You know you’ll be safe and that nothing is going to actually harm you, but haunted houses and events like Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror do get the dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin in your brain flowing. I had expected my walk through the Legends of Horror to be highly enjoyable but I wasn’t really expecting to be scared. The robed figures at the entrance with their reptilian masks made me feel a little like I was on the set of a Star Trek episode.
They lull you into a false sense of security at the entrance. It looks like it’ll be just scary enough for you to enjoy the atmosphere and maybe have someone jump out at people as they walked the path. Prepared to be ambushed, I peered into bushes and trees for fanged and taloned actors lurking the shadows, and almost walked into the actors on the path itself.
The actors aren’t allowed to touch you, and visitors are instructed at the start of the walk not to touch the actors or the props. That’s not something one remembers though when a bloodied body comes sprinting towards you shrieking. I will admit to screaming more than a few times and jumping at least a dozen times before we reached the end of the walk. I won’t ruin anything by writing which installations elicited said screams, but I think I would have had a better/scarier time if I’d allowed for much more space between us and the group infront.
Recommendations for a better experience:
- Go in twos or threes. The scare factor diminishes significantly the larger the group is – unless you’re all easily scared.
- Make sure you hang back, don’t walk too fast and allow plenty of space between your group and the one ahead of you. Even if you hear a scream, you won’t know what scared them. Don’t ruin the surprise.
- Go on a weekday if possible. I went on a weekday and it was busy – weekends will be packed! Why is this an issue? Refer back to #1.
- Print out your tickets. If you’ve been told that you don’t need a print out, don’t believe it. What’s more, print out the confirmation page in case you don’t get an email with your tickets – something that happened to me. I ended up having to wait for 20 minutes for the mess to be sorted.
- Don’t take kids to the Legends of Horror. Anyone younger than 13 isn’t allowed in anyway, but I’d say it’s for an older crowd. If however you do, make sure they’ve got ID – tickets are completely nonrefundable and they’re sticklers for the rules there.
- When you leave the halfway point, spend some time in the garden on the other side. They’ve got a couple of things there that would make good photos and short videos. The crawling skeletons on the building were my favourite.
The attraction of scary stories and haunted walks like Legends of Horror is apparently because they are ‘safe spaces’. Basically, we know that nothing is actually going to hurt us. We get the endorphins, dopamine and oxytocin pumping and at the end of the story or walk we feel invigorated. So, for the question about whether Legends of Horrors is worth it – I’d say yes.