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Halloween gets the royal treatment

Trick-or-treaters should ‘Beware the Dark Realm’ in Saugus tonight

Posted: October 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 31, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Christian Sivley sets up some of the props inside the maze as he puts the finishing touches on the the Sivley Halloween haunted house, dubbed "Beware the Dark Realm." Photo by Dan Watson.

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Editor’s note: This is the final installment of The Signal’s five-part look at some of the spookiest, scariest, most creative or most elaborate Halloween displays to be found in the Santa Clarita Valley. Have a happy Halloween.

A thick fog rolls by, obscuring a view already blighted by darkness. Flickering torches provide the only light.

Through the darkness a large door can be seen sporting a large knocker in the shape of a skull.

It’s a scene straight out of a horror movie.

However, the master of this particular castle is not a cape-wearing fiend or a mad scientist. The curator is Saugus resident and seasoned spooky veteran Scott Sivley.

While crafting such a display may seem overly ambitious to some, to Sivley it is second nature.

After all, he’s been putting together Halloween haunts for more than four decades.


The idea for a Halloween haunt first came to Sivley when he was 10 years old. Already standing about 6 feet tall, he was told by neighbors in the San Fernando Valley that he was too old to be trick-or-treating.

“People kept saying, ‘You’re too tall, kid. You need to go home and not trick or treat,’” he said.

But that Halloween he came across an elaborate display, one that captured his imagination.

“So I said, ‘You know, if I can’t trick-or-treat, that’s what I’m going to do. At least I’m going to have some fun on Halloween,’” Sivley said.

From then on he was hooked. He began organizing regular haunts at his house, which happened to be located on Gothic Street.

“It was very poetic,” he quipped.

But what his current home on the much-more-benignly-named Sugar Pine Way in Saugus lacks in poetics it more than makes up for in aesthetics.


Sivley said he has been organizing haunts in the Santa Clarita Valley for years, including working to develop or build the Heritage Haunt for the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society in Newhall.

Sivley is currently a vice president with the Historical Society.

But after years of work on the display, he decided to go back to his roots and build himself a home haunt.

Well, home haunt may not be exactly doing it justice.

Sivley’s haunt this year is called “Beware the Dark Realm” and based off the design of a medieval castle, complete with flickering torches, a stone wall façade, life-size statues with glowing red eyes and live actors whose purpose is to make the trip through as frightening as possible.

Building a castle haunt is a long-held goal for Sivley, who said displays in previous years featured aliens, zombies and classic Universal Studios monsters.

“I’ve always wanted to do a classic horror castle,” he said. “And the thing that I like about the castle is that it can be very eclectic, it can be very different.”

The eclectic nature of the display lends itself to tremendous terror possibilities.

“I imagine three, four, five years from now this will be just a little bit better and little bit fancier and a little bit nicer than it is right now,” he said.

Aside from the exterior, the haunted house features a variety of castle-themed scares, as well as live actors scattered throughout ready to jump out at those who walk by.

“Anything goes on the scary tour,” he said of the characters. “I leave it up to their imagination to try and scare you as best as they possibly can.”

For the faint of heart, or those with young children, Sivley offers a non-scary tour through the haunt that allows people to see the interior without being frightened — at least deliberately.


“Beware the Dark Realm” took almost a year of work to bring to fruition. Sivley started building last December around Christmas.

“I’m sure people were looking at me strangely when they heard me in the garage sawing away and stuff like that,” he said with a smile.

Sivley said he knew it wasgoing to be a daunting task to pull the whole thing together in time for the scary season.

Luckily, he had help from his sons and his wife.

“It’s a family-friendly, fun thing to do,” he said. “It’s not often you get to ask your wife if she can realign your casket for you.”

The display is free, but Sivley suggests those who attend bring some food to donate.

“They really need help in October,” Sivley said of the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. “A lot of people always donate around the holidays in November or December, but the need is there now.”

“Beware the Dark Realm” is open Halloween night from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is located at 28621 Sugar Pine Way in Saugus.
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