At the north end of Lancaster, near the border of Los Angeles and Kern counties, the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds is hosting its Halloween FEARGrounds (or, to give the event full title, the A.V. Fair FEARGrounds). While still in Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley is a bit far from the hallowed haunting grounds of most L.A. haunt-seekers, and the A.V. Fair FEARGrounds is not likely to lure them from familiar territory.
This review is titled “Terror of the Line” not because the line outside the event was terrible (actually, it was reasonable), but rather because the the FEARGround’s single haunted maze consists mainly of waiting in line 8 more times. On the night we attended, visitors (entering in groups larger than I could count accurately) were guided through a series of eight themed-rooms, in each of which the group was held while the costumed actors miledl about. People would push to the front of the nearly single-file cluster, only to realize they were not missing anything and let others move in front of them. With a figuratively captive audience, the opportunity was ripe for the performers to interact; unfortunately, the opportunity went unseized by the cast, whose work would have sufficed in walk though haunt full of jump-scares. However, with a large audience standing around for several minutes, the shock had plenty of time to wear off.
For example, in the medical themed room, as we passed a seeming corpse on a table, the man jolted up, screaming, “Help me!” A nice surprise, but when nothing else happened, we asked, “How can we help?” “I need a doctor!” he shouted. We were in this room so long that an entertaining scene could have been performed, with mad doctors operating on the patient, or the girl in the wheel chair could have tried to kidnap one of us to replace her creepy doll.
Many possibilities like this could have been exploited without any additional financial expense, just a little more effort. We were so disappointed by the maze that we skipped the the FEARGrounds’ other Halloween attraction, a haunted hay ride; the line was quite long, and we felt as if waiting in line was all we had done that night.
AV Feargrounds had the space, the decorations, the costumes, and the performers, but they simply did not use these resources to their full potential. Hopefully, they will realize more of that potential during future Halloweens. For 2015 I’d advise Antelope Valley residents to take the time and drive down to some of many Halloween haunts in Los Angeles.