Halloween 2015: San Diego Haunt Reviews (Part One)

LA Paranormal and The Halloween Experience present:


Sunny San Diego isn’t known for its haunted attractions, but if you take the two hour drive south of Los Angeles you’re in for a Halloween treat.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of doing the time honored tradition known as the “haunt run” and hit three of San Diego’s best haunts all owned by Greg DeFatta and Robert Bruce.

First up is THE SCREAM ZONE at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, this multiple attraction haunt has a county fair feel with its two haunted houses, paintball and hayride. The House of Horrors is the superior of the two haunted houses with its fair share of shocks including an amazing scene that could have been straight out of The Exorcist. On the flipside, KARNEVIL is a fairly standard clown maze, but has its fun moments. In PAINTBALL APOCOLYPSE , you an battle against an evil swarm of clowns out of blood. It’s a total blast literally as you’re allotted a 100 paintballs to keep the charging clowns at bay. The hayride is another highlight with plenty of scares and fun. Rob Zombie fans keep an eye out for an homage to THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. Overall, THE SCREAM ZONE is everything you expect out of a haunted attraction with solid production values, inventive scares and great scare actors.

Next up, THE HAUNTED TRAIL OF BALBOA PARK offers an outdoor haunted attraction with a haunted maze and trail. THE EXPERIMENT MAZE is fun, no frills attraction. THE HAUNTED TRAIL on the other hand is an amazing opus of horror goodness.

HT_2The mile long trail was the most fun I’ve had this young haunt season. Themes include a serial killer on Bourbon Street and a spot on homage to The Blair Witch Project. What sets the trail apart from most haunts is its nearly twenty minute running time and true sense of joy. Along the way, I think some haunts have forgotten that a sense of fun is just as important as the scares. Also for hardcore haunt fans, you’ll recognize a few key props previously used at THE HAUNTED HOTEL throughout The Haunted Trail.HT_1

Lastly, I wrapped the night up at THE HAUNTED HOTEL in downtown San Diego. Always near the top of most of the yearly haunted attraction polls, this year’s edition of The Haunted Hotel doesn’t disappoint. Featuring many of the set pieces from years past, the experience is made more intense blanketing most of the maze in near complete darkness.HH_1

If you have the urge to hit the road this Halloween season, do yourself a favor and visit these haunted attractions. Each promise to offer a completely unique experience that is sure to bring happiness and fear to that demonic inner voice that all of us haunters have in common…right…or is it just me?






*photos courtesy of Haunted Hotel/The Haunted Trail of Balboa


Review by Phil Crain.

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Phil Crain is an animation professional and independent producer from the Los Angeles area. He is a self professed lover of Halloween, ghosts and Star Wars.

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