Milton allows haunted house to go ahead after complaint
There was a bit of a scare that residents wouldn’t be able to get their spook on at a popular haunted house in Milton.
Social media was ablaze over concerns that the Town might shut down the attraction after a complaint on the graphic nature of the decorations — but Ward 3 Local and Regional Councillor Mike Cluett said that that was never in the cards.
However, there was an issue with the decorations being placed on the boulevard in front of the house.
Mitch Garber, the man behind the “haunted” property on Meighen Way, near Louis St. Laurent Avenue and Fourth Line, said he was told by a municipal officer Monday afternoon that he was being cited for violation of the road fouling bylaw and that all the decorations had to be removed from the boulevard within 24 hours.
“If it’s not removed within 24 hours then they would have a contractor on standby who would remove it for us and we would be fined and given the bill of removal,” he said he was told. Cluett, who said he is supportive of the “great community event,” confirmed that the Town has since given the homeowner an extension until Nov. 1 to take down the decorations, allowing him to welcome guests and trick-and-treaters.
“I know it’s the Town’s property, but it’s Halloween decorations. People put up Christmas decorations. People put up little lawn decorations up on their boulevard,” Garber told the Champion, adding that he regularly waters and cuts the grass and maintains the tree.
The complainant reportedly took issue with some of the decorations, such as the bloody mannequins and the hanging skeletons — the former considered to be a form of violence against women — and wanted them removed from the display.
Garber added he was disheartened when he heard about the complaint.
“The reasons we’re doing this is for the children, the Town, and the Kidney Foundation (of Canada). It’s for a good cause,” he said. “I’m against any sort of bullying and abuse against women. My family made a $500 donation this year to Halton Women’s Place — the shelter for abused women. It’s Halloween. It’s not like I do this on an average Tuesday, It’s done on the month of October, we raise money and on Nov. 1 we take everything down.”
Ward 3 Coun. Rick Di Lorenzo said he has received similar complaints from “upset” residents over the mannequins in the last couple of years, this year included. Acknowledging that it’s not within his right to ask the homeowner to remove the mannequins, he believes removing them “wouldn’t take away from how fantastic the house is.”
“It doesn’t stop me from still being supportive of the fundraiser. I go there every year. I make a donation every year and I am very much in support of what he’s doing for the Kidney Foundation,” Di Lorenzo said.
“I just wish they could come up with a compromise.”
The councillor said he hopes the controversy doesn’t take away from the great work that Garber is trying to do and the hours and effort that his family puts in every year.
With the potential “roadblock” over, Garber thanked the community for rallying behind the charity haunted house.
“I’m amazed by the amount of support that we’ve had over the past 24 hours. People have been calling, emailing, texting, messaging, and posting on Facebook sharing our posts,” he said.
Since opening the doors to the haunted house back in 2013, they have raised about $40,000. This Halloween, he hopes to hit $50,000. “That’s the goal. We want to get another $10,000 this year,” he said.
Visitors are welcome to visit the haunted house at 1086 Meighen Way on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. There will be a donation box in the front of the house or you can donate online. Among the spooktacular attraction, there are creepy animatronics, a walk-through maze, haunted garage, frightening sound effects, and live actors who will jump out for a scare at certain times.
This haunted house at 1086 Meighen Way in Milton hopes to scare up donations for the Kidney Foundation of Canada.