As we rolled up to our first serious yard display of the Halloween season – Mourning Rose Manor in Simi Valley – I was suddenly overcome by an anxious feeling welling up from my gut. Not a bad feeling – but rather, that magical wonderment that I felt each season when houses were decorated nicely, be it for Halloween or Christmas. Nothing makes me feel like a kid again more than the holidays when people take the time and make an effort to set up a display in their yard for everyone to enjoy!
Owned by haunter Lydia Rella, Mourning Rose Manor is located in an upscale, quiet neighborhood in Simi Valley. The yard isn’t terribly large – and the display is perfect in scale and density to make for a really cool sidewalk experience for 10-15 minutes.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with using off the shelf props, there is a certain level of respect attained when a haunt features home-made pieces, which is what Mourning Rose Manor has, for the most part. If Lydia didn’t fashion a part of the Manor herself, she acquired it from someone else who did, and so, the final result is a spooky graveyard with ruins and a few ghoulish characters dwelling within!
Mourning Rose Manor has a very definite back story that is a bit deeper than most yard displays/haunts feature, because at one point, Lydia was considering turning it all into a full-blown maze experience. The full-scale haunt didn’t materialize, yet remnants of that project are present throughout the front yard, including a spectral figure of a woman that tells the tale of the Manor in a solemn, ethereal voice that is really nicely done!
One thing that struck me about Lydia’s display is how polished and professional it is, right down to the social media aspect of it. Obviously, in today’s age of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, if you have a home haunt, you’re going to want to get the word out. In one portion of the Mourning Rose Manor display, Lydia has a themed stone that features the Facebook symbol and the name of her fan page. I was really impressed by this – talk about creative and mindful theming! Very nice touch, indeed!
If you’re in the area, Mourning Rose Manor should definitely be on your route of haunts to visit. Reign of Terror is fairly close in nearby Thousand Oaks, so if you’re trying to cluster haunts in that neck of the woods, TPA definitely enjoyed this yard display and encourages all TPAers to stop by and… pay their respects!
Mourning Rose Manor is a free display, however, they are collecting food donations for Ventura County Food Share; if you plan on stopping by, take along a canned good, peanut butter, pasta and or some rice to help struggling folks make it through the holidays this year. The Manor is located at 5250 Aurelia Street in Simi Valley, California. Tell them you read about them on Theme Park Adventure!
Thanks to Lydia and her family for doing what they do – and for making me feel like a kid again as I walked up the sidewalk toward the cobwebbed tombstones and ominous shrouded figures of Mourning Rose Manor!
Visited Mourning Rose Manor? Questions? Comments? Sound off below!
– Rick West