how the event brings people together.
“It’s just really great to see the community coming out and enjoying this,” she said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of people involved in setting this up. It’s really a big project.”
Taking part are Home Hardware, Foodland, Valley Rose Flower Shop, Middleton Hair Creations, Barbering and Tattooing, and Pharmasave.
The haunted Middleton Shopping Centre runs from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at the museum at 21 School Street. Admission is a freewill donation with proceeds going to the museum.