This year includes visits to several highly recommended yard haunts: House of Horrors in Lake Balboa, Enfield’s Lost World in Reseda, House at Haunted Hill in Woodland Hills, Haunt at Hellizondo in Canoga Park, Hillhurst Haunted Circus and Halloween Rocks in West Hills, Community Creep in Northridge, and Ravenswood Manor and Haunted Groundz in Granada Hills.
The West Valley, including Lake Balboa, Reseda, and other neighborhoods, is home to many great yard displays. Due to a scheduling snafu last year, we did not make it out to the West Valley. For Halloween 2023, we are trying to make up for that mistake by visiting as many home haunts in the area as possible. All of them are enjoyable in one way or another, but the ones worth a special trip all on their own have been designated as “Recommended” in the listing below.
Note: This article has been extensively update since initial publication.
West Valley Yard Haunts 2023: Northridge
We launched our West Valley Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey in Northridge, which turned out to be a very auspicious beginning.
Community Creep: Mini Golf & Arcade
17643 Community St, Northridge
Open through October 29, 6-11pm
When we first visited Community Creep, back during the 2020 pandemic lockdown, it was a nice display, featuring the facade of a rickety haunted house populated with skeletal figures. What a difference three years makes! There is still an eye-catching display out front, but Community Creep is now presents itself as a miniature golf course and arcade. The spacious front yard has been turned into an outdoor walkthrough, along the lines of what Boney Island did back when it was a home haunt. There are no skeletons telling bad jokes, but there are animatronic figures that spring to life when you approach, and there is so much to see that it feels a bit like a real miniature golf course.
You enter though an arch of skulls, which first brings you to a tend with (static) skeletons: a witch, a blackjack dealer, a saxophonist. Outside there is an inflatable golf course, skeleton dinosaurs, and an undead power trio pumping out seasonal rock-and-roll. It ends with another tent providing the arcade section, where a whiny clown offers you a balloon and an invader from Mars Attacks blasts his ray gun at you.
There were no live actors when we attended, but even so, Community Creep is much more than just another yard display. A few of the animatronic figures might frighten the very youngest trick-or-treaters; otherwise, it is great fun for the whole family.
9208 Aldea Avenue, Northridge
Open through November 3, 11am-11pm
Ghoulish Delights offers a wide yard with brick posts and wrought iron fence, which feel like cemetery gate, decorated with signs referencing the Overlook Hotel, Camp Crystal Lake, and the Sanderson Witch Museum. Inside the gate are giant skeletons, an oversized Jack Skellington, an animatronic witch floating overhead, and a dangerous demon or two. Most of the figures are static, but there are lights, sounds, and motion that bring it to life, and the ample space gives the display a large-scale feel.
Steam Town Gotham
Open through October 31, 6-10pm
18717 Schoenborn Street, Northridge
We have posted about Steam Town Gotham in the past, but our last visit in 2019 was ill-timed, taking place just before twilight. The sets were impressive, but they look much better at night beneath the ominous glow of the red, green, and purple lights. Although essentially a yard display, there is a short walkthrough, where you will meet Catwoman Selina Kyle (a mannequin).
Grim Reaper’s Harvest
17513 Lorne Street, Northridge
Located midway between Community Creep and Wolff’s Den in Lake Balboa, this interesting little yard display is, as far as we know, unnamed and unlisted, but it is worth checking out if you are doing your own Halloween Home Haunt Odyssey. There are several different types of decorations on display, but we called this one “Grim Reaper’s Harvest” because we assumed the skeletal pirates, cowboys, and other characters had been harvested by the giant Grim Reaper Skeleton guarding the skull-encrusted archway entrance at the front gate.
From what we saw during our visit, the driveway seems to be set up as a short walkthrough for trick-or-treaters to obtain candy on Halloween Night. But beware: it is guarded by a large animatronic clown who no doubt springs to life when approached.
Other 2023 Northridge-area Yard Haunts
So Cal Haunts List has an entry for Coffin Cemetery, which is open Halloween Night only from 5-9pm. The address is 17260 Rayen Street in Northridge, which puts it about a mile northeast of Community Creep as the crow flies; unfortunately, the weird layout of streets means it’s a two-mile roundabout drive to get there.
West Valley Yard Haunts 2023: Reseda & Lake Balboa
Just south of Northridge are the neighborhoods of Reseda and Lake Balboa, where we visited a couple of yard haunts we had not seen before.
