30 October 2023

Wanniassa's Halloween House, and other places to trick-or-treat in Canberra this year

| James Coleman
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Halloween House

Halloween House in Wanniassa features a different display every year. Photo: James Coleman.

Davy Jones has made landfall in Wanniassa in time for 31 October aboard his ship, The Buccaneers’ Strumpet.

He follows a long line of others, from the clowns of ‘Carn-evil’ to aliens, dragons, spiders, witches and luminescent skeletons.

Ian and Connie Warburton moved into 26 Osmand Street in 2013 as a newly married couple. A “big Halloween fan”, Connie kicked off what has become an annual tradition with a small display of inflatables “here and there” and some giveaway lolly bags.

It’s now one of Canberra’s go-to locations on the scariest night of the year.

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“The kids loved it, and it’s just grown bigger ever since,” Ian says.

This year’s theme at the ‘Canberra Halloween House’ is piracy, headlined by a ship constructed of old pallets and crates.

“Connie’s the ideas person,” Ian says.

“She finds something that’s really cool on the internet and says to me, ‘Should we buy this?’ And I go, ‘Yeah, it’s only money’. Or ‘I wanna do this. Can you do that?’ And I say, ‘Yeah, I’ve never built a pirate ship before, but I’ll give it a red-hot go’. It came out pretty good.”

The street light always has some role to play too, once as something a flying witch crashed into and now as the ship’s mast, complete with sails and a crow’s nest occupied by a skeleton and several black rats.

Thanks to some old air-conditioning ducts and pool noodles (and a bit of purple spray paint), several tentacles of the kraken are also rising from the gravel nature strip and wrapping around the ship.

Elsewhere in the front yard, there’s a pirate skeleton sitting in a tub and downing a bottle of white rum, the Dead Man’s Chest, and projections of ghostly pirates.

The Grecian statue isn’t left out either, this time sporting a pirate hat and … not a lot else, really.

“She’s got a heart of stone, that one.”

Since 2016, the displays have joined ‘The Haunted House’, a walk-through tent constructed from plastic sheeting, construction fencing and a lot of zip-ties running the length of the driveway.

It’s divided into four different rooms, each packed with a mix of animatronics and models designed to leave visitors with a severe case of the heebie-jeebies. Think spiders, clowns, and the bloodied undead.

Once out, kids can pick up their shattered nerves and dig for doubloons [pirate currency] in a bucket of slime. These doubloons can then be used to ‘buy’ a Halloween-themed toy to go with their free bag of lollies.

“We get thousands – I mean, thousands of kids – through on the night,” Ian says.

“And in the weeks leading up to it, people will always be driving past and stopping to look.”

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Needless to say, the whole effort also takes thousands of dollars and months of planning.

“My garage is my workshop – it has never had a car in it, and I’ve built a storage container in the backyard to hold all our Halloween stuff.”

It’s all for fun, but there’s a deeper purpose too. Gold-coin donations from the night all go toward the Stella Bella Little Stars Foundation.

“Halloween’s about kids and families having fun, and Stella Bella is a charity to support families and kids with serious or terminal illnesses,” Ian explains.

“Plus, the other really important thing is that it’s a local charity – it’s for people in the Canberra community.”

The Warburtons can typically pass on $1000 to $3000 every year, with nothing taken out for expenses.

“If we were to cover our costs, they would get nothing because it actually costs us a s***load of money to do this,” Ian says.

“It’s just consumables like cable ties – we go through hundreds of cable ties.”

Come 1 November, there might also be a pirate ship on offer.

“I mean, What the hell am I gonna do with this thing after Halloween?”

Canberra Halloween House, at 26 Osmand Street, Wanniassa, is open from 5 pm to 9 pm on 31 October, and from 6 pm to 9 pm over the following three nights.

Other locations to visit on the night:


  • Jabanugga Avenue, Ngunnawal
  • Carina Street, Ngunnawal
  • Nellie Hamilton Avenue, Gungahlin
  • Tycho Street, Moncrieff
  • Saxby Close, Amaroo
  • Danaiyarri Street, Bonner
  • Jeffcott Place, Latham
  • Jeffcott Place, Latham
  • Arthur Tange Street, Casey
  • Thompson Street, Casey
  • Edna Thompson St, Casey
  • Brahe Place, Melba
  • Conley Drive, Melba
  • Chance Street, Crace
  • Chuculba Crescent, Giralang
  • Bourne Street, Cook
  • Earle Place, Page
  • Hamlet Place, Florey
  • Bennelong Crescent, Macquarie.


  • Ammon Place, Kambah
  • Icely Place, Kambah
  • Magarey Place, Kambah
  • Gall Place, Kambah
  • Popplewell Place, Gordon
  • Tarlton Place, Bonython
  • Osmand St, Wanniassa
  • Chalker Circuit, Banks
  • Betty Maloney Crescent, Banks
  • Stacy Street, Gowrie
  • Marr Street, Pearce
  • Freebury St, Denman Prospect
  • Dalyell Street, Chisolm.

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Cath Roo Grassick5:51 pm 31 Oct 23

It surprises me how many people don’t know the origins of Halloween….its not American. It actually derives from the UK and other European countries. It’s nice for kids to have a bit of fun instead of being a humbug about it. If you don’t like it…don’t participate.

GrumpyGrandpa5:32 pm 31 Oct 23

Halloween is an American tradition with some fairly sinister origins and it’s one of many things that in my opinion we don’t need in this country.

As much as I dislike the concept of Halloween, it’s nice that the money raised is going to a worthwhile charity.

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