OTTAWA – After COVID-19 canceled most of the Halloween antics in Ottawa, Alain Nantel and his son Alexandre decided they wouldn’t let the pandemic put out their jack-o-lanterns.
With trick-or-treating and a party for 2020, they decided to build an animatronic look, which has been changing every day since October 19.
The 12 days of Halloween are their contribution to keeping the Halloween spirit alive in their Little Italy neighborhood.
“What is the purpose of Halloween? Is gathering candy or Halloween really about the spirit, about the atmosphere,” said Nantel. “The message I want to convey to my son is perspective. You can have a negative perspective, you can have a positive perspective, that’s really how you deal with obstacles.”
With limited space and unpredictable weather, they decided to bring outdoor decor in each night, which led to the idea of changing the arrangement every day. Neighbors in the area now stop by every morning to see what new horrors await.
“We thought it was great! We just live around the corner, so every morning we come round the corner and don’t really know what we’re going to find,” said Colin Beckworth.
Nantel estimates he spent nearly $ 4,000 to create his horror masterpiece and has documented each day with posts, photos and videos on his Facebook page. The displays have become so popular that news has spread on Reddit and other social media sites, directing people who come from all over the city to see the spectacle.
“People from Gloucester, from Barrhaven were driving downtown because they had seen this, so I realized I had created a monster and had to commit to it,” said Nantel.
After this year’s success, Nantel planned to make this an annual tradition, even hinting that he would have something to celebrate this year’s Christmas.
Seeing the people visiting his front yard, Nantel’s son, Alexandre, had a big smile on his face as he pointed out where and why they chose each item.
“It makes me happy because people like that to them are cool to them, they know there’s a Halloween for them.”