Enfield’s Lost World
6455 Enfield Avenue, Reseda
Open through October 31, 7-10pm
Endfield’s Lost World is a video show running every twenty minutes. An electrified fence stands between you and the entrance to Jurassic Park, but fence’s bars are torn asunder. A warning buzzer pulses, and sparks flash from the broken bars. Heavy footballs rumble, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex strides into view, looking hungrily in your direction and emitting a terrifying roar…
The runtime is short, but the digital projection of the T-Rex is pretty amazing (there is also a triceratops). You’re reaction is less like to be “Is that all?” than “Wow – that was awesome!” If you make this your first stop on your own Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey, it will be hard for those that follow to live up to it.
Mum’s the Word
6466 Enfield Avenue, Reseda
Across the street and a few houses down from Endfield’s Lost World, this cute yard display sits on a corner lot, featuring mummified bodies. Simple but eye-catching, it is not worth making a special trip, but it is worth checking out after watching the T-Rex escape.
House of Horrors walkthrough
6938 Whitaker Ave, Lake Balboa
October 27-31, 7-10pm (closed October 28 due to Santa Ana winds)
House of Horrors is an old-school home haunt, thrown together with hanging tarp to create a labyrinth in the front yard, but its interior is loaded with animatronic figures that give it a somewhat professional feel, and the actors throw themselves into their roles with gusto. The walkthrough benefits from that local vibe you get when visitors from the surrounding neighborhood are there for a good time and not quite sure what they are getting into – i.e., they are not jaded snobs wondering “Is this as good as Rotten Apple 907?” So the screams and plentiful and infectious, making this worth a visit while you are in Lake Balboa.
17556 Stagg Street, Lake Balboa
Open through October 31, 6-10pm
Its name may conjure images of a werewolf clan, but Wolff’s Den is actually an eclectic mix of Halloween themes: giant skeletons, pirates, Dia de Los Muertos, skeletal banjo players dueling with a couple of Death Rockers, along with Jack and Sally from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.
What most distinguishes the yard display is the side of the property on which it sits, allowing from for a multitude of decorations. With flashing lights on the rooftop, and projects ghosts, cats, bats, and Jack O’ Lanterns on the wall, the place is lit up like a Vegas casino at night, and it looks great from across the street, where you can take in the whole vista at once.
Located a couple miles north of Endfield’s Lost World and just east of the border into Lake Balboa, Wolff’s Den is definitely worth a visit if you are heading toward the Northridge yard haunts listed above. If instead you want to head a little a little father east, you can check out Welcome Foolish Mortals at 7132 Forbes Avenue in Lake Balboa, a yard displays fashioned after Disney’s Haunted Mansion. It looks much as it did the last time we visited but with the addition of some ghostly dancers in the driveway. Decorations remain up through November 6; lights are on 7pm to 11pm.
West Valley 2023 Home Haunts: Canoga Park & West Hills
Canoga Park and West Hills are situated at the far western side of the San Fernando Valley; the latter borders Ventura County. This far out, the home haunts are more thinly spaced, but at least two of them are must-see events worth the drive.
Haunt at Hellizondo
21024 Arminta Street, Canoga Park
Open through October 31, 7-10pm (no scare actors on October 30)
Since its days in Simi Valley, The Haunt at Hellizondo has been scaring trick-or-treaters for over a decade with its combination yard display and walkthrough, but this year they have turned the amplifier up to eleven. Their strategy has always relied on drop panels and sudden appearances from unexpected hiding places, but the layout of this year’s maze (a walkthrough an old west saloon) uses short corridors and sharp angles to provide even more opportunities for frights, which the actors ruthlessly exploit. You can barely take two steps before another jump scare hits, and there are some clever double-team moments when one character distracts with a scare, and before you can recover your wits, a second character strikes. There are also one or two hide-in-plain sight scares delivered by characters you simply don’t see because your eyes cannot detect them in the darkness until they move.
This year’s theme, Hope’s Edge Cemetery, is well represented in the yard display, which establishes the old west ghost town motif before you enter the maze. The interior recycles some props from Hellizondo’s prohibition speakeasy haunt, but the skeletal bartender feels right at home in this western saloon. Except for a couple of deliberately dark areas, the sets are beautifully lit, so it’s worth seeing on October 30’s no-actors evening if you have kids too timid for the full-scare version.
Only a couple blocks south of Hellizondo is Krampus Encounter at 21001 Lanark Street. Unfortunately, the Santa Ana winds closed them down on the night we visited Canoga Park, but they are scheduled to be open on Halloween Night, 7-10pm.
