Halloween Haunt Odyssey 2018: Orange County (updated)

On Sunday October 28th, we embarked upon our annual Halloween Odyssey of Orange County yard haunts. Each year, there is an increasing number of outstanding home haunts and boutique commercial haunts that make the trip worthwhile. Though we can be creatures of habit, revisiting the same destinations, there is an influx of wonderful new home haunts that are deserving of our attention. Which begs the question: How does one choose? It's darn near impossible. Below are the ones we visited. Come along if you dare...

Note: This post has been updated with entries for Twisted Dreams and Mystic Motel.

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Orange County Yard Haunts
Ferris Haunt: The Haunted Forest (walk-through)
5332 Christal Ave, 92845 Garden Grove
Halloween Night 6:30-9:30pm
facebook.com/ferrishaunt

Ferris Haunt is back! After a 2 year hiatus from walk-throughs and doing only yard displays, the haunt owner is back building with full-steam ahead. This year's theme is: The Haunted Forest. The owner was nice enough to give Hollywood Gothique an exclusive preview tour and walk-through. The haunt has an impressive graveyard filled with enough fog to give Knott's a run for their money: gives a whole meaning to “see you in the fog” because we actually couldn't see each other in the fog that early evening. The graveyard has tons of ambient lighting and ravens, and when it gets dark you can see two large cat's eyes. To the right of the foggy cemetery display is the entrance to the forest. Equipped with tons of ivy and low ceiling in certain parts; it gives you the illusion that you are ducking greenery inside a forest.

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After making it through the first pathway, we approached a shack with an ox head skeleton atop the doorway. We entered and encountered a skeleton who was researcher investigating weird anomalies in the forest. Our guess was he wasn't successful. We exited the shack then went through a cave with a skull at the top of the arches. It was extremely foggy and spooky as we evaded skeletons in robes and braved the green swamp only to be met by a giant 7 foot tall werewolf in the end! If this was just a preview, we can only wonder how creepy will the full on scare with live actors be on Halloween night?

[FULL DISCLOSURE: The Ferris Haunt features original music written exclusively for the haunt by King WarLok - a pseudonym for the author of this post. You can stream and download the song here.]

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Orange County Yard Haunts
Haunt on Hibiscus (display)
718 Hibiscus Way, Placentia, CA
Halloween Night 6-10pm
facebook.com/hauntonhibiscus718

Our first time at this extravagant yard display. This yard display is actually a 2-fer. There are 2 distinct sides. On the left, the theme is: “Victims of the Salem Witchcraft Trials 1692”. On the right, “The Hollows”, which was a neat pumpkin display. There is also a sign on the sidewalk instructing cars to tune their radios to a certain frequency to hear the audio and lightshow synced with the display. This was definitely worth a stop on your haunt tour as it offers an extravagant display in a quiet neighborhood with plenty of parking. If that's not enough reason: they played Michael Jackson's “Thriller”!

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Orange County Yard Haunts
Perdition Home: Death Cult (walk-through)
5181 Manor View Dr, Yorba Linda, California 92886
October 25131, 7-10pm
facebook.com/perditionhome

From the moment we pulled up, we noticed Perdition's maze protruding near the sidewalk. The exterior was an impressive build; looking more like an extension of the house than an actual set or prop from a maze. Death Cult was extremely graphic and gorey, it takes the scare factor to a whole new level especially since the scare actors play the roles of the most notorious serial killers in America. With each room you enter, there's no telling who you will run into. This list looks like this: The Night Stalker, Ed Gein, John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, and Charles Manson. We didn't know what was scarier: seeing their names written in presumably their victim's blood on the walls which indicated it is their room OR seeing the actors re-enact the murders while portraying the killers to the best of their ability. This was a great idea: create a haunt with multiple rooms and throw all the most notorious and infamous serial killers in their and let them play. It was literally an exhibition of death. But be warned, this maze is not for the meek and mild. We had to go through twice to fully grasp the experience. By the way, on top of the serial killers, you gotta watch out for random scare actors.

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Orange County Yard Haunts
Pirates Cave
2548 E Garfield Ave, Orange, CA 92867
October 27-28 & Halloween Night
piratescavehaunt.com

Our first time visiting this home haunt. The owner said he has worked on this for 19 years, they started out small and eventually got bigger. The exterior has a neat yard display of pirate's belongings, skeletons and treasures. We enter and were taken into a room with a skeleton animatronic coming out of a treasure chest. He warned us about the treasure and if we fail we may end up like him and his crew. The mouth and eyes were synced and moved as he spoke. After his speech, the lights go off and thunder rumbles before we were met with a couple of live scare actors. We proceeded into a pathway which really was an actual bridge. Through the fog, the only guiding light was a green overhead light which created an eerie-swampy feeling. After making it across the bridge, we end up in a cave with impressive skeleton props, set pieces glowing, and with a couple of scare actors. A voice echoes from behind saying “press the button.” There was a large treasure chest in front of us with a red button. We pressed it and then a 3D animated woman ghost appears with an eerie hymm in the background. Then all a sudden, she gets replaced by a male skeleton that looked freshly decayed. Then POP! Out comes a corpse from that very same chest with a button. As if that weren't enough, a GIANT crab animatronic with huge claws appears out of nowhere from the wall and attacked us while we get sprayed with water. A scare actor then opens a door which was not there before, so we can exit the cave. On the way out, we were met with a few more scare actors. We were very pleasantly surprised with the amount of animatronics and the unexpected interaction that we partook in by pressing the button. The crab animatronic reminds us of the Shark that's inside The Depths maze at Knott's Scary Farm. We highly recommend this on your route as well.

