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Find Haunted Houses in California including Halloween haunted houses, haunted hayrides, corn mazes, Screamparks, Haunted Hotels, ghost tours and much more. California features some of the scariest haunted houses and even real haunted houses in America. Use our directory to find a haunted house near you!
 
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Fear Overload - San Francisco Bay, California
House of Blackbeard - Vallejo, California
Cemetarium Haunted House - Orangevale, California
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Castle of the Dead - Salinas, California
 
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Haunted House in San Diego California - Best and Scariest Haunted Hotel
Find the best and scariest haunted house in San Diego California the Haunted Hotel a real haunted attraction rated one of the best in America.  Hauntworld.com rates and reviews this legendary CA haunted House.
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California Haunted House - Universal Studios Horror Nights House of Horrors
California Haunted House - Universal Studios Horror Nights House of Horrors is a year around haunted house located inside of Universal Studios, Hollywood.  Hauntworld Magazine will take you deep inside one of the best year around haunted houses in America.
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California Haunted House, Los Angeles Disney Haunted Mansion Live Experience
California Haunted House, Disney's Live Haunte Mansion experiece reviewed by Hauntworld Magazine.  Disney's Haunted Mansion is an iconic ride but now take a trip through the live experience.  
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Knotts Scary Farm Haunted House in Los Angeles California
California Haunted House Knotts Scary Farm is one of if not the biggest haunted attraction in America.  Knotts Scary Farm features over 15 haunted attractions, hundreds of monsters and much more.  Read a complete article by HauntWorld Magazine.
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Haunted Houses in the San Francisco Bay Area in California
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Cemetarium Haunted House in Citrus Heights CA, near Sacramento CA
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HAUNTED HOUSES IN CALIFORNIA
 
 
 
 
The 17th Door in Tustin, California - 64357 Views  
The 17th Door is Orange County's most intense and most terrifying haunted house! Behind its 17 doors is an interactive experience more innovative and shocking than anything that's been tried before. F... [Read more]

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 13 Reviews
3 Youtube Videos
8 Photos
 
 
Pirates of Emerson in Pleasanton, California - 36427 Views  
Located in Pleasanton, California Pirates of Emerson features SEVEN haunted attractions in one location - for one price! Join us for our 20th season of scares! Click this profile for videos, photos, d... [Read more]

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 1 Reviews
5 Youtube Videos
5 Photos
 
 
The Haunted Hotel in San Diego, California - 18932 Views  
Located in San Diego, California The Haunted Hotel is a multi room haunted house based on that years scariest movies. Click on this profile for videos, photos, directions and more.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
1 Youtube Videos
4 Photos
 
 
Reign Of Terror in Thousand Oaks, California - 18577 Views  
ROT has been recognized for the quality and attention to details throughout. New for 2013, we present "Quarantine". The fifth and newest section guests will experience with the same low general admiss... [Read more]

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4 Youtube Videos
13 Photos
 
 
Cemetarium Haunted House in Citrus Heights, California - 15276 Views  
Cemetarium Haunted House & Psycho Circus 2015! Journey through the frightful tour of Cemetarium Haunted House! A house of 5 rooms with nightmares in between. You must venture through each nightmare... [Read more]

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10 Youtube Videos
47 Photos
 
 
Forest of Lost Souls in el dorado hills, California - 14916 Views  
Forest Of Lost Souls has been recognized and voted as one of Northern Ca, top Scariest Haunted House / Home Haunts.

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4 Youtube Videos
53 Photos
 
 
Cursi House of Screams in Concord, California - 8361 Views  
Dr Satan and Dr DeCay DDS have some open chairs waiting for you........are you brave enough?

