It's the final weekend before Halloween, and time is running out! What destinations absolutely must be on your to-do list? We're here to tell you!
It's the same old story: you have squandered the preceding six weeks, and now you are desperately deciding which seasonal shows, experiences, and haunted houses to visit in the time remaining. The Hollywood Gothique staff (including Marie Deloups and Warren So) is here to separate the bats from the belfry, selecting the very best that Halloween 2019 has to offer - in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas.
To do this, we are going to emphasize Halloween events that are new or that we have not heralded before. Unless otherwise noted, these are attractions we have visited this season; we may include one or two based on past reputation, but for the most part, you can find long-standing favorites on our Best Halloween Attractions in L.A. page.
So, without further preamble...
2019 Los Angeles Halloween Recommendations: Must-See Events
In this section we will discuss haunts that are new or that we have encountered this season for the first time. They will be listed in alphabetical order.
It's a real shame this amazing interactive play is off the beaten path in Whittier, where it is not getting the attention it deserves, because we cannot remember another Halloween event that was so emotionally satisfying - ever. Give Up The Ghost casts its audience as dead souls who must make moral decisions about whether to bestow mercy or seek justice from the living - participants truly influence the action instead of being led by the nose, and the result is profound and cathartic, even uplifting. The result is for the most part not particularly frightening, but it is ethereal and spooky. Tickets are $80. Use the discount code GOTHIQUE to get $20 off.
House Of Spirits: A Haunted Cocktail Soirée
Halloween Immersive Experience
2218 S. Harvard Boulevard, Los Angeles 90016
October 25-27, 29-31; November 1-2
6:30pm & 9pm (plus 11:30 on Fridays, Saturdays & Halloween)
In our review, we called House of Spirits an "astounding, one-of-a-kind Halloween experience that satisfies on every level." We were not exaggerating. Though set in the wonderfully atmospheric Beckett Mansion in the West Adams district of Los Angeles, House of Spirits is not a haunted house but rather an immersive experience disguised as a cocktail party. There are open bars serving creepy cocktails, live music, and performances. You can interact with your hosts on the ground floor, go upstairs to encounter strange creatures from a demented artist's imagination brought to life, or descend into the basement for a pair of ominous encounters with the forces of darkness. It's two hours your will never forget, and it will leave you wanting even more. For ages 21 and over.
This entry is a little bit of a cheat in the sense that Murder House Productions is not "new." The home haunt has been around for several years; however, its presentation for Halloween 2019, Wendigo, is new - and it is absolutely amazing. Using the limited space inside a garage, Murder House somehow turns Wendigo into what seems like an outdoor adventure, with incredibly detailed and convincing settings, populated by some fabulous creatures. Seriously, this is professional-quality work. Come early so you have time to go through again and savor all the details.
If I had to choose the one family-friendly Halloween event this season, it would have to be Pumpkin Nights in Pomona. Pumpkin Nights is fully suitable for all ages, no matter where you go - meaning there's no beer garden or designated drinking area for adults only. Vendors are set up just like the L.A. County Fair - as long as you are the appropriate age, then you can purchase an adult beverage. The best part? Pumpkin Nights is open nightly from October 10th to November 3rd, which makes it easy to visit, especially after work. For the max ticket of $20, you can spend 2 to 4 hours there depending on how long it takes you to get through the “interactive” experience of each section. - Recommended by Warren So
The 13th Gate Asylum: Unforeseen
Professional Haunted House Maze
1975 Lockwood Street
Oxnard, CA 93036
October 25-26, 30-31
7-11pm except Saturdays: 7pm-midnight
Lights-on version October 27 only, noon to 4pm
The 13th Gate Asylum had been on hiatus for years before making a comeback last Halloween. We missed that resurrection, but this year we made sure to finally visit the asylum for the first time. Set up inside an empty warehouse in Oxnard, 13th Gate is a textbook example of using basic resources to brilliant effect. Except for a great facade, the settings are mostly functional, but it doesn't matter because the performers use the dimly lit black corridors to terrify you more than you could possibly imagine. Darkness allows the creatures to creep up on you (literally "unforeseen"), and they have no respect for personal boundaries, surrounding you, invading your personal space, and generally inducing pulse-pounding hypertension. We have seen a lot of great haunts over the years, but seldom if ever have we encountered one so genuinely frightening.
Located in San Jose, the Winchester Mystery House is obviously way outside of our usual jurisdiction, but their new Halloween presentation, Unhinged, is so amazing that we just have to mention it. Described as an "immersive experience," Unhinged turns the historical mansion into the most extensive haunted house walk-through ever, lasting sixty-five minutes! The immersive elements come in the form of interaction with the venue's supernatural inhabitants and a loose story line that incorporates your guided tour into tale of mysterious disappearances that have been plaguing the house. Rather than rely solely on jump-scares (there are a few), Unhinged presents a series of vignettes in which you encounter communicative spirits who have suffered the same fate about to befall you: the house has absorbed them like Jack Torrance at the end of Kubrick's The Shining! If you can get to San Jose, you should see this.
