Feature Story: Edmonton couple resurrecting Halloween Alley from the dead

Edmonton couple hoping to resurrect Halloween Alley from the dead

Meet Serge and Helen Leblanc, an Edmonton couple trying to resurrect “Halloween Alley” – a tradition in the city’s west-end, dating back to the 90s.



Linda Hoang, Sunday, October 30, 2011

EDMONTON – There’s a 300-pound crypt and a hooded skeleton sitting in Serge Leblanc’s garage.

In fact, there are about a dozen skeletons, goblins and other ghastly creatures hanging in the area.

Don’t be alarmed — they’re just props.

They belong to Serge and his wife Helen and will come out in a spooktactular showing on their lawn and around their home in west Edmonton come Halloween.

Serge and Helen live in the city’s Grovenor neighbourhood.

It’s a neighbourhood that in years past had been synonymous with the phrase “Halloween Alley” – an annual tradition dating back to the 90s where the streets would be closed down and families could go trick-or-treating from house to house in a spooky but safe environment.

The original Halloween Alley was located north of Stony Plain Road on 147th Street and east and west along 103 and 104th Avenue.

It began in 1990 and for 15 consecutive years, residents in Grovenor haunted and delighted visitors, all while raising food and money donations for the Edmonton Food Bank.

But what had been some of the scariest streets in the city has had a rocky history, being killed and resurrected time and time again due to dwindling interest, original homeowners moving out of the neighbourhood, and the fluctuating economy.

And that’s where the Leblanc’s come in.

The couple – who live at the end of the alley on 148 Street and 104th Avenue, are obsessed with the holiday and are hoping to revive the alley.

“It started with 3 houses and we’re trying to resurrect that again with about 3 houses,” Helen said.

“(We will) collect food for the food bank and at the same time we put on a show,” said Serge.

“You bring food, we give you a show, we make you run, we make you scream.”

The couple have spent a small fortune stocking up on Halloween props and decorations, while Serge has spent weeks building the crypt from scratch.

They’ve also got a “haunted” 30-foot tunnel (built by Serge last year), a graveyard set, strobe lights, fog machines and more planned for Halloween Monday.

“We hope that by doing this, other homeowners will want to participate and also decorate,” Helen said.

“It doesn’t have to be extreme, it’s fun, just join in as a community.We’re trying to generate enthusiasm for a fun environment for people to come and have fun, children and adults alike.”

Their efforts are appreciated by the Food Bank, which in recent years has seen thousands of pounds of food raised from the Leblanc’s Halloween Alley event alone.

“This has been a long-standing relationship with the community,” said Kelly Cailliau, resources development co-ordinator with the Edmonton Food Bank.

“There’s a growing community that’s interested in supporting Edmonton’s Food Bank through the Halloween season and we’re grateful for Halloween Alley.”

Caillaiu says Halloween Alley’s contributions are a welcome one during a season that’s fast becoming popular for food bank donations, especially among children fundraisers.

“Youth are really getting behind canvassing for food at Halloween and it means a lot for us here at the Edmonton Food Bank,” Caillaiu said.

This is the third year the Leblanc’s have tried to resurrect the alley and they say with every year, they’re becoming more organized and gaining more interest from neighbours.

“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” Serge said.

The three houses participating in this year’s Halloween Alley are located along 148 Street and 104th Avenue, north of Stony Plain Road.

The Leblancs encourage Edmontonians to come out and support a long-standing city tradition, while donating food to Edmonton Food Bank boxes set up in the area.

They also encourage Grovenor-area residents and business owners to get in touch and get involved to help make next years’ event even better.

“Let’s try to join together and bring back something that an original founder started out, and I thought was a really good idea, and again it’s showing the spirit of Grovenor,” Helen said.

“Let’s have some fun and give to a great cause.”

If you’re in the Grovenor, “Halloween Alley” area and want to get involved, click here to get in touch with Serge & Helen.



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  • Laurie Pettigrew says:

    Fortunately, I no longer live in Grovenor but I did during the heyday of H’Alley. No one mentions the burden it put on residents on the surrounding blocks – for 10 years I couldn’t go home Halloween Night because I couldn’t get onto my street or even park in my own driveway. Drunken partiers would be urninating in my back yard and it cost over $100 to feed the hordes that descended from all over Edmonton (encouraged by local media, provided with shuttle buses) – whereas the instigaters of Halloween Alley didn’t even have to answer their doors as candy was provided by sponsors on the street itself. I’m still annoyed these people never once considered the hardship for residents of neighbouring streets – it only took 10 minutes to “do” Halloween Alley, then the kids would fan out into the area. Nice place to visit – not to live.

  • Linda Hoang says:

    Hey Laurie thanks for the comment! I definitely never thought about that aspect of it before. Sounds like it would be pretty crazy.

  • Helen Leblanc says:

    Well with many, many hours of planning and preparation, not just 10 minutes by any means, we managed to gather over 1000 pounds of food once again and that is just from our efforts at Halloween, one house, and food bank contributions from staff at various Corporations, in addition to people in the Grovenor community and other residents of Edmonton. Aside from one negative remark we have received numerous positive comments verbally and via email and look forward to surpassing this year’s amount to hopefully doubling or more if we join forces with others in our community wanting to participate next year. Thanks everyone for your kind contributions and special thanks to those that volunteered and helped setup and participate in our Halloween evening event for a very good cause.

    p.s. And no drunken partiers urinated in our back yard!!!

  • Halloween Lover says:

    What is the status of Halloween Alley for 2012? I moved away from Edmonton in 2005 and came back home last year; I have such fond memories of Halloween Alley and much appreciation for the kind people that put so much love into it for everyone else to enjoy. A feat of that scope requires a lot of committment – the fact that you’ve kept up the love for it without a chip on your shoulder and helped countless unknown families via the Food Bank, speaks volumes.

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