Chilliwack’s Michael Cade goes all out for Halloween

With a background in scene design, Cade makes most of his decorations himself

One of this year’s handmade Halloween additions is a leaning crow’s nest Michael Cade created for his skeleton crew. (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

When you walk past 45601 Fernway Avenue, your first assumption may be that the homeowner’s favourite holiday is Halloween—and you’d be right. However, what you might not realize is most of the decorations are handmade.

“It’s that time of the year in which you can be visual and create a whole new world,” explained Michael Cade, the mastermind behind the haunted home front.

“When I was 13 years old I went on a trip to Disney and was incredibly impacted by the Pirates of the Caribbean and the haunted house,” he continued.

And from there, it became a life-long passion as Cade became a professional scenic designer for theatres, movies, and television shows, and spent nearly three decades in theatre before moving behind a desk at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre nine years ago.

READ MORE: Halloween house adds spooky feel to Lewis Avenue

“If it wasn’t for my background in theatre, my love of Halloween probably wouldn’t manifest as it does,” said Cade. But he’s happy with how it all turned out because he “can actually (use his) technical theatre and design (skills) during Halloween and Christmas and play with those aspects of the holidays.”

However, it wasn’t until about 18 years ago that Cade began going all out in his decorating for the spookiest night of the year.

Now, beginning at the start of October, Cade spends a few hours each night decorating the front of his property with dozens of props he’s collected and created over the years, such as coffins, gravestones, and even a brick and wrought-iron fence.

READ MORE: 5 tips to keep trick-or-treaters safe this Halloween

Michael Cade stands next to the fence he created that protects his mostly-DIY graveyard (Sarah Gawdin/The Progress)

“The neighbourhood kids visit daily to see what’s new and to beg to play with the (decorations),” said Cade with a smile, but while the setup is family-friendly, it’s meant to be looked at, not played with.

“It’s not about scary, it’s about (creating) atmosphere,” Cade continued, which is why you won’t find anything too scary on his property: “There’s no blood, no guts, it’s just about creating a world of Halloween.”

That said, there’s definitely stuff to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, like the skeletal horse and its bony rider, who Cade admits gives him the heebie-jeebies.

But more than creating a spooky atmosphere, it’s about creating a night everyone can enjoy, adds Cade, pointing to the teal pumpkin and box of allergy-free treat bags he’ll be handing out on Halloween to those brave enough to walk up to his front door.

“Everything is about Halloween (on October 31), and both kids and parents really love it,” said Cade. However, he says only those who actually trick-or-treat at his place will be able to see the complete set-up, as there are some decorations he only puts out for the evening.

To see Michael Cade’s complete Halloween set-up, stop by 45601 Fernway Avenue after the sun goes down … if you dare!


@SarahGawdin
Sarah.Gawdin@theprogress.com

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