If you’re coming to visit Ottawa this fall, you’ll definitely learn that Ottawa doesn’t mess around when it comes to Halloween festivities. Ready to be spooked? Here are a few of the events that will send shivers down your spine:
Haunting Season and Fright Fest
Saunders Farm | Sept. 23 – Oct. 31, 2017 (select days)
The 26th Haunting Season at Saunders Farm promises daytime and nighttime fun! There are over 35 daytime attractions for children, including hayrides, the discovery barn, a four-acre corn maze, 10 hedge mazes, original live shows, parades, amazing play structures, jumbo jumpers and nine farm fresh food booths.
The farm’s Fright Fest offers nighttime fun for older kids and adults, including six haunts: the Haunted Hayride, Barn of Terror, Shambles, Cemetery Scare Zone, and the all-new Coven. There are also live shows, street food booths, and a tavern. (Fright Fest is not recommended for children under 10).
New programming this year includes The Coven – a Salem Witch-themed indoor and outdoor haunt featuring a swamp, a forest and an old witch’s house – as well as a four-acre Canada 150 Corn Maze with games, puzzles and an observation bridge.
Pumpkin Fest and Skreamers
Proulx Maple & Berry Farm | Sept. 24 – Oct. 31, 2017 (select dates)
Each year, Proulx Maple & Berry Farm, located just 30 minutes east of downtown Ottawa, is transformed into a giant Halloween playground during the daytime (Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 24 to Oct. 31).
And at night, leave the younger kids (under 10 years of age) at home to experience Skreamers’ Orleans Asylum for the Insane (Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 30 to Oct. 29, plus Oct. 31). The Asylum includes access to the Visitors’ and Inmates’ Entrance (a barn-turned-haunted-house), Scary Wagon Ride, Escaped Inmate Paintball Range and Creepy Canteen.
Upper Canada Village, Morrisburg, ON | Sept. 29 – Oct. 29, 2017 (select days)
Stroll through a hauntingly beautiful and spellbinding outdoor exhibit of about 7,000 hand-carved pumpkins, set against a stirring night-time backdrop just inside the gates of historic Upper Canada Village. Marvel at this eclectic display of scenes from exotic places and historic ages, meet up with forest animals and sea-born creatures, see story book heroes, mythical characters, cultural icons and more …. all carved from pumpkins.
New this year: a selection of specially designed Canada 150-themed pumpkins! These mesmerizing, glowing carvings are sure to delight and entertain any age. Make sure to bring a camera!
Haunted Walks of Ottawa – Special Halloween Season Tours
Sparks and Elgin Streets | Sept. 29 – Nov. 4, 2017
The Haunted Walk’s Halloween season offers exciting twists on existing tours and showcases special events, some of which are available in both English and French!
“Ghosts and the Gallows: Are you Afraid of the Dark?” gives you the opportunity to explore the old Carleton County Jail, one of North America’s most haunted buildings, in near darkness.
Haunted Walk guides celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday with “150 Years of Canada’s Scariest Ghost Stories” by sharing their favourite Canadian ghost stories from coast to coast, including some favourite local tales and a visit inside Ottawa’s oldest stone building, the Bytown Museum.
“Stranger Tales: A Haunted Walk City Adventure” is a self-directed paranormal mystery that takes place in downtown Ottawa where you solve clues, interact with intriguing characters and end up in one of Canada’s most haunted buildings!
And for a lighthearted and exciting ghost-busting adventure at the old Carleton County Jail, take the family on the “We Ain’t Afraid of No Ghosts: A Haunted Walk Kids’ Adventure” tour (designed to be enjoyed best by brave young ghostbusters ages 8 to 12).
Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure
Diefenbunker Museum, Carp, ON | Oct. 14, 28, 29 & Nov. 4, 2017
The Haunted Walk of Ottawa and The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum are partnering again this Halloween to offer this interactive adventure deep inside the underground labyrinth of the Diefenbunker. What mysterious events took place around the time the bunker was decommissioned? Who or what still lingers in the bunker today? This Halloween experience is a perfect combination of storytelling, interactive challenges and unexpected surprises! Those who make it out alive will have quite the tale to tell! This experience lasts 60 to 75 minutes.
