Halloween Outside the 5Cs

Halloween is in just a couple of days, and for college students, the celebrations have already started and will continue in full force until Monday morning. Haven’t been invited by a Mudder or a Scrippsie to Trick or Drink? Not looking forward to another year of trying to make it into Harwood Halloween only to discover that it’s so crowded you can’t even move? Simply want to get off campus this weekend?

Luckily, the Los Angeles area offers lots of creepy last-minute alternatives to the 5Cs’ All Hallows Eve festivities.

Many of the biggest and most frightening events are hosted by local amusement parks. The original Southern California haunted theme park, Knott’s Scary Farm, is also one of its most popular, featuring 13 themed mazes with names such as “The Doll Factory” and “The Slaughterhouse.” Guests, who are not allowed to come in costume, can also attend a variety of shows ranging from a hypnotist to a staged hanging to improv theater. Tickets range from $33 pre-sale to $56 the day of.

Both Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain also turn from theme parks into “scream parks” in October. Like at Knott’s, you will find zombies, ghouls, and other creepy-crawlies roaming the park, as well as horrifying rides, mazes, and clubs.

Nearby, the Pomona Fairplex hosts Nightmare at Scareview Farms, which has expanded last year’s three haunted mazes to five this year. The event is focused around an evil farm character named Pitchfork and transforms the fairgrounds’ Big Red Barn into a supposed den of terror. For those who want a scary setting that’s a little more fun than heart attack-inducing, Scareview Farms is a deal at only $15.

Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood closes down Halloween night to host one of the country’s largest Halloween celebrations, a giant costume street party called The West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval. The event starts at 6 p.m. and features DJs, graffiti artists, aerialists, and even a “rock and roll strip show.” The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s 35th Anniversary will be duly honored, with one stage entirely devoted to the cult classic.

The L.A. festivities don’t stop there. Theatre 68 on Sunset Blvd. is hosting its fifth annual Haunted House for only $10, and The Hunger Artists Theatre Company is presenting a Halloween-esque version of a Shakespeare classic, titled A Midsummer’s Night Scream. Directed by Amber Scott, the play features love-struck teenagers who wander into a deserted cemetery and get caught up with ghouls and zombies. Although the play has been going on all month, its last performance is Halloween day.

For something a little more historical than scary, check out the arguably over-priced, touristy tours of Los Angeles and Hollywood that focus on sites of famous deaths, murders, and scandals. Dearly Departed Tours and Haunted Hollywood Tours leave at varied times, so look online to see what works best for you.

The Historical Society of Long Beach also hosts a “living history” walking tour through the city’s two oldest cemeteries. The dead, ranging from important political figures to ordinary citizens, “come to life” to tell their stories of lives from a different time. While the tour isn’t actually scary at all, this Halloween event serves as a good excuse for history-phobes to learn more about the past. The two-hour tour is offered only once a year on the Saturday before Halloween (this year, Saturday, Oct. 30). Most bars and clubs in Los Angeles will be hosting Halloween-themed parties, too, so it’s good to do some Web-searching to see what else is out there since a lot of this information comes out at the last minute.

If worse comes to worst come Halloween evening, you and your friends can always swing by El Pollo Loco in Pomona, located at 123 W. Holt Ave. Footsteps, several loud voices, and slamming doors coming from unoccupied parts of the establishment have been reported when no one, other than the witness, was in the building.

But if not, the night won’t be a total waste: after all, what could be scarier than bad Mexican food?

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