East Scarborough's Rotten Ronnie's Haunt ready to unleash terror again

WhatsOn Oct 18, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

During its first few years, it was too small to really notice, but then it grew, evolved and took on a horrible life of its own.

Rotten Ronnie’s Haunt now completely surrounds the home of its host, Ron McGrath, in Scarborough’s Cliffside neighborhood. Every Halloween, it grows, becoming more like a waking nightmare.

The haunt cannot be stopped – and neither can the contributions it claws out of visitors for Variety Village.

“I got a few props, and I got hooked,” says McGrath, a Toronto Hydro worker and handyman who just likes Halloween traditions.

“We used to get 50 kids. Now we get 500 to 1,000.”

Truly frightening is the amount of time and cash Rotten Ronnie’s host has spent on scenes of terror, and the number of moving, animatronic figures he has in store.

One, a towering pumpkin-headed creature on wheels, was designed to chase children around the street.

“He makes a bunch of different noises,” McGrath said excitedly, beside a front yard crammed with skeletons and a porch with a singing pumpkin trio.

“The talking tree’s pretty cool too.”

Pass the threshold of “Cliff Side Hospital” and you’ll find yourself in an asylum, face to skull with an interactive puppet McGrath calls Dora. “The kids love her,” he says.

The asylum is as far as toddlers get. Visitors with fortitude find the haunt goes on, telling the story of Cannibal who, naturally, was a serial killer.

We see him executed, we step into his butcher shop – “You can tell he wasn’t your average butcher,” says McGrath – and into “hell’s prison” where many scary Halloween characters are behind bars.

There’s more, including a character called Dr. Satan.

McGrath knows part of a great haunt is in the details – antique tins, an old doctor’s bag, and dozens of other spooky touches you may not notice the first time.

He has 10 volunteer actors in green “morph suits,” butchers, zombies and a “crazy clown guy,” who can jump out of hidden spots.

Paul Hopkins of Haunted House Creations, who lives nearby and supplies props to amusement parks and professional haunts in Canada and the U.S., helped McGrath build the pumpkin creature and others.

“It’s pretty amazing what he’s done over there,” Hopkins said this week, recalling McGrath came over to buy a prop and they’ve been friends ever since.

“He does it because he loves it. The fact that it’s for charity makes it so much better.”

The haunt contains warnings visitors are wise to heed. “To avoid the zombies’ wrath please donate your cash,” says one sign in a graveyard.

Despite the haunt’s goriness, McGrath’s “not much into gore.” He loves the classics – Frankenstein, the Wolfman. He’s more of a Lon Chaney or Vincent Price guy.

Where does he put this stuff the rest of the year? “Everywhere,” he says. “I add to it every year, so it gets worse every year.”

The haunt opens after dark on Saturday, Oct. 28, Sunday, Oct. 29 and on Halloween at 121 Sandown Ave.

East Scarborough's Rotten Ronnie's Haunt ready to unleash terror again

'I got hooked' on Halloween props, says Cliffside homeowner

WhatsOn Oct 18, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

During its first few years, it was too small to really notice, but then it grew, evolved and took on a horrible life of its own.

Rotten Ronnie’s Haunt now completely surrounds the home of its host, Ron McGrath, in Scarborough’s Cliffside neighborhood. Every Halloween, it grows, becoming more like a waking nightmare.

The haunt cannot be stopped – and neither can the contributions it claws out of visitors for Variety Village.

“I got a few props, and I got hooked,” says McGrath, a Toronto Hydro worker and handyman who just likes Halloween traditions.

“We used to get 50 kids. Now we get 500 to 1,000.”

Truly frightening is the amount of time and cash Rotten Ronnie’s host has spent on scenes of terror, and the number of moving, animatronic figures he has in store.

One, a towering pumpkin-headed creature on wheels, was designed to chase children around the street.

“He makes a bunch of different noises,” McGrath said excitedly, beside a front yard crammed with skeletons and a porch with a singing pumpkin trio.

“The talking tree’s pretty cool too.”

Pass the threshold of “Cliff Side Hospital” and you’ll find yourself in an asylum, face to skull with an interactive puppet McGrath calls Dora. “The kids love her,” he says.

The asylum is as far as toddlers get. Visitors with fortitude find the haunt goes on, telling the story of Cannibal who, naturally, was a serial killer.

