The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride received a huge overhaul for 2019 thanks to Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group and Plague Productions. We attended their announcement panel at Midsummer Scream back in August, and since then were eagerly awaiting opening night. One of the biggest improvements we saw this year was the overall transformation of the Old Zoo into the small strange town of Midnight Falls. Perpetually stuck in 1985, the townspeople are proudly hosting their annual Halloween Festival. In previous years, LAHH had some great maze and attraction concepts, but it often felt disjointed as an overall event. This season still includes the iconic Jack-o-lantern tower (a must-do Halloween photo op), but with a ton of added details, hilarious roaming characters and decorations that tie everything in together, and create a much more immersive experience.
After taking in some of the town, our first stop was of course the Hayride. The entry was through a new gas station facade that really sets the mood before you even step foot on the trailer. Overall, the hayride wasn’t much of a departure from previous years, but the vignettes managed to tie in more clearly to the event’s theme. We appreciated not having to exit the hayride for a walking portion, as that had caused unnecessary congestion (foot traffic AND allergies) in previous years. We were really impressed with some of the stunts and well-timed scares this season. The scareactors here are super dedicated, and they have to be to effectively startle guests riding in the ‘safety’ of the flatbed trailer. Once off the ride, we made our way through the new addition of a decrepit cemetery before heading back into town. The hayride has never been particularly frightening to us, but we still enjoy it. We’d consider it a great introduction to scaredy cats or brave children (at their parents’ discretion of course) that want to start getting in on some spooky seasonal fun!
Aside from the staple Hayride, there are still 3 more distinct maze-style attractions: Midnight Mortuary Haunted House, Trick-or-Treat and Roadkill Ranch. Midnight Mortuary was produced with the assistance of Sinister Pointe Productions, so as expected, the set design was very detailed. It was a traditional style walkthrough that took us through the town’s funeral parlor, as we uncovered their sinister secrets. Trick-or-Treat was the same concept as the guest favorite from previous LAHH years. This time, the monsters, ghouls and goblins were in on the celebration, donning their own Halloween costumes and partying with (while still sometimes scaring) the guests. Ringing the doorbell was a bit of an Easter egg for guests who had been previous years. It caused some thematic sound effects, but the monsters were mostly already out and about, not hiding and waiting. Some of the new houses this year were fantastic, and the meandering path through the 12 stops in the neighborhood made it a fairly long experience. Finally, back out towards the entrance, tucked up in the trees, was Roadkill Ranch. This was a barebones, mostly outdoor maze that took us through the barn, cornfields and hay stacks where we came face to face with the main highway’s previously deceased varmints. This maze relied heavily on the creepy outdoor atmosphere but seemed to be lacking in scareactors. Our favorite part of it was interacting with the suspicious farmhands over at the entrance of it.
With all that being said, here’s our Los Angeles Haunted Hayride 2019 Maze/Attraction Ranking:
- Hayride – the classic attraction with better sets, a clearer storyline, enthusiastic monsters and even some cool stunts!
- Midnight Mortuary – A solid ‘haunted house’ maze with a few good twists
- Trick-or-Treat – a ghoulishly groovy time, but we were disappointed that the trick or treating aspect wasn’t really there
- Roadkill Ranch – barebones and lacking scares, but great location and atmosphere. Barn facade and scareactors in front were entertaining.
Aside from the 4 main attractions, there is still a ton to do. The Town Square features a stage with live entertainment, food and beverage booths, the ‘Scary-Go-Round,’ a psychic, a huge boutique and mini escape rooms for an additional fee of $5. And there are even on-site porta potties this year (wahoo!).
A few tips if you plan on attending:
- Parking – Get there early! We had a really rough time parking. The intersection where you turn in needed a traffic officer. We witnessed a least 2 near accidents and waited over 30 minutes to park.
- Entry – Get there early! The security line was clearly longer than the team had planned for. If you can afford one of the VIP options, it may be a good choice
- Head straight to the Hayride. The line will only get longer (and longer)
- Wear sturdy shoes with covered toes. It’s set up in a park with some small slopes and uneven ground. No heels!
- Bring a light jacket or sweater as it can get a little cool (which to be honest, YAY).
- Talk to the townspeople, some of them are hilarious!
- Ring those doorbells in the Trick-or-Treat maze for an extra surprise!
We really enjoyed our visit to the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride this year. The Midnight Falls theme was a lot of fun and it was great to see it carried out through the whole event. Since we attended on opening night we’re hopeful that some of the logistical issues we saw will have already been addressed. Just be prepared for a crowd! For more information and tickets, visit LAHH’s website HERE.