Build it and they will come.
That's what the Quarto family in North Burnaby is hoping, as they put hammer to nail this month in preparation for the biggest night of the year: Halloween.
The family's efforts were profiled in the NOW last year and for 2012, they're back and bigger than ever.
This year's haunted house, built in the family's yard, has grown to about 1,200 square feet in total space, including a new spooky hallway to travel through and a high peaked ceiling in one room. In all, there's six rooms and two long hallways.
There are, of course, the necessary pieces of dÃ©cor in keeping with the season: spooky decorations, sound effects, fog machines and more.
"We try to change it up from year to year - this year, every room is brand new, the whole thing is a 360-degree change from last year," Francesco Quarto told the NOW. "So if you've come before, you may see a piece that you recognize, but the whole experience is different."
There are also eight volunteer actors who'll be part of the show, dressed up and ready to jump into action - literally.
"They'll be throughout the house, dressed up - it's part of the show, people love it," said Quarto.
There is no formal admission price, but donations to B.C. Children's Hospital are gladly welcomed.
Last year, they reached $500 in donations, and they're hoping to match and, with luck, surpass that.
"More is always better - we want to try and raise as much money as we can for Children's Hospital. That's our main goal. We have a lot of fun doing this, but if it can help at the same time, that's what it's all about."
Quarto says they try to match the "scare level" to those heading through at any given time - easing up on younger participants but going up a few fright-notches for adults.
Though it depends on the individual, Quarto says they've found the house is best for those over the age of eight.
"It really depends, there are some younger ones who love it but under eight does tend to be a bit more scary for them - but if someone is freaked out, we can take off our masks and let them travel through. We want people to have fun, no matter what."
Francesco, a graduate of the Vancouver Film School, says the annual project has become a wonderful tradition and one they hope to see continue over the years.
The cost of the materials comes out of their own pockets, but coffee is being donated by Starbucks - and a few of the decorations have shown up on their doorstep anonymously.
"It's a lot of fun, people get really excited about it," said Quatro.
The haunted house is at 4260 Dundas St. in North Burnaby and opens up about 6 p.m. on Oct. 31. cmyers@ burnabynow.com
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