October 31, 2020

The Haunt on McLaughlin: A Neighborhood Gem Along Halloween Yard Displays (Updated for 2022)

[Updated 10/30/22 10:45 PM PT with new photos from 2021 and 2022 at bottom]

Sometimes the best Halloween haunts are the ones only the neighbors know about. 

For years, I've been attending spook shows and Halloween conventions, following all the haunt blogs, and scouring social media for places to go every October. 

But The Haunt on McLaughlin in the MarVista neighborhood of Los Angeles hasn't shown up on any of them. 

And by God, this yard haunt is one of the best. 
It's the creation of a young teen who lives there, and who can be found tinkering with the wiring out in broad daylight—especially if he's discovered something's not working. 

The best part is the interactive aspect—that is, certain decorations that you activate yourself by stepping on designated pads. 

What a delight!

When I showed up two nights before Halloween—based on a tip I'd seen deeply embedded in the comments on a friend's Facebook post—the soundtrack was early 2000s Euro techno, which somehow seemed appropriate. 

Upon my arrival, it quickly changed to "Ghostbusters," which helped drown out the barking of the attack dog I'd triggered to come out of hiding. 

Bravo, I said to its creator as I walked back to my car. I hope he knows what a good job he did. I can't wait to see what he does in future years. I hope he stays a haunter for life.

circa 2021

Update 10/30/22 10:45 PM PT: I'm glad to see that this haunt (also known now as The Holiday House Mar Vista) has been back and better than ever the past two years.

circa 2022

Tonight, on Halloween Eve, just as the 7 p.m. musical show was ending, its creator (who I've since found out is Dylan Keville) was making some adjustments to the animatronics to keep them in perfect working order.

circa 2022

This year marked the return of more of the same giant inflatables...
circa 2022 well as some new ghouls, demons, and other frightful creatures added to the lawn. 

I hear there's a yard display at Christmastime, too...

Related Posts:

Photo Essay: Hunting Down Yard Haunts During a Pandemic Halloween

For the first year in a long time, I'll most likely be staying home Halloween night this year. The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is canceled for COVID-19; and it doesn't seem like a very good idea to go anywhere else where there might be crowds. 

But I thought maybe I could roam around a bit on my own on Halloween Eve night to see what spooks I could scare up in the LA area.
Every year, I always want to head up to Santa Clarita to check out the haunts just north of LA, but I always poop out before making the hour-plus drive. 

But last night, I finally made it. 

My first stop was The Doll House home haunt in Santa Clarita, where I got to spend some creepy and quality alone time with some yard-dwelling cuties. 

While in the area, I also visited Coffinwood Cemetery...

...which not only makes good use of its front yard...

...but also allows for a bit of a walk-through haunt attraction. 

Larger than life figures make their offerings while keeping visitors at arm's distance...

...though it's likely something befell them other than the coronavirus

I didn't see any live werewolves...

...but the cemetery was plenty full of skulls...

...and skeletons.

After a quick stop at the Beware the Dark Realm medieval castle-themed maze (where I may or may not have caught the bubonic plague)...

...I hopped off the 5 Freeway on my way home and swung by the city of Burbank...

...where I've had some good luck with Halloweentime home haunts before... visit the Circus of Nightmares on one of its "Scare Nights" starring live, pint-sized clowns. 

It's technically considered a "drive-by" haunt...

...but by the time I arrived sometime around 9 o'clock, all the activity had attracted quite a crowd out front. 

That was the scene at the Burbank yard haunt known as Holiday Fantasies Come to Life...

...which is just a stone's throw from the Disney lot...

...and this year pays tribute to the world of Disney with its "FANTASMIC!" yard display. 

I can't wait to go back and see what they do for the next holiday (a.k.a. Christmas). 

So, now that I've had one big night out full of Halloweeny stuff, I won't feel so bad about spending my big night in tonight. 
Related Posts:

October 26, 2020

The Haunted Car Wash Inside a Tunnel of Terror

I've been wondering why there aren't more themed car washes. Why not make something so mundane as cleaning your car a little more... entertaining

And this Halloween, the Russell Fischer Xpress car wash in Huntington Beach, California stepped up to the plate with its "Tunnel of Terror" Haunted Car Wash. 

I'm never really terrified at haunted attractions. I'm much more scared by real life. 
In fact, I'm downright giddy when I encounter a clown who's maniacally giggling at me. 

I just giggle back. 

And this year, I was just so happy for any Halloween festivities I encountered—especially when I already needed a car wash. 

They laughed at me when they saw me all by myself in my car. But it's too hard to make plans with somebody else these days. 

And I don't need to have kids in tow in order to appreciate a spooky spectacle. 

At this haunted car wash, much of the show actually occurred outside of the bubbly tunnel...
...with scary characters wielding squeegees and beckoning you forth into the darkness. 

After you enter the mouth...

...this car wash doesn't start out much differently than any other car wash.

At least, any other car wash with a good multi-colored light show. 

But then, something begins to emerge into the light at the end of the car wash tunnel...

...a shadowy figure who's been standing there, waiting for you to emerge from the soap and rinse cycle. 

And just as soon as they appear...

...they disappear behind your car to greet the next victim in line. 

Related Posts: