Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Halloweekend '13

Several years ago a friend (let's call her Sugar) and I started our Halloweekend tradition. I'd fly to LA, her haunt, go to Knott's Scary Farm and then we'd try to find other spooky things to do. Don't let the sunshine fool you - LA is bursting with creepy things.

This year, we had to forgo Knott's for Disneyland. The highlight: the Nightmare Before Christmas-ized Haunted Mansion, of course. But there was also Day of the Dead shrines, a harvest festival, and some ghost on Space Mountain, which we didn't get to. All in all, h'ween at d-land is an evolving work in progress.

I was suitably annoying making her and her husband drive-by all kinds of ephemera. The first stop off the plane and on the way to Father's Office for burgers - Hobbit House:

This style was a trend in the early 20th Century and while I don't pretend to know the whole history of these storybook homes that dot SoCal, it's still ours to enjoy. Note the spider web window in the door.

We also hit the American Horror Story house from Season 1. It's pretty damn beautiful but would've been more so if the current owner had stopped revving his ridiculous gull-winged sports car for just a minute. He is cut out of the photo because: jerk.

We also stopped by an awesome pumpkin patch in the country. You know, one of those cool small-town fundraisers, where school choruses sing, the fresh corn is hot and buttery and the gourds are aplenty. 

Also: a killer trebuchet that sent pumpkins flying about 30 yards, aiming for a wall of cinder blocks, which they'd occasionally graze or - one time - hit full on like a head in an Argento film. Ah, good times - two grown women as obsessed with this as much the 8-year-old boys.

If you're near LA this month, I urge you as a fellow ghoul to check out the Haunted Hayride at Griffith Park. We've been tacking it on to the Knott's trip the last few years and every year it gets bigger and better. This time, they really exploited the haunted history of the park itself. Which by the way: totally believable. Just being in a fog-shrouded woods at night is completely effective. But they, of course, take it several steps further. The monsters don't touch you but when they cover your heads in a black sheet in the middle of the forest and cut the lights - well, pants will be peed.

Of course, flash is not allowed, so none of my pictures really came out - even to my crappy iphone standards. So I share with you this trio of severed heads that serenade you as you stand in line.

Another great feature? The food. No kidding. Last year, they had these fried apple dumplings which were rockin. And this year they upped the ante with caramel and nut draped apple cider doughnut holes. They also do a great job with their signage and packaging and whatnot:

Very clever, no?

All in all, a very successful trip. We did plenty but left more for next time. Like, the LA County Coroners Office's gift shop, the abandoned asylum of Linda Vista hospital, the museum of death, Lucha Va Voom, etc.

But for now - it's nice to be home and see that my basil is still good.

Happy halfway to h'ween!

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