Saskatchewan gets spooky for Halloween
Story by Jenn Smith Nelson
As much fun as loading up on turkey and giving thanks is in October, Halloween and festivities around the popular day prove to be equally fun for kids and adults.
Whether it’s dressing up, carving pumpkins or visiting haunted locales, there are several spots for those who are into the orange and black month to get their spook on in Saskatchewan.
Haunted Places in Saskatchewan
If you love a good thrill, there are several places around the province rumoured to be haunted. Consider these to be in the “visit if you dare” category.
Fort San, originally a tuberculosis treatment facility in Fort Qu’Appelle where many people lost their lives, is supposedly haunted by a number of spirits. Screams and other unnerving noises have been reported, as have spirit sightings.
Government House in Regina seems to be regularly visited by a spirit named Howie, a former cook in the building. Some hear Howie’s footsteps; others see the spirit in mirrors. Don’t be surprised if doors open and close mysteriously during your visit.
Strange lights make their way up and down the tracks near the town of St. Louis, known for the paranormal phenomenon called the Ghost Train of St. Louis. Though the tracks have been removed, the train reportedly continues to rumble.
An official investigation was launched after multiple staff of the Western Development Museum in Saskatoon reported paranormal behavior. Bizarre experiences from hearing voices and seeing falling objects to observing a mysterious lady in a red dress hanging out in the museum’s café have led many to believe the museum is haunted.
The Bessborough Hotel, also in Saskatoon, has a resident spirit. Described as an older male, sporting a gray suit and fedora upon his head, this ghost likes to roam late in the evening.
In addition to reports in North Battleford of voices coming from the gravestones from one of the three onsite cemeteries of the Saskatchewan Hospital, which once served as a psychiatric institution, are sightings of a spirit reputedly of a person burned badly in a fire.
If you are too afraid to go out on your own, maybe an organized ghost tour where you can scream alongside groups of other love-to-be-scared-out-of-their-pants types is more your speed. Both Regina and Moose Jaw offer haunted tours.
The Regina ghost tour through EcoParty hits Government House and a few other scary, dark locales in and around the city.
Listen to tales of hauntings aboard the Moose Jaw trolley as it tours attractions and residences around the city.
Visit Saskatchewan’s Spookiest Spot
There probably isn’t a more appropriate spooky spot than the Crooked Trees of Alticane near Hafford. Visit this anomaly where aspens that normally grow straight up are twisted in the oddest ways. Not known to be haunted, but certainly one of Saskatchewan’s eeriest locales.
Celebrate Halloween on the Prairies
Feast of Film and Fear: Horror and spirits — the drinking kind — make for a good pairing at the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Regina, with the Feast of Film and Fear. Sit back and enjoy a drink while taking in two classic horror movies on the big screen.
Pumpkin Hollow: This is an ideal spot for your little ghouls and goblins to spend a nice autumn day outside. Meet Penelope the Pumpkin Princess, get hopelessly lost in the corn maze, ride the cow train, visit the petting zoo, take a pony ride or bounce the afternoon away on a gigantic pillow trampoline. Pumpkin Hollow is a place so fun, kids will beg to return year after year.
Lumsden: This town in the southwest area of the province really takes the holiday seriously with a Halloween festival and probably the most visited pumpkin patch in Saskatchewan, the Corn Maiden Market/Lincoln Gardens. The gardens are an uber-popular spot to celebrate the season. Not only are there a ton of pumpkins (15 varieties in total!) perfectly suited for family photo opportunities, the gardens are close to Pumpkin Hollow, so plan on making a day of it. While you are there, be sure to stock up at the market for some locally produced seasonal goods.
Paintball Paradise: Another Halloween hotspot can be found up north in Prince Albert. At Paintball Paradise, enjoy proper Halloween fun with a regular or haunted corn maze, pick a pumpkin from the patch or join in on the “pumpkin chumkin” where you can shoot a pumpkin from a giant sling shot.