Halloween Haunt Itineraries are self-guided tours of haunted attractions that are conveniently located in one area. With map or a GPS, you can easily hit all of them in one night and save gasoline in the process. Fortuitously, we find that our 2013 itinerary for Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks remains relevant for Halloween 2014, with only minor tweaking. This journey into Ventura County encompasses several haunted houses, both professional and amateur; some are merely spooky yard displays while others involve terrifying mazes.
We have laid the course out to optimize distance and travel time, but you may pick and choose as you wish. Keep an eye on your automobile's dashboard clock, however, for not all of these haunts have the same hours.
A. Mourning Rose Manor at 5250 Aurelia Street in 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 and on November 1, from dusk until 11pm every night. Free.
B. The Haunt at Helizondo at 2134 Elizondo Avenue Simi Valley, CA 93065.
This elaborate yard haunt, loaded with custom-made props and decorations, tends to modify its theme every year or two; however. Halloween 2014 offers a re-run of 2013’s The Witches of Scabtree Hollow. Be prepared for burned witches, dead pilgrims, and the Grim Reaper.
Hollywood Gothique made the long trip out to Hellizondo a few years ago, just before closing time on Halloween Night. It was worth the drive. The short walk-through (situated in the front yard) was haunted by monsters of various shapes and sizes, some cleverly hidden to yield a better surprise scare.
Helizondo Haunt will be open on October 30 and 31 from 6:30pm until 10pm.
C. Butler's Estate at 3040 Moonstone Avenue, Simi Valley, CA 93065.
Formerly Butler's Zombie Estate, this yard haunt will be invaded by aliens for Halloween 2014. Hollywood Gothique has never visited, but the proprietor informs us that the haunt features a short, scary walk-through (perhaps two-minutes), with animatornics and actors. Butler's 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 see 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 Thousand Oaks.
D. The Reign of Terror Haunted House at 197 North Moorpark Roadin Thousand Oaks (in the Janns Marketplace).
Our pick for the Best Professional Haunted House Walk-Through of Halloween 2013 is wrapping up its 15th anniversary. Thought a single maze, The Reign of Terror Haunted House consists of several distinct sections, effectively combining five separate haunts into a single attraction: a spooky Victorian mansion, The Asylum, Blood Manor, Miner’s Revenge, and Quarantine.
Reign of Terror was always notable for its production design, which evoked memories of Disney’s Haunted Mansion while relying mostly on mannequins and mechanical effects to provide the scares. More recently, the haunt has upped the ante, offering more scare-actors aggressively intimidated guests, yielding a much more intensely frightening experience.
Remaining dates for Reign of Terror are October 30, 31, and November 1. Hours are 7pm to 10pm on Halloween Night and Saturday. Click here for the website.
E. Via Del Lago Haunt in Newbury Park
We recently heard of a nifty home haunt on Via Del Lago in Newbury Park (not far from the Reign of Terror Haunted House). This apparently unnamed haunt (which we are calling Via Del Lago Haunt until we learn otherwise) may or may not feature a walk through maze, but the yard decorations are up for viewing every night.
We do not have an exact address, but Via Del Lago is a small cul-de-sac in in the Dos Vientos area of Newbury Park, so the house should not be hard to find.
Thanks to William Greca for sending us this photograph.
Including Reign of Terror and the Via Del Lago Haunt will stretch your drive-time to 45 minutes, covering nearly 31 miles.
A map showing the complete tour, including Reign of Terror is available on Mapquest and embedded below. Destinations are marked A for Mourning Rose Manor; B for the Haunt at Hellizondo; C for Butler's Estate; D for Reign of Terror; and E for the Via Del Lago Haunt.