Scary LA — Three Halloween Attractions to Catch This Month

by Kevin Taft

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday October 3, 2019

The creeps, spooks, goblins, and ghosts have begun their descent into Los Angeles and with them they bring some of the best Halloween attractions this side of Salem, MA.

Here I'll review three of the best local events and point out the creepiest and most thrilling aspects of each! Let's begin...

Knott's Scary Farm

The little sister to "Universal's Halloween Horror Nights," "Knott's Scary Farm" actually does what Universal does... but better. While Universal has the IP and branding to bring favorite TV shows and movies to life, they do so in a sort of "let's put on a show at the last minute" sort of way. Scares are done the same way in each maze and the costumes look like they got them at the Halloween Store on the corner of Wilshire and La Brea. Not Knott's.

"Knott's Scary Farm" might not have pop culture to pull from, but it has more ingenuity, more scares, and more creativity than its LA County counterpart. With nine mazes, three shows, and a dance party, there is a lot of fun to be had as you travel the grounds full of ghouls and creeps ready to sneak up on you and taunt you with their tragic tales.

New this year is "Wax Works" — a maze that takes you through a candle making company gone very, very bad. Also new is "Origins: The Curse of Calico" which tells the tale of the curse of the western town that Knott's is based around. Returning mazes still have some upgrades with the best being "Shadow Lands" which is based on Japanese mythology and "Paranormal, Inc." which has so many cool things going on it's hard to catch it all.

Shows include a magic show "Conjurers" and a naughty, vulgar puppet show from Brian Henson (Jim's son) called "Puppet Up! - Uncensored" that runs three times a night. Of course there are DJs throughout, an "Awaken the Dead Dance Party" and rides that are still open when you haven't been scared enough.

The production values at "Knott's" are top notch and it's clear they spend a lot of time creating and organizing their mazes. With better sets, props, makeup, and actors, it's well worth traveling down to the O.C. to get your scare on.

For more information and tickets visit the "Knott's Scary Farm" website.

Haus Of Creep

Creep L.A. begin in 2015 as a theatrical experience that allowed visitors to interact with an unnerving storyline that had you fully immersed in a creepy production. It was weird, eerie, funny, and totally different from what we've seen before.

Over the years, the theatre company has evolved their productions and this is clearly evident with their latest 75-minute walk through event: "Haus of Creep."

The best way to describe the concept is that small groups of attendees are invited to an art gallery opening that includes both living and still art. Guests are encouraged to wander through the art space to experience the art and the drama that unfolds around you. The company does corral folks into certain rooms when the story needs them to (yes, there is an actual story) but you do have freedom to interact and explore what interests you most. In fact, you can go multiple times and experience different aspects of the gallery each time.

I applaud the actors for their intense (and I assume exhausting) focus, which is impressive considering the vast array of guests they need to deal with. Some of the areas of the gallery are naughty, sometimes you get sucked into a scene — blindfolded and/or touched (appropriately) — and other times you are just witness to some unusual goings on.

But what's clear is that all is not right with the gallery. The artists all seem a bit stressed and as you interact they'll try to let you in on some dark secrets that they seem to be terrified by. You might even get sucked in to help them.

While "Haus of Creep" isn't scary, it is absolutely entertaining and allows for a more titillating and adult experience than other Halloween offerings. (One area had a male dominatrix making a tatted hottie strip so he could draw him.)

"Haus of Creep" is weird, relevant (yes, this is exactly how I imagine the pretentious art world to be), clever, and a total blast; definitely an event to attend this Halloween season. (Oh, and there's booze!)

For information and tickets visit the "Haus of Creep" website.

Queen Mary's Dark Harbor

One of my favorite Halloween Haunts is the "Queen Mary's Dark Harbor" which celebrates its 10th year of scaring up the L.A. County locals with its own brand of freakiness. With six mazes, three of which are on the ship itself, "Dark Harbor" might not be the biggest of the fall holiday's offerings, but the production design and overall ghoulish carnival feel puts you in the holiday spirit. There are plenty of places to get all sorts of food from pizza to turkey legs, deep fried Twinkies to kettle corn, and more. There's a hookah lounge, VIP cabanas for rent, a few bars outside and... hidden bars inside the mazes themselves. Yup! Each maze has its own hidden bar (or two) not to mention some bars just sort of in the middle of the maze. Quite simply there is no reason you can't get nice and tipsy when you wander the depths of the Queen Mary herself while avoiding Scary Mary and her evil cronies.

New this year is the maze "Rogue" which plays with the theme of a ship that has crashed and is sinking. Guests are rushed through the maze in "emergency" mode while water spews and ghostly crew men and women wander about. The maze "Intrepid" was similar to year's past but received a few upgrades as well making the mazes more interesting for repeat visitors.

While "Dark Harbor" didn't seem as thick with the creeps this time around, it's still a fun night out. There's a playfulness to the event that is enjoyable and all of the monsters lurking about bring a sense of fun to their stalking and scares.

There are two options to go through the mazes quicker, but the wait times weren't too bad on opening night. With only six mazes, you'll have plenty of time to go through them and then relax in the hookah lounge or The Rusty Nail bar and catch an aerialist or comedian entertaining the crowd.

For more info and for tickets visit: the "Queen Mary's Dark Harbor" website.

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.

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