It’s that time of year of again where ghouls, ghosts, and monsters haunt the Carlson Manor located on Erica Drive in Lacombe.
For the past 12 Halloweens, Chad Carlson has been putting his all into creating huge and terrifying spooky scenes in Lacombe and in Edmonton. This year will be no different. The Carlson Manor will be open for an indoor haunted house tour once again after having an exterior display only for the past couple years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not only does a love for theatre, art, and horror keep Chad motivated to put in countless hours putting up the displays, but so does a love for his community.
“What motivates me is helping out the community, just making sure that you know the community has something to do in October. The Food Bank is a big drive right now because again, there's such a lack of food and Christmas and winter is coming. Being able to provide food bank donations and help out the community in that sense is a big part of it as well,” said Carlson.
Each year, the Carlson Manor is able to donate a full truckload of food to the Lacombe Food Bank. Throughout the month, the Carlson’s collect food through their food bank coffin situated on their property.
Chad who is currently on vacation constructing the Carlson Manor says he has been putting in about eight hours a day constructing the display. He has also spent over $1,000 on this year’s decorations.
Chad admitted that one of his recurring nightmares is about feeling unprepared for Halloween but for him the display is a major outlet to pour in his creative energy.
“Being who I am and having ran a theater company for a while, I find that I've got enough costumes and enough props that I can make something work. It's just it's still a reoccurring nightmare that I have. I could technically just plaster black poly on the walls and have a couple animatronics and stuff. It would be fine but I'm very big on the detail. I'm very big on not just having like a blacked-out garage or a polytape garage but I want Lacombe to have an experience that you would find in a big city,” said Carlson.
Chad says this year’s indoor walkthrough is very family friendly.
“This year, we've really looked at making it more like Disneyland Haunted Manor where it's more of a fun kind of a haunted house. We will have scares inside for people that want to be scared, but the rest of the scene is more family based,” explained Carlson.
Carlson family is ready for Halloween
Chad and his wife Jarita have two younger kids who get involved with setting up the displays as well as participate with their family costumes. This year, the Carlson’s are dressing up in a Little Red Riding Hood theme.
The outdoor display is complete and boasts a brand new 25-foot stay puft marshmallow man. Indoor tours will be happening starting on October 28th to October 31st.
Chad says his wife is very supportive of his yearly displays and even sacrifices her parking spot in their garage for the sake of the display.
“In our wedding vows, it actually was put in that my wife would support me in all Halloween needs. That was actually in our wedding vows. In my wedding vows, [I said] I would take her out for sushi. She's been really good on her part of the vows not so much for me. I really need to take her for sushi,” admitted Chad.
Looking for a new space to haunt
Chad also admitted wouldn’t mind the opportunity to haunt a new space in the near future.
“My wife is very helpful with Halloween, but would definitely prefer if we didn't have hundreds of people going through our garage. If anybody wants to give me a place for cheap or donate a place for Halloween, that would definitely be an option. We would obviously love to move Carlson Manor to a place where I have time to set up throughout the month,” he added.