Hillhurst Haunted Circus
October 31, 7-10pm
24218 Hillhurst Drive, West Hills 91307
Hillhurst Haunted Circus is so much expanded and improved since last time we visited that we included it among our recommendations of Halloween events to enjoy during the final days of October, so we won’t repeat our lavish praise here. We have, however, added more photographs.
8381 Maynard Avenue, West Hills
Open through October 31, 6:30-9:30pm
Maynard Manard puts on a light-and-music show with blinking gravestones and spiders synched to music you can hear over your car radio. After the 9:30 shutoff time, the lights remain on for viewing. The colors here are truly beautiful, and there is plenty to see even when the music is off, such as the infinity window on the side of the Maynard Tomb, filled with bones that seem to go on forever (like the Tardis, the tomb seems bigger on the inside).
Maynard Manor is located on a cul-de-sac with three other decorated homes, two next door and one on the corner. Probably none of these is worth a trip on its own, but they serve as really nice value-added bonus items after you watch the Maynard Manor show.
The largest display is the one directly adjacent to Maynard Manor at 8380 Maynard Avenue, which features oversized skeletal figures (including a T-Rex), a pumpkin-headed scarecrow, inflatables, and a skeleton bathing in a barrel of toxic waste.
One door over at 8374 Maynard the Halloween decorations continue two large inflatable figures, a Dragon and a Ghost, surrounded by glowing Jack O’ Lanterns and gravestones. It’s not much on its own, but it looks almost like an extension of the neighboring house, turning the end of the cul-de-sac into a wide swath of haunted territory.
On the corner of Schoenborn Street is 8345 Maynard Avenue, where Mickey Mouse and friendly ghosts rub shoulders with some more sinister characters. There are bones sticking out of the lawn, decorations on the house, and a figure dangling from the street sign, but the main attractions are the seven large inflatables aligned along the curving sidewalk. They prominent enough to serve as a landmark when searching for Maynard Manor, but they are worth a look in their own right while you’re in the neighborhood.
West Valley 2023 Home Haunts: Tarzana & Woodland Hills
The neighborhoods of Tarzana and Woodland Hills are home to a couple of our longtime favorite yard haunts. While revisiting them, we made a point of checking out a few that have flown under our radar in the past.
Halloween Rocks! – DIY Light Guy Shows
6034 El Canon Ave, Woodland Hills
Open through October 31, 7-10:30pm
Who doesn’t like a Halloween light-and-sound show with glitzy illumination flashing through the night sky in time with spooky hit songs you can hear over your car stereo? We certainly do, which is why we are glad we finally got to Halloween Rocks, which really takes the familiar formula the extra mile. Along with the now obligatory giant skeletons, the house and its yard are drenched in color from glittering patterns on the windows, flashing illumination on the walls, and rows and arches of pulsing light on the lawn and the sidewalk.
Up close, it would be impossible to take all this in, but the long, low house is on a wide-open lot, affording an excellent view from across the street, unobstructed by trees or foliage. From this vantage point, you can behold the colorful spectacle as a whole – all the more vivid when its bright hues are painted against the dark sky in the background.
After listening to “Ghostbusters,” “Thriller,” or “The Monster Mash,” you can walk across the street for a closer look at the individual decorations: skeletal pallbearers, gravestones for Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbosa, and skull-faced musicians on either side of a cone of lights topped by a flapping bat. Occasionally, an oversized werewolf howls at the moon, and a dragon roars, his smoky breath billowing down from the roof.
Now in its third year, Halloween Rocks is definitely worth checking out.
Lost Souls Orphanage
23631 Kiruna Place, Woodland Hills
Open through October 31, 7-10pm
As you can guess from its name, Lost Souls Orphanage is a yard display themed around creepy children. Animatronic figures ride swings, see-saws, and merry-go-rounds in the yard while eerie phantoms float in the house windows behind them. The path to the front door, with its Jack O’ Lanterns and giant skeleton, and marginally more inviting to trick-or-treaters – it’s enjoyable spooky rather than creepy. We imagine local residents will enjoy this one, but we would not recommend making a special trip just for this; bundle it with some other haunts you want to see in the area.
5963 Vista de la Luz, Woodland Hills
Open through October 31, 6-11pm
Spooky Estates is a small yard display in a ritzy neighborhood where the private security is likely to cruise by, keeping an eye out to make sure you’re really just checking out the decorations, not casing the joint for a burglary. Along with the familiar sight of oversized skeletons, there are a couple of novel decorations: a large grab with eyes that twist back and forth on the end of long stalks and a trick-or-treating T-Rex dressed as a pirate. Worth a drive-by if you’re in the area.
