Halloween events? Regina has them.
by Gregory Beatty
When I was a kid, Halloween was pretty much confined to a single night of fevered trick-or-treating. Now it’s taken on the aura of a season — not as huge as Christmas (yet) but with far more options for celebrating than before. And not all of them involve boozing at the bar in crazy costumes either — not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s plenty of other Halloween events happening in Regina this year. Here’s a sample.
That’s the name of Scotland Yard’s London crime museum. It’s got over 500 artifacts tied to famous cases like Jack the Ripper and Ruth Ellis (the last woman executed in the UK in 1955 after being convicted of murdering her lover). It’s not open to the public, though, so to see it you have to wrangle an invite.
That’s not a problem with the RCMP’s version of the Black Museum that’s on display at the Heritage Centre until Oct. 31 — with a special children’s day planned for Oct. 27 called Monsters, Masks & Mounties.
“We did this last year, and we’re looking at doing it as an annual event tied to our Halloween programming,” says Jodi Eskrit, curator of historical collections. “We have a large collection of artifacts that come from various criminal cases. It fits into the theme of spooky stuff for Halloween.”
To build on last year’s popularity, the exhibit has been expanded to include a Tools of the Dastardly Trade (TDT) section that showcases sawed-off shotguns, spiked brass knuckles, bicycle chain cudgels and other nasty things used in the commission of crimes. Returning from last year are the three death masks of the Benito Bandits who killed three police officers during a manhunt before they themselves died in a shoot-out in Banff in 1935; a four-by-six-foot cobweb-shrouded jail cell, a bullet discovered during the 2007 exhumation of the Mad Trapper’s remains and fragments of rope used to hang several notorious Canadian criminals — including Florence Lassandro, the last women executed in Canada in 1923.
Eskrit sits on an acquisitions committee at the RCMP Heritage Centre that meets once a month.
“Before evidence is disposed of once the legal process has been completed, we are made aware that the opportunity exists to add it to the collection,” she says. “The more famous the case, the more likely it is to come here. Or if it’s an example of outstanding police work, it’s something we’d like to have here, to be available for researchers.”
People are curious about crime for several reasons, says Eskrit.
“People are curious, first, about the criminal, but also about the police work that goes into it. There’s lots of strong emotions involved — especially with capital cases. It relates to our fears about the darker side of our nature. It’s something we may not always want to admit we’re fascinated by. And yet it still has the good guys and heroes.”
HOW TO MAKE A MONSTER
This touring show has been on display at the Saskatchewan Science Centre since mid-July. It closes on Oct. 20, but with its array of animatronic monsters created by the Oscar-winning special effects team at the John Cox Creature Workshop in Australia it’s a perfect primer for costume ideas. You want werewolves? You got werewolves. Same with abominable snowmen, slimy aliens, and ferocious dragons (real and imagined). And on Oct. 19 the Science Centre is hosting a special adults-only night where you can see How To Make A Monster and check out creature-themed movies: Alien at 8 p.m. and The Fly at 10 p.m.
THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the London premiere of Richard O’Brien’s infamous gender-bending, sci-fi parodying musical. To celebrate, there’s been all sorts of touring productions. This isn’t one of them. It’s a home-grown show by Do It With Class at the University Theatre on Oct. 23-27. For more info visit www.diwclass.com.
BUMP IN THE NIGHT
This is happening just a few blocks from the RCMP Heritage Centre at Government House. It’s on Oct. 29, and in recognition of the disparity in sensitivities people have toward spooky stuff there’s a family program from 6-7:30 p.m. and a second program for teens and adults that goes from 8-9:30 p.m. For details call 306-787-4070.
If you want to take a quick trip out of town there’s a special Halloween night planned for Oct. 19 at a corn maze/pumpkin patch near Lumsden. It goes until 10 p.m., so there’ll be plenty of opportunity for after-dark thrills and chills. A costume contest, parade and Teen Scream contest are some of the activities planned. Maybe the Great Pumpkin will make an appearance? For more info call 306-731-1479.
On Oct. 18 the Bottoms Up Burlesque Troupe is presenting a special Halloween-themed cabaret at the Artesian in the Cathedral district. I’ll leave it to you to imagine what sort of costumed shenanigans will occur that night.
Leading up to Halloween the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is hosting spooky movie nights. There’s a family-friendly film at 6:45 p.m., then at 9 p.m. there’s an R-rated film. Oct. 17, the movies being screened, in chronological (and amount of gore) order, are Frankenweenie and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Oct. 24, it’s Paranorman and The Thing ). Oct. 31, the RSM screens Nightmare Before Christmas and The Return of the Living Dead.
THE SHOCK HOUSE
Billed as Saskatchewan’s premier haunted attraction, this has been around for eight Halloweens now. This year’s show is being held at the old Canadian Tire South location which has 17,000 square feet of floor space! Do you know how many zombies, werewolves, vampires and other ghouls you can cram into 17,000 square feet? A lot, I bet. For days/hours of operation visit www.theshockhouse.ca.
Glen Elm Library is hosting this attraction on Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. The library’s located at 1601 Dewdney Ave. E., and the fun house is suitable for kids 13 and under.