For our first haunt of this season (we got a much later start than usual) we visited the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride! This year, the event left its iconic location at Griffith Park in favor of the more spacious Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas. A brand new concept for this season, LAHH’s Live Drive Up Experience takes the hayride off the trail and brings it to you in the safety of your parked vehicle.
The new digs did not disappoint as we curved our way past the lake on the dark, tree-lined road. After a quick touchless check in, we descended into Midnight Falls, first passing the LAHH staple tower of jack-o-lanterns, then making our way down All Hallows Lane. For fans of past years of LAHH, All Hallows Lane will have some very familiar and beloved scenes. Even with no scareactors, the drive-by scenes set an eerie and unsettling tone through lighting effects, set design and amplified audio. At the entrance of the Midnight “Drive-In” Theater, we were greeted by the “manager” of the establishment, Mr. Monte Revolta.
Once everyone was parked, it was time for the main event, Monte Revolta’s Monster Movie Spooktacular. The show gave us major Elvira’s Movie Macabre and Tales From The Crypt vibes, and consisted of original content including three brand new songs from Monte Revolta And His Band Of The Living Dead interspersed with amazingly creepy short films provided by Crypt TV. Plenty of familiar monsters such as our favorite, Miss Midnight, were in attendance as well as some great new additions. The synched lighting effects were nearly a show on their own and did an amazing job pulling us into the experience. Even with all guests confined to the safety of their vehicles, the monsters managed to engage with everyone. We were pleasantly surprised by a variety of both freaky and funny encounters.
Outside of the haunt aspect, we were also very, very impressed with how smooth the event ran! We had absolutely no issues on our way in, during, or out. To start, the directions were very helpful and specific, and there was a large lit up traffic sign letting you know you were in the right place. The staff that greeted us and scanned our tickets were friendly and helpful. The parking attendants made sure we knew exactly where to go and a nice security guard reminded us to turn off our headlights (whoops). During the event, the main screen and two additional side screens ensured that everyone in our vehicle had a good view. Afterwards, parking attendants directed us out one by one, and we were able to enjoy All Hallows Lane one more time on our way out. With a brand new style of event this season, we expected there to be a few hiccups, but it felt like the team planned for everything that could go wrong and made a point to address it ahead of time.
It’s not an overstatement to call Creative Director Jon Cooke and his team ‘creative geniuses.’ They managed to take all of the Covid-19 precautions into account to create a safe and fun Halloween celebration that allowed us to escape the “real world” for an hour. As much as we know in our hearts that it’s true, it was such a relief to really feel that Halloween isn’t dead in Southern California!
For tickets and more information, visit their website losangelehauntedhayride.com