Frightful fun all over West Nipissing


Christian Gammon-Roy


Leisure Farms has had its share of Halloween events already, with two sold-out Fright Nights and another successful season of pumpkin sales and fall tours at the farm, and owner Mitch Deschatelets says the fun is continuing until the 31st.

“Today was the best day of the year,” he said on Sunday, October 22, estimating that over 4000 people had come that day to enjoy the pumpkin decorating, corn maze, haunted barn, live music, trail walk, hot chocolate and pumpkin cannons in the woods. “Rain or shine, we are set up. Even when it’s raining, we can roast marshmallows under a big, sheltered dome. We set up our campfires in there when it’s not so nice outside,” assures Deschatelets.

The family activities end around 5 pm, and on Fright Night, geared toward adults, the site fills up again around 7 pm. Deschatelets says that Fright Night is immensely popular, but they only do it twice since it takes so much preparation. After daytime events end around 5pm, it’s quite the scramble to prepare the maze and get dressed up for the 7pm start of Fright Night. The event goes on until roughly 9pm, taking place in Leisure Farms’ corn maze where spooky lights and sounds are set up. Staff are costumed and hidden in the maze and can come from anywhere to strike fear in visitors. “I think we get around 550 people each time,” says Deschatelets, adding that both of the events on the 14th and the 21st were sold out.

For people still wanting to check out Leisure Farms before Halloween, tickets are sold at

Old McDonald’s Maze

Old McDonald’s Family Farm has moved their Haunted Corn Maze event to the weekend of October 27th and 28th after rain caused them to cancel previously. The farm, at 140 Poirier Road in Lavigne will have live actors in the maze, set to scare people on both nights from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. People are encouraged to go to to book.

Ghastly Garage at 31 Pembroke:

Sturgeon Falls will be host to the Nightmare on Pembroke Street this Saturday, October 28th, and again on Tuesday, October 31st. Charles Helstern, who resides at 31 Pembroke Street, has gone all-out and transformed his garage into a spooky house of horrors. “Only the bravest will make it through the spiders’ den, the blackout hall, the zombie corner, the insane clown asylum, and the whiteout hall,”he boasts, inviting locals to come and visit the ghastly garage. The host assures residents that the event will be kid-friendly, with no live actors to jump out at them, and encourages parents to go through with their young kids if they are too afraid.

Trunk or Treat in Lavigne:

The Lavigne Community Centre, in partnership with the West Nipissing Scouts, are gearing up for the Trunk or Treat as well as the haunted house once again this year. The Trunk or Treat event will be held in the community centre’s parking lot on Saturday, October 28th, where kids can safely go from one decorated vehicle to another and get their candy before venturing into the community centre’s haunted house, which the Scouts will have organized. “People who want to sign up their vehicle to give out candy can email us at or they can call us at the CCL at 705-594-9381,” says Administrator, Jérôme Courchesne, adding there’s no real end-date to sign up as long as they still have space. The event will run from 6pm until 8pm, but Courchesne asks people who are giving out candy to arrive at least a half-hour to an hour beforehand to get set-up. “We expect to have between 40 and 50 vehicles to hand out candy this year,” he estimates.

For the Haunted House, Courchesne assures that it is for all ages, and that the Scouts will adjust the scares based on the age of the people going in. “If it’s little kids they’ll make it less scary, but if it’s an adult, they’ll let loose a bit more,” he laughs. While the whole event is free, Courchesne makes a point to add that the Scouts will be accepting donations to help raise funds for their programs.

Finally, when asked about the event being only for Lavigne, Courchesne says that they typically serve kids from all over the area including Verner, and even Monetville. “Although, it’s an event that might be primarily for Lavigne, it’s really open to anyone,” he says.

Verner’s ‘Spooky Station’ 6:

The West Nipissing Fire Service will be giving out candy to trick or treaters in Verner from their local station on Oct. 31. Kids are invited to come collect their treats from station 6, at 13 Principale Street West. The firefighters are opening the doors at 4:30pm. The Verner Volunteer Firefighters Association decided to start this event back in 2017, explains District Chief Sean Turpin. The first event brought in about 100 kids and reached roughly 250 last year. “We wanted something in Verner too, something for the members of our community to be able to come out and see, plus get to meet the firefighters too,” he explains. Turpin also mentions that this isn’t just another trick-or-treating stop, either.  He and the local crew have turned their fire station into a frightful site. “There’s a path that goes in and out of the station, and we completely decorated the inside from floor to ceiling,” he describes.

OLS Parish:

Our Lady of Sorrows Parish is hosting a kids’ Hallow’s Eve Dance Party at 5:30pm on Saturday, October 28th, with games and prizes for the kids, a photo op with a superhero, a bake sale, raffle draws, and plenty of music. The event costs only $1 for entry, or a donation of canned goods which will go to the Our Lady of Sorrows Church and their Jubilee Pantry to help community members in need during an emergency.

Kids’ Safe Halloween

Once again this year, the Kids’ Safe Halloween will be held at the Marcel Noël Hall in Sturgeon Falls. “It’s an activity that allows people to spend Halloween with their family, and their kids in a safe manner. We know that in Northern Ontario, weather can be unpredictable, so this allows people to stay indoors. For the candy, it’s all locals and local businesses handing it out. Plus, we decorate the entrance and there’s a whole theme. It’s an experience,” describes Catherine Levac-Lafond, West Nipissing Community Development Officer, and lead organiser of this event. She promises a spooky theme but is keeping it a secret until the day of the event. “I will give you a hint, though: there are some aliens on the poster, so you can expect a bit of green and some goop!” she laughs.

When asked about the number of participants signed up this year, Levac-Lafond says that they “are still actively recruiting, but the numbers look very similar to last year’s in terms of participation. There are a lot of people and businesses that sign-up at the last minute, so we’re very flexible with that.” As long as people can provide an insurance certificate which is given by the municipality, people are allowed to sign up any time before the event begins. She assures that there are no fees for people to come in and give out candy, all you need is your table and your Halloween décor, and to contact them at 705-753-0160. People are also able to simply donate candy if they are unable to be there to hand it out. The doors open to the public at 5:30 pm.

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