7 Nights 'til Halloween (Part I) / by Deborah Clague

Every year, I make the effort to attend a Halloween-themed attraction in or around Winnipeg. This year, I was informed of a more mature haunt that recently opened at Double Spurs Ranch. After reading the legalese on their website warning people with weak hearts that they enter at their own risk, I knew I had to attend (with or without my trusty pocket defibrillator). Thus began a journey into the unknown (literally). A Friday night filled with deserted backroads, bad FM music and Juggalos. Yes, there were Juggalos. 

Not wanting to head out on an empty stomach, we decided to make a pitstop at Mr. B's Pizza & Chicken in Transcona. As a self-proclaimed connoisseur, I feel their pie is the best in town. Possibly all of Canada (sorry). But before I digress further and this paragraph turns into a blatant, shameless ploy to get free pizza (not that I wouldn't welcome it, I'm pretty morally ambiguous when it comes to these things), I shall continue my tale of terror. With our hunger properly satisfied, we hit the highway full throttle. A Chevy Cavalier blazing a trail into the abyss (or more accurately, Dugald, Manitoba).  

I printed off a map with step-by-step instructions on how to get to Double Spurs, but it didn't really help much. The highway was so pitch black that street signs became unreadable. The ranch didn't offer any other directional aids upon approach, at best a missed advertising opportunity (at worst, a major annoyance). Thus began our long, meandering search down the gravel backroads of the rural municipality of Springfield. Driving aimlessly, I started to worry that this was all an elaborate hoax to entice eager horror fans to their demise at some sort of Aleister Crowley-type human sacrifice. The crescent moon, once concealed by an overcast sky, seemed to mock us. Taunt us. Then, it enlightened us...or more accurately, helped illuminate dozens of cars sitting on the side of the road: we had reached our destination. 

To be continued...