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Spooky Halloween attractions set to make frightening return

'It’s kind of like being in a movie and it’s in the forest which makes it creepy,' says owner of Escape Challenge North near Vasey Road

The Follower has made its way back to the Orillia area this Halloween season. 

Escape Challenge North is once again looking for ultimate thrill-seekers who have the courage to brave their haunted forest near Vasey Road off Highway 12. Participants will be challenged to solve puzzles and problems to lift the curse of The Follower.

“It’s kind of like being in a movie and it’s in the forest which makes it creepy,” said Escape Challenge North owner Jill Sargent.

“While you are there you are trying to figure out how to solve puzzles, open doors, and get into boxes in order to solve the mystery.”

The Follower kicks off on Oct. 1 and runs on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for groups of six to 10; the attraction costs $35 a person. Last year the event completely sold out before it even started.

“We actually had people contacting us throughout the year asking when they can start booking, so we thought I guess people want us to do this again,” Sargent chuckled.

“Because it’s an outdoor event, people feel safe getting together to do this while COVID is going on. People are wanting to do interesting things that are immersed in experiences now I’m finding, rather than sitting back and watching Netflix," said Sargent.

For people who took the challenge last year, they can expect an all-new experience this time around.

“It’s a similar concept where you are trying to evade The Follower who is in the forest, but this year it’s called the Curse of Ellie-Rose who had a vivid imagination and would play for hours," she explained.

"Over time, she began to change, and her characters and stories became dark and evil and night terrors plagued her family home until one day she wandered into the woods and never appeared again,” Sargent explained.

Escape Challenge North will be offering a separate challenge and experience with the newly resurrected Coldwater Scream Shack.

“That is going to be an indoor game on the same site. It’s going to be unique because the Scream Shack is very creative and detailed, they are masters at the genre of horror. They will be doing all of the sets, concepts, and we are providing the game,” Sargent said.

The combined effort gives local residents a nostalgic taste of the now permanently closed yearly Halloween attraction on Wainman Line.

“This is the new Scream Shack for 2021. They weren’t around last year which was sad because people love it. If you’ve gone through the Scream Shack you know that they have every detail involved in their rooms,” Sargent said.

With other Halloween attractions returning this year after being shut down due to the pandemic in 2020, Escape Challenge North is still expecting to be one of the most popular attractions in the province.

“With us you are booked privately for an experience. When you get there it’s only you and your team. When The Followers are chasing you and your team, they are only coming for you. When you go to some of these big events where there are people everywhere your team isn’t necessarily the focus,” Sargent said.

To book a time slot or for more information about The Follower, click here.