Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

Aiden Sinclair’s Ghosts of Christmas Passed aboard the Queen Mary – CA

GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS PASSED (ILLUSIONS OF THE PASSED)

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Conjuring Spirits may not be the first thing that pops into your mind when those familiar holiday carols begin playing on every radio station, but chances are you’ve crossed paths with at least one version of A Christmas Carol. Actually as Aiden Sinclair explains at the top of Ghosts of Christmas Passed, sharing stories of the dead was a large part of holiday tradition once upon a time. Attending this event at the haunted Queen Mary in Long Beach California is a great way to begin bringing back that tradition.

Sinclair has a masterful way of combining historical facts with compelling storytelling. He both entertains and educates his audiences, while also leading them to ponder important questions about life, death and beyond. This theatrical séance is so personal and beautifully executed that even though I didn’t participate onstage, I felt included and affected by each special moment. The participants were so relatable that I could easily imagine how they felt upon interacting with our conjured spirit through haunted items on stage.

Everything about the performance surpassed my expectations from the haunted items in the lobby, to the performance, to the special drink menu based on actual spirits reported to be aboard the ship. Sinclair’s ability to make everyone feel at ease in a situation that requires several participants was one of the moments that stands out the most to me. I was quite impressed that he explicitly tells the audience that they are not obligated to be onstage and he was very respectful to those that were. As someone that is often around magicians and other stage performers, it was refreshing to see this attitude.

Ghosts of Christmas Passed is not to be missed! It is an incredible intimate theatrical séance that not only will entertain, but could even change the way you think about a few things.

Get your tickets HERE

 

 

HAUNTS – Factory of Terror – Ohio

FACTORY OF TERROR


Factory of Terror is a good standard haunted attraction. It makes a lot of top haunt lists, but I wouldn’t say it’s really worth a special trip. It’s got some great visual moments and really elaborate puppets, set and tech at points and then there are large sections lacking creativity.


I did enjoy the mirror maze and some of the moving floor and wall effects. I felt the use of vertigo tunnels and airbags was excessive and ineffective. There were A LOT of very loud sounds throughout that eventually became less of a jump scare and more of a headache.


Factory of Terror claims to be one of the longest haunted houses so we expected much more, but it was simply multiple small haunts. One of the most frustrating things about the event was the theming inside each walkthrough. It was very difficult to figure out what was going on because they were divided up as if to have distinct themes but once inside each maze seemed to change within itself as if they didn’t really know what story they were telling. Stronger theming within each maze could help the actors make stronger character choices.


There were a handful of very talented actors, but overall most had no idea what they were doing. It really felt that they lacked proper training. One entire walkthrough was basically growling. The maze with the large gargoyles in front had some of the best actors and one incredibly unprofessional actor (the first scare when you walk in) was literally playing on her cell phone and looked up annoyed when we stared at her waiting for her to do something and then waved at us as if to say, “move along, stop bothering me.”


Overall Factory Of Terror seemed to be run by nice people that have a passion for haunting, but need some tweaking and the actors need training. If you’re in the area definitely check it out, but I wouldn’t drive far out of your way to see it.

HAUNTS – Lewisburg Haunted Cave – Ohio

LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE


Imagine walking along a bridge over water inside a cave in darkness and feeling something grab your ankle. I don’t have to imagine it, it happened tonight at Lewisburg Haunted Cave. That was the beginning of a very exciting adventure through this one of a kind, truly scary haunted attraction in Lewisburg Ohio.


I have experienced many amazing haunts around the nation from Hollywood style makeup and sets to immersive storytelling to extreme individual experiences, but it’s rare I am actually scared in a haunted attraction. Lewisburg Haunted Cave is genuinely scary and thrilling in a way I’ve rarely experienced. It’s a perfect balance of “fun fear” meets “real fear”. There were moments I legitimately screamed. The unusual underground setting with it’s uneven wet ground, bridges and, claustrophobic nature play a big role. The unexpected moments with perfectly placed pyrotechnics are stunning. The full sized vehicles were impressive. I think the standout scene with Satan giving you actual choices is one of the very special ways this haunted attraction shines above the rest. I mean how unnerving is it to know you have to choose correctly or you could get lost wandering around inside for who knows how long? Honestly though the truck was the moment that made me hit the ground with tears in my eyes. I don’t want to spoil the moment here, but if you’ve been there, then you know the moment I’m talking about. It was such a well done scare that it took a moment for my reality to catch back up to me and remind me that it was a haunted house and I was safe. (They got me good.)