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0 Youtube Videos
6 Photos
 
 
House of Blackbeard in Lafayette, California - 6721 Views  
House of Blackbeard is a family-friendly, and date night fright customized interactive walk-thru that will get your heart racing just in time for Halloween. Now in it's ninth horrifying year, this... [Read more]

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2 Youtube Videos
3 Photos
 
 
The Haunting of Corona in Riverside, California - 6332 Views  
This year The Haunting of Corona is located at: 5415 Brockton Ave, Riverside Ca 92506. The Haunting of Corona is a local haunted house in the inland empire.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 1 Reviews
1 Youtube Videos
17 Photos
 
 
Dead Time Dreams Haunted Attractions in San Jose, California - 6052 Views  
Dead Time Dream Haunted Attraction located in San Jose, California, CA

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0 Youtube Videos
3 Photos
 
 
All Saints Lunatic Asylum in Apple Valley, California - 5993 Views  
"Nearly 50 years ago, All Saints Lunatic Asylum, a one time state of the art mental health facility, lost funding and was forced to close its doors. Patients unable to leave, Doctors with nowhere to g... [Read more]

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2 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Fright Planet in Citrus Heights, California - 5110 Views  
CA Haunted House, Fright Planet "World of Fear" Haunted House in Sacramento, California has 3 Massive Haunted Houses, including The R.M.S. Curseliner, Psycho Midway in 4-D, and Podunk Hill: Billy Bob'... [Read more]

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3 Youtube Videos
8 Photos
 
 
The Zombie Run California in Aguanga, California - 4636 Views  
The Zombie Run in Temecula, CA November 7, 2015. Enter code HAUNTWORLD for $5 off! An awesomely-terrifying 5k themed run through a zombie-infested wasteland. Do you have what it takes to survive?

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0 Youtube Videos
7 Photos
 
 
The Haunted Pumpkin Patch in Grass Valley, California - 4596 Views  
We are a a pumpkin patch by day and haunted house by nite. We are family oriented and can tone it down for kids or turn up the scare at night.

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1 Youtube Videos
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Haunted Hornet in Alameda, California - 4469 Views  
The Haunted Hornet - A SHIPLOAD of FEAR! October 2nd - November 1st 2015 We will bring you ON BOARD the historic aircraft carrier USS Hornet, and send you though several areas of the ship, the like... [Read more]

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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Sanctuary of Evil in -, California - 3745 Views  
Sanctuary of Evil Haunted House has joined forces with Fear the Night to become Sanctuary of Fear. Please go to Sanctuary of Fear for location and information.

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RC Haunt @Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, California - 3590 Views  
This will be our 9th year putting on RC Haunt for the locals of Rancho Cucamonga & surrounding cities. This year's event is a fundraiser for the Loma Linda Children's Hospital and Rancho Cucamonga Hig... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
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Dr. Evil's House of Horrors in Guerneville, California - 3413 Views  
CA Join us at Dr. Evil's House of Horror, Sonoma County's Scariest Haunted House. New Scares every year! The house is never the same!

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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Scareventures.com presents Trail of the Dead in Irvine, California - 3359 Views  
CA Scareventures.com Presents Trail of the Dead

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1 Youtube Videos
1 Photos
 
 
Heartstoppers Haunted House in Sacramento, California - 3255 Views  
Welcome to Heartstoppers Haunted House in Downtown Sacramento, California! We are Northern California's Original Undead West Haunted House, you will experience the Brutality, Greed and Filth that was ... [Read more]

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3 Youtube Videos
10 Photos
 
 
Sanctuary of Fear in Brentwood, California - 3192 Views  


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2 Youtube Videos
7 Photos
 
 
Hallways of Hell in Chino, California - 3181 Views  
Enter the Hallways of Hell, and come face to face with the horrifying reality as we show you the truth in the Darkness.

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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Boccali Ranch Haunted Hayrides in Ojai, California - 3003 Views  
Welcome to the Boccali Pumpkin Patch Haunted Hayrides located in Ojai, California. Join us for a suspenseful tractor-pulled hayride through our haunted corn fields with only the light of the moon. ... [Read more]

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5 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Tevis Family Haunted House in Oak Hills, California - 2983 Views  
CA Tevis Family Haunted House located in Oak Hills, California. An Oak Hills Tradition for 16 years. October 31st and November 1st 2013 7-10:30. A special children's version is at 6:00

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2 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Land of Terror in Los Angeles, California - 2754 Views  
This is a terrorizing, interactive, and personal Halloween experience like no other. Get ready.