2019 Los Angeles Halloween Recommendations: Upcoming Horrors
Below are events that have yet to open this season, so we recommend them based on past performance. Generally, we have praised these haunts before, but we are making an effort to highlight ones that have been slightly overshadowed by more famous competitors. Entries are in alphabetical order.
Drama After Dark: A Night of the Macabre with Poe and Gorey
Halloween Theatrical Performance
Portico's Art Space
2033 E Washington Boulevard, Pasadena, 91104
November 2, 6-11pm
Pasadena, CA 91104
Drama After Dark consists of approximately a dozen performances, mostly one-person shows consisting of dramatic readings of works by the two author's mentioned in the event's title. The presentation depends mostly on the skill of its costumed actors, enhanced only by the atmosphere of their surroundings. That may not sound like much, but the intensity of the performances brings the stories to life with breath-taking tension. The event is usually staged on the grounds of the Huntington Gardens, so it will be interesting to see how the show adapts to its new surroundings. Read last year's review here.
We first encountered Forbidden Woods Cemetery last Halloween, so it is not an old favorite, but it did make a strong first impression. The impressive walk through encompasses a decorated garage and a yard (hidden from the sidewalk by a wall). The fog-bound path is well decorated and haunted by several ghosts and creatures; most impressive is the atmospheric lighting, which fully immerses visitors in the cemetery's strange world, making the short walk seem longer than it is. (Forbidden Woods Cemetery operates only on October 30 and Halloween Night, so we have not seen this year's version, which is supposed to be expanded from last year.)
Unfortunately, The Haunted Shack's location puts it out of our reach most years, so we have not sung its praises as often as we should. On the the rare occasions when we have been able to get down to Torrance, we have always enjoyed its imaginative walk-through, which incorporates some clever scare tactics and pro-quality effects. Haunted Shack went on hiatus last Halloween, so we're hope to celebrate its return this year.
This Halloween, Pumkin Jack's Haunted House will take us back to Michael Myers' childhood home in a presentation inspired by John Carpenter's Halloween (1978). Pumkin Jack's has been a favorite of ours since we first encountered it, but we have perhaps not extolled its virtues as much as we should. In any case, it is a virtual must-see this year, because Halloween 2019 may be its last. The haunt hopes to turn pro, but if not, it will retire. Don't miss this last chance (assuming the nearby Santa Clarita fire is under control).
Haunting their home since 2016, Terror Tricked Productions offered a short walk-through last Halloween (about a minute long) that made good use of a small space. 2019's presentation, titled Lunar Terror, will add a story line to the strobe light effects and scare actors. - Recommended by Marie Deloups
West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval
Halloween Popup Costume Party
Santa Monica Boulevard
Between Doheny & La Cienaga
West Hollywood, CA 90069
October 31 , 6-11pm (and beyond…?)
Not just the best in LA, but the best in the world, Over five hundred thousand people in costume for you to see and to show of your own costume to. Park's not great but it's worth the walk. If you're going to be here definitely do some trick-or-treating in Beverly Hills, and check out the nearby spooky Spadena Witch Cottage as well. It's very centrally located so unless you like somewhere like Simi Valley or Antelope Valley, it's worth the drive. - Recommended by Marie Deloups
2019 Los Angeles Halloween Recommendations: Old Favorites
We may have praised them many times before, but that is no reason to overlook the old favorites. One in particular is having a great season, which warrants special recognition. We'll hand the microphone over to Warren for his run-down of Halloween's favorite ghost town haunt.
It’s crunch time for the avid Haunt-Goer. Time + Energy + Money is always a factor when making decisions. So where should you go if, for example, you have only $45 to spend and one night to spare?
If I may be candid, as a once broke college student who was always ever so deeply in love with Halloween, I had to take into account those very factors of limited time, energy, and no money. Therefore, if you had asked me this very question, my answer would have been and remains today: Knott’s Scary Farm! Depending on the night you attend, you should be able to get a coupon from one of Knott’s Scary Farm’s fast food partners, work discount, or student discount, which should get the price down to $45, give or take. So my math back in the day still coincides with today: $45 divided by 9 mazes = $5 a maze! Not a bad deal, especially if you factor in the rides and shows. Not too long ago, we inputted analytics such to get a “Cost-To-Benefit” ratio for what you get for each dollar spent. (Yes we were like the Golden State Warriors when it came to analytics but for Haunt stuffs). So basically, if you get in for $45 and end up doing the 9 mazes, 12 rides, and 3 shows, then it could potentially run you $1.88 per attraction. Worth It! - Recommended by Warren So
Other old favorites worth revisiting include:
- All Saints Lunatic Asylum
- Beware the Dark Realm
- Haunt with No Name Yet
- House at Haunted Hill
- The Haunt at Hellizondo
- Reign of Terror Haunted House
- Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest
- Rotten Apple 907
- Urban Death: Tour of Terror