Ventura County is loaded with Halloween Horror, including a trio of terrifying yard haunts in Simi Valley (Mourning Rose Manor, The Haunt at Helizondo, Butler's Zombie Estate) and Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks.
[NOTE: Halloween Haunt Itineraries are self-guided tours of haunted attractions that are conveniently located in one area. With a map or a GPS, you can easily hit all of them in one night and save gasoline in the process.]
There are myriad Halloween events in Los Angeles county, but fright fans yearning for even more should consider a trip to neighboring Ventura, which features several professional and amateur Halloween attractions. Our suggested itinerary will take you on a tour of three yard haunts in Simi Valley, with an optional detour to Thousand Oaks for the excellent Reign of Terror.
A. Mourning Rose Manor at 5250 Aurelia St., Simi Valley. This yard haunt is literally a decorated yard, loaded with tombstones, skeletons, and other ghoulish figures. It's atmospheric, colorful, and reasonably safe for the kids - no walk-through maze or live monsters - although the trek to the front door does feature some intimidating spiders and their webbed victims. Mourning Rose Manor runs throughout October, from dusk until 11pm every night. Free.
B. The Haunt at Helizondo at 2134 Elizondo Avenue Simi Valley, CA 93065. This home haunt features a decorated yard with a short walk-through. Hollywood Gothique made it out a few years back, when the theme was a dark carnival; we found ourselves menaced by a handful of ghouls who managed to cleverly appear from unexpected directions. This year's theme is The Witches of Scabtree Hollow, which sounds like even more fun. Helizondo Haunt will be open on October 30 and 31 from dusk until whenever the trick-or-treaters stop coming.
C. Butler's Zombie Estate at 3040 Moonstone Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93065. We have never seen this yard haunt in person, but the proprietor informs us that it features a short, scary walk-through (perhaps two-minutes), with animatornics and actors. Butler's Zombie Estate is open on Halloween Night only, from dusk until 10pm.
Total drive-time for this itinerary is approximately 15 minutes, covering just under 7 miles. You can all three yard haunts only on Halloween Night. After finishing with the amateur attractions in Simi Valley, you might as well extend the tour with a twenty-minute drive south to:
D. The Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks at 197 North Moorpark Road (in the Janns Marketplace). Though this Halloween haunt is a non-profit fund-raiser, it offers the best haunted house experience in Southern California - by which we mean, it replicates the feel of an old ghost-infested manor. There are more visceral areas, too, including asylums and bloody bayous. Reign of Terror is open on October 26, 27, 30, and 31. . Official hours are 7pm to 11pm on Saturday, and 7pm to 10pm on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday; however, Reign of Terror may stay open later on busy nights.
Including Reign of Terror will stretch your drive-time to 35 minutes, covering nearly 23 miles. A map showing the complete tour, including Reign of Terror is available on Mapquest and below.
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