Just got back from a long drive south to visit the Shoreline Village Haunted House in Long Beach and the Huntington Haunt Experience in Huntington Beach. Both are enjoyable in very different ways - non-profit fund-raising efforts that aim to please and to help their community. The Shoreline Village Haunt is the Halloween equivalent of a good garage band - not much technical polish but an awful lot of engaging, youthful enthusiasm. The experience should be even more fun this weekend, when the haunted house is augmented by other Halloween events in Shoreline Village: trick-or-treating, costume contest, magic show, and a show called "Dead Wedding."
The Huntington Haunt is a more elaborate effort - a mix of traditional jump-scares, interactive narrative, and puzzle-solving, somewhat along the line of Delusion or Evil Twin Studios' Ward 13. It's partly set in the Newland House Museum, but most of the overtly scary stuff takes place on the grounds around the house - understandably so, because generally haunters are not allowed to carve up the walls of historical monuments in order to rig special effects. Still, the house adds some authentic atmosphere, providing a subtle spooky prologue before you head into the exterior maze. The result is a must-see Halloween experience - one of the best this season, and easily worth the trip down to Orange County.
We'll post more on both as soon as we find time.