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Ghost Train image

As soon as my first Halloween in Vancouver arrived, I was told not to miss the Stanley Park Ghost Train. I was also told not to worry, it’s not only for children but also a great place to take a date!

My first time was with some friends and their child. This year I went as a date. In preparation, I checked out the information on the City of Vancouver’s website. There is a wonderful teaser video on the site that sets the mood for the theme of this year’s train ride: “Monster Movie Mash Up“.

Ghost Train entrance

The train ride travels through sets of horror movies from the silent motion picture era and each vignette is set up with a placard cleverly designed to mimic dialogue cards in a silent movie. In keeping with the theme of black and white movies, little colour is used in the sets and the lighting is orchestrated to cast shadows and to highlight the props.

Ghost Train image

Music plays in the train, reminiscent of organ-infused music of the monster movies of the past. There is great detail in the sets and young and old alike can find much to look at. Many of the sets include actors portraying a scene from the corresponding horror movie. There’s the obligatory monster running towards the train, but it is never too scary for the youngest in the audience. All of the sets are well done. The shipwrecked galleon submerged in the water was exceptional.

The full moon is so lifelike that for a moment in my mind it was real. The ghost train uses the forest’s natural night atmosphere to superbly capture the unease, wonder, magic and spookiness of the monster world. Anyone who’s watched classic Hollywood horror films will appreciate and enjoy the journey. Personally, I found the ending a bit weak. One thing that might improve the ride could be additional characters emerging out of the forest towards the train. 

Ghost Train image

Once off the train, more adventure awaits. The maze seemed to entertain the younger set, however anyone over the age of 10 would likely find it less impressive. The Stanley Park Ecology Society also conducts candle-lit nature walks for an additional fee. An onsite pumpkin patch sells pumpkins for $5. Food, hot and cold drinks, plus popcorn are readily available.

Ghost Train skeleton and bell

Overall my date and I had a fun time and topped it off with a drive though the park where we spotted several raccoon families near the side of the road – drive with care. A stop at Prospect Point to view the illuminated Lions Gate Bridge added to our evening.

Ghost Train banner

The Ghost Train runs nightly seven days a week (rain or shine) through November 2, 6 to 10 pm, with matinees every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 11 am to 6 pm (train only). Visit the website for detailed information.

About Our Contributor MJ Ankenman

MJ Ankenman

MJ moved to Vancouver in 2005 and has been keeping busy ever since, enjoying all that the West coast has to offer, sharing discoveries through her writing and photography. MJ’s interests include yoga, biking, hiking, and enjoying BC wine. Follow MJ on Twitter @urbanista.

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