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3 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park in San Diego, California - 2737 Views  
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park is San Diego's only all outdoor haunted attraction. Enter the mile long Trail through the twisted grove of pines and gnarled oaks. Watch your back, you'll never know w... [Read more]

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2 Youtube Videos
3 Photos
 
 
Motel 6 Feet Under in Anaheim , California - 2542 Views  
MOTEL 6 Feet Under is a new haunted house! Located in Anaheim's Business Expo Center, the haunted house is an actual maze, you could have a walk through of twenty minutes….or thirty….or more, dependin... [Read more]

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
3 Photos
 
 
Monster Manor in San Diego, California - 2366 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Blackthorne Haunt in Lakewood, California - 2310 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
DOLL FACTORY in Corona, California - 2237 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
MILESTONE MASSACRE in RIVERSIDE, California - 2135 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
1 Photos
 
 
A Very Scary Haunted House in Fort Bragg, California - 2134 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Castle of the Dead in Salinas, California - 2105 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
4 Photos
 
 
Vail Lake Halloween Festival in Temecula, California - 2066 Views  
Halloween Festival - It's a zombie pandemic! New! Horrific Hayride The Scariest Haunted House in California Zombie Zone Monster Mash with Live Bands/DJ, food and drinks. Free admission - Op... [Read more]

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
8 Photos
 
 
Evil Twin Studios WARD 13 Haunted Attraction in South Pasadena, California - 1930 Views  
Criminally insane. Pathologically dangerous. Mentally twisted. And those are just the doctors.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 1 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Fright Nights in San Jose, California - 1911 Views  
CURSE OF SARAH WINCHESTER MAZE Maze Length: 15 Minutes For the first time, guests at ?Fright Nights? will have the exclusive opportunity to experience the all new ?Curse of Sarah Winchester Maze? ? an... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
4 Photos
 
 
The Asylum of Darkness in Foothill Ranch, California - 1734 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Savage House in La Mesa, California - 1709 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
2 Photos
 
 
Demon DreamZ in Fairfield, California - 1667 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Cemetery Of Lost Souls in Yorba Linda, California - 1664 Views  
Family friendly haunted house hour from 5:00pm - 6:00pm during which the feint of heart can tour the haunted house before the ghouls take over. From 6:00pm - 10:00pm the scares are on.

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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Revenge of the Ninja Maze in Torrance, California - 1662 Views  
Betrayed by an ancient enemy, the Kage No Michi Ninjas arise from their graves to take their revenge on unworthy trespassers. Enter if you dare, but remember, vengeance is their legacy!

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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Big Worm's Sherwood Scare in Northridge, California - 1603 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Evil Willy's Candy Factory in Irvine, California - 1596 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
ALONE [an existential haunting] in Los Angeles, California - 1581 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Eastvale - Corona Haunted House in Corona, California - 1572 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 1 Reviews
1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Haunted Midnights in West Hollywood, California - 1560 Views  
Considered one of the most haunted buildings in Los Angeles, The World Famous Comedy Store has played home to murderous mobsters, lost souls and restless spirits for nearly a century.

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3 Youtube Videos
3 Photos
 
 
Maze Of Mayhem in Colton, California - 1536 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The Empty Grave Haunted House in Anaheim, California - 1477 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Haunted Hollywood Sports in Bellflower, California - 1427 Views  


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4 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Ghost Walk in Benicia, California - 1413 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The House At Haunted Hill in Woodland Hills, California - 1412 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Garaginarium of Monstrosities in San Diego, California - 1372 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Harvest Haunt in San Bernardino, CA, California - 1323 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The Haunting Of Nuevo in Nuevo, CA, California - 1284 Views  
The Haunting Of Nuevo is a small, family-friendly haunted house for families in the Nuevo area.

