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Heritage Haunt

The Nightmares of Newhall

Posted: October 8, 2009 1:02 p.m.
Updated: October 9, 2009 6:00 a.m.

The pirate ship at Chewy's Pirate Cove will be ready to set sail when Heritage Haunt opens on Oct. 17.

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Beginning Oct. 17 and running through the end of the month on Friday and Saturday nights, Heritage Haunt represents the best in local spookum. With something for everyone, from young children to gore-crazed teenagers, this year's haunt is an incredible undertaking of hard work, ingenious engineering - and good natured coercion. You see, the event's organizers are not above absorbing the best of local neighborhood haunts into Heritage Haunt when they can.

Hauntmaster Ed Marg said, "We started this three years ago but we’d all had home haunts. I used to have Bedlam Manor." When he decided to donate his haunt to a deserving location, Heritage Junction was selected. "But local high school kids showed up and ran it," Marg said. "When that happened, we went out and started recruiting other home haunts."

"I was drafted," quipped Rob Tezai, who still operates his own haunt on the side, House on Rodeffer Place.

The other "production managers" of the haunt include Tony Monton, whose home haunt has become the Heritage Haunt graveyard; Scott Sivley, whose Psycho’s Circus of Horror has become Heritage Haunt’s Psycho’s Fun House; Ralph Nazarian ("I just have little things in my house."); Glenn Terry, whose home haunt has become Chewy’s Pirate Cove; and Kevin Morey, whose Red Hills Asylum has been absorbed.

"Most of the managers here have a background in it, but coming down here allows you to do it 10-fold," Tezai said. "It’s like a TV or theatrical production."

"We build all our electronics," Marg said. "And that includes animatronics and pneumatics (robotics)."

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the production managers gathered in preparation for an onslaught of teenage volunteers. Things were just beginning to shape up and there was a long way to go before the haunt opens on Oct. 17. Even so, the partially constructed mazes and moving setups were impressive. "Leaping Lenny" was being tested (He will jump out over you in the Corn Maze.) and miles of wiring were in place. The pirate ship was coming together in "dry dock" and the clown maze was in place but in need of scare-finishing.

As Marg related the list of recurring attractions and those new this year, it became clear that Heritage Haunt is going to be an impressive show in every way. Things have even been expanded out into the adjacent campground, where mounted gunfighters will haunt a hay ride.

"We stretch over a mile now," Marg said. He noted that the haunt is a year-round undertaking for the managers, and a seven-day-a-week project the last months before the haunt. "We have a lot of help at this time, but when we really need it is in July and August." Contact him at ed@scvhaunt.com.

And, finally, Marg noted that the proceeds from the haunt benefit the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and the William S. Hart School District. "Every nickel goes to a good cause," he said.

Tony Monton emphasized that the haunt is not free, as reported in other sources. Adult tickets are $10 and ages 8 to 12 are $8. However, local schools and non-profits are selling adult tickets at a two dollar discount ($8) and the schools and non-profits get $4 out of that.

In a separate but related happening, Brave New World Comics of Newhall is organizing a Zombie March that will travel across Newhall to Heritage Haunt at dusk on Oct. 17, the opening night of the haunt (www.bravenewworldcomics.com).

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