Halloween is definitely one of my favourite holidays. I love the idea of the fall season, pumpkin scents, costumes, all the parties, reading horror books, and cuddling up to horror movies.
The one thing I absolutely CANNOT do, though, is anything involving live actors coming after me. I’m a chicken.
The sad thing is that I’m so fascinated by all these things that I wish I had the nerve so that I could experience some of these amazing costumes, sets, and environments. Luckily, for those of us with a love-fear relationship to Halloween, we have some options.
Here are some toned-down ways you can still celebrate Halloween and get into the season!
Reign of Terror Haunted House | http://www.rothauntedhouse.com/
Reign of Terror Haunted House is supposed to be one of the best “fun houses”(?) to go to. This is the first year I had heard of it, so I’m not sure if their location changes, but this year they are located in Thousand Oaks (Ventura County).
This is officially not LA but is a minimum 20 min drive from some parts of LA.
Based on the video walk-throughs – the good part about this experience is that no one gets too in-your-face or follows you around. That’s probably because it’s not necessary – the props and set design look amazing in the darkness. But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because…
There’s a “Lights On” Tour for us big babies.
It’s exactly what it sounds like. The walk-through is available with the lights on. No actors present, no effects will be turned on. It’s basically marketed to children, but I excitedly bought my ticket – no shame.
There are signs inside that you are not allowed to take photos, but the man briefing everyone on the rules said that you can definitely take photos. So, that rule is possibly only for the evening tour.
I can see why this place would be terrifying for me at night alone. I used to do set design in theatre and I felt that the production quality of the sets here was amazing. You’re not supposed to touch anything, but the amazing detail was easy to see in the lights on tour.
Honestly, when it comes to tours that happen in the dark, I would expect the magic to be completely gone once the lights are on, but these guys don’t kid around. Even the smallest details seem realistic – dust, cobwebs, small blood spatters, all the way down to worn brocade wallpaper.
Ghost Train | https://www.facebook.com/laghosttrain/
The Ghost Train is mainly marketed to children as well, but there were also groups of all adults, so don’t feel like you’ll look funny without a child in the group.
It’s a very small train that you sit on – yes, ON, not IN – that takes you on a 20-minute ride passing by various Halloween themed sets. Some themes I recalled riding by were:
- Haunted Dolls
- Little Shop of Horrors
- A Graveyard
- Zombies behind a wire fence
- Evil clowns
There is one part where a doll was just situated a little too close, but it passes so quickly, you won’t have time to notice.
I even got to meet a YouTuber who happened to be in line in front of me. This man was all decked out for his video – but I didn’t get a chance to ask for his channel! If someone knows, please tell me – I think I’d be a huge fan. He won me over just with this costume!
1. Buy your tickets online
We bought our tickets online and our line was 1/3 the size of the regular ticket purchase line. Yet, it still took us an hour to get on the ride.
2. Do not come hungry
Luckily, we ate before arriving, but I didn’t see anywhere to buy food until we were almost to the front of the pre-purchased tickets line. It was then that I saw a concession stand on the regular ticket purchase side. It looked like you would have to wait until you get to the front of the line before you can buy, but you’re better off not finding out the hard way.
3. Go to the bathroom before you show up
All that’s available is a port-a-potty. Yike.
4. Check the parking lot before parking on the street
We saw a few people immediately park behind the last car on the side of the road. We took a chance and drove right up to the parking lot, found a spot right in front of security, and confirmed the lot was free. We were about 30 steps from the end of the short line.
House at Haunted Hill | http://www.houseathauntedhill.com/
House at Haunted Hill is a show that happens at one AMAZING home in Woodland Hills.
It’s a 10-minute show, centring around an unfortunate marriage of a rising Hollywood star to a man who lives in a property haunted by his dead wife and daughter, among many others.
The production value of this one is truly amazing. I don’t know much about the owners, but they’re very good at what they do!
- Come at least 1/2hr earlier than the last show.
- The end time is not the time of the last show, but the time the show closes down.
- Parking is limited because it is a residential area. You may have to park a couple of blocks down.
- Wear flats. You may end up parking on a small hill.
- Bring a flashlight or charge up your phone. It’s a dark residential area.
- Bring a coverup or sweater. It was warm this year, but it may not always be. You’ll be standing right outside someone’s home watching the show from the street.
- Bring cash.
- It’s not mandatory, but I think it’s only fair to donate.
They also will provide directions to another yard display a few blocks down. By LA standards, this is not walkable, so get in your car and drive. Plus, it’s dark, so there’s no sense walking there and back. It’s on the way out. It’s worth a stop!
This is the first year I’ve been able to take part in any Halloween activities that didn’t involve Hollywood clubs or freezing in my costume! As much as I miss those days, I’m so happy to have found these unique experiences that I’m sure I’ll visit again next year.
Til then – Happy Halloween!