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Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey 2023: Burbank & Toluca Lake

Hollywood Gothique’s annual odyssey encompasses dozens of 2023’s Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts: Bel Air Manor, Burbank Clown House, Circus of Nightmares, Hamilton Halloween, The Haunted Storage Yard, Holiday Fantasies’ Classic Monsters, Holiday Magic Home’s Haunted Mansion, Marcia’s Attic, Pirates of Lima, and a few in Toluca Lake for good measure.

Having devoted installments of our Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey to the West Valley, Inland Empire, and Northwest County, we now turn our attention to 2023’s Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts. In that direction, our travels took us to a land of scary fairy tales, more than one nightmare circus of clowns, a haunted mansion, a haunted storage yard, a realm of classic monsters, and a ghostly galleon haunted by skeletal pirates.

Through most of these haunting locations were found in Burbank, two or three others reside in Toluca Lake. As always we are defining neighborhoods according to Mapping L.A., which we find to be the most useful source for making sort of L.A.’s patchwork of ill-defined neighborhoods.

Note: Although this edition of the Halloween Yard Haunt Odyssey is posting after October 31, we are writing it in present tense, because that is the standard style we use for this topic.

Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts 2023

There are more Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts than you can count, and many of them have appeared in our previous Halloween Yard Haunt Odysseys. As with our 2023 West Valley Yard Haunt Odyssey, our present goal is to highlight yard haunts that were new, overlooked, or revised, so some of our long-time favorites may be missing. You can always find those on our Halloween Home Haunts page.

Bel Aire Manor
814 N Bel Aire Drive, Burbank
October 8-31, 6-10pm

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We first visited this Bel Aire Manor last Halloween, when it depicted a spooky swamp. This year imaginative display is completely different, featuring demented depictions of classic fairy tales (The Three Evil Pigs, Jack and the Bloody Beanstalk, etc). The decorations are static, but the setup includes nice home-made set pieces (the Gingerbread House, the brick house of the third pig) and some remarkably over the top, such as the sight of the unfortunate Jack, impaled on the bean stalk high overhead.

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Across the street from Bel Aire Manor is The Dead and Breakfast Inn, which has added a decoration or two since last year.

Buena Vista Street Haunts
Witches & Werewolves Halloween Party
831 North Buena Vista Street, Burbank

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The Buena Vista Haunt has been drawing trick-or-treaters to Buena Vista Street in Burbank for several years, but we have high-lighted it a couple times in the past, so for this year’s odyssey, we veered over to a couple of Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts a few blocks south. We do not know what (if any) is the official name for the first of these, so for lack of anything else we are calling the display at 831 Buena Vista Street Witches & Werewolves Halloween Party, because it contains two witches, two werewolves, and a table decked out as if prepping for a Halloween party. It packs a lot into a relatively small space. Tucked between the werewolves howling on the right and the witch floating on the left, another old crone stands beside a boiling green cauldron next to gravestones, skeletons, and a table set up to carve and decorate Jack O’ Lanterns. More decorations are visible on the porch, but the yard display is the real star – quite eye-catching as you drive north toward Buena Vista Haunt.

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On the other side of the street and up the block is another unnamed yard display at 1420 Buena Vista Street. The unidentified yard haunt inspired us to label it The Haunted Mansion Before Christmas, because it consists of two simple elements, which you can guess from name we bestowed upon it. Worth a drive-by as you travel north from Witches & Werewolves to the Buena Vista Haunt at 2038 N Buena Vista Street (seen below).

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Burbank Clown House
715 N Ontario Street, Burbank
Oct. 18-31, 7-10pm

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Longtime readers know we have ambivalent feelings about carnival-themed Halloween haunts: as a concept, we think clowns are overused, but in spite of our misgivings we often find ourselves enjoying them much more than expected. Burbank Clown House is a great example of a yard haunt that forces us to admit it is quite good.

More than a yard display, the home haunt uses tents, lights, posters, and rooftop decorations to obscure the house, creating the visual impression of a circus occupying the entire property – there is even what looks like a giant Ferris Wheel, which seems to be looming from behind the house. The result looks huge and imposing when viewed from across the street.

Up close, behind the fence separating the yard from the sidewalk, the display is brought to life by the many animatronic figures. In addition, one or two live actors may be seen lurking the background, occasionally sneaking up on guests distracted by the mechanical clowns; fortunately for the easily frightened, the live clowns remain on their side of the fence, at least when it is not October 31.

Overall, Burbank Clown House is quite an eyeful.

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Across the street from Burbank Clown House is a cute display shown above. It’s just some inflatables, but there is a clever arrangement of a tooth Jack O’ Lantern gobbling ghosts a la Pacman.

Circus of Nightmares
113 S Brighton Street, Burbank
October 9 – November 3, 7-10pm

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Hell must have frozen over because we are not about to praise two circus-themed Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts in a row. Circus of Nightmares, like Burbank Clown House, is loaded with sets, decorations, lights, and animatronic figures which make it seem as elaborate as a pro attraction.

