Hearse enthusiasts to haunt southside Edmonton neighbourhood Halloween night

Edmonton is home to hundreds of hearse-enthusiasts

Edmonton Bone-Wagon Association members love sharing their unusual hobby

Hearse enthusiasts in Edmonton are planning a parade through Edmonton's Summerside neighbourhood on Halloween night. (Submitted by Robb Eggertson)

Don't be spooked if you spot what looks like a funeral procession snaking through Edmonton's Summerside neighbourhood on Halloween.

There won't be any dead bodies inside the vehicles — just car enthusiasts who prefer hearses to Porsches or pick-up trucks.

The drivers belong to the Edmonton Bone-Wagon Association, a 460-member Facebook group for local hearse enthusiasts. 

Robb Eggertson started the group after buying his first hearse as a Halloween prop years ago.

"Halloween came and went and I continued to drive it around and just had a blast with it," he told CBC's Radio Active on Tuesday.

He said hearse owners love to show off their vintage vehicles, which often have unique and ornate interiors. 

He and his wife own two Cadillac hearses: a 1993 Eureka Signature Series, formerly in service with the Connelly-McKinley Funeral Homes company, and a 1964 Superior Landaulet. 

Eggertson and other hearse-owners typically visit haunted houses in Edmonton and Red Deer, southern Alberta's Creepy Hollow and pumpkin festivals in the towns of Smoky Lake and Bon Accord.

This year's pandemic means the Summerside gathering will be a parade instead of a traditional parking lot meet-and-greet.

Armed with 80 sealed bags of candy, the drivers plan to cruise around the neighbourhood between 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturday night. The community league is running a photo contest for residents who submit shots of the vehicles.

Though Halloween might be hearse enthusiasts' favourite holiday, they work on their hobby year-round.

Eggertson has travelled to Sweden to meet with members of the Scandinavian Hearse Society and he jokes that "Skully," the plastic skeleton who rides shotgun with him on road trips, might have a world mileage record. The pair has driven to and from Hearse Con — a hearse and ambulance convention in Denver — seven times.

Robb Eggertson admired this vintage hearse during a trip to Europe last summer. (Submitted by Robb Eggertson)

When they gather, hearse drivers like to joke that "it's a great day to ride in front," Eggertson said, but they know it's the back of their vehicles most people want to see.

One summer, at Rock'n August, a classic car show in St. Albert, an elderly couple approached Eggertson's hearse and peered through the back windows.

They eventually told him they were curious because they were anticipating riding in a hearse "fairly soon" but had no idea what one looked like inside.

"We all had a good laugh," Eggertson recalled.

"Our cars take away some of that mystique of the whole funeral process," he said.