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  • One last year for the Nightmere Inn

    Chestermere's annual haunted house to return one last time

    Gary Dagg and his daughter Shelby get cozy with one of their many creepy props that make up the "Nightmere Inn."

    Gary Dagg and his daughter Shelby get cozy with one of their many creepy props that make up the "Nightmere Inn."

    CHESTERMERE – Anyone who has dared ventured near 113 West Creek Blvd around Halloween in recent years, knows what a terrifying place it can be.

    But after this Halloween, the Nightmere Inn will be no more, so anyone who hasn’t experienced the infamous haunted house will have to do so on Oct. 31, or risk missing out forever.

    Typically the Nightmere Inn is open on the 30th and 31st, but it will be a “one night only” event this year to wrap things up for good.

    Gary Dagg and his family have been doing the haunted house for the past eight years. Dagg said it started by having a few extra ghouls and a coffin in their yard before it snowballed into a full on scream-fest right in their garage.

    “We got caught up in it and started advertising it, so in a way we had to keep doing it every year,” Dagg said. “But as much work as it was, we always had a good time doing it.”

    Dagg and his family had previously decided that last year would be their final year for doing the Nightmere Inn, as they had received some difficult news around the end of last October.

    As it turned out, their oldest daughter, Holly, was diagnosed with an extremely rare auto-immune disease called Wegener’s granulomatosis (WG.) She has spent a great deal of time in the Alberta Children’s Hospital over the past year undergoing chemo and steroid treatments.

    “Things ended on a bit of sour note last year when Holly got sick, so we weren’t sure we were going to do it this year,” Dagg said of the haunted house. “But she was adamant that we needed to do it, so we’ve decided to do one last year.

    “It will be a grand finale of sorts.”

    Dagg said that things have been coming together a little easier this year because they’re not so worried about the fine details, but he said it will still be the same fun (and scary) experience as always.

    “We don’t want to end things on a bad note because it’s always been something we do as a family, and it’s always been a lot of fun,” he said.

    Dagg said that over the course of the two evenings last year, he guessed that around 1,200 people went through the Nightmere Inn judging by the crowds of people he saw and by the amount of food that was collected for the local food bank.

    “Last year there were a lot of people that came, but didn’t actually make it inside because we had few glitches,” he said. “We built it a little too tight, so when people went through they couldn’t see where to go or see the exits, so it got backed up down the block.

    “So we’re doing it right this year so everyone can get through.”

    Admission to the Nightmere Inn is free with a donation to the food bank. Like in years past, there will be a donation bin set up outside of the haunted house, so even those who don’t dare to enter can still make a donation. This year, visitors will also be able to make monetary donations to the Make A Wish Foundation.
Dagg said that after Halloween, they are hoping to sell off the various pieces of the haunted house.

    “We have someone that said they’re interested in taking everything, but we’re not sure how serious they are,” he said. “If we can’t sell it all together, everything will be sold off individually, and the rest will be donated.”

    Anyone interested in buying items from the haunted house can stop by 113 West Creek Blvd on November 1.

    Dagg said that considering it’s their last go-around, he hopes to see everyone come back one last time or give it a go before it’s too late.

    The Nightmere Inn is open to kids of any age, but is typically recommended for those eight years old and up.