This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Your Ultimate Guide To Halloween Mazes, Shows And Extreme Haunts
(Check out a number of these haunts in the trailer for Jon Schnitzer's 'Haunters')
It's Halloween, which is by far this writer's favorite time of year. We've rounded up our favorite haunts this year, from the big, blockbuster parks with numerous attractions, to smaller mom-and-pop haunters who put together innovative and thoughtful scares. We've got traditional mazes full of monsters that pop out at you as you walk through, actual mazes you'll need to find your way out of, escape rooms, full-contact haunts, immersive scavenger hunts and games, one overnight horror scenario, macabre tours and interactive plays.
MULTIPLE MAZE HAUNTS
Knott's Scary Farm (Photo by Annie Lesser/LAist)
Knott's Scary FarmKnott's Scary Farm is a classic. When the sun sets on this usually family-friendly Buena Park amusement park, expect to be startled and creeped out as you wind your way through their spooky mazes and scare zones. They've got three new mazes this year as well as some returning favorites, making 11 total mazes. Only one maze from last year is absent; the vampire-themed Dominion of the Dead maze has either met the True Death or is in torpor this year. They'll also have hundreds of monsters creeping through the park's three foggy scare zones, so watch out for them. They like to sneak up behind you, skidding on metal knee pads and hissing in your ears. And watch out for the Carnevil Scare Zone, because that one has a lot of clowns. Note: if you don't have a front-of-line pass, you may find yourself waiting in line for attractions for a while, so bear that in mind when planning your trip. Also, only those guests who purchase the 'Skeleton Key' will be able to access the secret rooms that some of the mazes hold. There will be five of these, and we find them to be a good cheap thrill and some fun gags for the true horror aficionado.
Thy also have their annual pop culture variety show The Hanging (which employs too many hack jokes and off-color pot shots for us to claim to be fans of), and a brand new show from Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
New Mazes include:
The Dead of Winter sounds kind of like Frozen meets whatever's going on beyond the wall in Game of Thrones. You are trapped in the lair of an evil Snow Queen who has a goon squad of undead vikings. This maze contains a Skeleton Key room. Dead of Winter replaces Trapped, Knott's escape room experience. Returning mazes include Pinnochio Unstrung, Tooth Fairy, Black Magic, Forevermore, Trick-or-Treat, Gunslinger's Grave, Voodoo, and their laser tag zombie hunting adventure Special Ops: Infected. Those who need a break from the scares can choose to go on non-Scary Farm rides, including their latest 3D undersea adventure Iron Reef.
Check out our gallery from Knott's opening night, plus changes to returning mazes, here.
Knott's Scary Farm is located at 8039 Beach Blvd. in Buena Park. It opened on September 24 and runs through Halloween. Tickets range from $39.99 to $150.
This year's 'Walking Dead' maze (Photo via Universal Studios)
Universal Haunted Horror NightsThis blockbuster haunt features several mazes and live shows, but if you get sick of screaming, you can also visit some of Universal's top attractions outside of the haunt for a breather. (We like the expanded Simpsons universe ourselves!) Universal is one of the big ones, year after year. Much like Knott's, we also recommend purchasing a front-of-line pass, otherwise you can expect to wait for over an hour for the most popular mazes.
This year's mazes include Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak; Insidious: Return to the Further; The Walking Dead: Wolves Not Far; Alien Vs. Predator; This is the End 3D; Halloween: Michael Myers Comes Home; and Terror Tram: Survive the Purge, which will take guests into a Purge Party, where those who have chosen not to partake in the dystopian 12 hours of lawlessness can watch the evening's mayhem unfold safely from Universal's backlot. What could go wrong? This year's event also has a performance by hip-hop dance troupe Jabbawockeez.
There are also four Scare Zones where monsters will attempt to spook you from their foggy recesses. These include The Purge: Urban Nightmare; Exterminatorz, a world in which humans are the pests; Corpz, where you will be pursued by the ghosts of WWII soldiers; and Dark Christmas, where you'll have to deal with Krampus, the Austrian answer to Santa Claus who drags away bad babies to the pits of Hell.
Check out our coverage of Universal's Halloween Horror Night's opening event here.
Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights is located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City. It opened on September 18 and runs though November 1. Tickets are $50 to $85, with optional add-ons.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (Photo via TenThirtyOne Productions)
Los Angeles Haunted HayrideThis annual haunt from Ten Thirty One Productions isn't quite as crowded as Universal or Knott's, but it still offers multiple attractions. The centerpiece, of course, is the hayride itself, which takes guests on a ride through Griffith Park full of macabre vignettes and monsters that creep up alongside the trailer.