We see him executed, we step into his butcher shop – “You can tell he wasn’t your average butcher,” says McGrath – and into “hell’s prison” where many scary Halloween characters are behind bars.

There’s more, including a character called Dr. Satan.

McGrath knows part of a great haunt is in the details – antique tins, an old doctor’s bag, and dozens of other spooky touches you may not notice the first time.

He has 10 volunteer actors in green “morph suits,” butchers, zombies and a “crazy clown guy,” who can jump out of hidden spots.

Paul Hopkins of Haunted House Creations, who lives nearby and supplies props to amusement parks and professional haunts in Canada and the U.S., helped McGrath build the pumpkin creature and others.

“It’s pretty amazing what he’s done over there,” Hopkins said this week, recalling McGrath came over to buy a prop and they’ve been friends ever since.

“He does it because he loves it. The fact that it’s for charity makes it so much better.”

The haunt contains warnings visitors are wise to heed. “To avoid the zombies’ wrath please donate your cash,” says one sign in a graveyard.

Despite the haunt’s goriness, McGrath’s “not much into gore.” He loves the classics – Frankenstein, the Wolfman. He’s more of a Lon Chaney or Vincent Price guy.

Where does he put this stuff the rest of the year? “Everywhere,” he says. “I add to it every year, so it gets worse every year.”

The haunt opens after dark on Saturday, Oct. 28, Sunday, Oct. 29 and on Halloween at 121 Sandown Ave.

East Scarborough's Rotten Ronnie's Haunt ready to unleash terror again

'I got hooked' on Halloween props, says Cliffside homeowner

WhatsOn Oct 18, 2017 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

During its first few years, it was too small to really notice, but then it grew, evolved and took on a horrible life of its own.

Rotten Ronnie’s Haunt now completely surrounds the home of its host, Ron McGrath, in Scarborough’s Cliffside neighborhood. Every Halloween, it grows, becoming more like a waking nightmare.

The haunt cannot be stopped – and neither can the contributions it claws out of visitors for Variety Village.

“I got a few props, and I got hooked,” says McGrath, a Toronto Hydro worker and handyman who just likes Halloween traditions.

“We used to get 50 kids. Now we get 500 to 1,000.”

Truly frightening is the amount of time and cash Rotten Ronnie’s host has spent on scenes of terror, and the number of moving, animatronic figures he has in store.

One, a towering pumpkin-headed creature on wheels, was designed to chase children around the street.

“He makes a bunch of different noises,” McGrath said excitedly, beside a front yard crammed with skeletons and a porch with a singing pumpkin trio.

“The talking tree’s pretty cool too.”

Pass the threshold of “Cliff Side Hospital” and you’ll find yourself in an asylum, face to skull with an interactive puppet McGrath calls Dora. “The kids love her,” he says.

The asylum is as far as toddlers get. Visitors with fortitude find the haunt goes on, telling the story of Cannibal who, naturally, was a serial killer.

We see him executed, we step into his butcher shop – “You can tell he wasn’t your average butcher,” says McGrath – and into “hell’s prison” where many scary Halloween characters are behind bars.

There’s more, including a character called Dr. Satan.

McGrath knows part of a great haunt is in the details – antique tins, an old doctor’s bag, and dozens of other spooky touches you may not notice the first time.

He has 10 volunteer actors in green “morph suits,” butchers, zombies and a “crazy clown guy,” who can jump out of hidden spots.

Paul Hopkins of Haunted House Creations, who lives nearby and supplies props to amusement parks and professional haunts in Canada and the U.S., helped McGrath build the pumpkin creature and others.

“It’s pretty amazing what he’s done over there,” Hopkins said this week, recalling McGrath came over to buy a prop and they’ve been friends ever since.

“He does it because he loves it. The fact that it’s for charity makes it so much better.”

The haunt contains warnings visitors are wise to heed. “To avoid the zombies’ wrath please donate your cash,” says one sign in a graveyard.

Despite the haunt’s goriness, McGrath’s “not much into gore.” He loves the classics – Frankenstein, the Wolfman. He’s more of a Lon Chaney or Vincent Price guy.

Where does he put this stuff the rest of the year? “Everywhere,” he says. “I add to it every year, so it gets worse every year.”

The haunt opens after dark on Saturday, Oct. 28, Sunday, Oct. 29 and on Halloween at 121 Sandown Ave.