The House at Haunted Hill
4400 Saltillo Street, Woodland Hills
Open through October 31, 7-9pm
House at Haunted Hill has been a favorite of ours since 2006, but we have not seen it since it went on hiatus during the 2020 pandemic. There have been a few changes. Most notably, the schedule was expanded, with the show running nightly since October 10. Apparently, this has thinned out crowds, making it much easier to find parking and get a good vantage point to view all the effects.
Because the show itself is locked to a prerecorded narration, the story and the timing of the effects remains the same, but the effects sometimes undergo enhancements. Perhaps it is just a trick of memory, but we do not remember the climactic ghost in the cemetery floating quite so close to the audience – almost overhead. Maybe last time we were at the back of a crowd instead of pushing up to the cemetery gate, but in any case our perception of the event was completely different, and the impact of the effect was more amazing than ever.
The Haunt With No Name…Yet
19351 Hatteras Street, Tarzana
Open through October 31, 6:30-10pm
On our way to House at Haunted Hill, we stopped by another old favorite, The Haunt with No Name Yet. Most of the Celtic gravestones were familiar, and by this point the ghost cat and the phantom floating inside the tomb are like old friends. We do not recall a Jack O’ Lantern-headed figure inside another tomb, but it’s been a few years since our last visit, so perhaps this is not new. In any case, this display has an ethereal mystique all its own. It’s the sort of place we would visit year round if the opportunity were there. Maybe the owners should spin it off into a café or a bar.
West Valley 2023 Home Haunts: Granada Hills
Granada Hills is a bit far north to be considered in the “West Valley,” but for our purposes anything west of the 405 qualifies.
10929 Ruffner Avenue, Granada Hills
Open through October 31, 6:30-10pm
We were quite impressed by our first visit to Ravenswood Manor, which presents a great little show in the front yard, using digital projection enhanced with billowing smoke to simulate a fiery climax.
There is a set simulating a chapel, which serves equally well for marriages and funerals – which is appropriate, since the story is about a wedding ruined by the intervention of hostile spirits, but after much pain and suffering, and under the watchful eyes of ravens, everything eventually turns out all right.
A few houses down from Ravenswood Manor is another decorated yard at 10952 Ruffner Avenue. Nothing spectacular but worth a look after you see the show at Ravenswood.
Kanwal’s Haunted Haven
17019 Rinaldi St., Granada Hills
October 7-9, 13-15, 20-22, 27-31, 7-10pm
A small yard display, Kanwal’s Haunted Haven is located a mile north of Ravenswood Manor, on busy Rinaldi Street. It is worth a drive-by on your way up to Haunted Groundz.
Granada Hills Haunt
11151 Bertrand Ave, Granada Hills
October 20, 21, 27, 28, 31, 7-10pm
A couple miles west of Ravenswood and Kamal’s Haunted Haven, the Granada Hills Haunt was closed the night we were in the neighborhood. Its yard display looked as if the decorations had been hard hit by the Santa Ana winds (the giant animatronic witch floating over the fence was wearing her hat on her face). Hopefully they can get this put back together for Halloween Night.
Haunted Groundz-Interactive Shooting Gallery
13243 Mission Tierra Way, Granada Hills
October 28-31, 6-10pm
Haunted Groundz‘s interactive shooting gallery returns for its second year. More a mini-show than a yard displays, Haunted Groundz has always been notable for its elaborate effects, including mechanical characters whose faces would unexpectedly emerge from a brick post in the fence. Combined with digital projection, these effects would be coordinated into a short show, timed to music and dialogue. That approach has been expanded into a shooting gallery, with a talking raven and a court jester trading comedic chops before they invite you to pick up a pistol and test your aim. The recorded dialogue runs in a cycle, offering roughly five minutes of shooting fun. Now, if you hit a target, it triggers those hidden faces to emerge, so be sure to get your aim straight. The haunt proprietor, somewhat of a tech expert, can always be seen tweaking details and ensuring things work so that the local community can enjoy this unique yard haunt. – report by Warren So
West Valley 2023 Home Haunts: Conclusion
Haunted Groundz is about as far north as you can go before leaving the San Fernando Valley, so it will probably be your last stop on your northbound Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey, unless you head up into the Northwest County region, seeking haunts in neighborhoods of Santa Clarita and Castaic.
On the other hand, westbound haunt-seekers may proceed from Canoga Park and West Hills into Ventura’s County, which we have not visited this year (our last yard Haunt Odyssey in that direction took place during the 2020 pandemic). Nevertheless, Ventura does contain several interesting yard haunts, such as Mourning Rose Manor in Simi Valley, which you can find in the Southern California Haunts list. Maybe next year.