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2 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Crossroads Haunted Village in Corona, California - 1271 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Abaddon Haunted Attraction in Fountain Valley, California - 1265 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Delirium Haunted House in Wasco, California - 1256 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
1 Photos
 
 
Taking Back the Neighborhood in Murrieta, California - 1225 Views  


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1 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Victoria Manor in Apple Valley, California - 1220 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Chambers of the Mausoleum in Corona, California - 1206 Views  


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2 Youtube Videos
1 Photos
 
 
Haunted Theatre Tour in Bellflower, California - 1204 Views  
Masque of the Red Death - Haunted Theatre Tour Not suitable for children age 10 or younger

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0 Youtube Videos
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Dream Escape in Antioch, California - 1099 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
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Davis-Horton House in San Diego, California - 1096 Views  
The Davis-Horton House is home to the Gaslamp Museum and the Gaslamp Quarter Historical Foundation and a few spooky spirits. Come visit us Tuesday through Saturday 10-4 or come on one of our tours! Ea... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Helms Night Terrors in Placerville, California - 1080 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Rocklin Haunted House in Rocklin, California - 1029 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Zombie Wasteland in Mill Valley, California - 1023 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Castlethorn Ranch in Acton, California - 1019 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Frightful Acres in San Bernardino, California - 993 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Pumpkin Patch Extravaganza in Ventura, California - 977 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Arising Evil I in Fountain Valley, California - 964 Views  


CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 0 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
   
 
Frighteners in knightsen, California - 950 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
HeadLess Horseman Dinner in Filmore, California - 940 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Arroyo Horro Knights in El Monte, California - 921 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
America Is Haunted in Los Angeles , California - 913 Views  
This October America Is Haunted returns with an all new Haunted House experience exploring all things TERROR! Americas longest running national fear factor and most horrifying haunted house will ta... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
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Delirum in Dinuba, California - 889 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Corpus Mortalis in Fairfield, California - 842 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The Empty Grave Haunted House in Laguna Hills , California - 779 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
nightmares and beyond in mission viejo, California - 770 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
The Scare Park in Paso Robles, California - 758 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
0 Photos
 
 
Nightmare On Main in Templeton, California - 527 Views  
The Central Coasts scariest haunted house. Now in it's fifth year. Located in an abandoned 100 year old house this is truly a scary haunted house. Not recommended for children under 10.

CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS 1 Reviews
0 Youtube Videos
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The Wiltern Night of Horror in Los Angeles, California - 468 Views  
Get ready for an intense night of scares: on October 30th, 2015 The Wiltern will host the pre-halloween mega bash, featuring a quadruple-feature horror movie screening, dance party hosted by Henry Pop... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
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The Plantation Haunted House in corona, California - 464 Views  
The Plantation Haunt is a home based haunted house located in Corona, Ca. Started in 2007, The Haunt continues to frighten those brave enough to enter.

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0 Youtube Videos
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Mancho's Marvel-ous Maze in murrieta, California - 464 Views  


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0 Youtube Videos
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Beware the Dark Realm in Santa Clarita, California - 457 Views  
Beware the Dark Realm is based off a medieval castle, complete with flickering torches, stone walls, torture chamber, three-dimensional ghosts, live scare actors and fire breathing creature. When walk... [Read more]

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0 Youtube Videos
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Dead Time Dreams Haunted Atrractions in Gilroy, California - 434 Views  
Known as an immersive adult level haunt.

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RC Haunt in Rancho Cucamogna, California - 388 Views  
RC Haunt is a Haunted House founded in Rancho Cucamonga, CA offering a fun and frightening Halloween experience. We are a family run haunted house. Our mission is to bring our community together to he... [Read more]

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Haunted High in Cypress, California - 365 Views  
Halloween Event - Haunted High 2015 - a High School maze complete with classrooms full of zombies – Boy Scout Zombies; The Lab, Music room, Administration room, Teacher’s lounge and Locker hallway are... [Read more]

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Halloween Haunted House & Maze in Murrieta, California - 319 Views  
Annual Haunted House and Maze Free Haunted House, includes huge multi home maze and Jumper/Jump Slide. Coolest Annual Haunted House in all of Murrieta / Temecula California! Come check it out! ... [Read more]

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The Fleshyard in Anaheim, California - 315 Views  


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HELLSIR CEMETERY in ALTA LOMA, California - 262 Views  


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The Asylum at Coffin Creek in Eastvale, California - 96 Views  


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Why Knotts
By Michael J. Chaille

Since 1973, Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California has been conjuring up it's own Halloween tradition. That was the first year the Southern California theme park cloaked itself under the moniker Knott's Scary Farms Halloween Haunt and launched its Halloween Haunt, the First Halloween Theme Park Event. Building slowly over the years, the event now covers 160 acres, lasts 25 nights and boasts over 1000 live monsters roaming the park.

