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One of the coolest home haunts we visited in 2014 was Spooky Hollows, which is located in the San Fernando neighborhood of Van Nuys. This elaborate set-up is headed up by John and Tracy Cassella, along with fellow haunter Christopher Els and a dedicated team of Halloween aficionados that have chosen a quiet, unremarkable street to unleash their special brand of holiday horror on once a year.
More than a standard front yard display, Spooky Hollows takes guests on a terror trip around the property, along the sides of the house and through the backyard, which has been transformed into a swamp – as well as gnarly greenhouse and ultimately, a hot zombie-filled mess that leaves guests running for their lives!
The terror of Halloween Horror Nights seeps into November for the first time ever as Universal Studios Hollywood extends its popular event with the addition of Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7, inviting guests to brave Southern California’s most extreme horror event one last time. The cutting-edge Halloween event marks new nights with all-new content, including performances by the versatile dance group, Academy of Villains, and the talented DJ Ricky Rocks.
Hailed as the scariest, most gruesome annual Halloween theme park experience in Southern California, Halloween Horror Nights brings together the sickest minds in horror to immerse guests in a living, breathing, three-dimensional world of terror inspired by TV and film’s most compelling horror properties.
Energetic hip-hop dance performances by the Jabbawockeez headlining this year’s new show have proven so popular that Universal Studios Hollywood has added a special meet and greet opportunity for fans as part of its Halloween Horror Nights experience. These additional nights also provide guests with a last chance to see the award-winning dance crew before they depart Los Angeles for sold-out performances at the MGM Grand Las Vegas.
One of our favorite home haunts to visit each year is Rotten Apple 907 in Burbank, California. This popular attraction isn’t your average yard display with skeletons and strobe lights (not that there’s anything wrong with those – we love all of that); you see, the folks that live at 907 North California Street go all-out and create a stunning walk-through maze in the driveway of their property. What’s more impressive than that, is the fact that each year, the haunt is completely different; a new theme, new props, new layout, new facade – the whole shebang! It’s a massive undertaking that is certainly appreciated by locals and Halloween fans from afar, who travel from Orange County and the Inland Empire to see what Diane and Preston Meyer have dreamed up each season.
In 2014, the theme for Rotten Apple 907 was the Wilsley Bros. House of Fun; a sinister fun house filled with strange and bizarre sights and many lurking horrors! Something that is rarely seen at the home haunt level, the House of Fun featured a spinning vortex tunnel, which is always a great gag; it wasn’t terribly long (remember – this all fits in their driveway), but it was definitely effective! If that wasn’t enough, the haunt also featured a clown driving a bumper car in one of the scenes guests had to make their way through in the darkness! Are you kidding me? Such great gags executed very nicely!
One of the new haunts in Southern California this year is Creep LA, which is making a name for itself in downtown Los Angeles. Theme Park Adventure attended the haunt’s premiere recently, and didn’t quite know what to expect – except that it is yet another “extreme” type of experience.
The creative vision for Creep LA comes from Justin Fix, who comes prepared with a theatrical background and intense love of all things Halloween. As a child, he grew up adoring every haunted house he could get to, and spent hours in costume stores looking at masks and spooky props – sound familiar, fellow haunters?
One of the unexpected groovy treats we found during the 2014 Halloween season was The Haunting of Corona, a really big home haunt attraction nestled in the Inland Empire on an unassuming street corner in Corona, California. We honestly had no idea what to expect when we arrived – and ended up incredibly surprised and very impressed by the scale of the haunt, and the enthusiasm as well as size of the team!
Founded in 2006 by Ray Galluccio, The Haunting of Corona has raised more than $10,000 while “Scaring for a Cure” to fight breast cancer – something the entire team should be very proud of; that’s quite an accomplishment for a home haunt, so our hats are off to them! The best part of the deal, is that guests have a fantastic time as well – because this home-made haunted house is completely legit!
