Arrow Lakes News
Going to bed with glow in the dark hands can be a hazard of the job when the job is crafting a haunted house display. Being unable to wash her hands well enough to remove the glowing paint residue on her skin is just one of the funny stories Betty Fahlman recounts as she leads this reporter on a tour of the locally-famous scary setup she puts on every year. Fahlman has designed and executed a frightful display of creative and macabre curios almost every October 31 since the 1980s.
If anyone knows how to decorate for Halloween, it’s Betty Fahlman. She and her family all pitch in to make ideas come to life using spiders, ghosts, pumpkins, black lights and skeletons in every size, shape and colour imaginable. Fahlman’s collection takes up several boxes when stored away, and she typically only gets a chance to display about two-thirds of it with each annual rendition.
The Fahlmans have curated a massive collection of Halloween bits and bobs. Some of the items have been hand made by Betty and her grandchildren, some have been purchased and plenty have been donated by local friends and businesses such as Carson’s Corner and Overwaitea.
“I’ve never had anything taken or broken in more than 30 years. I think that says a lot about our community, or maybe they’re scared of the witch,” Fahlman laughs as she remembers being referred to as the Glenbank Witch at a meeting.
The purpose of the haunted house is pure fun and entertainment. “It’s always been free and it always will be. It’s just supposed to be fun and not serious at all,” Fahlman explained when asked why it doesn’t collect revenue or donations for a cause.
What makes her feel old is that she realizes many of the parents coming with their children were once the children who came to be spooked when they were the same age. This year, she speculates that around 70 children and 50 adults, mostly dressed in costumes, came through for the one-night-only fear fest.
Fahlman loves the creative outlet it provides. “Building and designing it brings out the artist in me. Having to rethink it every year, it’s like I am reinventing the wheel.” She starts thinking about her design in September and begins putting things together during the third week of October to have things ready for October 31. She is starting to get help from her granddaughters, ages 11 and 8, who seem to carry on the same passion and excitement she has for the strange and curious while she also receives help from her husband and her grandson who help with the heavy lifting.