Halloween Haunt Odyssey 2018: Santa Clarita (updated)

Last Night, Hollywood Gothique launched the final weekend of Halloween 2018 by visiting a quartet of thrilling Santa Clarita yard haunts. All of them are open again tonight - and some only tonight. Move this area to the top of your priority list.

Note: Sharp-eye readers will note that most of these "Santa Clarita" yard haunts are located in Valencia; Valencia is a neighborhood in the city of Santa Clarita.

Update: This post has been updated to include Clown Town and Pumkin Jack's Haunted House, which Hollywood Gothique did not visit until Halloween Night.

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Santa Clarita 2018 Yard Haunts: Beware the Dark Realm
28621 Sugar Pine Way, Santa Clarita
October 27, 7-10pm
bewarethedarkrealm.com

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This has been a favorite of ours since we first visited a few years ago. Amazingly, it manages to improve every year while sticking with its haunted castle theme. The sets make you feel immersed inside the Dark Realm, haunted by witches, demons, and even a dragon. The low-light hides numerous strange things, so you never feel safe, but when you do get a good look at the environment, it as convincing as any pro haunt.

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Clown Town
25302 Via Palacio, Valencia 91355

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Clown Town is a neat yard display themed - you've guessed it - with Clowns! The home haunt is situated on a corner, so the owners were able to use the angle to create a perspective that looks like a large carnival. When we approached, we were able to take photos of several clown props, including one animatronic that slides and crawls on the ground.  But beware, one of these clowns may be a real life "animatronic!"

-Capsule comment by Warren So

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Santa Clarita Yard Haunts
Club Fear: Nightmares
23501 Clearidge Drive, Valencia
October 27-28, 31, 7-10pm

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This walk-through (pictured at top) benefits from house bathed in eerie light that raises anticipation before you even enter the walk-through. Once inside, you encounter professional-quality layout, with several cleverly staged scares. The maze is not that long, but it feels packed to the rafters - very impressive.

Santa Clarita Yard Haunts: Coffinwood Cemetery
27159 Waterford Drive, Valencia
October 27 & 31, 7-10pm

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This moody yard display, a sort of old western cemetery with giant spiders infesting the house, includes a small walk-through element in the garage. The layout through the front yard is new, and a lighted entrance sign has been added since last we visited. Scares are supposed to be more intense on Saturday and Halloween Night. Even without the scares, the display is worth seeing.

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Santa Clarita Yard Haunts: Pumkin Jack's Haunted House
28603 Natalie Lane, Santa Clarita
facebook.com/pumkinjackshauntedhouse

On Halloween Night 2018, Pumkin Jack once again delivered a commercial quality haunt in a private residence. The facade provided a replica of Will Byer's house from Stranger ThingsHalloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios had a “Stranger Things” maze this year, but that was a major Halloween theme park - a home haunt should not be able to do this, right? Well thanks to the proprietors, who are well versed in construction and in theatre arts and lighting, they were able to make the magic happen.

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The maze started off with the door of Byer's house. The first jump scare used the Halloween Horror Nights approach: a sudden flash of strobe and sound. We met several characters from the show, such as Steve Harrington wielding a bat and Joyce Myers hacking away at the wall to get her son back. Yes, even the Demongorgon was lurking around while we tried to find our way through. The sets and soundtrack were captivating:  while music such as The Clash's “Should I Stay or Should I Go” and the “Stranger Things” theme played in the background, it felt as if we were walking on the actual sets - through the hallway, into Byer's room, and then into the infamous “Alphabet Wall” living room. The final set featured a bathroom with a sink and mirror; by the time we realized it was Will Byer's bathroom, a scare actor popped out at us. After we exited the maze, Pumkin Jack gave us one last scare outside, using their signature grand finale - find out what that is next season, if you haven't been. We momentarily forgot that this was a home haunt. Professional haunts and theme park haunts may need to make a trip to Santa Clarita next Halloween to see the competition.

-Capsule comment by Warren So

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Santa Clarita Yard Haunts: Shiver
26154 Montolla Lane, Valencia
October 27 & 31, 8-10pm

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This home haunt has been around for a couple of years, but it's in a new location for Halloween 2018. There is a display in the front yard, but the highlight is the walk-through in the back yard, which squeezes an amazing number of effects and scares into a fairly limited space. There is a nice laser-light "swamp" scene and some crazy clowns, along with a demon or two. Out front, the "lady" of the house has "babies with rabies" in a stroller, and she is eager to hit up potential males with a paternity suit.

Note: In addition to the haunts listed here, Pumkin Jack's Haunted House (28603 Natalie Lane, Santa Clarita) will be open on Saturday and Halloween Night. Add it to your list.


Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.