Who we are, what we do & why we moved

Image of Family album

In 2004, we had seven kids visit on Halloween night. In 2010, we had over 15,000 people visit between October 15th and Halloween night. We also turned away some 2000 people. In 2004, there was a single person with a mask. Last year we had over 100 volunteers. In 2004, it took one hour to set up our display. In 2010, it took three months of preparation, four months of set up, and another month to disassemble.

While we have enjoyed hosting the Haunted House at our residence the last seven years, the exponential growth in both the scale and popularity of the Haunt necessitated that we consider a location which can better accommodate the large traffic flows of the last few years.

Let's go back to the beginning

The Dunbar Haunted House has grown out of a love of Halloween and a desire to connect with our community.

Seven years ago, five kids came trick-or-treating to our house on Halloween night. Determined to re-kindle the Halloween spirit we remember as kids, we decorated our unpaved, gravel driveway with a graveyard scene the following year using scrap construction materials. It took half a day to set-up and lasted about four hours. Gideon was the sole spook. We had about a hundred visitors.

The following year we spent several weeks decorating the entire front of the house and the newly paved driveway. We used more scrap materials, but added a mish-mash of locally acquired Halloween props, masks and costumes. We even had a few larger props we picked-up from the U.S. during the off season. Much to our surprise, hundreds of people turned up over the course of several weeks and on Halloween night we probably had over five-hundred people in our front yard. We raised just under $5000 dollars for the B.C. Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.

The large and unexpected response to our second haunt emboldened us to expand. During our third year, we decorated our entire property in an elaborate, multi-set “ghost-walk,” which took visitors through our driveway, down the side of the house, around the backyard, back up the other side of the house, and across the front yard. We spent at least six weeks setting up the display and about three weeks dismantling it. We had numerous volunteers helping us with set-up and spooking, including friends, students from school and several enthusiastic neighbours. The haunt was open for two weeks and raised around $20,000 for the B.C. Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the B.C./Yukon Make-A-Wish-Foundation, and the B.C. Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association.

Three years ago, our fourth, we kept the same layout as the previous year but added a lot more detail to the individual sets. We designed the haunt around the theme of “The Terror of History,” so as to make the ghost-walk a journey through time. Visitors passed from ancient Egypt through Greece and Rome, the Middle Ages, the plague, the Age of Exploration, the Revolutionary Wars, a 19th-century insane asylum, a 20th-century mutant pumpkin patch, and a hillbilly slaughter shed. The haunt took three months to set up and many more months for planning and prop development. Fortunately, a lot of new faces helped us with the set up and spooking. Line-ups from 7:00 pm to closing became a regular feature, and we raised just over $30,000 for the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the Vancouver Police Union Charity Foundation, and the B.C. Childhood Cancer Parents’ Association.

The next year we explored new and traditional facets of Halloween in a series of displays that were bigger and more terrifying than ever. We broke records again in number of visitors, and in money raised. Donating to the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the Vancouver Police Union Charity Foundation, and the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau we raised over $42,000.

Last year we revisit “The Terror of History” with possibly one of the scariest displays yet. It was our final year at the house, raising $67,000 for our three charities, over 100 volunteers helped us throughout the course of the Haunt.

Visit us if you dare!

Image of Brad Leith, owner of the Dunbar Haunted House

FAQ's

who are you?

We are two private families that live at the Dunbar residence. The haunted house is led by Brad, a teacher, Gideon, a stylist, painter, filmographer, Annamaria, a nurse, and Sakura, a dentist. There are so many volunteers which help that we can't name them all.

where are you?

The Dunbar Haunted House has moved to a bigger location this year, to accommodate the exponential growth and large traffic flows of the past few years. The new address is 8934 Shaughnessy Street, Vancouver B.C., V6P 3Y5. It may be a bit difficult to find, so we suggest checking out a map to find us. We are now located near the Marine Drive station of the Canada Line. If you're bussing or sky training, you can check out this map.

what does it cost to enter the haunted house?

Evenings from 7 pm to close, the Dunbar Haunt costs $10 for general admission, and $5 for children under the age of 12. During weekend days, from 1 pm to 7 pm, all ages (children & adults) pay a one-time fee of $5 for unlimited access throughout the Haunt.

how much money do you raise for charity?

Last year we raised just over $67,000 for the B.C. Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, the Christmas Bureau, and the Vancouver Police Union Charity Foundation.

when is the best time to come?

We are open from October 12th to October 31st, evenings from 7 pm to 10 pm Sundays – Thursdays, until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and during the day Saturday & Sunday 1 pm – 7pm. Live actors spook nightly from 7 pm. If you want to bring young children or are easily scared, come visit during the day on a weekend since some of our night-time displays and interactions may not be suitable for these audiences. If you want the full-fright experience, come at night and be prepared to be spooked. Visit during the first week we are open for a less crowded experience; the nights approaching and including Halloween night are extremely busy, with line-ups that can take up to 1 hour.

where do i park?

Patron parking is available along the east and west sides of Shaughnessy Street and the north side of West Kent Street. Check out our map.

what are the rules?

No running. No touching.

is the haunted house wheelchair accessible?

Yes, the Dunbar Haunt is wheelchair accessible.

how long does it take to set-up?

A long time! Last year’s haunt took about four months to set-up; we started in the middle of July. This year we started at the beginning of July.

where do you get all the props?

We get most of the props, including the masks and costumes for the figures, from various companies in the U.S. Most of these companies specialize in providing products for the haunt industry. We have also found quite of few very unusual props in Vancouver, mainly from film rental shops and production companies. Everything else we build, using scraps and supplies from hardware and building stores.

where do you store everything?

Storage used to be one of our biggest challenges and we had several storage lockers around Vancouver. Last year we upgraded to one main warehouse, where everything is kept under one roof. We also set up a proper woodwork shop in the back, to build all our props and sets.

how do i volunteer?

If you would like to help either with set up before October and/or with spooking during the Halloween season please contact Brad Leith by phone at 604.739.4037, or by email.