Sunday, August 18

Halloween attractions to haunt in Los Angeles


Vivian Tong / Daily Bruin

It’s that time of year again, when people take to the streets to consume copious amounts of candy and act spooky. Fortunately, UCLA’s location in West Los Angeles is ideal for hitting famed Halloween-themed neighborhoods and events, so Bruins won’t have to go far to take a well-deserved midterm study break. Here’s a look at a few of the nearby attractions to help you get into the Halloween spirit.

Venice Canals

This quietly scenic part of Venice Beach looks like it came straight from a postcard, but the residents of the canal community know how to throw a Halloween party. The waterside homes are famous for their family-friendly walkways and glamorous, over-the-top Halloween decorations.

Christina Mattson, a second-year undeclared student and a Venice native who has explored the neighborhood every Halloween since she was young, said the residents seem to be competing with each other for the title of best Halloween-themed home.

“One lady had to get a permit for the amount of electricity she uses for Christmas and Halloween,” Mattson said. “Her house was so beautifully decorated. The Halloween decorations are definitely worth seeing.”

However, the homes at the Venice Canals are geared more towards children, so those who seek a more party-like atmosphere should head toward the beachside neighborhoods, Mattson said.

“Make sure to wear a cool costume, because there are lots of parties going on,” Mattson said. “People love to dress up around here and get into the spirit of Halloween.”

Peak hours are after dark. For those interested in a calmer, quieter Halloween filled with glittering and glowing decorations, the Venice Canals may be the perfect place for a thrilling evening stroll.

West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

Billed as the largest Halloween street party in the world, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval shuts down Santa Monica Boulevard from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and puts on a crazy and colorful parade featuring revelers in costumes of all shapes and sizes.

This year, the parade’s theme is “One Noir Night in West Hollywood,” which highlights the glamorous 1950s era of Los Angeles history. Admission is free, and six stages scattered across the street will feature performances by artists such as Gavin Turek and Jonathan Allen from “America’s Got Talent.” In addition, various vendors will sell their wares to costumed customers in a street festival fashion, and the bars and hotels bordering the parade will host their own parties in celebration of Halloween.

If you wish to dress up, however, make sure to get creative with your costume. Meganne Miller, a second-year economics student whose friends are loyal attendees of the parade, said the event attracts Halloween fanatics from all around the world dressed in outlandish costumes, such as the Facebook “like” button and giant Tetris pieces.

“The (Halloween Carnaval) has the best costumes, and people spend months making them,” Miller said.

All the work put into making and presenting costumes goes toward one specific purpose: the Halloween Costume Contest. The winner of the contest receives a special place in the Halloween Carnaval’s history, Miller said.

Nearly half a million people walk the street on any given year, so be prepared to wear comfortable shoes. Miller said although the Halloween Carnaval is open to all ages, the event is not kid friendly because of the occasionally raunchy costumes. Mainly teenagers and adults swarm the streets, so for those wishing to go all out and have a rowdy Halloween night, the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval is the place to be.

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Located in scenic Griffith Park, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride pays tribute to frightening events throughout the city’s history. Titled “Based on Actual Events” this year, the hayride takes advantage of the night scenery of Griffith Park and stars startling apparitions and ghostly specters that haunt event-goers with the help of terrifying special effects.

The event also features “The In Between,” a maze where participants stumble through pitch blackness with nothing but a dim light to guide them through a path crawling with various monsters and spirits. “Purgatory,” a side show included in the general admission ticket, highlights the entertainment aspect of the hayride with House of Mirrors, “The Scary-Go-Round” and more haunted activities. Food and beverages are also sold there.

Tickets are priced at $30 for general admission, but Sofia Staab-Gulbenkian, a second-year English student whose friends have attended the hayride regularly since their high school days, said the thrills of the hayride are worth the price and attract both new and veteran scare seekers from Los Angeles and beyond. The event is not recommended for children under the age of eight. On Halloween night, the last night of the event, the hayride runs from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

“The actors actually jump into your cart and interact with you,” Staab-Gulbenkian said. “It makes the horror more personal and exciting.”

The hayride is not designed for the faint at heart, Staab-Gulbenkian said, and can be a challenge to get through for those unaccustomed to the more frightening side of Halloween. Nevertheless, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is sure to attract those fond of Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights or Knott’s Scary Farm and quench any adrenaline seeker’s thirst for Halloween frights and thrills.

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