This year, the theme is "Boogeyman," and they're calling it their darkest event yet.
CEO Melissa Carbone said in a statement that they started to notice that no matter where they went in the world, "each culture has their own version of a Boogeyman. It's an intriguing unifying characteristic in the way we experience fear. This notion is the overarching theme to an extraordinary ride that will allow hayriders to meet the Boogeymen of the world…and there are some vicious Boogeymen out there." Our favorite of these roving monsters was a certain figure from Reddit group /r/creepypasta that we're sure you'll recognize.
This year's hayride features an all-new ride from last year, plus new mazes and scares including Trick Or Treat, House of Shadow and a revamp of their In-Between Dark Maze. These three mazes have some cool interactive components outside of simply walking through. Trick Or Treat requires you to go door-to-door through a neighborhood filled with weirdos and monsters, occasionally collecting actual candy. This is in the same vein as their previous '7 Deadly Sins' haunt, but a lot more fun if you ask me. House of Shadows has your small team of adventurers going from room to room, each more treacherous than the last. To get out of some rooms, you may have to solve a puzzle or complete an action. And finally, the In-Between Dark Maze has you entering a very dark maze full of clowns in small groups. Only one group member has a lantern, so you'll have to pay attention to navigate yourself out as a team.
On the grounds, there will also be psychics on hand to tell you your fate, a station for carving jack-o-lanterns and the Scary-Go-Round (where all the carousel favorites are nothing but bones). There are also plenty of photo opportunities with roving spooks and in Death Row, a gallery full of torture devices. Food comes from a concession stand, where you can get 'Misery Mac & Cheese Bites,' 'Children of the Popcorn,' 'Pumpkin Head Fritters' and other treats.
Los Angeles Haunted Hay Ride is located at 4730 Crystal Springs Dr. in Griffith Park. It runs from October 2 through Halloween. Tickets are $30 to $59.
Queen Mary's Dark Harbor (Photo via Dark Harbor)
Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
Dark Harbor is not just a haunt, it's a haunt on a boat that people claim is really haunted. There are six mazes this year, one of which is new.
That new maze would be Lullaby, which plays on the myth of Scary Mary, a devious child who is hoping to trick you into joining her in Hell. She drowned in the poolroom in 1952, but she was apparently "a bad seed from birth."
There's also Circus, which takes you through a big-top tent full of sideshow characters and probably some clowns, plus some "maniacal magic acts." There's Deadrise, which takes place on a WWII escort ship that crashed and sank to the bottom of the ocean. Soulmate is the story of Gale, a ghost who has been looking for her ideal lover since the day she disappeared. That sounds romantic, until you realize she's employed some terrifying minions to chop up potential mates and Frankenstein them into the perfect groom. B340 plays on the urban legend that haunts the Queen Mary. B340 is the name of the supposedly haunted cabin where, according to lore, a man was locked up after he displayed some vicious behavior, only to be found torn apart himself in the cabin soon after. The B340 maze tells the story of how Samuel the Savage came to be so deranged. Voodoo Village might remind you of Knott's voodoo maze and for good reason. You're in the Bayou, trying to escape a Voodoo priestess and her curses. There's also a gator.
Also new this year are brand new monsters, as well as vaudeville performances where you can score a cocktail at the Side Show Bar.
Queen Mary's Dark Harbor is located at 1126 Queens Hwy in Long Beach. It runs from October 1 to November 1. Tickets are $20 to $94.
Six Flags Fright Fest
This amusement park takes a dark twist for Halloween, complete with seven mazes, seven scare zones, three shows and scary twists on rides—namely, riding them in the dark.
New this year is Unleashed, a circus-style show featuring contortionists and other performers.
Mazes include Toyz of Terror 3D, a 3D maze full of terrible toys and packed with colorful stuffed animals for you to navigate through; Red's Revenge, which plays on the Little Red Riding Hood tale; Willoughby's Garden of Darkness, where the plants eat you; Vault 666, which takes place in a research center where experiments have gone awry; The Aftermath, which takes you through a world now overrun with zombies; Willoughby's Resurrected, a good old-fashioned haunted manor; and Chupacabra, an exploration of Mexican folklore. There are also multiple scare zones full of the undead, comic book villains, nightmarish tropes and more.
