Great haunts we'll miss this year - but you shouldn't: Mourning Rose Manor, Haunt at Hellizondo, Haunted Shack Revenge of the Ninja
Hollywood Gothique will not be able to visit Simi Valley or Torrance this Halloween, so we will not be reviewing any haunted attractions in those areas. However, there is a quartet of attractions that we want to recommend to you, based on the consistently high-quality they have displayed over the years. If you live close to either city or can make the drive out, you will be happy trick-or-treaters indeed.
Mourning Rose Manor offers an elaborate yard display somewhat in the spirit of The Haunt with No Name Yet, which is to say the tombstones and mannequins combine to provide an otherworldly sense of a strange Halloween landscape, evoking shivers rather than shrieks. It's all quite beautifully arranged and worth the long drive, especially because it is situated conveniently close to the Hellizondo Haunt.
Mourning Rose usually stays open until 11pm, but with possible rain, all bets are off. Arrive early if you can.
This impressive haunt, situated on a corner home, offers a combination of yard display and walk through, with buildings erected in the driveway to simulate the Salem-like village of Scabtree Hollow. The yard leads to a mini-maze with several well hidden jump-scares. The lighting in this one is quite beautiful. Find out more.
Note: There are half a dozen other home haunts near Hellizondo, centered around 1318 Fuller Street, Simi Valley 93065. Individually, they may not match Mourning Rose Manor and the Hellizondo Haunt, but their cumulative effect is stunning (according to our correspondent Marie Desloups, who wrote about them last year).
Situated in an innocuous-looking neighborhood, The Haunted Shack provides a surprising dose of Halloween horror. The walk-through maze changes from year to year, but it's always filled with clever gags and surprises, making it worth repeated return visits. If you're too scared to go inside, you can watch victims on a monitor - and push a button to spring a scare on them. Find out more.
The Way of the Shadow Martial Arts Academy a ninja-themed maze a few nights at the end of October, but the real fun happens on Halloween Night when the maze is augmented by a block party. It's a fun community event, with lots of activities for kids and teens. The vengeful ninja haunting the maze are probably too frightening for the youngest trick-or-treaters, but they can play ring toss or bowling for skulls while you foolishly face off with the black clad assassins from beyond the grave. Find out more.
Note: There is a Pirates Bay Yard Display at 24211 Park Street in Torrance, but we have never seen it fully operational (the lights were shut off by the time we reached it last Halloween). Hours are 6:30pm to 11pm.