To say Sunshine Valley resident Brian Taylor has put a lot of work into his haunted walkthrough experience would be the understatement of the Halloween season.
Taylor has transformed the Holiday Trails RV Resort’s great room into a house of horrors, all mechanically operated from a platform in the middle of the room. When the light are dimmed and the smoke machine is going, the skeletons lunging out of their coffins, goblins getting their heads lobbed off and the ghoul working the rotisserie with barbecued arms seem to move on their own.
But the creepy scene is all a creation of Taylor’s, a Sunshine Valley resident who moved to town eight years ago when his wife Joanne got a gig with the resort. For all of those years, he has had his Halloween creations in storage but is bringing them out for the first time this year.
It is a passion he started 25 years ago, his first creation of a skeleton which pops out of a coffin still a part of the show, and it is one which has seen him through some very difficult times.
When the family lived in Yarrow, they would deck their house out in Halloween glory and the crowds grew each year from a handful to over 500 visitors. Some faithful fans of his creations still come up every year from the United States, somehow managing to find where he was at despite never advertising or keeping in touch with them.
In 2001, Brian was hit by a drunk driver while out on his motorcycle. Life changed drastically as him and his family coped with surgeries and learning to walk and drive again. Not able to work and be as active as before, the Halloween creations have been important for him to keep going.
“On his good days, he’s doing this, and on his bad days, he’s sitting in a chair with a walkie going ‘move it to the left’,” Joanne joked.
“I never broke a bone in my life until I got hit,” Brian said. “I enjoy doing it, I really do. It clears your mind and kind of let your mind go. I built controls for machinery, built machinery (when I worked). I like a good challenge.”
As Brian couldn’t work the family came upon hard times financially and found it very difficult to bring their kids to things they had previously done without batting an eye. Joanne recounted a devastating moment when she and Brian had to sit outside a water park as they watched their children play inside.
So offering this evening for free is something her and Brian are very passionate about, realizing that many are in the same situation they were.
When neighbours heard what he was up to, they eagerly pitched in. One local resident even took on the role of actor, fire chief Chris Terry became ‘the butler’ after the Taylor’s realized he has a faint resemblance to a green-hued
People can experience the haunted hall this Saturday, from 7 to 9 p.m. and again on Halloween (Oct. 31) from 6 to 9 p.m. Entering the space is free, and people can go through as many times as they want. Any donations received will be given to the Sunshine Valley Volunteer Fire Department.