Masks on, screams out: Fort Fright taking precautions to give people safe Halloween scares
Fort Henry's annual Fort Fright event in Kingston, Ont. runs straight through Halloween night. (Kimberley Johnson)
KINGSTON, ONT. -- With residents encouraged to stay in town this holiday long weekend, Kingston attraction Fort Fright is welcoming locals for a bit of Halloween fun.
In its 13th year, Fort Fright turns Fort Henry into a large haunted house.
This year, despite the pandemic, Operations Manager Jamie Oomen says organizers were once again determined to give people their annual scare.
"The experience is 98 per cent outdoors so we thought, 'we could do this safely'," says Oomen.
There are major changes to the experience this year. In past years, where thousands would usually walk the grounds, now Oomen says only 50 people are allowed on the grounds at one time, as allowed by Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington Public Health's official rules on monitored gatherings.
Tickets are booked online in advance.
Visitors also take the haunted tour with members of their household or close contacts only, and must stay physically distant.
Any screaming is done behind a mask.
Oomen says they wanted to ensure they kept the annual tradition alive for the community.
"We want to bring some normalcy to life here," she explains. "To not run Fort Fright would be a really strange year for us here at the fort, so we knew we had to dive in deep and plan a very safe event."
With trick-or-treating still in question, visitors tell CTV News they jumped at the chance to do something safe.
"I feel like it’s a sense of normalcy, where we can do something festive in times where we can’t really do many festivities," says Alex McCarthey.
"I love Halloween, so I’m super excited to start getting into the spirit," says Emily Crawford, who visited with two of her friends. "I also think it’s awesome that it’s an activity that you can do outside, where it is distant."
Fort Fright runs until Oct. 31, 2020.