When it comes to Halloween Home Haunts, the city of Burbank is justifiably famous for two elaborate walk-through attractions: The Backwoods Maze and Rotten Apple 907. However, the town's residential side streets glitter with the lights of numerous other Burbank Yard Haunts, many featuring elaborate props, settings, and lighting effects. Last night, Hollywood Gothique went on an epic tour of the area, seeking new discoveries and revisiting old favorites, including Grimwood Hollow, Malice in Wonderland, Spider-Lights, and (the amazing surprise of the night) a tribute to Pirates of the Caribbean. If you wish to follow our trail, read this account of our itinerary, illustrated with extensive photo galleries.
Burbank Yard Haunts: Grimwood Hollow
618 N Sparks Street, Burbank
October 31 6:30-11pm
After relocating from Pasadena, where it was last seen in 2016 as “Wicked Vines," Grimwood Hollow injects new life into the Burbank yard haunt community - as if there weren't already enough yard haunts in the area! Created by the man behind The Haunted Vineyard (an excellent pro haunt that went dark several years ago), Grimwood Hollow uses every trick possible to provide a spooky fairy tale display.
As the story from the proprietors goes:
Where shadows crawl into the night,
and creatures lurk beyond your sight,
where creeping vines take over graves,
and conjured spirits misbehave.
Where pumpkins grin and ravens glare,
and warn to enter if you dare,
for only fools would ever follow,
the crooked path to Grimwood Hollow!
We experienced exactly that sensation as we became immersed in this yard display, filled with webs, pumpkins, a witch with her cauldron, skeletons, neatly designed tombstones, and a guest appearance from the Fillmore Graves Truck!
- Capsule Comment by Warren So
Burbank Yard Haunts: Halloween Music House
3600 W. Clark Avenue, Burbank
Nightly till 10pm and Beyond
This haunted house yard display, which we first encountered two years ago, features numerous gravestones, static skeletons, a ghostly projection on the house, spooky silhouettes in the windows, and funny signage ("Eat Locals"). However, its true distinction is that the lighting is synchronized with Halloween songs, which can be heard through unseen speakers and also over the car stereo by tuning to 99.1. So you can peruse the haunt closeup from the sidewalk or remain in your car. There is also another decorated house a block away, at 3516 Clark Avenue
The speakers turn off around 10pm, but the lights and the broadcast signal continue later, so you can still enjoy the combination of sight and sounds - if you can find a parking space that provides a good vantage of the yard.
Burbank Yard Haunts: Malice in Wonderland
400 N. Catalina Street, Burbank
October 30-31, 7-10pm
This yard display consists of a Mad Hatter's Tea Party, over-sized playing cards, and butterflies with wings like bread slices. Alice looks on from behind a fence, and the Cheshire Cat winks in and out of sight in the window.
Burbank Yard Haunts: Pass Avenue Haunted Yard
1804 N. Pass Avenue, Burbank
This is our first encounter with this creepy yard haunt, which uses low-key lighting and shadows to render a sinister effect from some otherwise benign looking skeletons and smiling Jack O'Lanterns. The centerpiece is a "hollow" tree with a snarling face, which may scare off more than a few trick-or-treaters on Halloween Night.
Burbank Yard Haunts: Spider Lights
800 N. Catalina Street, Burbank
October 30-31, candy till 9pm on Halloween Night
The Spider Lights yard haunt has grown an incredible amount since our last visit a few years ago. Once upon a time, the decor consisted solely of lighted webs and stuffed arachnids. Now there are so many skulls, ghosts, fortune tellers, dancing skeletons, and talking Jack O'Lanterns that the spiders have been reduced almost to guest-starring status in their own haunt.
The result is a spooky wonderland of Halloween fun perfectly suited for young trick-or-treaters. Spider-Lights used to be a value-added stop on the Burbank Halloween tour - a place worth swinging by on your way to or from Rotten Apple 907 of the Backwoods Maze. Now it's a worthy destination in its own right.
Burbank Yard Haunts: Pirates of the Caribbean
1505 N. Valley Street, Burbank
October 30-31, till 11pm...?
A quick impression: Listen carefully for sixty seconds...
Did you hear that? That was the sound of us standing in silent stupefaction upon rounding the corner and seeing this outrageously - almost ridiculously elaborate - yard display. When we heard tell of a tribute to Pirates of the Caribbean, we had imagined a few skeletons with handkerchiefs tied round their heads and some skull-and-crossbones flags. Instead, we encountered what looked like a pirate galleon parked where a house should have been, with a skeleton at the helm, ghost peering down, alligators lurking in a "swamp," and numerous blood-thirsty scalawags posed to recreate memorable images and scenes from the Disney ride and the feature films.
After the initial awe wears off, there's an opportunity to appreciate that this haunt offers much more than a ship facade - it is - filled with cleverly arranged mannequins, props, and decorations. Although there is little in the way of mechanical motion of special effects, it doesn't matter; the entire yard is aflame with creativity. Audio snippets from the ride echo through the night; an animatronic banjo player picks the strings from time to time; red light glints in the cannon barrels as they "fire." The jail cell with three prisoners begging the dog for the key is nicely detailed, and the skeletal prisoner just round the corner offers a brief bit of creepy dread in an otherwise colorful and upbeat event. There are myriad details - small in themselves - which add to the cumulative effect, such as the wooden planks of the roped gangway leading to the ship, where there is a small entryway leading to the captain's cabin (actually the door to the house) with even more decor, not visible from the sidewalk.
In a perfect piece of serendipity, a large stray black cat has apparently decided the galleon is his home. He saunters casually up the gangway, the purple lighting casting an eerie sheen on his sable fur, and turns to stare condescendingly at strangers on the sidewalk admiring his domain. Pity the rat who tries to stowaway aboard this ship!
Halloween yard haunts do not get much better than this.
Other Burbank Yard Haunts
There are many decorated yards to be seen on the way to the above-mentioned destinations, especially on Catalina Street between Malice in Wonderland and Spider-Lights. Here is a sample gallery of some haunts worth viewing.
There are more Burbank yard haunts than we have listed here. If we discover more, we will update this post.
All photos by Warren So.