This was about an hour experience because we didn’t get lost. It can take longer. It is dark and the ground is uneven. Please wear sturdy shoes that you won’t care about getting dirty. I wouldn’t recommend this for young children or anyone with health issues that could be aggravated by stress.


It is an impressive combination of genuinely creepy atmosphere, effective actors, awe inspiring animatronics, top notch sound and lighting design, physical and mental stimulation that attacks all of your senses and even pyrotechnics inside one of the most unique venues I’ve encountered. Basically what I’m saying is…it’s amazing!!! Don’t be mislead by the inexpensive ticket price, it’s worth much more for this experience. *They also have a historical tour type hayride that is more family friendly as well as entertinament and concessions. I highly recommend Lewisburg Haunted Cave.

*Due to time constraints we were unable to ride through the family friendly attraction.

2017 EVENTS ATTENDED DURING HAUNT SEASON

I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I am attending in 2017 in the order I attended them/by state.

Follow me on Instagram & YouTube for updates and photos. 

CALIFORNIA HAUNTS:

Niebolt House (IT experience in Hollywood)

Night Shift DTLA

9/16/17 Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

9/17/17 *NEW* Elevator escape room at The Basement 

9/17/17 Rizo’s Scarehouse

9/23/17 Knott’s Scary Farm

9/28/17 Queen Mary Dark Harbor

9/29/17 Talladega Frights

9/30/17 Universal Studios HHN

10/1/17 Sinister Valley Haunted House

10/12/17 Walls Grow Thin

10/13/17 Glowzone Psycho Circus

10/14/17 Haunted Trail at Balboa Park

10/14/17 Savage House

10/14/17 DeadRingers (coffin escape game)

10/14/16 Motel 6 Feet Under

10/15/17 Into The Black

10/15/17 Coffin Creek

11/11/17 CreepLA

OHIO HAUNTS:

10/20/17 Leweisburg Haunted Cave

10/20/17 Dent Schoolhouse

10/22/17 Factory Of Terror

10/22/17 Blood Prison

10/22/17 Haunted Hoochie

10/23/17 USS Nightmare

10/23/17 Land Of Illusion

10/25/17 Magic Castle Halloween event

10/26/17 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

10/27/17 Fleshyard 

10/28/17 Freakling Bros

10/28/17 Las Vegas Haunted Asylum & Hotel

TENNESSEE HAUNTS:

10/6/17 Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern (Dread Hollow)

GEORGIA HAUNTS:

10/6/17 Paranoia

10/7/17 Netherworld Haunted House & Escape Rooms

10/7/17 Containment

10/7/17 Six Flags over Georgia 

10/8/17 13 Stories 

10/8/17 Folklore

10/9/17 Mission Escape Atlanta escape games

 

*LIST SUBJECT TO CHANGE

2016 EVENTS ATTENDED DURING HAUNT SEASON

I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I attended in 2016 in no particular order.

SOCAL HAUNTS:

The Tension Experience

Universal Studios HHN

Fright Fest at Magic Mountain

Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under

Delusion

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

ROT

Coffin Creek

Scream Kingdom

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Scream Zone

HOME HAUNTS:

Rotten Apple

Backwoods Maze

The Haunt with no name

Boney Island

PENNSYLVANIA HAUNTS:

Terror Behind These Walls

Field of Screams

Shocktoberfest

Pennhurst Haunted Asylum

 

MASSACHUSETTS HAUNTS:

Barrett’s Haunted Mansion

Spooky World

Haunted Overload

Chambers of Terror

Hysteria Conner’s Farm

Gallows Hill Theatre (performance)

 

2016 Los Angeles area Halloween haunts & events list

Below is a list of Halloween events and haunts in the Los Angeles and surrounding areas in no particular order with links to their sites.

