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Pirate House offers less-spooky Halloween option for charity

BURNABY (NEWS1130) – Do you want to have some Halloween fun tonight, but you find haunted houses a little too creepy? Maybe pirates are more to your liking?

You’re in luck!

Julie Descroche has spent the last year crafting Pirate House in Burnaby and the story behind it might cause you to shed or a tear or two under your eye patch.

“We’re doing it as a fundraiser for a friend of mine in Uganda who runs a children’s organization that needs a roof for a school there,” she tells News1130.

“We’re also doing this for me because I was very siFull Display croppedck five years ago, so this is a way for me to celebrate being alive. I love being creative, so I got a bunch of friends and family — we made a bunch of homemade stuff and made this huge display about pirates.”

Desroche came down with a serious abdominal infection five years ago when she was pregnant. She spent the first two weeks of her daughter’s life in ICU in incredible pain. She needed several surgeries and she is still recovering.

As she was fighting through the pain, she was putting together the blueprint for Pirate House in her mind.  Last Halloween, she decided she was well enough to cross the project off her bucket list; she’s spent the last year working up to tonight when it will open its doors.

Treasure Hunt sign pirate house“I nearly died, so it’s been amazing and it’s been a real process for me because so many things have happened to me since I’ve been sick,” she says.

“This is a way for me to express a lot of that… come to terms with a lot of that and really celebrate all the people who’ve supported me. Right at the front, we have a big shrine to all the people — my crew — who have supported me through the years.”

The display is crammed with homemade crafts and decorations that a group of about 30 people has been working on for months. They’ve also created a comprehensive backstory that’s drenched in symbolism.

“I always knew I wanted to do a theme and I wanted to do something that wasn’t too scary, because I was a big scaredy cat when I was a kid,” she says.

pirate house“But since then, I’ve really adopted the symbology of this. It’s so representative of what I’ve been through. As a pirate, you face stormy seas and greedy kings and mutinous crews and I’ve had all of that. At the end of the day, I made it through all of that because of my crew.”

Desroche is hoping to raise $2,500 to build a new roof the school in Uganda.

Pirate House, located at 5970 Portland Street in South Burnaby, is open from 5 to 8 p.m. tonight.