Penticton couple right at home in house of horrors

Public invited to tour Eckhardt Avenue home Friday, Saturday and Halloween night

Erik Laflamme does some touch-up work inside his chamber of horrors this week in preparation for tonight's opening and guided tours. Visitors to his unique exhibition (not for the young or faint of heart) are sure to be put in the mood of the season. It will also be open Saturday night

Erik Laflamme does some touch-up work inside his chamber of horrors this week in preparation for tonight's opening and guided tours. Visitors to his unique exhibition (not for the young or faint of heart) are sure to be put in the mood of the season. It will also be open Saturday night

Enter, if you dare.

After several minutes of knocking, the muffled sounds of someone moving can be heard inside the small white house at 796 Eckhardt Ave. East.

No lights can be seen through the covered windows, and when the door opens slightly, only a pair of shaded eyes are visible.

“Stay, back,” is the terse command from the man opening the door as he looks at someone or something behind him.

“Oh, sorry,” he says turning back towards the entry way. “That’s, uh, well, it’s our dog, just started obedience training, you know? I’ll be right out.”

The door slams shut.

Looking around the yard, the first thing that catches the eye is the tiny cemetery in the northwest corner of the front yard.

But the tombstones, scattered bones and rats are not the only things that seem out of place.

There is a human form covered in cobwebs and wrapped in a red, stained sheet hanging from a noose in a nearby tree.

There’s also what’s left of Mr. Bones, whose intact head and hands are still locked in the wooden pillory (often referred to as the stocks).

But behind him are only the severed arms and his fleshless spine which moves rhythmically back and forth like a snake’s tail.

At this point the hooded host emerges from the building.

“Laflamme is my name, like the fire,” he says with a laugh, extending a hand that is surprisingly cool to the touch. “Erik.”

Now it’s time for the tour of the really scary stuff: the people, animals and spirits which haunt the darkened outbuildings.

This is where the large arachnids, much more lively than their outside counterparts, skeletons and other upwardly mobile creatures do not rest in peace on these cool fall nights.

Over the years Laflamme and wife Lisa have put together the ultimate, ghoulish exhibition to celebrate their favourite season.

Their passion for “scaring the bejesus” out of people is so strong, Halloween is obviously in their blood.

“I guess it’s kind of a sickness and I admit a little warped, but it is just so much fun to see the reactions of people,” said Laflamme, who opens the doors to the public Friday at 6:30 p.m. “Especially when you get thanks from the parents for scaring the crap out of their children.

“It’s like a roller coaster ride, it’s an adrenaline rush, and people keep coming back and getting in line to do it again.”

Halloween has been so much a part of their lives, when they decided to tie the “knot,” Oct. 31 seemed the perfect day.

The costumed wedding was in Chilliwack at Reaper’s Haunted Attraction, and the service was conducted by the Grim Reaper.

While most enjoyed it, Erik recalled there were several relatives who were unable to attend for one reason or another.

“We just thought it would be the perfect thing to do, and a lot of fun too,” said Lisa.

This is the first year in Penticton for their display and Erik is already anticipating complaints from the neighbours.

Not because of the noise of chainsaws, the hideous laughter or screams of terror, but rather: “The cost of candy,” he said. “Everyone finds that their candy bill just goes way up when we move in next door.”

Set-up takes several days, and many of the items, including the full-size coffin which doubles as a bookcase in the off season, don’t ever get put away.

Erik is not easily frightened himself and always “appreciates” anyone who can pull it off.

“The one thing I don’t like is the gratuitous violence, the cutting stuff and torture,” he said. “I think that is a bit of overkill, I mean I have a little bit of that going on but it’s more the fun stuff.”

According to the host, the tours are not for young children and visitors are advised strobe lighting is also used.

Along with Friday night’s session, there will be another Saturday evening and — of course — Halloween night.