Six Flags Fright Fest is located at Six Flags Magic Mountain at 16101 Magic Mountain Parkway in Valencia. It runs through November 1. Tickets start at $66.99 for entrance plus mazes, with optional add-ons that include dinner and front-of-line access.
Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror was a violent period following the French Revolution in 1793 to 1794. But it's also the name of a 15,000-square-foot haunted house with 82 rooms. Themes include a classic haunted Victorian house, the grisly Blood Manor, Miner's Revenge, a quarantine zone and the Asylum. New this year is a Fun House full of, you guessed it, those pesky evil clowns that keep showing up at haunts everywhere.
Reign of Terror is located at 197 N. Moorpark Road in Thousand Oaks. It runs October 9 through 31 on select dates. Tickets are $17 to $25.
A classic neighborhood haunted house (Photo via Motel 6 Feet Under)
Motel 6 Feet UnderFor a good, cheap scare, there's Motel 6 Feet Under in Anaheim. This is one maze that you may actually get lost in, making the amount of time you spend in it anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. There are animatronic and, er, undead monsters lurking in this maze. If you time it right, you can hit up this attraction while exploring Anaheim's annual fall festival and Halloween parade.
Motel 6 Feet Under is located at 1960 S. Anaheim Way in Anaheim, and runs October 2 through November 1. Tickets are $15 to $25, with deals on certain nights.
Evil Twin Studios, who previously ran the Theatre of Terror and Raymond Hill Mortuary, is back with a new maze: WARD 13. This South Pasadena haunt takes you into the Raymond Hill Sanitarium where the most dangerous and violent of patients resided. Rumor has it that "experimentation took precedence over finding a cure." The walk-through should take about 15 minutes.
WARD 13 is located at 1020 El Centro Street in South Pasadena. It runs on Fridays and Saturdays from October 9 through Halloween. Tickets are $15 online, $17 at the door.
The Drunken Devil's Sinner's Soiree (Photo via Drunk Devil Productions)
The Sinner's SoireeThis standalone haunt from Drunken Devil Productions takes you down to New Orleans where you'll have to make your way through a "Southern Gothic Hell" in order to get to the Devil's Den, where you can have a cocktail with the Prince of Darkness himself while enjoying a variety of live vaudeville acts. Only small groups will be able to go through the haunt at a time to enjoy a more intimate and personalized experience with the monsters inside. You can also read the Devil's diary by subscribing here.
Getting ready for this year's home haunt (Photo by Martin Potter)
Rotten AppleThis is one of the top home haunts around, according to filmmaker Jon Schnitzer, who went around to numerous Halloween attractions for his documentary Haunters. Built at the actual home of Preston and Diane Meyer, this Burbank haunt is going Wild West this Halloween for its 25th anniversary. While the haunt is free, donations are encouraged and will go to the Burbank Temporary Aid center.
Rotten Apple is located at 907 California Street in Burbank. It runs October 24, 25, 30 and 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
From a previous show in Toronto (Photo via Killjoy Kastle)
Kill Joy's Kastle: A Lesbian-Feminist Haunted HouseThis not-so-scary haunt was inspired by Christian Hell Houses, like those featured in the documentary Hell House. But instead of trying to shock guests into living a virtuous life free of drugs or sex or fun, this tongue-in-cheek haunt will poke fun at stereotypes, with a clever, theatrical delivery.
Production manager Sarah Westlake told LAist, "It is whimsical, scary, funny and satirical and meant to both poke fun at the stereotypes of monstrosities of queerness as well as exorcize some of the real demons of lesbian feminist herstories. The space is a transinclusive, antiracist, sex positive one and our impact on our communities is very important to us."
Guests to this free attraction will enter through a fanged door that reads "Lesbian Rule." Once inside, zombie lesbian folk singers will entertain in the courtyard, and soon your guide will come to lead you through the maze. There are some great nods to feminist history, as well as a graveyard of queer spaces and ideas—some good, some not so good—that are no longer with us. And instead of praying for your souls at the end like in Hell Houses, you'll be welcome to discuss what you've seen and what thoughts it brought up. Guests are also free to mingle, browse the shop put together by Otherwild, and hang in the courtyard after their experience.
To find the haunt, walk through the park and look for the Long Hall.
Killjoy Kastle is located at 7377 Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood. It runs October 16 through October 30. Did we mention it's free?!.