HAUNTS

The Tension Experience  *** <My Review>

Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights (HHN)

Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest ***<My Review>

Knott’s Scary Farm

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Sinister Pointe

Motel 6 Feet Under 

Creep Los Angeles

Delusion (initial run sold out)

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Beware The Dark Realm

Reign of Terror (ROT)

Screenshot Productions The Rope

Zombie Joe’s Underground Urban Death

Unbound Productions Wicked Lit

Coffin Creek

Talladega Frights

Haunt at Heritage Hill

Field of Screams

The Fleshyard

17th Door

Scream Kingdom

Castle Dark

Scandia

Fear Station

All Saints Lunatic Asylum

Way of the Shadow Haunted House (2016 dates: 29, 30, 31)

RC Haunt

CookHaunt (New Location: Anaheim at the Pumpkin patch – catty corner from Cinema City)

Dead Zone 805

Hyde Street Haunt

HOME HAUNTS

Rotten Apple 

Boot Hill

The House on Haunted Hill

The Backwoods Maze

The Klownhouse

The Haunt at Daisy Avenue

Opechee Haunt

Van Oaks Cemeterey

The Haunt with No Name

Gothic Hills Cemetery

Spooky Hallows

 

FAMILY EVENTS (not scary)

Boney Island (magical yard display)

Mickey’s Halloween Party

Boo at the Zoo

Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch

Rise of the Jack o lanterns 

Shawn’s Pumpkin Patch

Pa’s Pumpkin Patch

Cal Poly Pumpkin Festival Pomona

Pumpkin Liner

Sleepover at the Natural History Museum

Happy Harbor Halloween

Scarium of the Pacific

Knott’s Spooky Farm

Kidspace Children’s Museum Pumpkin Festival

Halloween Spooktacular City of Pico Rivera

Slightly Spooky Stories at Descanso Gardens

 

EVENTS

Heritage Square

Shriekfest

Blackthorne Screamfest

Drunken Devil Witches Ball

Hollywood Monster Night

West Hollywood Carnaval

Long Beach Zombie Fest

Crown City Theatre Company Nosferatu (theatre)

Maverick Theatre Night of the Living Dead (theatre)
OUTSIDE OF LOS ANGELES

Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

High Desert Haunted House

Scream Zone *** <my review>

ESCAPE ROOM – Escape Hotel: Agent – California

Escape Hotel: Agent

We enter a beautiful hotel lobby reminiscent of the Disney California Adventure’s former Tower of Terror. A strange bellhop greets us in a rather robotic manner. Upon approaching the desk we are warmly greeted and asked for our IDs. Several minutes later we are handed a very professional looking passport. To the right of the desk stands a counter that serves sandwiches, salads and drinks. Many comfortable couches are scattered about the lobby and the second level. The wheelchair specific lift to the second floor next to a backdropped photo op look a bit out of place, but it’s forgivable because their purposes are so clearly important. Postmodern Jukebox rings throughout the building adding to a fun but slightly creepy environment. This lobby sets expectations high even if you haven’t watched the incredible marketing videos before arriving.

Unfortunately the Agent Room isn’t quite as spectacular as the lobby, but it is a lot of fun. The decor is good. I honestly expected a bit more from it based on the amazing lobby. There are zip ties holding a few things together that seem a bit more functional than decorator choices. I’m usually not a fan of war themes, but this one was quite fun. I felt transported to a different time, maybe because I would never expect to find swastikas on anything these days. I couldn’t tell you the story primarily because I couldn’t hear the video that explains it over the loud music meant to set the tone. There is very little tech in the room, but what is there worked properly. It is very much your typical well-done escape room. I liked one of the puzzles near the beginning because it felt very MacGyver and I hadn’t seen it before. The room bottlenecks near the end, but up to that point there seemed to be enough to keep all six of us busy. If you are sensitive to violence or historic war visuals, this may not be the room for you. Also be aware this is right smack in Hollywood, so arrive early to find parking and deal with unexpected traffic.

Overall my husband and I had a really good time. We went opening weekend, so the company is still going through some growing pains of a brand new business. I expect amazing things from them in the near future, but until then The Agent is the room I recommend at Escape Hotel.

