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Halloween buffs put new twists on spooky occasion for youngsters

Ghosts and ghouls will soon be making the rounds across Nunavut and the spirits have possessed residents of Cambridge Bay and Hall Beach.

Common-law partners Helen Koaha and Peter Laube have long decorated their home with bats, skeletons and monsters for their two girls, and it eventually spread to their Kalvik Enterprises shop in Cambridge Bay. That began a tradition of hosting a haunted house 13 years ago. They are so eager to make it better each year that they order new Halloween supplies on sealift annually.

It's grown into a tradition, and the schools escort students to the haunted house for tours.

"Some of them are so afraid to come in, especially the ones from kindergarten," Koaha said. "Most of (the older students) are excited to come in and see what kind of decorations and ghosts we have this year."

The students are given Halloween treats before they leave. This year Koaha and Laube are going to add a door prize as well.

"It was just mostly for the kids. We just wanted to make sure they all have fun at Halloween," Koaha said. "It just got bigger and bigger."

In Hall Beach, Nunavut Arctic College instructor Zillah Piallaq encourages her students to don costumes or wear face paint.

"We have a little fun," she said. "Maybe have a little party, dress up."

That Halloween celebration carries over to Piallaq's home. She has a CD of scary noises that she plays to frighten visitors. She also has two daughters and a niece who delight in throwing a scare into trick or treaters. One time her niece created a stuffed dummy and also dressed herself up in a suit and mask.

"It looked like they were both not real. She would just stand there and start to freak people out when she would make little movements," Piallaq recalled, laughing.

Another year, Piallaq transformed herself into a vampire, complete with fake blood around her mouth.

"I told the little kids that I don't give out candy unless I get a bite out of them," she said.

Despite the horrors, or perhaps because of them, Piallaq tends to get a lot of youngsters seeking candy coming to her door.

"I think they make it a point to make it to our house," she giggled.