Van Oaks Cemetery: Low-Key Old-Fashioned Atmosphere
Hollywood Gothique Says:
This low-key yard haunt features old-school Halloween atmosphere, with creepy tombstones, spectral lighting, atmospheric sound, and a window haunted by a silent, ethereal ghost. Van Oaks Cemetery gives the sombre impression of an old, venerable graveyard slowly falling into disrepair, its cracked tombstones tilting among the evenly mowed lawn as if an unseen caretaker has not quite given up the ghost, even though the glory days of this final resting place are clearly fading into a forgotten past, its dim recollection sustained only by the spirits interred within its grounds.
5822 Norwich Avenue
Sherman Oaks, CA 91411
2019 Dates: October 20-31; November 1-2. Typically, decorations are up by mid-October, with full lighting and effects the last week of the month.
Check out the Van Oaks Cemetery Archive:
- Halloween Odyssey 2018: Sherman Oaks (updated)
- Halloween Home Haunt Odyssey 2017: Sherman Oaks Scares
- Halloween Haunt Odyssey 2016: Farms, Séances & Cemeteries in the Valley
- Halloween 2014: Yard Haunts Open Nightly! Updated
- Halloween 2013 - October 28-29: Haunted Attractions open during the post-weekend lull
Van Oaks Cemetery Halloween Yard Haunt Overview
This nifty little Halloween yard haunt, which started in 2011, eschews crude shocks; you will see neither blood nor chainsaw, only atmosphere. The display consists of tombstones (many adorned with the names of the fictional "Van Oaks" family), static skeletons, ominous but subtle music, and a couple of nice effects, including a phantom figure that periodically passes through a front window – pretty impressive for an amateur effort.
The Van Oaks Cemetery may be a a little too low-key for those who prefer shocks, but we enjoy the subtle shivers. A shovel embedded in earth moves by an unseen hand. An aging radio, left beside the grave marked Vera, mysteriously crackles to life, playing songs from the lifetime of the grave's occupant, such as 1939's "Well Meet Again" (made famous, appropriately enough, by Vera Lynn). Don't let any of this distract you from the haunted window - one of the best spectral manifestations you will see at any Halloween attraction, amateur or professional.
Van Oaks Cemetery Halloween Yard Haunt: Nearby Haunts
The neighborhoods around Van Oaks Cemetery are prime hunting grounds for Halloween fans. Many of the side streets that cross Hatteras, running parallel to Norwich Avenue, have decorated houses, especially Willis Avenue between Hatteras and Collins. One of the most visible home haunts is two blocks west of Norwich, on the corner of Hatteras Street, at 5758 Burnet Avenue; after visiting Van Oaks Cemetery, it is worth swinging by this one, which features a large display of static props on the yard and in front of the house (photos here). Slightly farther away and to the east, on Saloma Avenue north of Martha Street, is the Spooky Saloma Block Party, a series of home haunts, also worth checking out. The Spooky Saloma yard haunts are listed here.