MIDSUMMER SCREAM – Califonia

As a haunt lover, I am anxiously awaiting Midsummer Scream in July. So when I received the following press release today I couldn’t wait to share it here on my blog. Here goes…

HALL OF SHADOWS TO FEATURE FULL SCARE ZONE, ROAMING MONSTERS AND 9 HAUNTED ATTRACTION PREVIEWS TO MIDSUMMER SCREAM

Thrills and Chills Await Those Brave Enough to Venture into “Dark Zone” on Show Floor at Long Beach Convention Center

LOS ANGELES, June 17, 2016 – One of the most exciting and unique components of Midsummer Scream – California’s premier Halloween, haunt and horror festival – will be its Hall of Shadows dark zone, featuring roaming monsters, entertainment, and 9 terrifying mini haunted attraction experiences.

Hall of Shadows will occupy more than one third of the Halloween festival’s 90,000 square-foot show floor this year, giving thousands of fans the opportunity to preview home and professional haunts each day, included with their admission to Midsummer Scream. In addition to the haunted attractions, those brave enough to venture into Hall of Shadows will experience a full-blown scare zone, Toxicity, high-energy performances by the Decayed Brigade slider team three times each day, and many terrifying monsters lurking in the fog, waiting to pounce!

FULL SCARE ZONE

Created by Larry Bones and his crew at Bone Yard Effects, Toxicity is an immersive experience set within the walls of a genetics lab that has suffered a toxic explosion that will leave guests screaming as they are attacked by twisted, mutated scientists from all sides. Bone Yard Effects creates the makeup applications and prosthetics each year for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood.

THRILLING SLIDER SHOWS

Three times daily, the Decayed Brigade will perform and entertain guests within the Hall of Shadows as they showcase the art of sliding – a scare tactic that was created some 40 years ago by monsters roaming the streets of Ghost Town at Knott’s Scary Farm. These men and women push their bodies and the laws of gravity to the limit in high-energy demonstrations that leave fans cheering and astounded.

TERRIFYING HAUNTED ATTRACTION PREVIEW EXPERIENCES

Midsummer Scream is excited to present 9 stand-alone mini haunt experiences that allow fans to preview things to come this Halloween season. From home to pro haunts, guests may sample the handiwork of some of Southern California’s hottest haunted attractions throughout the weekend at no extra cost with paid admission to the festival.

Featured at Midsummer Scream 2016 are:

Fear Station: Escape the Windigo – The harvest moon has awoken the Windigo from its slumber, and the creature is hungry for blood. No one is safe from the beast as it hunts its prey in the darkness. Will you escape the season of the Windigo?

Dead Zone 805 – Fight for survival as you enter the zombie-filled post-apocalyptic world where infection and violent gangs threaten you every step of the way!

Savage House – Every family has a secret… Enter the home of the Wytner clan, a family that has lived in the rural countryside, kidnapping tourists passing by for years. Witness the atrocities as they taunt and torture the unsuspecting victims that have ended up in their home.

Perdition Home – Houston, we have a problem! The notion that in outer space, no one can hear you scream simply isn’t true. Venturing into the depths of an ill-fated spacecraft, everyone will hear you cry for mercy when you face the horrors within.

The Fleshyard – Not every home is safe. Madness lingers beyond the threshold of a decrepit old cabin, concealing evil so vile that those who manage to escape will never be the same. The Fleshyard is a bad place. A very, very bad place…

Higgins Manor – You’ve wandered into the most feared place in the Old West: the Higgins & Co. Work Camp. Can you survive the rowdiest, most dangerousest, most horriblest clan of townsfolk this side of Deadwood? Why don’t y’all come take a gander and see fer yerselves?

Spooky Hollows – Follow the trail of a madman through the basin swampland, where he attempted and failed to achieve mortality. Through sick and twisted science experiments, he left a trail of wasted souls in his wake before falling victim to his own worst nightmares.

Scareventures Presents: Sea of Terror – To date, man has explored less than 5% of Earth’s oceans. Perhaps there’s a reason why… Take a terror trip into the depths where undersea creatures lie in wait as you attempt to escape your watery grave. If dead men tell no tales, then where do the stories come from?

