City of Angels Is Scarier This Halloween Thanks to These Events

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday October 4, 2021

A promotional photo for LA Haunted Hayride
A promotional photo for LA Haunted Hayride  (Source:LA Haunted Highway)

From spooky hayrides to a David Lynchian speakeasy, there are a lot of ways to scare up a good time this Halloween season. Here are two options you have to get your creep on in the city of "angels....??"

LA Haunted Hayride

The LA Haunted Hayride is back at Griffith Park, but things have changed this year. Whereas past incarnations took holiday revelers through the Old Zoo environs and had a haystack maze to get lost in, this year the hayride itself travels a different (although not as spooky) route, taking riders through the fictional town of Midnight Falls, where all sorts of unnerving events take place.

Instead of one maze, the event features three new haunted attractions: Midnight Mortuary, Dead End Diner, and Trick or Treat, where guests can ring doorbells to frightening results.
Disappointingly, the haunted carousel featuring horse skeletons was in full view, but not open to ride. Food options from a variety of food trucks offered simple fare like burgers and fries, jalapeno poppers, Cinnabon, and Auntie's pretzels. (Be warned, a bottle of Diet Coke costs over $6.)

The event itself certainly gives off a Halloween vibe, but as compared to years past there was something missing — mostly actors. The creeps that jump out to scare you on the mazes and hayrides, not to mention the general event space, were underpopulated. You could walk through a third of a maze and see nothing but props and various horror movie-style scenes. While effort has been put into the design of the mazes, they lacked a significant number of scares and felt rather empty.

The same goes for the Hayride, which is usually the highlight with dozens of creepy crawly denizens lurching about trying to scare the pants off you. Alas, there were only a handful, and with COVID still a problem, the actors were strangled with not being able to yell or scream. Mostly they just stomped or banged on things.

Look, I get it. It's a new world, but it still felt like half the staff called in sick. There's some cool stuff here, and it certainly puts you in the Halloween spirit, but after a break, something was missing in translation.

LA Haunted Hayride is open Thursdays through Fridays through October 31st. for more information, follow this link.

A promotional photo for CreepLA
A promotional photo for CreepLA  

Creep LA

Another Los Angeles favorite is Creep LA. Put on by JFI Productions, the all-immersive show takes the best of David Lynch and meshes it with any number of unnerving horror films you've seen over the last fifty years.
 
This year, guests arrive in a lush speakeasy populated by sultry, seductive, and, shall we say, "disturbed" characters that mix with the patrons who are seated at tables (or the bar) drinking a variety of libations. The characters stop at each table to interact and describe a town with a terrifying past and a house that has frightened them.

After some time, guests are ushered into the town, where they can meet an antiques dealer, a tarot card reader, and the unsettling inhabitants of the town wandering the square.

Ultimately, guests are brought into the house they were so warned about, navigating the dusty hallways and meeting oddball characters in unnerving scenes.

The actors in Creep LA productions always give it their all. They never break character, and create people that are interesting and uncomfortable. The sets are beautifully designed, giving the illusion that you are actually outside in the town square, and the attention to detail in the various shops, and, of course, the house, are impressive.

Like many haunted house mazes, this one isn't sure how to end. Before you know it, you are poured out into the parking lot having unwittingly seen the last of the show. It's a bit disorienting, but there are so many pleasures before it that it's still a ton of fun.  Creep LA is my favorite Halloween production of each season, and I look forward to what they create next.

Creep LA runs through October 30th and is currently sold out. Check back at CreepLA.com in case more tickets become available.

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.