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Orange County Yard Haunts
Haunted Mansion Haunt
28322 Millwood Rd, Trabuco Canyon, California 92679
Through November 1, 7-10pm
facebook.com/HauntedMansionHaunt

We saved this one for last because of the nostalgia factor. After hanging it up for 3 years, HMH decided to do a Michael Jordan and come out of retirement. Though we never officially covered this haunt, we've been there on a couple of occasions back when it was an annual event. The owner decided to put on a walk-through for the love of the game, and we were glad he did.

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The maze needs no introduction. It is essential the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland but only the walktnrough version. This home haunt also serves as a nice yard display when not in use for a walkthrough. The Haunted Mansion pillars were there, the pet cemetery was there, the singing busts singing “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, Madam Leota, the Hatbox ghost, the grandfather clock, the stretchy elevator room and of course the Ghost Host. Though it was a little simpler than previous years, we thoroughly enjoyed this haunt and it was the perfect way to end the night. It is also one of the few to open after Halloween so we definitely recommend this. Did we mention that Madam Leota actually speaks and the Ghost Host can be heard narrating as soon as you approach the haunt?

While you are here, you can hit Mystic Motel which is also open on November 1st. Its the only dark ride that we know of that's housed inside the garage of a private residence. Yes you read that right! It is open 7 to 10PM located on Lewiston Ct in Ladera Ranch, CA. [See update below.]

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UPDATE: 10/31/18: Last night, we were in the area and popped into The Twisted Dreams Haunt.

Orange County Yard Haunts
The Twisted Dreams Haunt: The Great Sierra Western
5815 Panama Dr, Buena Park, California 90620
October 26-27, 30131, 7:30pm-midnight
$5 Donation
twisteddreamsproduction.com

The Twisted Dreams Haunt was a first time walk-through for us as we were recently made aware of them through social media channels. Their theme this year is called “The Great Sierra Western” or GSW. On their site, the synopsis is as follows:

“The GSW is a farming supply train known to have housed a range of exotic animals & antiquities. Through the collaboration of many law enforcement agencies, they have found connections within a few dozen missing cases. With cases & reports increasing, it looks like The Conductor, and his crew have returned for more onslaught!”

We experienced exactly that. The once prominent and family friendly GSW and its inhabitants has turned into one giant demented torture chamber. It seemed like no matter where we walked; there was blood, gore, and a pop-up scare actor. For someone that is seeking something a bit more intense than a supernatural themed haunted house, this would be the place. While not reliant on animatronics, this home maze has plenty of high quality props of machines, weapons, cadavers, body parts that look realistic. TDG: GSW uses plenty old school scare tactics with distractions and with real live actors popping out. While L.A. seemed to lack a haunt that is catered to a non-sensitive audience; O.C. has two: The Twisted Dreams Haunt and Perdition Home.

 

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UPDATE: 11/2/18: Last night, we took advantage of Mystic Motel's post-Halloween schedule.

Orange County 2018 Yard Haunts
Mystic Motel
36 Lewiston Ct., Ladera Ranch 92694
Facebook.com/MysticMotel

Mystic Motel is unique among yard haunts - or, in this case, garage haunts - in that it features a funhouse-style ride, sending tiny, single-occupancy cars on a ninety-second tour through the basement of an abandoned, haunted motel. The tour began by taking guests into the "motel" (actually the house), past an unattended reception desk, and into a rundown diner, where some angry customers chased us out. The escape route led to a rather unreliable elevator, which took us to the basement, where the ride is located.

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Halloween 2018 featured a spectacular visual addition outside: a light show depicting the emergency venting of radioactive steam, complete with blaring warning sirens. The star of Mystic Motel remained the ride itself, which added a turn or two, revealing new horrors, including a meat locker packed with ribs. There is just something so incredible about going on an actual ride, in self-propelled carts, inside a suburban garage - it's almost a surreal experience, made more so by the convincing recreation of a fun house, with eerie black light illuminating displays and pop scares that were scary in a fun way appropriate for the Halloween season.

-Capsule Comment by Steve Biodrowski

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Update: 11/13/18: One last Orange County home haunt...

Orange County Yard Haunts: Hull House
6688 San Alano Cir, Buena Park 90620

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Hull House boasted a neat yard display with a haunted cemetery theme, teamed with other Halloween decorations. It was a good little pit stop if one were making the journey to other haunts in the area.

Orange County Yard Haunts Conclusion

Overall, we had a successful Haunt Odyssey, although we would have liked to visit even more Orange County yard haunts. A couple on our wish-list were Casa Creepy in San Clemente and Pageant of the Monsters in Laguna Beach: both were open but not quite close enough or late enough for us to reach them on time. Nonetheless, we left satisfied that Orange County has reached a level where it can compete with the most extravagant Los Angeles Halloween Home Haunts.

All photos by Warren So


Warren

I am a Professional Networker, Business Owner, Musician, Producer, Composer, Songwriter, and Connectionaire.