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Vocaleye Review - 2019 Stanley Park Ghost Train

Ghostly-white figures in the dark forest as seen from the Ghost Train

In October 2014, while working as a reporter for Accessible Media, I rode the Stanley Park Ghost Train with artistic director, Peter Hall. It was the most fun I'd ever had at an outdoor Halloween event. My night vision is horrible and Stanley Park is not the easiest to navigate for a person with vision loss, even in daylight. And outdoor Halloween events, well, low lighting, foggy scenes and treacherous landscapes are what the occasion calls for, right

I'd pretty much written outdoor Halloween events off my calendar.

And then, in 2015, Vocaleye Descriptive Arts Society described the Stanley Park Ghost Train for the first time. No more sticking to indoor Halloween stuff for me!

This year's described event took place on October 12, 2019 and included hot chocolate, posing with freaky cardboard cutouts, stage-side spots for the Queen of Hearts performance and, of course, a 15-minute train trip through Alice in Nightmareland.

We were a small group of six people with vision loss, accompanied by helpful sighted guides and a describer who clearly loves the work she does with Vocaleye.

Through the giant tree trunks and thick foliage, I could just make out fleeing figures, shadowy struggles, eerie cottages and graveyards. I kept my camera clicking knowing I would get a better look when I got home and could study the scenes on my computer screen.

Not that I missed one jaw-dropping, bone-chilling, humourously macabre moment of the action.

Our Vocaleye describer Annika, transmitting to us through earpieces, detailed every character, costume and chase. My favourite was when Alice eventually vanquished the Jabberwocky. It was Annika's descriptions that clued me in on where to aim my camera.

If you didn't make it this year, hope to see you next time!

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