Meet your new coworker (Photo via The Empty Grave)
The Empty GraveHorrorBuzz calls this home haunt one of the most passionate and heartfelt around. Set in an old Sears Appliance Center, The Empty Grave tells the story of your first day as a new employee in a factory. The other employees are a little weird, though, and you may have to do a few nerve-racking things to make it all the way though. Its proximity to a pumpkin patch with kiddie rides, games, snacks and a petting zoo is also pretty fortuitous, considering the season. The patch is open until 8:30 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on the weekends, so if you time it right, you can do both.
The Empty Grave is located at 24300 Laguna Hills Mall in Laguna Hills, just behind Pumpkin City Pumpkin Patch. It runs now through November 1 on select dates. Tickets are $13 to $20.
HORROR-THEMED ESCAPE ROOMS
Escape Key (Photo via Escape Key)
If mazes aren't your thing, there are a few escape room games with macabre themes you can play. These require you to find clues and solve puzzles to escape a room or complete a challenge. The Basement in Sylmar is probably the most appropriate for Halloween, as those who attempt it will find themselves locked in the basement of a deranged cannibalistic serial killer who will only spare your lives if you can solve his riddles and escape. Since opening last year, the Basement has expanded. They now also have a four-person game called Boiler Room that is not for the claustrophobic, and The Study opens on October 9.
We also absolutely loved Escape Key's Senator Payne room. While not a horror game from the onset, you're in for a devilish surprise if you choose to take on this Westwood game full of gadgets and secrets. There's also PanIQ Room's Asylum room in North Hollywood, and Escape Room LA in downtown Los Angeles is opening a Haunted Theatre on October 18.
The 13th Room in Pomona takes place in a real old hotel that's supposedly haunted, and they've got a few other tricks up their sleeve as it gets closer to Halloween. They also give you coupons for half-off appetizers and $3 wells at the pub next door if you play a game.
Maze Room is hoping to be finished with their Exorcist-themed room soom, and their haunted Castle room is open now. Captured LA also has a noir room inspired by the Black Dahlia Murder, while Countdown Live Escape also has a Psycho Room where you find yourself in a deranged killer's lair.
IMMERSIVE AND EXTREME HAUNTS
The Red X
Inside an old church in Los Feliz, groups will be totally immersed in a ghost hunt. This augmented reality haunt merges theatre with an interactive investigation, as players move through different rooms unraveling the story of Emily Roberson, a painter and writer who may have been possessed. But be warned: once you've entered the investigation site, you may find escaping with only those you entered with is harder than it seems. The augmented reality portion of this haunt comes in when searching for clues. You might see one thing with the naked eye, but using an app on your smartphone, you may find you can reveal other secrets and capture supernatural images. As an added bonus, one of the paranormal investigators leading you through the haunt may be none other than Britt Griffith from SyFy's Ghost Hunters.
The Red X is located at 4975 Sunset Blvd. in Los Feliz. It runs October 15 to 18, 21 to 25, with a possible extension for Oct. 28 to 30.
Don't get too close to the bars (Photo via Panic Mountain)
Panic MountainThis one's a bit of a drive, but probably the longest total experience around. Head out to Pali Mountain in Running Springs, taking a scenic drive through the San Bernardino National Forest. You'll find that Pali has been rebranded Panic Mountain, and that they need your help finding a cure to a mysterious disease that turns human beings into ravenous monsters hungry for brains. The leaders of The Resistance, the force of vigilantes you'll be teaming up with, call them Zs. Drawing from TV and films like The Walking Dead, World War Z and Zombieland, this immersive event will require you to participate in 6 to 8 mental and physical challenges. You'll be walking through dark woods full of inhuman growls, trying to find information in rooms that may or may not contain monsters who want to devour you, and solving your way out of confusing mazes. Teams consist of usually about 12 people, and the whole experience takes over three hours to finish. You won't find yourself running a 5K or doing pull-ups, but there is a fair amount of hiking and balancing on things. Also, you really are in a remote area surrounded by mountains and woods, and you might even spot a deer or other wildlife while hunting Zs. You'll want to wear comfortable shoes and prepare for it to be chilly.
An expanded ticket package will score you dinner before the event, plus an afterparty and an overnight stay in a cabin. Depending on the package you purchase, you could get a private room, or you might end up bunking sleep-away camp style. And when it's all over, you get a scenic view! We tried this ourselves last week and enjoyed the exercise, as well as the thrill of wandering around in the dark while screams and snarls filled the air.