Gorlesque: The Haunted Burlesque – Are you “perfect” enough to join the Weltschmerz Society? Come find out and experience a naughty taste of the frights, frills, and frolic that awaits you this Halloween in Los Angeles!

“Hall of Shadows is one aspect of Midsummer Scream that I am most excited about,” said Rick West, Creative Director of Midsummer Scream. “When I think of Halloween, I instantly think of haunted houses; stand-alone attractions as well as home haunts are the very essence of the season. It’s completely thrilling to bring nine very different haunt previews to our guests in an environment that is totally unique to our show. Midsummer Scream’s Hall of Shadows is the closest anyone is going to get to the spirit of Halloween during the summer, and our haunt partners are ready to bring the terror!”

Midsummer Scream features more than 150 vendors and exhibitors, education offerings, make-and-take workshops, world-class panel presentations, live entertainment and incredible experiences throughout the venue, black cat adoptions, and a Saturday night costume party featuring Oingo Boingo Dance Party.

Tickets are now on sale, with new information regarding Midsummer Scream updated frequently at MidsummerScream.org.

Fans may sign up on the site for email notifications and announcements, including discounts and other special offers.  Be sure to follow Midsummer Scream on social media as well – Twitter/Periscope: @MidsummerScream, Instagram: @MidsummerScream, and Facebook: facebook.com/midsummerscream.

About Midsummer Scream Halloween Festival

Midsummer Scream is a large-scale summer festival celebrating the spirit of Halloween, haunts and horror, drawing thousands of guests to Southern California for a weekend of thrills and chills. Featuring a massive show floor of vendors and exhibitors, haunted attractions and experiences, live entertainment and world-class panel presentations, Midsummer Scream is the West Coast’s premier Halloween/horror event, offering something for fans of all ages. More information can be found at MidsummerScream.org.

HAUNTS

2020

LIST OF SOCAL EVENTS

MY 2020 HAUNT SCHEDULE

2019

2019 HAUNT SCHEDULE

2019 HALLOWEEN REVIEWS 

2018

2018 HAUNT SCHEDULE

2017

LIST OF EVENTS – 2017 HAUNT SEASON

Midsummer Scream – CA (AUG 2017)

2016

COMPLETE LIST OF 2016 HALLOWEEN HAUNTS & EVENTS (LOS ANGELES AREA)            above is a list of all of the haunts I know of in the area, not just the ones I attended

LIST OF EVENTS I ATTENDED DURING 2016 HAUNT SEASON

The Tension Experience – CA (FEB-OCT 2016)

Talladega Frights – CA (FEB 2016)

Midsummer Scream – CA (AUG 2016)

2015

Beware the Dark Realm – CA

Higgins Manor – CA

Scandia – CA

Queen Mary Dark Harbor- CA

El Paso Sheriff’s Haunted House- TX

The Massacre on Marshall Road – TX

Fright Fest Fiesta – TX

13th Floor – TX

House of Shock – LA

Haunted Mortuary – LA

13th Gate – LA

Universal Studios Hollywood HHN – CA

Field of Screams – CA

Knott’s Scary Farm – CA

Drunken Devil – CA

17th Door – CA

Fright Fest Magic Mountain – CA

Evil Twin Studios Ward 13 – CA

Haunted Hotel – CA

Savage House – CA

Motel 6 Feet Under – CA

2012

Haunts

HAUNT – Universal Studios Hollywood HHN – CA – 2015

Universal Halloween Horror Nights

4 stars

As a former HHN employee I set higher expectations for haunts than the average guest, but especially for HHN. I expect the Scareactors to be well trained and on point. This year I was not disappointed. I attended opening night with my husband. We did early entry (it’s free, just arrive early and head downstairs to the lower lot). The queue lines opening night were not as bad as they have been in the past. They also have screens playing movie clips, DJ playing music and (kinda lame) Boo Crew that entertain while you wait.

All of the mazes were good. I especially liked This Is the End. They did a wonderful job of creating a beautiful maze, complete with humor and boo scares. I was not a huge fan of the Walking Dead maze, but I haven’t kept up on the show so that may have something to do with it. My favorite scarezone was the Krampus area upstairs. Basically Universal did what Universal always does…create beautiful, professional mazes with well trained Scareactors.