Halloween 2013: Weekend Recommendations for October 18-20

Heading into the second half of the Halloween season, Hollywood Gothique picks the best haunted houses and other events opening this weekend. Read on…if you dare!

That’s right! Here at Hollywood Gothique, we know where all the best skeletons are buried, and we are only too happy to provide a metaphoric map to help you find these treasures. For the sake of argument, we assume you have adopted our annual Halloween advice and visited the major Halloween Theme Park Attractions early in the season, then followed up with the high-profile Halloween Haunted Houses and Hayrides, and now you are eagerly awaiting the smaller Halloween Yard Haunts, screenings, and tours and excursions opening in the next few days.

Of course, even if you have been keeping pace with this year’s Halloween events, you will probably not have enough time to trek through every cemetery unlocking its tombstones between now and Halloween night. Therefore, we provide you with our recommendations for events opening this weekend.

OUR PICKS
Big Worm’s Camp Sherwood

Sherwood Scare Summer CampLocation: 8856 Encino Avenue, Northridge, CA91325

Website: Click here

This yard haunt made its debut in Halloween 2012 as Big Worm’s Sherwood Scare, whereupon it immediately jumped ot the top of our must-see yard haunts list. Rechristened Camp Sherwood for Halloween 2013, this is much more than a decorated yard; it’s a wonderful walk-through tour of terror, with effects and sets that rival professional productions.

Sherwood Scare’s dates are October 18-20, 25-27 & 31. Hours are 7-10pm, except for Halloween Night, which runs until midnight.

There will be a kid-friendly lights-on version on October 27, from 5:30pm to 7pm

Unlike most yard haunts, Sherwood Scare charges for admission. The $3 donation benefits Big Worm’s Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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The Backwoods Maze

backwoods-maze-2013-wasteland-raiderLocation: 1912 North Pepper Street, Burbank, CA 91505

Facebook page: Click here

After ten years, Burbank’s scariest home haunt can still give Sherwood Scare a run for its money. This Halloween, The Backwoods Maze presents a futuristic, post-apocalypse theme: ” Death Race Rumble, the wasteland’s deadliest auto-combat duel!”

The Backwoods Maze Yard Haunt actually got a jump on competition from other amateur Halloween events by opening last weekend; nevertheless, we are including it in our list of recommendations for this weekend, because it’s just so good that we don’t want you to miss it.

The remaining dates for this season are October 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and 31 from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.

Admission is free, but don’t let that fool you. Even more than Sherwood Scare, the Backwoods Maze offers sets as good as any seen in professional Halloween haunted houses. And those sets are filled with mutant monsters eager to squeeze screams from the lungs of terrified visitors.

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Boney Island

boney island skeleton fortune tellerLocation: 4602 Morse Avenue, Sherman Oaks, CA 91432

Website: Click here

This colorful front yard display has been on our best-of Halloween list for so long that inclusion here is almost obligatory. The Boney Island Magic Carnival is just about the most joyful Halloween event available anywhere in Los Angeles – a safe and spooky, fun-filled experience for the whole family.

Most of the effects and props are low-tech, but they are utilized in imaginative ways, providing dozens of amusing sight gags, such as a talking psychic skeleton who answers your questions personally.

The highlight is a magic light and water show, with black cauldrons providing a synchronized fountain of multi-colored water spouts, timed with Halloween music. The running joke is that Maestro Maxilla (another talking skeleton) prefers the classics (Toccata and Fuge in D Minor, for example) to the bouncier novelty tunes that the cauldrons seem to favor (such as “The Monster Mash” and the theme from “The Munsters”).

This year’s dates are October 19-20, 24-31. Horus are 6-9pm Sunday-Thursday, 6-10pm Friday-Saturda.

The Boney Island Yard Haunt is of course free for all.

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Heritage Haunt

Heritage Haunt 2012 La LloronaLocation: Hart Park, Heritage Junction, 24101 San Fernando Road, Newhall, CA 91322

Website: Click here

Hart Park at Heritage Junction presents the opening weekend of its annual Halloween fundraiser, whose proceeds go to maintaining the historical buildings on the sight. Heritage Haunt had a spotty career for a couple Halloween seasons: it was scaled back in 2010 because of problems with the city permits, and it went on hiatus in 2012, but it returned from the grave in Halloween 2012.

