You have idled away the Halloween season; your best of intentions have dwindled away to almost nothing, and now you find yourself on October 31 with too little time and too many haunts. You cannot get to all of them on Halloween night, and unfortunately most are not taking advantage of the weekend to stay open an extra day on November 1. What are you going to do? How can you prioritize? Well, it is your great good fortunate that you are reading this article, because we are about to enumerate 2009's must-see Halloween events in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. These are the best Halloween haunts, rides, and mazes - the ones you will regret missing if you do not make the extra effort necessary to enter their murky portals before the witching hour sounds tonight. Be bold and brave, dear traveller, and as you ride through the night, urged on by ghosts and goblins, do not despair of reaching your final destination before dawn, for remember: "the Dead travel fast...."
HALLOWEEN THEME PARK ATTRACTIONS
- Any one of the three on-board maze at Haunted Queen Mary: the shipboard mazes at the Queen Mary are long and ominous - you cannot beat the reality of being in those dimly lit passageways of a real ocean liner.
- Dia De Los Muertos at Knotts Scary Farm: this is an imaginative departure from the usual Halloween haunt themes, not as scary as some but very colorful and entertaining.
- Saw: Game Over at Halloween Horror Nights: even if you are not a fan of the SAW franchise, you will appreciate the multitude of horrifying scenes presented in this gruesome maze.
HALLOWEEN HAUNTED HOUSES
- Creatures of the Corn at Halloween Harvest Festival: the outdoor nature of this trail, which consists of real corn stalks planted in a field, creates an authentic ambiance unlike any other; even when there are no monsters about the ominous rustling of the wind through the corn is more than enough to send a shudder down your spine.
- Los Angeles Haunted Hayride at King Gillette Ranch: a slow tractor pulls you through a variety of horrifying settings (mad scientist, cemetery, backwoods crazies, cornfield, and killer klownz) - it's like fusing half a different themed haunts into one long, scary ride.
- Old Town Haunt in Pasadena: take a trip into the dark catacombs beneath Old Town Pasadena, and encounter the horrors oozing up from the darker depths of Hell - great sets and lots of monsters.
- Reign of Terror in Thousand Oaks: one of the few Halloween haunts that resembles an actual haunted house, this walk-through maze fills its convincing sets with mechanical figures and actors, to great effect.
- Theatre 68 Haunted House in Hollywood: a great immersive experience, very condensed, with little wasted space or empty hallways - just ghosts and ghouls in every room, eagerly awaiting your arrival.
HALLOWEEN YARD HAUNTS
- Burbank Underground at Rotten Apple 907: we haven't seen this year's theme, but Rotten Apple does a good job every year, including a walk-through maze with some fun scares appropriate for a family audience.
- House of Restless Spirits in Santa Monica: a genuinely spooky home haunt with some amazing - one might say, incredible - effects, creating a convincing illusion of supernatural activity, glimpsed in through windows or lurking in shadows.
- House at Haunted Hill in Woodland Hills: a very elaborate combination of decorations and mechanical figures, synchronized with an audio track of music and narration to tell the back story of the haunt.
HALLOWEEN HAUNTS FOR CHILDREN
- Ghost Train at Griffith Park: a fun ride on a miniature train, this is designed with young children in mind - there is nothing jumping out to scare you, just a series of decorated scenes along the tracks.
You can find more fun and scary stuff on our Halloween Haunts page.