Calgary’s Screamfest closing its doors after 13 years

Mon, Aug 13: Calgary's popular Halloween attraction Screamfest will be closing its doors for good this year. But as Christa Dao explains, owners say there are bigger and scarier things on the way.

After 13 years, the popular Halloween attraction Screamfest will be closing its doors for good.

The spooky event first opened in 2005 and features frightening attractions and various haunted houses.

Screamfest general manager Janine Wutzke said after 13 years, the mindset was that it was “time to try something new.”

READ MORE: Halloween 2017: 5 spooky attractions in Calgary that are sure to give you a scare

Wutzke said part of the decision to close its doors was the cost of recertifying and repairing its haunted houses — which were trailers that were nearing the end of their life cycle.

She said owners decided to instead put that money towards doing something different and “unique.”

Co-owner Mike Sheppard said the rising costs, plus increased wages changed their market.

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“Wages are our number one costs. They’ve gone up 30 per cent in the past years. Cost of everything is increasing. We don’t want to price ourselves out of the market… It’s a natural progression,” he said.

“It’s time we reinvent ourselves.”

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Screamfest hires more than 200 temporary staff each year. All returning staff have been told the attraction will be closing.

Sheppard said they will be staying in the Halloween business but he isn’t saying how, adding it will be something different and unique.

“We’re going to come back bigger and better. Be more inclusive for everyone who loves Halloween,” Sheppard said.

In addition, Wutzke said owners decided 13 was the perfect number of years after which to shutter its doors.

The popular Halloween attraction dubs itself as Canada’s largest and scariest Halloween event. The event runs for 13 days at Stampede Park.

Screamfest will still run this October, closing its doors after the event which begins on Oct. 5.

It’s promising that 2018 will be the scariest year in its 13-year history.