Haunted Ship cancelled for upcoming Halloween season
The SS William A. Irvin’s Haunted Ship will be cancelled this Halloween season due to restoration for both the ship and pollution control in the sediment.
The Irvin was moved to Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin, on Sept. 21, 2018. It will return to its regular place in the water in Spring 2019, according to City Councilor at Large Zack Filipovich.
“The main reason [the ship was moved] is to fix the seawall,” Filipovich said. “The second reason is the pollution.”
For about the past 40 years, the Irvin has not been dry-docked and has remained in the same area of water, The Minnesota Slip, according to Filipovich. This slip of water is one of the most contaminated slips in the Minnesota harbor.
It is because of this that the time came for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to come in and do something about it.
To keep the contaminates from getting into Lake Superior and affecting surrounding wildlife, these two agencies are going to make sure this sediment stays in place by capping it with clay, according to Filipovich.
“We want to make sure tourists and people visiting the Haunted Ship stay safe,” Filipovich said.
Along with fixing the seawall, Filipovich said the haul of the ship will also be looked at to make sure it stays intact “so [the Irvin] can be in the water for another 50 years.”
This is an $8.6 million project, according to Filipovich. However, he believes this is a necessary project that will benefit the community.
“I think this is a positive thing for the community and that they’ll understand this needs to be done,” Filipovich said. “And, maybe this will make the community miss [the Haunted Ship] and more people will come back for it during the next Halloween season.”
According to William A. Irvin Manager Alexis Archambeau, the Haunted Ship normally brings in about 22 thousand people in the 15 days they are open. They also have over 100 actors who participate in the event.
“It’s going to be really weird for the community I think,” Archambeau said. “The Haunted Ship has been going on since 1992. I think it’s important that people know that we’re not the people choosing to move the Irvin. We would rather it just stay, but it’s been pushed back all summer from where it normally sits for the seawall repair and to cap the sediment the ship does need to move.”
Although this 15-day event will be cancelled this year, it will return for the Halloween season in 2019. This means that the people normally working at the Haunted Ship will get that time off. According to Archambeau, some of the actors are planning on volunteering at other Halloween events in Duluth or taking the time off to enjoy Halloween with their friends.
University of Wisconsin-Superior third-year student Seth Lamoreaux has been a seasonal employee at the Irvin since 2014 and is excited for the time off.
“This year without the Haunted Ship, it’s going to be nice,” Lamoreaux said. “I get a break off Halloween, so I’m planning on going around town that night.”
As an employee, he would do a lot of things; working the concessions stand and checking maintenance on the Haunted Ship, for example.
“I know a lot of [the actors] are going to miss it,” Lamoreaux said. “We will be open next year, so hopefully people will come even though we missed a year.”
One common visitor of the ship, current third-year student at UMD Dianna Mellema, has been frequenting it for the past two years.
“My favorite part of the Haunted Ship is the haunted house itself,” Mellema said. “It’s interesting to see how it changes year to year. It’s a little disappointing to have the house cancelled this year, but it’s alright, as I understand the ship’s undergoing maintenance.”