The all-volunteer event is a combination of professional and amateur elements. The delightfully spooky titular attraction (set partially inside an allegedly haunted house) features professional quality sound, lighting, and mechanical effects. Subsidiary attractions are often provided by local home haunters who want to help out the fundraiser. Whatever their origin, the various element combine to create a haunt that is worth the drive out to Newhall.

This weekend, The Heritage Haunt will operate on Friday and Saturday, October 18 & 19, from 6:30pm till 10pm. The haunt will be open the same hours next week on Friday and Saturday, October 25 & 26.

Tickets are $5 for children, $10 for adults, and $15 for a VIP fast pass. There is a general admission discount price of $7 for students, senior citizens, active military, and members of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical society.

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The Afflicted

The Afflicted flier copyLocation: The NoHo Arts Center, 11136 Magnolia Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91601

Website: Click here

The 68 Cent Crew – the company behind the Theatre 68 Haunted House – is at a new venue, the NoHo Arts Center, where instead of their annual walk-through haunt, they will produce a revised version of Leif E. Gantvoort’s clever 2006 play. formerly known as They’re Not Zombies features characters named after the actors who appeared in the original “Night of the Living Dead,” who struggle with the fact that the walking dead do not conform to the expected rules of the genre (perhaps because, as the title suggests, they’re not zombies).

The production runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm, from October 18 through November 16. There will be a special Halloween night performance at 10pm.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

We have not seen this production yet, but we thoroughly enjoyed They’re Not Zombies in 2006 and we trust the 68 Cent Crew to do something special with this revised version.

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OTHER EVENTS OPENING THIS WEEKEND
Horror on Frankel Street

horroronfrankel2013beneathLocation: 2719 Frankel Street, Lakewood, California

Facebook Page: Click here

Lakewood’s very own little backyard haunt returns for another season of Halloween horror. The techniques and props tend to be somewhat simple, but they are put to good effect. This year’s theme is “Beneath: A Portal to the Underworld.” Sounds like fun!

Horror on Frankel Street will be open on October 18, 19 & 31.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted to defray costs. There is a $2 Ghost Pass for those who want to skip ahead to the front of the line.

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Hanover Hall

Hanover Hall 2013Location: 1016 Beechwood Street Camarillo, CA 93010

This Camarillo yard haunt returns for its fourth season of Halloween fun, featuring the “same whimsy and atmosphere as usual, with story scenes of how the house came to be haunted through its history, illustrated by the spirits and jack o’lantern’s within.” In the tradition of classic haunted house tales, Hanover Hall promises atmosphere instead of gore.There are no scare actors, just atmospheric displays of ghosts, goblins, and witches, contained within a small structure to create the enclosed “dark ride” feel of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

Hanover Hall usually operates during the last week of October. We will confirm the exact dates.

Update: Hanover Hall’s Dates for Halloween 2013 are October 18,19, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 7-9pm.

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Haunted Adventure

haunted adventure 2013Location: 1335 Lockheed View Drive, Burbank

Website: Click here

Description: Burbank’s annual community-oriented haunted attraction returns. The Burbank Docents will take unwary visitors through a “very scary haunted house.” No one under six will be admitted, and children under twelve must be accompanied by an adult. There will be no refunds for those who chicken out.

There will be games and face-painting while waiting to take the tour.

The haunt runs Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, 7-9pm.

Tickets are $5 per person.

For more information, call 818-238-5440.

Note: The City ob Burbank offers other community-oriented Halloween events. There will be a free “Tot Halloween Party” for pre-school children on Saturday, October 26 from 10am to 11:30am, and a Halloween Carnival for elementary children on October 31 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Both events at at McCambridge Recreation Center, 1515 North Glenoakds Boulevard. Call 818-238-5378 for more information. Check our calendar for more listings.

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Boo at the Zoo

BooattheZoo2013Location: Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027 Phone: (323) 644-4200

Webpage: Click here

Description: The Los Angeles Zoo brings back their annual Boo at the Zoo event for two weekends this October, promising safe but spooky fun for families with young children. Pumpkin carving, arts and crafts, creepy creatures abound. Visitors are encouraged to wear their wildest costumes and enjoy trick-or-treating throughout the zoo.

Boo at the Zoo will operate on the weekends of October 19-20 and October 26-27. Hours are 10am to 4pm. There will be a member-only preview starting at 8:30 am on October 19 & 27.

All activities are included with the regular zoo admission price. GLAZA members get in free.