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Halloween haunts for free or a fee

Posted: October 31, 2008 12:26 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2009 5:00 a.m.
 

Here's Escape's roundup of Halloween haunts for 2008.

HAUNTS THAT COST (at least a little)
Heritage Haunt: The Curse of the Ghoul Mines
Who: The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society and William S. Hart School District AVID programs
When: Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: Heritage Junction Historic Park, within William S. Hart Regional County Park

Heritage Haunt returns this year with a new theme: The Curse of the Ghoul Mines - a spooky spin-off highlighting the mining history of our valley. This event is a high-tech special effects haunt with a Scare Zone and Spooky Maze. On Friday nights during the Haunt, there will be local bands providing music for Halloween revelers, three shows nightly, and on Saturday evenings, the New World Dance Production of Sleepy Hollow has three shows nightly. Tickets are available online at scvhaunt.com, and through local high school and junior high school AVID programs. Tickets may also be purchased at the Heritage Junction Saugus Train Station, 24101 San Fernando Road (and Newhall Avenue) in Old Town Newhall. Tickets are $13. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

FREE HAUNTS
Schaefer's Scary Yard

20201 Lakemore Drive, Canyon Country

From Soledad Canyon Road, take Langside north ½ mile to Lakemore. Open 6 p.m. - 11 p.m. Oct. 24, 25, 31. In addition to such attractions as Capt. Barbosa and Capt. Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl from "Pirates of the Caribbean," Count Dracula, Frankenstein, the Headless Horseman and other ghouls, new this year will be Hannibal Lecter and a low-lying fog.

Owner Bob Schaefer noted that all the details of the characters are correct, from the exact number of gold and silver teeth in Jack Sparrow's head to the blue-green eyes of Hannibal Lecter.

"It's more a display than stuff that jumps out at you," he said. Schaefer has been decorating his home for Halloween for nearly two decades. "It's kind of for the neighborhood. I started with a mask and cardboard box 19 years ago," he said. "My 10-year-old daughter Delaney helps a lot and comes up with many of the ideas."

Schaefer pointed out that all of this haunt action can be affected by adverse weather, such as wind or rain.

The Horror of Sierra Highway
27908 Adon Ave., Canyon Country

From Soledad Canyon Road, drive north up Sierra Highway. Adon is the third right past American Beauty Drive and just before the Backwoods Inn. Drive to the end of the block (at corner of Scherzinger Lane) and find the house on the left. The Horror Haunted Graveyard is across the road.

This year the haunt is only open on Halloween night, Oct. 31, from 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. "This is our fifth year," said owner Roger Csulak. "This is probably the most intense haunted house in the SCV, and it's not really for younger kids. Last year we had a teenage girl faint. It's not for the weak-hearted." With an emphasis on scary clowns, the haunt includes the Mad Butcher and lots of blood, guts and gore.

House on Rodeffer Place
22020 Rodeffer Place, Saugus
(off of Copper Hill and Kenton)

"Seasons Screamings to all. One of the features of our haunt is the infamous ‘Front Room,' which changes annually," said Robert Tezai. "With the arrival in 2008 of our son - and Haunt heir-apparent, Mykhail, the front room has moved out of the house. One will need to stop by to see this year's offering, which we fondly view as our Halloween ongoing tribute to the classic horror icons. The Singing Pumpkins are back, as is the Rodeffer Hill Cemetery, with its eerie denizens. As always, our display features both scary and humorous characters, nestled in among various visual and sound effects."

This year's display is slightly smaller, as in March, Rob was recruited by Ed Marg and Scott Sivley to join the SCV Heritage Haunt in Newhall (having come to their attention courtesy of The Signal in 2007), and many of his waking hours have been spent as a volunteer in the core management team on this year's offering there.

House on Rodeffer continues as a work in progress but is viewable beginning Oct. 26, at about 90 percent, and will be updated through Halloween. It is on display nightly from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. People are encouraged to walk about the front yard and take photos, but are asked not to touch anything. Flash-less photos look better. On Halloween night one should expect a splash of something from out of this world.
Where to go for Halloween in the SCV.

The Haunted Observatory
27257 N. Blakely Place, Valencia
Take Hillsborough Parkway to Dunsmore, right on Blakely to the end of the cul-de-sac.

For a different kind of cosmic thrill, it's perfect for little kids. Open to star gazers on Halloween from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m., where visiting trick or treaters get to view the sky through a five-inch refracting telescope.

Moorpark and Glendale College astronomy professor James Somers, his wife, Eufemia and their 13-year-old son, Andrew, will open the observatory to allow little haunters a view of double stars and globule clusters. Professor Somers will give a star talk to interested star searchers. Be sure to get treats from the "Neighborhood Witch."

'Queen of Halloween' throne 
28225 Foxlane Dr., Canyon Country

"This year will promise to be as exciting as ever, but I don't do any blood or guts," said Carol Ohler, the self-proclaimed "Queen of Halloween." Hers is more whimsical. "I don't like to make it too scary. The little ones won't come up to the door. There will be lots of inflatables, lights, scary music, tricks and treats, delights at every turn and of course, plenty of candy for my little pretties. It's my favorite day of the year and I - we - my little Dachshund Chessie and I, can't wait to join in the fun that my house is sure to provide. She and I will both be in costume. She is a therapy dog for Providence Holy Cross Hospital and loves to see and visit with all the kids who come to the door. She believes it's all about her.

"I do all the decorating myself, every ladder step, every staple gun staple, all the electrical connections and securing-down of my decorations due to the Santa Ana winds we always have here in October. They're like Old Faithful and my nemesis each year. My Halloween house, and Christmas house too, is my gift to the neighborhood. I've been doing this for over 20 years and it just gets bigger and better each year. I hope you have a Ghoul Halloween."

Everglades Manor
14210 Everglades Ct., Canyon Country

Bob Baida and his friend, Ray, have been scaring his Stone Crest neighbors for more than seven years now - all in the name of a good cause. Anyone who brings a canned good (for donation to the SCV Food Pantry) gets a free tour of his special haunted "mansion," replete with ghosts, pirates, witches, a funky graveyard, scarecrows and a jail for housing unrepentant aliens. Then journey inside the garage where more horror awaits, as well as full scale miniature scenes. A sign out front reads, "Adult admission, $1; children of all ages free."

"We start preparing around the second week of October," Baida said. "I will have it ready by about the Wednesday before Halloween. It's a lot of fun and the people really enjoy it."

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