It’s a haunting good time at Zombie Apocalypse

Haunt Mackenzie School

Organizer Taylor Forrest gets into the fun at Zombie Apocalypse.
Photo: Cliff Kenyon

Cliff Kenyon

This is scary stuff – and it’s meant to be.

If Cpl Taylor Forrest and his dedicated crew fail to scare you they just haven’t done their job right.

This year they hope zombies will do the trick.

Forrest has an unusual passion. Most years since 2013 he has been lead organizer in creating a haunted house at Mackenzie Arts & Community Centre for the fun of children and adults at Halloween.

It’s called the Cold Lake Haunt and he admits it’s a huge undertaking that would be impossible without the help and enthusiasm of friends and volunteers.

“We’re all volunteers and it’s the power of community. I don’t do it all,” says Forrest. “My job is simply to keep people moving in the right direction. You can see the spirit of community at work here. We all help each other.”

The show will be on at Mackenzie Arts & Community Centre Oct. 29, 30 and 31 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Magic lantern hours are 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Forrest started the shows in 2013 with some friends to provide something for kids to do on Halloween. They put some of their own money together for the first show and the costs of subsequent shows for such things as building materials and make up and props have been raised through previous support from those attending the shows.

“Each show is paid for through money raised the previous year.”

It is a show that has been growing each year. Last year saw over 800 coming through the door. What used to be a ghoulish event filling one room in the former school building this year will occupy most of the ground floor.

This year they are hoping for 1,000 to attend.

The team usually starts planning in August. Since 2015, each year they have chosen a specific theme. In 2015 they presented “The Witches Dragon.” In 2016 it was “The House of Fears.” In 2017 it was appropriately “Nightmare at Old Mackenzie School.” Last year was the “Horrors of London” and this year it’s “Zombie Apocalypse.”

Forrest ran the Haunt from 2013 in the role of director, with a planning committee of five. The role of director was taken up by Master Corporal
Andrea Lorinczy director in 2017 and 2018. She ran the show as assist-Director in 2016, then as Director from 2017-2018. This year she decided to stand down to the role of Social Media Rep, and Forrest, returning as director, to sheppard the transition into a Community Council event. This year’s planning committee is comprised of Master Corporal Malcolm Byers, Master Corporal Andrea Lorinczy, Aviator Erin Menard, Jennifer Perry, Master Corporal Ryan Perry, Robin Verrier, and Major Tony Walsworth (a co-founder of the original Cold Lake Haunt).

“As time goes on we have more veteran haunters returning,” said Forrest.
Forrest said each year averages between 40 to 50 volunteers in all roles (actors, set up/tear down, artistic design, make up, etc). This year’s show will include about 48 actors and support members who do such things as decorating and makeup.

“The more Zombies the better.”

Haunt Mackenzie School
Robin Vervier applies makeup to a Zombie Rayel Piquette. Photo: Cliff Kenyon
Haunt Mackenzie School
Zombies reach through barricade at Mackenzie Arts & Community Centre. Photo: Cliff Kenyon
Photo: Cliff Kenyon
Haunt Mackenzie School
Photo: Cliff Kenyon