Enter if you dare: Maplewood unveils haunted garden

Maplewood life enrichment aide Rosanne Blackburn sets up to receive guests in the Brighton long-term care home’s haunted garden.

Brighton long-term care home raising money for residents’ council

BRIGHTON, Ont. – From swaying fabric ghosts and plastic eyeballs “preserved” in pickle jars to rubber hands lunging out of flower beds, Maplewood dares the public to enter its haunted garden.

With spooky music and a smoke/fog-generating machine, the ambiance aims to be frightening at the Brighton long-term care home this fall.

Maplewood resident Ena Clews enjoys petting a canine visitor named Skylar in the home’s haunted garden.

Life enrichment aides (LEA) Rosanne Blackburn and Lynanne Campbell arrived at the idea to turn the home’s garden into a haunted destination.

For several days in October leading up to and including Halloween on Oct. 31, family members and the public can enter the garden by paying a $5 admission charge. The money raised goes directly to the residents’ council and supports outings and other activities the residents desire.

Rosanne told The OMNIway she loves Halloween and that was evident in the look and feel reflected in the garden.

Rachel Corkery, life enrichment co-ordinator and administrator of Maplewood, said she is astounded by how fantastic the haunted garden turned out to be.

On the evening The OMNIway visited Maplewood, Rachel, her husband, Pat, and son, Hunter, were among the home’s volunteers to welcome the public.

The administrator said the garden “completely” exceeded her expectations.

“I’m a little afraid of where their imagination has taken them,” Rachel said jokingly in reference to the creative and creepy features in the garden.

“They have literally left no stone unturned. This blows my mind.”

About six to 10 volunteers man the garden on the nights its open to the public. Residents naturally take part in the fun, including resident Ena Clews who enjoys the garden day and night.

“This is just wonderful what they’ve accomplished,” Ena told The OMNIway.

“The smoke, the music, the ideas these girls have are amazing. I think it’s incredible. They’ve been working at it day and night. I just can’t believe the work.”

Some of the props for the garden were crafted by residents and staff.

At press time, the garden had generated about $185 for the residents’ council from the few nights it had been open.

Rachel wishes for the haunted garden to turn into an annual affair at Maplewood.

“I hope we become known for it and this becomes a Brighton community destination during the Halloween season.”

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