How did Knotts Scary Farm achieve the grand reputation they have today? What is this Haunt doing right? More importantly, what can smaller Dark Attractions across the country learn from the Knott's Scary Farms Halloween Haunt?

There is no magic room design or any one scheme that makes a destination this popular. Instead, it has been a slow build and cultivation on many levels that make the Knott's Haunt such a success. Key factors include Innovation, Tradition and Design which all contribute to making the Knott's Haunt 'to die for'.

Thirty years ago, Halloween was the season to dress up and Trick or Treat. For a multitude of reasons, the years to follow witnessed a decline in these traditional Halloween activities. In retrospect, whether intentional or not, the Knott's Haunt concept marked the beginning of a turning point in our culture; the decline of Trick or Treating and the rise in popularity of centralized Halloween events. Knott's took an innovative approach at the right time, and created a new reason to visit the Berry Farm. Merely a 'seedling' in 1973, the past 31 years have allowed for consistent promotion, implementation and execution of this event.

Neither glamorous nor earth-shattering, tradition plays a large role in the event's widespread and longstanding success. Consider the latest Census statistics that conclude 50% of the population will live their entire life within 50 miles of their birthplace. This could very well explain the park attendance that jumps from one age demographic to the next. While kids under 18 were the dominant age group, guests in their 30s and 40s and up were well represented. Los Angeles and Orange County has a combined population of 3.5 million kids under 18. No wonder Knott's Scary Farm offers 25 nights, (many Sold Out during that last weeks of October). Starting them young, Knott's also has a non-scare celebration designed for the family crowd. Throughout the Camp Snoopy section of the park, the Annual Camp Spooky is held during the day (now in it's 13th year). This daytime event permits kids 3-11 to Trick or Treat through the park as part of the regular admission price. Start a tradition early with this group and the potential number of return guests multiplies. For many young grandparents, moms and dads, young adults, teens and 'tweens living in Southern California, Knott's Scary Farm IS their Halloween.

The overall design of the Knott's event is really a critical factor to its success. For starters, Knott's IS haunting for the masses. The attraction line-up for the 2004 season included 11 Mazes, 4 Scare Zones and 6 Themed Shows all for $46 bucks. (Of which you could get up to $23 off with sponsor coupons). While individual Haunted Attractions can be quite popular in North America, Southern California is quite devoid of these stand-alone venues. And it's no wonder! Crowds or not, this is a great price for an entire night of scares. At $23 it would be difficult to get into any two separate events elsewhere. An entire night of entertainment and amusement, with more special haunted attractions than one could see in an evening, is a tremendous value for the Haunt-goer, and puts Knott's in the 'untouchable' category for anyone even thinking of competing. Knott's also has the ability to open up non-Halloween themed rides too. It is beyond me why anyone would attend this Halloween event to wait in a 2 hour line for a ride when you can attend the park in the day and have no wait at all? Either way, Knott's is accommodating to those riders and is a great strategy to alleviate the crowd pressure amongst the street. They really are operating at full capacity in the middle of the night.

Success Tip: Have other types of attractions available to guests that don't want the full Halloween Experience.

The economics and crowd logistics' are just the beginning of the Knott's design. The mazes themselves are methodical in layout and design as well. For the most part the mazes lead the guest along with a particular theme already set. The events that unfold are not unlike a roller coaster with planned anticipation, quick actions, high impact scares followed by sections of coast or escape. This analogy exemplifies the emotional ups and downs as they journey through the mazes. These short bursts of high energy scares, followed by black wall sections of non-descript scenic allows guest to reflect what they have just experienced and calms them down for the next set of scares. Startles along the way are used to build the anticipation. Every room does not have a huge scare and that's good design.