Haunted Historic Village
Cumberland Heritage Village Museum | Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 6 – 28, plus Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017
Visit the the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum, located less than 30 minutes east of downtown Ottawa, for a terrifying experience with Halloween horrors around every corner that will push your fears to the limit. Plus, the Village hosts Halloween Hijinks on Oct. 29, with a day full of ghosts, goblins, superheroes, animals, a potions lab, heritage crafts and trick or treating.
Paranormal Investigation and Haunt Nights at The Mill
Watson’s Mill, Manotick, ON | Oct. 14 – 21, 2017 (select dates)
Fans of the hit television show “Ghost Hunters” are in for a real treat when they go on a Paranormal Investigation of Watson’s Mill. During this heart-stopping thriller of a tour on Oct. 15, participants can go to the Mill with real ghostbusters from The Haunted Ottawa Paranormal Society (HOPS) as they use infrared cameras, electromagnetic field (EMF) meters and digital thermometers to try to hunt Ottawa’s haunters. Who knows, maybe you’ll see Ann Crosby; the beautiful, tall, blonde-haired woman who is said to haunt the mill. Reservations are required.
During the Mill’s Haunt Nights (Oct. 19-21, 2017), you can enjoy a terrifying 3-floor haunted house (not recommended for children under 10). Young kids are welcome, however, to the Children’s Halloween Party on Oct. 28 for fun games and crafts.
Haunted Chairlift Rides
Camp Fortune | Friday and Saturday evenings, Oct. 20 – 28, plus Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017 (dates to be confirmed – verify website)
Hop onto the Camp Fortune Skyline chairlift for a spooky round-trip ride (weather permitting). At the base of the hill, enjoy games, treats crafts and hot chocolate.
Monster Mash Halloween Party and Séance
Billings Estate National Historic Site | Oct. 21 – 29, 2017 (select dates)
The Billings Estate National Historic Site, located just 15 minutes south of downtown Ottawa, offers Halloween programming for kids and adults. Kids should wear their best costume and get ready for some face painting, activities, crafts and treats during the Monster Mash Halloween Party on Oct. 21. And during the Séance (adults only – Oct. 22 and 29), a psychic leads visitors through a traditional séance in the estate – one of Ottawa’s oldest wood-framed houses.
Ottawa’s Great Pumpkin Charity Ball
St. Brigid’s Haunted Castle, 310 St. Patrick St. | Oct. 28, 2017 (8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)
Celebrate Halloween in style at the 11th Annual Great Pumpkin Ball – a party in a deconsecrated church in the ByWard Market neighbourhood! Enjoy great live music, a DJ, door prizes, costume prizes, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and more. Proceeds benefit local causes.
Halloween at Rideau Hall
Rideau Hall | Oct. 31, 2017 (5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)
Head to the historic Rideau Hall on Halloween night to enjoy some fun Halloween-themed activities. Venture onto the grounds, if you dare… This activity is open to children and adults alike. And it’s free!
Canada Agriculture and Food Museum | Oct. 28 – 29, 2017
At the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum, you can make some ghoulish treats including caramel popcorn, meet the Museum’s Mad Scientist and discover interesting facts about bats! Costumed visitors young and old alike can join the costume parade and children will be able to decorate a pumpkin to bring home ($). All are welcome to visit the Museum’s Haunted House – enter if you dare…
Ottawa has a variety of escape room attractions to choose from all year long. Visit one with a group of friends and see if you can find clues and solve puzzles that will help you escape. In Ottawa’s downtown core, you’ll find Escape Manor, Room Escape Ottawa and Jigsaw Escape Rooms.
Also, just west of Ottawa’s downtown core in Carp, Ont., you’ll find Escape the Diefenbunker. Escape Manor and the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum have collaborated to host the world’s largest escape room. Can you escape from a four-story underground bunker? A reservation for these escape experiences is recommended.