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Even at the best of times, dolls are kind of creepy.
But hack them up a bit and maybe pull out an eyeball or otherwise disfigure them and then stick them in a darkened maze where eerie lighting plays tricks on your eyes and haunted shrieks fill your ears, and they're downright petrifying.
It couldn't get much worse, right? Wrong. What if you added just one more bit of nastiness into the mix, like human-sized dolls that terrorize you throughout your entire journey.
This is the scenario that will unfold over the next 48 hours at the Harold Simpson Memorial Youth Centre in Summerland. It's called Nightmare at the Doll House, and it's likely one of the premier Halloween-themed events this year in the South Okanagan.
PentictonNow attended a soft opening of sorts Thursday evening, where we chatted happily with the folks involved and checked out the environment while it was partially illuminated. And even in those conditions it was unnerving.
Nightmare at the Doll House is the product of Trout Creek's Heather Pescada and a whole ton of kids and parents from the 2020 Summerland Secondary School grad class. It's a fundraiser for the school's dry grad, and it's brilliant.
Stuff like this is nothing new for Pescada, a grad parent herself and a community-minded, Halloween-loving type who specializes in conceiving far-reaching ideas, and then bringing them to fruition. And this time around, she had a bunch of help.
It didn't take more than a few seconds to realize that all these grads and all their parents loved every minute of what they're doing.
Said 2020 grad Nina Tolnai, "I'm family friends with Heather and she's my hairdresser too. I've heard about it for a year now, and every time she does my hair we've been brainstorming."
"Every couple of weeks we've been meeting at lunch to figure out roles, who's going to help set up, how many people we need to buy food for. And how the grads can help out because the grad parents are doing everything they can.
"I know most of the parents have been here until 11:30 for the last three nights. They need to get so much recognition for this."
And three nights is all they had on site. The Youth Centre was a polling station during Monday's federal election, meaning the group couldn't begin assembling the maze and all that’s in it until Tuesday.
All the dolls, 600 in total, came from Pescada, who's been collecting and tweaking them to look even more bizarre over the past year. And all the costumes came from the kids.
Tolnia was wearing an old dance outfit. She said those grads who couldn't find something weird enough in their closets would head to places like Value Village to get what they need or borrow from the other grads.
It was most definitely a team effort.
Aly Robinson was one of many who were clearly thrilled about the whole thing. "It's been great. This is the first time with our class that we've ever done something like this. It's the first time we've ever gotten together and done such a big fundraiser."
Nightmare at the Doll House runs tonight and Saturday at the Harold Simpson Memorial Youth Centre at 9111 Peach Orchard Road in uptown Summerland.
The scariest time slot, where grads in full costume and full makeup cause added distress, is 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. both nights. A less terrifying "family friendly hour" goes from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The particularly squeamish might want to try the "lights-on" viewing session Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission is $6.00 per person for the family friendly hour, $7.00 per person for the full meal deal, and $5.00 per person for the Saturday afternoon viewing session.