Circus of Nightmares has two main differences from its clownish competitor down the road:

  1. Instead of building upward, Circus of Nightmares is spread out laterally. (Technically, there is a mechanical monkey on the roof clanging cymbals together, but this circus is not as tall and imposing as the Clown House.) Walking down the sidewalk, you reach the end of the yard, but the circus continues as if there is an extra sideshow with even more crazy carnival antics.
  2. The live actors do not remain politely inside the yard. They freely roam the sidewalk, alternately sneaking up on cowardly victims and posing for pictures with those brave enough to stand close to them.

Between Circus of Nightmares and Burbank Clown House, it is hard to decide which is better, but both are great, and it is only a five-minute drive between them, so there is no reason not to see both.

Adjacent to Circus of Nightmares
Down the street from Circus of Nightmares

A ew houses down the street from Circus of Nightmares we passed a yard featuring some cute inflatable characters from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Clark Avenue Yard Haunts
3416-3600 W. Clark Avenue, Burbank

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Clark Avenue in Burbank has been one of our annual stops since we first encountered what we like to call Clark’s Halloween Music House in 2016 (the official name has been variously listed as Clark Does Halloween Too! and Clark’s Winter Wonderland for Halloween, apparently because the house is primarily known for its Christmas presentation). Located at 3600 W. Clark Avenue, the yard display remains consistent – decorations illuminated by lights timed with spooky songs played through loudspeakers and also listenable on your car stereo – but little bits and pieces are swapped in and out from year to year.

There are a few more decorated yards in the vicinity. Two are within easy walking distance; the third is a short drive away.

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Just one block east of the music house, the yard at 3420 Clark Avenue features creepy clowns.

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Next door at  3416 Clark Avenue is a display that depicts a more traditional cemetery theme.

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Though not on Clark Avenue, this Burbank yard haunt is only a couple minutes away at 840 North Valley Street. Skeletons hang on the fence bordering the sidewalk; a scarecrow menaces anyone coming up the driveway, and an exterminator in a hazmat suit faces off with a giant spider hanging from a web.

Hamilton Halloween
4209 W. Jacaranda Avenue, Burbank
October 9 – November 3, 6am-12am

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Hamilton Halloween is an example of a a yard haunt benefiting from being a large house situated on a corner lot, which provides plenty of room for lights and decorations. In fact, it looks rather similar to Lilly Hall but with skeletons in addition to Jack O’ Lanterns. The static display features items you have probably seen elsewhere, but the display’s large “canvas” allows for a pretty magnificent landscape painting, so to speak.

The oblique angle of the turn from Toluca Place onto Jacaranda Avenue affords an interesting opportunity for a cool moving camera shot showing off the size and scale of the haunt in a way that photographs cannot duplicate. This really is a display that looks impressive as you drive by it, but we suggesting stopping for a closer look, especially because there is something else to see across the street…

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We are calling the unidentified yard haunt at 4220 Jacaranda Black Widow Cemetery because it features a giant black widow spider suspended over a cemetery. The ground level decorations, gravestones and skeletons, are nice but standard issue; it is the giant arachnids hanging from the trees that make this one stand out.

Haunted Storage Yard
3203 N. San Fernando Boulevard, Burbank
October 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-31, 7-9pm Sun-Wed-Thur.. 10pm Fri-Sat.

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The Haunted Storage Yard is so spectacular that we are embarrassed about never having highlighted it before. Technically, it is not a home haunt; it really is situated in a storage yard. Nevertheless, it is a home-grown sort of attraction, free and open to the public every October.

The layout of the spacious location creates a sort of linear, walkthrough display, starting at the entrance gate and moving along the driveway past storage units (mostly obscured by sets and decorations). It begins with a funeral processions of skeletons transporting a coffin, leads past Jack O’ Lanterns and gravestones, and winds up near a cemetery gate with a horse-drawn hearse. Packed into the cemetery, are some hard-rocking animatronic skeletons blasting music into the night.

Every few steps along the way take you past another motion-triggered effect, so there is always something springing to life, flapping its wings, or uttering a curse. There is also at least one live monster lurking in a carefully hidden spot, ready to attack while your attention is focused on one of the moving mechanical figures.

As is increasingly common these days, much of the display consists of store-bought props that might show up at other haunts. Fortunately, the clever arrangement of so many items creates a vivid, memorable impression, pushing it toward the top of our list of favorite Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts.

Holiday Fantasies: Classic Monsters
1505 N Valley Street, Burbank
October 1-31, 6:30-10:30pm

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Often in the past have we bestowed praise upon the various iterations of Holiday Fantasies Come to Life, but this year is easily our favorite to date. The yard display changes theme every season, but in the past it has usually focused on characters culled from Disney and Dreamworks, creating a Halloween fantasy land rather than a horror show. This year, however, it has branded itself as Classic Monsters, and it is filled with vampires, werewolves, and mummies.

