The Pirates Cave Home Haunt
Hollywood Gothique Says:
2548 E Garfield Avenue
Orange, CA 92867
2021 Update: After switching to a socially distanced stage during the 2020 pandemic, The Pirate Cave resumes its walk-through format this Halloween. Titled “Pirates Cave: Curse of Calico Jack,” this year’s haunt promises to be three times larger than before, requiring over six months of work on new high tech scares. There is also a Kids Candy Haunt on the last two weekends of the month.
Dates: October 16-17, 22-24, 29-31.
Hours: 6:30-10pm Fridays & Saturdays; 6:30-9pm Sundays.
Kids Candy Haunt: 5-6pm on October 22-24, 29-31.
Admission: Free, but a $1 donation is suggested. This year, visitors can reserve a spot in the express queue for quicker entrance, but reservations are not required for general admission.
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The Pirates Cave Home Haunt History
Haunting since the year 2000, The Pirates Cave is the work of the father and son team of Dave & Jacob Larson, who typically present a combination of yard display and walk-through. Dave Larson, who used to building haunted houses in his parents’ garage, explained the origins of Pirates Cave to the OC Weekly:
“I always enjoyed Halloween as a child, and really appreciated those houses that decorated and made it extra special. I want to do that for my community. It’s the only holiday where people will come visit your home and actually walk up to your door. Why not make it something fantastic? It’s also our chance to be Disney Imagineers for a season, which is what my son plans to do some day.”
The pirate theme emerged from a present:
“My wife bought me an old wood pirate steering wheel from the thrift store and we decided to build our own ‘Spooky pirate at the wheel’ prop just like you see at Disneyland. We thought it looked so good, that we decided to explore a pirate themed haunt. It’s a great theme for kids, but can be scary as well. The pirate at the wheel on our roof remains the oldest prop we’ve built. Most everything is built from scratch as Halloween stores don’t have quality props that would fit our theme.”
In 2017 Pirates Cave began accepting sponsorships, which helped raise production values.
“Some of our parents who are big fans recommended that we start taking donations and seek sponsorships. It was an idea I hadn’t considered, but was needed. As the haunt has grown, so has the expenses, work hours, and the number of volunteers needed. Creating a high quality event takes money. My dream is some day to get enough donations that it’s just a matter of volunteering time. But for now what isn’t covered in donations is paid for by my company CreativeCommotion.tv.”
For Halloween 2020, Pirates Cave switched to an outdoor show instead of an indoor maze. Designed for safety during the Covid-19 pandemic, “Origins” was a 6-minute presentation using video, lighting, effects, to portray the haunt’s back story. The cast of six received nightly health checks and maintained social distance from the audience, who were required to wear masks and stand in designated spots.
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