BY: JULIE CHUNG
With more and more Halloween attractions coming out every year, it can be quite difficult to find the ones that will give you good scare. Here are the top five, 2013 Halloween attractions in or near Los Angeles County. Halloween Horror Nights Universal Studios has once again upped their game for this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. The employees who dress up in scary costumes, or “scarers,” and chase attendees around are never allowed to touch people. This year, however, scarers were allowed to touch attendees with their props, such as fake knives and chain saws, scream in their faces, and get as close as they wanted.
“I’m usually not scared by these things but [thescarers’] makeup is better and scarier, and I actually got a little creeped out when they started touching me – wasn’t expecting that,” fourth yearUC Riverside student Katie Amah said.
Although the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Saw mazes are easily a few of fan favorites every year, people seemed to gravitate towards the new mazes this year. The Walking Dead and Insidious were by far the most popular.
Dark Harbor Of course, the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is a must for Halloween attractions. As if the Queen Mary isn’t spooky enough, the ship had so many more scarers than last year. Unlike Halloween Horror Nights where scarers pop up out of nowhere and then move onto their next victim, the scarers at Dark Harbor were allowed to follow people around for some time. With their clown theme, the Circus maze seemed to be a favorite. The multiple, skinny stairs and cramped space didn’t give much room for people to run away from scarers. Because the Queen Mary has a reputation for being haunted, this attraction had people’s hearts beating out of their chest.
Knott’s Scary Farm – Halloween Haunt Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the first amusement parks that had their own Halloween attraction, and it has only gotten better every year. In the past, many people complained that Knott’s Scary Farm was too childish and boring. This year, however, Knott’s Scary Farm was not only scary but also quite disturbing. With 11 mazes, more than 1,000 scarers, and five scare zones, Knott’s Scary Farm is easily one of the largest attractions for Halloween. Knott’s Scary Farm has been compared to Halloween Horror Nights. However this year, many parts of the park were kept dead quiet and foggy, which made the park seem very eerie.
“I really liked the Black Magic maze because they revamped it from the old clown one and Dominion of the Damned was by far the scariest,” third year Santa Monica College student Alex Guerrero said. “It was one of those things that made me feel mentally uncomfortable and sick to my stomach afterwards. I’m definitely coming back here next year.”
The House at Haunted Hill Located in Woodland Hills, this small yet very noteworthy attraction has lived up to expectations year after year. This house has become very well known for its unique decorations, special effects and plays. This attraction is definitely suitable for all ages because it is not scary like the other three previously mentioned.
“I went there…with my husband and two nephews and we’re definitely coming back next year,” said Anna Rodriguez, at-home mom of two children. “We were a little weirded out at first because it’s a private residence but I can see why people told me to come here. The home owners are so extremely talented in putting on a great show.”
Rodriguez added that she had never seen special effects done like at this attraction, not even at bigger venues, and that she loved the “good vibe” from audience who came to the house.
The event is free, open to anyone, and allows people to stay as long as they want if they want to see the show again.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride IV Yes, this is an actual hayride and with a scary plot that changes every year, and it’s a very long hayride. This venue is too scary for kids and it tends to attract an older crowd. This year, the hayride’s story was of a savage young boy, who preached dark religion in the woods, burns down everything in his path and murders people along the way.
The hayride is very elaborate and you do get wet in the process but employees can provide ponchos to those who wish to stay dry for the night. The attraction has a “scary-go-round” with skeleton horses that move backwards, for those too scared to go through the hayride and main maze.
Although one ticket will only get you one ride on the hayride and one trip through the maze, there’s also great food provided, a smaller carnival mirror maze, two shows, and a tent decorated like a horror movie set for photos.