I’ve been to more haunted attractions than I can count, and have been subjected to some pretty crazy things over the years, but never before have I been given a poncho when entering an event. Hell, they don’t even give ponchos out at GWAR shows.
Nevertheless, our guide tells us that we’re gonna need em since things get extra sticky at the 2012 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.
The ghoulish hayride at Griffith Park has become one of the great annual Halloween traditions and this year they’ve really pulled out all the stops to stand out among all the other L.A. haunts. Visitors in line are entertained by a trio of decapitated heads on spikes singing barber shop quartet style before being led into a literal cattle cage in preparation for the hayride. Once we’re loaded into the back of the tractor, our driver takes off into the fog-drenched night where we’re instantly hit with blood dripping from a hanged body overhead.
From there, we’re taken on a roughly 25-minute ride through a ton of jaw dropping set-pieces: Creepy corpse families, homicidal clowns, hot leather-clad undead girls, giant animatronic monsters, an evil Christmas village (complete with psycho elves), and even a robot 80’s hair-metal band from Hell. Yup, there’s a little something for everyone. Most impressive is an outdoor cathedral with a devil presiding over an evil congregation which was one of the most amazing spectacles I’ve ever seen in all my years of attending haunts.
After the ride, our group is dropped off at “Purgatory” – a small Halloween carnival with stage acts and numerous activities, but we proceed straight to this year’s dark maze. “In Between” is a classic maze loaded with monsters and well-timed scares but with a twist: One member of your group is given a tiny barely-functioning strobe lantern to navigate the pitch black corridors inside. The maze itself seemed to go on almost as long as the hayride itself so it’s well-worth the ticket price for both.
While the Haunted Hayride has never disappointed, the 2012 incarnation has eclipsed all previous years with its combination of warped set-pieces and fun carnival atmosphere. If you live in Southern California, be sure to work this one into your October plans. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is running now through October 31st and tickets can be purchased on the official website.
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