We are back for another installment of our annual Halloween Haunt Odyssey. This is an article in which we round up all the haunted attractions and Halloween events in Los Angeles that we visit on the night of October 31; predominantly, these tend to be Halloween yard haunts, because many of those tend to be open only on Halloween night. This year's odyssey was small in number but large in quantity, because we toured haunted houses in widely separated geographical areas: the Forest of Mirrors and the Reign of Terror in the West Valley; the House of Restless Spirits and the Eternal Rest Cemetery not far from the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice.
We began with a trip out to Woodland Hills for the Forest of Mirrors, located at 6124 Lederer Ave. This is a very unusual yard haunt; in fact, it is unique - a sort of mirror maze that creates the illusion of a fast forest with forking paths leading to dead ends that seem to go on almost forever. The front yard features a few nice touches, like the illusion of lightening bolts dancing on the front of the house. In the open garage are the phantom figures of a ghostly family; the two children argue with their father, who wants them to scare people. The real fun, however, awaits in the back yard...
You enter down a pathway along the side of the house, and immediately you feel immersed in another world, part magical and part haunting. Fog wafts on the air, illuminated by flickering torches; skeletons and tombstones decorate the area, but only a handful of monsters lurk in the darkness to startle you; instead, the forest itself is the attraction.
When we first heard about Forest of Mirrors last year, we had trouble imaging how it could live up to its reputation, but it does. The mirrors are wrapped in foliage fashioned into arches, giving the impression of passageways to deeper sections of the forest; careful angling prevents you from seeing your own reflection until you are directly in front of the glass.
With its emphasis on illusion and atmosphere rather than shock and surprise, the Forest of Mirrors is an excellent destination for families with trick-or-treaters who want to enjoy a Halloween thrill without being truly terrified. Unfortunately, it is open only on Halloween night, so you will have to wait until next year to experience it - make sure to put it on your must-see list.
Note: According to the haunt's official website, the Forest of Mirrors is set in a house once owned by silent film comedian Buster Keaton.