Panic Mountain is located at 30778 CA 18 in Running Springs. The experience runs every weekend throughout October starting Oct. 10. Tickets are $49.95 to $500.
CreepLA was put together by a bunch of artists and creative directors for a riveting and theatrical haunt that draws from films like Se7en, IT, Friday the 13th and Session 9. The details are somewhat vague, as the magic is best with a little surprise. What we do know is that audiences come in groups of six and will be running, walking, hiding and crawling during the experience. According to a release, "Several vignette scenes will lead the audiences from chilling with their high school girlfriends to being abducted by a deranged creep."
Once in the creep's hands, guests will play Bloody Mary and hide and seek, as well as navigate dark hallways using only a glowstick in which they'll encounter numerous denizens within—some of which are real and some of which are holograms.
CreepLA is set in a warehouse that was built in 1905, and according to the CreepLA folks, some of the other tenants have complained about the place being haunted.
CreepLA is located at 718 E. Jackson Street in the Arts District. It runs October 2 through Halloween. Tickets are $20.
Are you good at reading people? (Photo via Abel Horwitz)
Serial Killer Speed DatingDating is already a real challenge for single folks, swiping right and hoping to make a match. With Serial Killer Speed Dating, there's the added task of trying to figure out which of your potential matches is a deranged killer. Developed by writer Abel Horwitz (who wrote our guide to seven next-level haunts for this Halloween season), SKSD is actually a speed-dating event. Participants will chat each other up for 5 minutes at a time, and you could really make a connection with someone special. However, there will be a few people planted that, as SKSD puts it, "are just dying to meet you." There's conversation, networking, some detective work, and a little bloody theatre.
The venue has a $10 minimum, but BarFood has 200 whiskeys and 30 beers on draft, so you should be able to find something you like. Also, their happy hour ends at 8 p.m., so you could go a bit early to score a deal on small bites or a $4 craft beer, $7 craft cocktail or a $6 well.
What could go wrong? (Photo via Sinister Pointe)
Sinister Pointe's Trust ChallengeDeparting from standard monsters-popping-out-at-you mazes, Sinister Pointe has a new challenge that some may find particularly terrifying. It's called the Trust Challenge. You and one teammate must work together to collect coins from a series of mazes filled with various terrors, including wicked clowns, the living dead and possessed ghouls. (You can choose which!) The trick is that only one of you will get to be in the maze at a time and you'll be in total darkness. Your partner will be able to see you via a camera, and it's up to them to verbally navigate you through the haunt. Hence, the name Trust Challenge. Can you communicate with your partner well? Can you trust them to keep you safe? Once you've completed your mission, you will reverse roles.
Sinister Pointe's Trust Challenge is located at 797 West Imperial Highway in Brea. It runs October 8 through November 8 on select dates. Tickets are $20 online, $23 at the box office. Purchasing online tickets are strongly recommended.
The 17th Door (Photo via the 17th Door)
The 17th DoorThe 17th Door is new to the Halloween scene and can hopefully fill the void caused by Delusion and Blackout. Here's the backstory: fresh off the heels of a horrible high school experience, a woman is embarking on her college career with optimism. Naturally, she learns that her school of choice isn't quite what it seems. You must walk through 17 rooms in a 30-minute experience, where "each space tests your emotions and endurance more than the last." There's also quite a bit of animal imagery as the woman's fears manifest as pigs. If you're looking for a truly deranged haunt, this might be the one for you.
The 17th Door is located at The Market Place at 2856 El Camino Real in Tustin. It runs through November 1 on select nights. Tickets are $21 to $35.
Actors Julia Rose, Aimiende Sela, Nick Frantela (Photo by Ben Taylor)
ALONEInspired by rainbows, ALONE has been running a number of immersive experiences over the last several months as part of their Unweave the Rainbow series. They haven't all been particularly horrific, but they are abstract and weird. We tried out their performance at ScareLA in August and found ourselves on a scavenger hunt that culminated with being manhandled through a maze, crawling under tables and navigating our way through the dark. The final chapter of the Rainbow series, Index of Absorption, begins on October 17. As always, you can never be sure what you're going to get with ALONE. What we do know is that this is a 45-minute experience where you will walk through alone, occasionally being moved by others. The exact location of this experience has not yet been revealed. Read reviews of previous ALONE experiences here and here.
ALONE: Index of Absorption runs October 17 through November 1 on select dates. Tickets are $50 or $75 for priority access.
