Here at Theme Park Adventure, we’re used to announcing new haunts and presenting you with exciting news about attractions as each Halloween season approaches. Once in a blue moon, we have the unfortunate task of reporting a haunt that is closing its doors for whatever reason; and that always sucks, because if you haven’t guessed already – Halloween and all that it brings – is our favorite time of year, and the community that we are part of here in Southern California is like family to us.
The House at Haunted Hill has been a Los Angeles cornerstone of the season for years, delighting thousands of onlookers each season as one of the most elaborate home haunts we’ve ever seen. Personally-speaking, The House at Haunted Hill is something that I look forward to with child-like enthusiasm each Halloween, regardless of how many different haunts and attractions we visit each year; that’s saying a lot, because after the 30th or 40th stop, the entire season tends to blend together in one big orange and yellow blob, like a piece of chewed-up candy corn! The House at Haunted Hill always stands out, and we have great affection for Matt and Lori Merkle Ford, who own the haunt and have been its creators since 2000; in 2007, the show blossomed into what many of us know and love today. If you haven’t seen the show, or are unfamiliar with The House at Haunted Hill, please check out our video that we shot in 2011; the content has changed (and the footage does not do it justice at all in scale, depth or sheer beauty), but it will give you an idea of how utterly badass it is.
Sadly, The House at Haunted Hill will not be operating this year. A huge career step has presented itself that the Fords (they own Magic Lantern Creations, an entertainment lighting company) simply cannot pass up; it conflicts significantly with their Halloween timeline – and so, they had to make an extremely tough decision; something any haunter can totally relate to.
“Change can be difficult, and this decision was not fun,” the Fords told us. “However, it was simple to realize this is the year for a break. We lost Lori’s amazing mother last fall, and it has been rough, to say the least. Recently, a very exciting business opportunity came our way, and we just can’t be in two places at once. On top of that, we are told that California is likely to have the wettest Halloween season in a very long time; El Nino appears to be on the way, and as you can imagine, water and our show do not mix well! There’s no question in our minds; the time for a break is now.
“We are sad that we’ve had to make this decision, and we know many of you will be, too. The other side of this, is that we’re already very excited to make our return in 2016, bigger and better than we’ve ever been before! We hope this will encourage and thrill our friends, knowing that we’re already looking forward to and planning for next Halloween.
“Thank you all for sticking with us through the years; we promise you, the best is yet to come! Happy Halloween!”
– Matt & Lori
And, that’s it – straight from the source. I couldn’t say it any better. As a community, we’ll absolutely know they’re absent, and we’ll feel that gap most certainly this year. However, we know that life takes us in unexpected directions occasionally. When it does, if we don’t grab hold of that lightning bolt and hang on for the ride, what’s the point, right?
We (and I am sure I speak for many fans across the Southland) wish Matt and Lori the very best with this exciting business endeavor, and cannot wait for The House at Haunted Hill to fade in for Halloween 2016!
– Rick West