I can not tell a lie. I was dreading our visit to Fort Fright at Fort Henry. Dreading it. I am a big ole scaredy cat and the thought of a night with the undead gave me chills. I was given some valuable advice though from Susan Leclair from Parks of the St. Lawrence. “Come with friends,” she said, “it makes it a lot more fun.” And so it was that three moms and four daughters headed to Kingston for a night of terror, the group evenly divided into chickens and thrill seekers. What better group to assess if Fort Fright would be spooktacular?
Fort Henry,as it happens, is an ideal location to deliver some scares. Built in 1832 and placed high over the St. Lawrence, it’s nothing short of eerie on a dark and stormy night. Okay, it’s eerie any night, but we were lucky enough to have high winds, black clouds and driving rain to add to the ambience.
Pre-tour we sat in the Officer’s Mess having a lovely meal replete with delicious comfort food. We were downright cozy and lulled into a false sense of security. We almost forgot what was ahead.
The zombies didn’t wait long to remind us.
On a recent night, as the story goes, Fort Henry was holding a roller derby as one of many events it holds in the community, when zombies rose from the catacombs and turned Fort Henry into Fort Fright. Our tour first took us through the trenches where zombies climbed the outer walls (using 2D technology) and zombies roamed through the crowd looking for fresh blood (using 3D people – er, I mean dead people).
Turns out Susan was dead-right. The more people you go with to Fort Fright, the more fun it becomes….even if the laughter is nervous. After walking through trenches, pitch black mazes, spooky rooms and ending with coffin rides, I can honestly say that a good time was had by all in our party, even my 9 year old who was a concern for me leading up to the tour. Ava took comfort though in the no-touch policy (the zombies can not touch you and you can not touch them) so that no matter how close they got she felt safe. I would highly recommend Fort Fright as a fun family activity leading up to Halloween but would temper that by saying that you know your child best. Children under 6 should definitely stay home.
Fort Fright runs at night from Thursday to Saturdays from the end of September to mid October. Starting October 24 until November 2, you can get the wits scared out of you nightly. See here for more details.
Fort Fright also helped reveal a rather disturbing flaw in my character. It would seem that I am not quite the selfless mother I thought I was, because when this guy showed up, I screamed like a girl and left my girls behind in the dust to deal with him.
Once a scaredy cat, always a scaredy cat.
Updated: Fort Fright runs on select nights in 2014 from October 2nd to November 1st.