Success Tip: Pace out your scares to allow the guest to experience highs and lows of the story you are telling.

To paint a picture of the maze design, I'll describe two new attractions that were so clever; they no doubt left indelible guest impressions (after all, Tradition is all about creating memories!)

Red Beards Revenge was a twisting, cavernous tour below decks of a cursed ship. Haunts really didn't pick up the pirate theme just after the movie release of Pirates of the Caribbean. Knott's did and this maze had a grand entry façade with animations and overflowing sets filled with scenic detail and lots of pirates. The journey below the ships decks and the "rocking" of the floorboards were details I admired and remembered. This maze possessed a strong story line that was easy to follow due to the recent movie and was augmented with "full of life" characters. I thought they pulled this off well. There was a sense of dank confinement and the overhead space left you thinking you were below the decks. Twisting and winding around the sets, this story line was filled in by your own interpretation of what a pirate's life would be.

Success Tip: Use current day entertainment to keep the show fresh and your guests interested.

Another well-done maze (and my favorite) was Terror Vision in 3-D. Leading you down a hall of white noise, this maze was based on the kitschy 50's, 60's and 70's TV shows that we all grew up watching. Immediately recognizable show logos were doctored up with creepy themes like Sesameat Street, UnHappy Days, I Loathe Lucy and Wheel of MisFortune. After the simple 'cue card' intro, guests toured a replica set for each show while twisted theme music played in the background. The spoofed scenes were enhanced with a horror twist. This design really worked as recognizable characters and familiar scenes led guests into a false sense of security, only to set them up for the scare. A manic mix of animations, static props and clever actors, this maze was scaring everybody just about every four feet. Because the layout was designed in such a way that each room was introduced with a brand, guests focused on what they expected to see, and were easily distracted.

Success Tip: Use the viewer's memory to distract or take them back to a moment that they can reflect on.

Suffice to say this is not a maze revue, but most of the 11 mazes I journeyed through were well done and at the very least had clever aspects of design and show value. Both Red Beards Revenge and Terror Vision in 3-D, like all Knott's mazes, were short, twisting paths of high impact and energy. No real pulse of the guest throughput was evidenced, and most times it really didn't matter. Another key to their design is the application of actors that did not attempt to scare every guest that passed. This restrained shock technique employs the concept of quality and not quantity scares. A balanced smattering of shaker cans, canastas and metal finger tipped gloves allowed the actors to control their use of sounds to startle and elicit the imagination, as opposed to a heavy hand slapping on plywood walls.

Success Tip: Subtly can be just as effected as in your face.

Continuity was seen throughout the Haunt. Designs and themes are introduced by the Marquee or façade treatment and carried throughout the mazes. This is important to set the plot in the guests mind and initiate a mood. While many Haunted Attractions elsewhere comprise a "Haunt Stew" approach (where each room or scene is comprised, based on the props/actors on hand rather than an actual story line), sticking with a theme allows for designers to fall back on continuity and permits the guest to be set up more easily. A typical Haunt Stew Scenario would be a circus scene followed by a dungeon set followed by an Alien spacecraft, etc. Knott's sticks to a storyline.

These mazes also tend to scare forward and actors are smart enough not to block a guests egress path. This is key to getting guests into and out of the maze. With so much to do, who wants to get stuck in a bottleneck for 5 minutes?

Success Tip: Always permit guests to 'escape' from a room as quickly as possible to make way for more guests. Scare Forward whenever possible.

With this said, I hope Knotts can learn from a mistake. Billed as a "Scare Experience" the Jaguar - Temple of Sacrifice appeared to be another haunted maze. After entering the interior attraction, our group was immediately stopped by what appeared to be a temporary bottleneck. It's wasn't. This "scare experience" was actually just a Queue line for a less then mediocre kiddy coaster with a couple of sadly concealed scare actors trying to remain motionless while guests stood within punching distance. The real tragedy was by the time I could see what I had gotten myself into, there was no way out and the guests demise was to shuffle along a never ending switch back queue until boarding the coaster.