The familiar castle facade, now inhabited by Count Dracula instead of a Disney princess, is bathed in eerie red light. A gargoyle surmounts the entrance gate. Frankenstein’s monster and a caged werewolf stand amidst the flashing lights and tubing of a mad scientist’s laboratory. Among the full-sized figures and gravestones in the yard, there is a miniature world of mummified cats and monsters that rewards the close scrutiny of your camera’s zoom lens.

To be clear, this is all pretty benign; nothing is as intimidating as the live Headless Horseman seen in 2021. The low-key lighting scheme eschews the bright and beautiful colors seen in previous years, but it creates a more seasonally appropriate atmosphere, perfect for Halloween.

Holiday Magic Home: The Haunted Mansion
1821 Bonita Avenue, Burbank
October 1-31, 6:15-10pm

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Holiday Magic Home offers this affectionate tribute to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride. Most of the familiar characters (Madame Leota, the hitchhiking trio) are depicted on painted flats, but there is an inflatable organist on the roof; an animatronic caretaker guards the front gate; and a trio of singing statuettes performs the famous “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”

Located on the same street is another yard haunt which trends toward a family-friendly level of spookiness…

Marcia’s Attic
1901 Bonita Avenue, Burbank
October 7, 8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-31, 7-10pm

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The street numbers suggest that Marcia’s Attic should be about a block away from Holiday Magic Home: The Haunted Mansion, but in fact the two yard haunts are next door to each other. The house is draped in spiderwebs and dangling ghosts, but most prominent are the inflatable figures in the yard, including a skeletal unicorn that lends a distinctly kid-friendly flavor to the presentation. Chucky is also present, but his bodily proportions (including an oversized head) give him an infantile appearance that does not seem particularly malevolent, especially when posed in front of a friendly ghost holding a “boo!” sign.

Pirates of Lima Street
1226 N Lima Street, Burbank
Oct. 1-31, 6-10pm

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Pirates of Lima Street seems to be a joint effort between two adjacent properties, with half a pirate’s galleon on the left side of the driveway and the other half on the right. Or maybe it is two pirate galleons locked in battle. Either way, the combination of the two yards adds up to something big, with a one-eyed skeleton captain wielding a cutlass and various other skeletal pirates manning the wheel, firing a canon, or guarding a treasure chest. One even sits atop the chimney, simulating a crow’s nest. Besides the pirate ship(s), we enjoyed the set pieces (a sign for Willow’s Wharf, a ramshackle shack attached to a short pier) which help create a sense of the world where these ghost pirates reside.


Toluca Lake Yard Haunts 2023

While exploring 2023’s Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts we diverted into Toluca Lake to revisit some old favorites. In the process we stumbled upon a fairly large yard haunt we had not seen before, and we are pretty sure it is new because it was across the street from one we saw last year. (Note: One or two of the haunts below may list their neighborhood as North Hollywood, but Mapping L.A. puts them in Toluca Lake.)

Rotting Hill Cemetery
4848 Sancola Avenue, Toluca Lake
October 13 – November 4, 7-10pm weekdays, 7-11pm weekends

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We have featured Rotting Hill Cemetery in several previous Yard Haunt Odysseys, but the proprietor informed us that additional jokes had been added to the comedy patter between the ghosts haunting the home, so we swung by more to hear new punchlines than see new decorations. As always, the recorded show was good for a few laughs, and the physical and lighting effects synched with the dialogue were great to watch.

Driving to Rotting Hill took us past two other yard haunts, both on Camarillo…

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At 10559 Camarillo Street is something we like to call Nightmare on Camarillo Street, which we visited last year. Except for maybe one or two new decorations, it remains much the same: a nice, small display featuring Jack and Zero from Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The decorations (including pumpkins, skulls, and tombstones) are nicely arranged, making this worth a drive-by on the way to the bigger display across the street.

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At 10418 Camarillo is a large display we have not seen before, Zombie Area. Since we have not seen an official listing for this one, we are not sure that is its name, but there is a prominent sign on the front gate bearing those words. Despite the warning sign, the static figures on the grounds are skeletons rather than zombies. Some are arranged in menacing poses (in a barrel of toxic waste). Others are more comical (such as one checking under the hood of a classic muscle car). Providing a little life to the otherwise static display, eerie lights float over the front of the house, taking the form of bats, cats, skulls, and Jack O’ Lanterns.

Zombie Area‘s location adds to the atmosphere, with trees and foliage that somewhat obscure the yard from a distance, creating a isolated feel, as if the black, wrought iron gate were surrounding a secluded cemetery. Behind it, the yard is large enough to accommodate many decorations, and the house with its peaked roof could pass for haunted in the dark of night, especially with the spooky light show playing on its surface.


Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts 2023: Conclusion

So, those are the Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts we found worth highlighting this year, along with a few from nearby Toluca Lake. As we said above, our goal was not to be exhaustive but rather to shine a spotlight on worthy efforts that we had overlooked or underpraised in the past or that had changed in some way that made them worth revisiting. We will be back next Halloween to look at new yard haunts and revisit old favorites, and we will make a point of focusing on those that we could not squeeze in this year.

Burbank Halloween Yard Haunts (& Toluca Lake) 2023 Photo Gallery


Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.