Urban death (Photo by Joe-Weimer-Matulis)
Zombie Joe's Urban DeathThis annual Halloween attraction at Zombie Joe's in North Hollywood combines the classic Halloween maze with a blackbox theatre performance that really gets under your skin. First, you must make it through a maze with only a muted flashlight, accompanied by only one other person. If you can survive that, you're invited to watch a series of vignettes in the theatre, each appealing to a different fear. Some are gross, some may elicit a laugh, some might just scare the crap out of you. In a previous year's show, performers whispered the names of audience members in a pitch dark room, while subtle trickery gave the convincing illusion that the room was full of bustling critters. It's a little more cerebral than your standard, 'Oh, no, a werewolf!' schtick.
Urban Death is located at Zombie Joe's at 4859 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood. It runs October 2 to 31. Tickets are $13.
Seems like a chill guy (Photo via Ghoulmaster)
GhoulmasterThe Ghoulmaster is the self-appointed Ghoul King, who encourages others to embrace their inner freak. He began as a character at Six Flags Fright Fest in New Jersey, but has gained a loyal cult following over the last six years. He acts as an over-the-top ringmaster who presides over the beasts we most commonly associate with Halloween. Entering his playhouse means getting an elaborate stage show of dance, burlesque, comedy, music and magic tricks. It's a little sexy, a little campy, and it'd be shocking if his influences weren't Marilyn Manson, Ministry and Michael Jackson.
Ghoulmaster’s Haunted Playhouse is located at the Hudson Mainstage Theater at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd. in Hollywood. It runs now through October 31, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 7 p.m. Tickets $25 online or by phone, $30 at door.
Deborah Dominguez as 'The Woman' in 'The Ebony Frame' (Photo by John Thvedt, via Wicked Lit)
If you're not much for the jump scares, how about WickedLit, an immersive theatre experience that takes place in a mausoleum? From Unbound Productions, Wicked Lit is in its seventh year, producing gorgeous shows. This year, there are four shorts. The Grove of Rashomon tells the story of a missing woman, Masago, whose samurai, Takehiko, has been killed. Masago's mother attempts to put together the pieces, but is presented with different versions of what happened. It's based on the short story "In a Grove." The Ebony Frame, based on the story by Edith Nesbit, plays on that old trope where someone, in this case a man named Henry, inherits a mansion from a distant relative. The problem? A painting he finds captivates him a little too much. There will also be two shorts based on works from Edgar Allen Poe: The Fall of the House of Usher and The System. The Fall of the House of Usher . The System is based on The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether.
Wicked Lit is located at Mountain View Mausoleum & Cemetery at 2300 N. Marengo Ave. in Altadena. It runs October 2 through November 14. Tickets are $35 to $75.
CREEPY LOS ANGELES TOURS
This tour was the inspiration for the group seen in 'American Horror Story: Murder House' (Photo via Dearly Departed Tours)
Los Angeles has the TMZ tour, sure, but you can also go on numerous macabre tours that expose the dark side of our sun-bleached paradise. This year, ghost-hunting tour company GHOULA has teamed up with the Institute of Art and Olfaction for Phantosmia, a tour that explores 13 of Los Angeles' supposedly haunted places, but using smell. Buy a kit for $60, and enjoy 13 unique, handcrafted scents that mimic what those who have experienced the ghosts say they smelled. GHOULA is also doing a haunted Red Line tour on October 11, 18 and 25. They all begin at 7 pm. at Union Station. Each tour contains 13 different stops on the way to the North Hollywood station. This tour is free, though you will be required to buy a Metro Day Pass ($7, plus $1 for a card).
You can also book a tour with Crimebo, a gravely-voice clown who will take you around Los Angeles, telling you its urban legends, or lead you on a downtown walking tour of the Financial District's most sinister stories. Available dates and prices can be found here.
Esotouric runs their true-crime and L.A. history tours all year long, but on Halloween, they have The Real Black Dahlia tour ($58). It's from noon to 4 p.m. and will explore the mysterious unsolved 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short, nicknamed the Black Dahlia, was found in Leimart Park, cut in half at the waist.
Dearly Departed also has several great tours that go on year-round, but in October, they do a horror movie filming locations tour throughout Hollywood and Pasadena. You can expect to see locations from Halloween, American Horror Story, Charmed, Thriller and more. They also have a walking ghost tour, the Helter Skelter tour that explores the crimes of the Manson family, and their signature Tragical History Tour.