Success Tip: Don't try to scare waiting guests unless there is a way for the actor to escape and reset elsewhere.

While I may never get those 30 minutes back, the "scare zones" somehow made up for it. These concepts really work and most haunted events attempt these in some form, but typically not at the scale of Knotts. Whether nestled underneath the forested walkways of Camp Snoopy, (the Gauntlet), below the twisting steel of massive coasters, (The Swamp), or ambling down the dusty western boardwalk, (Ghost Town), a total of 4 zones offered up ample opportunity for scares. These 'zones' are all about the guests freely roaming around the open common areas or sets of the theme park. While taking in the sites, shopping or goofing off with friends, the guests are actually being stalked. These areas are where a lot of the roaming monsters lurk, waiting for the unsuspecting and distracted.

One of the best features of this event is watching other guests being hunted by the monsters. This is a front row seat to witness a hideous creature prowling for an unsuspecting group of teenage girls. Or a pair of thirty-something's juggling sodas and churros as an onrush of sliders rush out of the fog-choked corners of the street. This side show entertainment occurs independent of the mazes, has every guest on edge and is great fun.

Success Tip: Haunt common areas outside of the attraction for added value.

Sliders, a subset of the roaming monsters, are another great innovation that converts passive areas of the park into a separate attraction. Sliders are roaming monsters of all types that are suited up with leg, knee and elbow pads. Their heavy work gloves are fitted with steel fingertips and plates to protect them as they take a running leap towards guests and slide - stopping short right at the feet of the targeted victims. This type of fast action scare leaves nobody safe from attack.

Success Tip: Employ Hit and Run scare tactics that leaves guests wondering what will happen next.

These scare zones have earned their own right to entertainment and guests now pony up to pose and buy a staged photo (after the scare of course!) with their favorite monster. While the purest of haunters would cringe as monsters chat with guests while in costume, remember, this is haunting for the masses, (and really with crowds like these, anything goes.) Kiosks are set up with cash registers and lighting, ready to capture you and your favorite creature, for a price.

Another revenue source for the park is the "Seasons of Screams" series that is now out on DVD. This Hauntumentry reveals the history of the Knott's Scary Farms Halloween Haunt and how it evolved into the most successful Halloween attraction in the World.

Success Tip: Offer DVD's or photos so guests can take home the experience while providing additional revenue.

The latest innovation is the Maze Interior Photo Opportunity. While this may be the single worst place to have guests dig around for a flash camera, it may be visionary with regard to the current popularity of camera phones. This concept allows the guest to stop inside the maze, whip out a camera and pose with the characters as they are in the set. Typically one would think that photos would be taboo, but the vampire brides overtly encouraged shutterbugs within their reach. How this would work on a busy night, I have no idea, but if you're stuck in a backed up line, it may just prove to be entertaining and encourage more interaction among guests and actors. This strategy may also accommodate a slow maze section or allow time for guests to slow themselves down so they don't trample lagging groups within the maze.

There is much more to the Knott's Haunt then I have space to cover. This event really is a great place to research the art of haunting. Several rides at Knott's are also transformed into haunted attractions that are unique and fun. Between attractions you could also take in any of the 6 "Sinister Shows" that are produced just for this season. Ranging from the traditional 'Hanging' to the newest offspring "Dr. Cleaver's Psycho Circus", these attractions are peppered with current events, comedy and gore. Dr. Cleaver's was evidence of Knott's leaning to a more adult theme show that had big stage effects and Vegas style dance numbers.

Success Tip: Take a chance on new concepts and ideas and be quick to learn from your mistakes.

Innovation, Design and Tradition have all lead to the success of the Knott's Haunt over the years. A lot can be said of being first to market with new scares and maze concepts, but there is more to it then that. The designing of an event that permits guests to experience fear in fast paced, energetic environment gets them in and out of the mazes and on to the next thing. Knott's keeps people moving from event to event. Offering more then any one guest can experience in an evening leaves the audience wanting more and that is a golden rule in entertaining, which Knott's easily accomplishes. Most importantly, Knott's Scary Farms Halloween Haunt is building traditions with its audience, young and old, and that will keep this new era Halloween around for years to come.

