By the end of March, close to 100 Haunted Walks tour guides had been laid off as we struggled to find a path forward in uncertain times. In June, we relaunched our outdoor in-person experiences as ’Bubble Tours’, which focused on much smaller group sizes from a limited number of households. These tours were warmly embraced by locals eager to get out of the house to do something safe and fun, while also supporting local businesses. With COVID cases dropping throughout the summer, we were eventually able to conduct Bubble Tours at some indoor locations including the old Ottawa Jail, Fort Henry and Black Creek Pioneer Village.
We were simultaneously developing digital experiences, particularly for the Halloween Season when we knew we could not meet local demand, and those who would normally travel to take part in a Haunted Walk event would be interested but stuck at home. In mid-September we launched ’The Haunting at Home’ an online guided audio experience that shares the interesting history of parapsychology, while giving the listeners a night of eerie fun by challenging them to perform a series of spooky experiments using household objects. In October, we held a series of ’Virtual Haunted Campfires’ which were ticketed live streamed events featuring some of the best ghost storytellers from around the world. By Leveraging Federal and Provincial support, both initiatives were great successes with participants joining from all across Canada, and far-flung locations such as Hawaii, the UK, and Australia.
Photo: Haunted Walks guide with Rideau Canal and Union Station in the background. Photo: © Haunted Walks Inc, 2020.