Knott’s Scary Farm has evolved into such a massive Halloween event, that its lineup remains fairly intact from year to year, with the exception of a couple old mazes fading away, and a couple new ones cycled in to replace them and keep the haunt fresh and exciting for returning guests. Many of those returning guests are an army of hard core Knott’s fans, who wait almost year-round to learn what the new attractions at Scary Farm will be. They rush in to the Knott’s presentation at ScareLA to get the first news of what’s to come, and then gather at the park itself shortly thereafter to witness the annual full reveal event that is hosted in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. Just the unveiling of things to come at Knott’s Scary Farm has become a thing!
With the event being so multi-faceted these days, it’s impossible to cover Knott’s Scary Farm in one review or story here on the site as we do with most other haunted attractions during October. In order to get the new maze information out to the public and fans as quickly as possible, we’ve agreed with Knott’s to review all new attractions first, and then let the major Scary Farm review follow in the weeks to follow. That said, this year’s event featured two brand-new mazes and one haunted attraction, which we’re excited to discuss and share with you now!
Six Flags Magic Mountain has transformed once again into Fright Fest, a large-scale Halloween event featuring 7 mazes, 7 scare zones, and several stage shows. Monsters lurk throughout the park once the sun goes down, showcasing the world-class makeup of Scott Ramp and his amazing team of artists that work to transform more than 100 men and women into terrors of the night.
We’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again (and again and again) – Fright Fest here in Southern California is a truly underrated event that always seems to linger in the shadows of other theme park haunts in the region. It shouldn’t, because what Magic Mountain does each Halloween season is truly great – and deserves to be on everyone’s To-Do list for October scare stops. This was our second year attending Fright Fest, and we had just as much fun this time around as we did in 2014 because of the scale of the event and the added fun of some world-class roller coasters thrown into the evening’s mix.
Wicked Lit has done it again, stunning us with incredibly cool productions that play out among the dead in the Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery in Altadena, California, just minutes from Burbank and Glendale here in Los Angeles. After seeing a Wicked Lit play during ScareLA 2013, we attended one of Unbound Productions’ full presentations last Halloween – and our heads melted from how fantastic it was! With great anticipation, we made the drive once again to Mountain View this season for another night of Wicked Lit – and once again, were completely blown away by how much fun we had at this incredibly unique theatrical production.
For those not in the know, Wicked Lit is a large-scale theatrical experience that is created each Halloween season by Unbound Productions. It takes place in the Mountain View Mausoleum and Cemetery (at least it has for the past 7 years), throughout the incredible resting grounds found there. The mausoleum is incredible – ornate, grand, and beautiful. The cemetery grounds around the mausoleum also become a stage for Wicked Lit, something that is both haunting and wonderful at the same time, in a macabre sort of way. Each play is based on a well-known story – thus, literature becomes “lit”, and the art of storytelling this group has perfected is simply… wicked.
The Los Angeles Zoo is a great place to visit with your family (or with friends, a date, etc.) this month as they celebrate Boo at the L.A. Zoo every day this month through Halloween! On weekends, there are added activities to enhance the event, but any day is a great day to check out one of Los Angeles’ only truly family-friendly haunts!
We recently visited Boo at the L.A. Zoo 2015 to check it out first-hand, and had a wonderful time! The weather was cooler here in Southern California than it’s been the past few weeks, and arriving before the zoo opened, we found relatively light crowds (which I would assume, will grow larger each day/weekend as we get closer to Halloween). Making the rounds takes no more than a couple hours – but obviously, there is a day’s-worth of sights to see at the L.A. Zoo!
Let me tell you about one of the most unique and surreal experiences I’ve ever had. When there is a new haunt or some sort of “experience” in Los Angeles, word travels fast. I started getting messages from multiple friends asking if I’ve heard of this new immersive experience called Fear is What We Learned Here, and was told that multiple Blackout fans (also known as Blackout survivors) were suddenly being followed by a mysterious account that had been created on Instagram.
I hadn’t heard about this experience and began to look through their Instagram photos and ponder, who’s behind this attraction/event/whatever it is? Do we know them? They seem to know who their target audience is by following Blackout fans – I guess it was safe to assume it’d be a similar experience? Looking through their photos, I found primarily black and white images of random objects or environments – most of them with quotes about the feeling of fear and dreams.