Michael J. Chaille is the president of Ghost Ride Productions, INC., a Halloween and Dark Attractions manufacturer based in Hollywood, California. Professionally in the Halloween Props and Effects business for 10 years, Ghost Ride develops a multitude of new products for the industry annually. Part of the business is seeing what is out there and what is needed within the industry. Ghost Ride puts this research to use in developing new and custom products for theme parks across the nation and around the world. Michael can be reached at info@ghostride.com.

 

Six Flags Magic Mountains’ Fright Fest

            Six Flags, known worldwide now, as a leader in Amusement Park companies, presented a respectable attempt in a Haunted Event. This event was the smallest of the four, only offering four haunted mazes and one haunted ride. This park differed from the other three in that the park does not shut down between its’ normal park operation and its’ Haunted Event. Therefore, only one days’ admission got you into all of the rides, and after a certain time during the night, into the Haunted Attractions. But this also proved to be a bit of a downfall. At the other events, when the parks would re-open, there would be a noticeable change in atmosphere: a change in lighting, a change in sound, etc. Here, the attractions and entertainment would just sort of happen, at a certain time. Well, that was the plan. On the day that we visited, NONE of the mazes opened anywhere near the scheduled times. We were told there were “technical difficulties” with ALL of the mazes…what’s going on here? I can see if one or two of the mazes had “technical difficulties” but all of them? About an hour later, the mazes slowly started to open. Six Flags did something a little different with two of the four mazes that you usually don’t see in a theme park haunt. They would shuffle a group of people into the first room of the haunt, proceed with some special effects, a scare, and then shuffle the group through some themed hallways where we would be shuffled into another room, stop, watch some more effects, and a scare, then shuffle to the next room.   This was an interesting idea, and it works well if you are trying your best to tell a story, but when your story is lacking, and so are your scares, all you are left with is choppy pacing, and horrendous throughput. This also squashes any feeling that you are alone in the haunt, or that you don’t know where you are going.

 

Now, the other two mazes were your typical walk thru attractions. This helped a bit in the realism department, but having event staff manage every single room and every single actor ruins it. I’m all for the safety of the cast and of the patrons, but there has to be a way to hide these people a little better. In fact, while leading our group through one of the mazes, I could go no further when an event staff member was standing in the middle of the room right in my way. I asked her if we were supposed to stop here, and she replied, “No, I can’t go in that room ahead, they’re trying to scare me”. So she grabbed my arm and I had to lead her through the next room, which consisted of nothing more than a dropping spider.

 

The one ride they did haunt, was their Log Flume, which they renamed, “Blood Falls.” This ride saved their event. Not only because it had decent throughput, but also because the scares were good, the lighting was good, the sound was good. It really felt like an entire experience from start to finish. You had the thrill of being on the ride itself, along with plenty of scareactors along the way. If only the mazes had this type of intensity, and mystery, Six Flags would have been a bit higher on the list.

 

            Each maze did have some preshow entertainment, thanks to TV monitors in the queue lines. But the entertainment grew annoying, as it was the same setup to each maze. Basically, a news station is “broadcasting live” at each place where something horrible has happened. Inevitably, we see the camera guy drop the camera and start running, which is supposed to leave us with the question, “Oh my gosh, what happened to him? Is that going to happen to me?” but really leaves us with the question, “Oh my gosh, why couldn’t they think up something a little different for each queue line to entertain us with while we wait here forever?”

 

            As for the park decorations, everything looked good, as the park itself did transform nicely at night. It’s just a shame that nothing happened in the park. The Scare Zones weren’t that scary, as there was not as many scareactors in there as there should have been.

 

Do I think that it was a success for the park?  There was plenty of screaming (12-16 year old) girls running throughout the park, which seemed to be the primary demographic. Most seemed to have a good time however for the ‘Haunt Fanatics’ like us, Six Flags has a ways to go.  Six Flags needs to keep the park open a bit later, improve the mazes and the pacing, and hopefully, they will become a true contender in the Theme Park Haunt battle.

 

 
       
 
 

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