Spooky season: A guide to LA’s hottest haunted attractions

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The transition from September to October marks a great shift in our everyday lives — sweaters are thrown on despite the 85 degree temperatures; pumpkin-flavored treats return to  every eatery; and, most importantly, Los Angeles’ scariest haunts are open for business once again. Though Knott’s Berry Farm’s haunted house and Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights tend to be the most popular options, there are many other haunted attractions around the city to check out.

The Backwoods Maze

For those on a budget, there a few free haunted houses available. The first is The Backwoods Maze, located in Burbank. The house is maintained by a family who annually transform their backyard into a giant maze. Though it is free, donations are accepted and all proceeds go to a local charity. It has an impressive five-star Yelp review, with visitors describing it as one of the best haunted houses in the area. The Maze debuts Friday and will remain open every weekend until Oct. 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Haunted Hayride

There are also many options for those willing to shell out a little more for the full adrenaline pumping experience. The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride in Griffith Park is one of the most popular haunted attractions, located about 10 miles from USC. There are four different “scare zones”; the first is the House of Shadows, a fully dark maze. The next is Purgatory, which has a carnival set up with rides, themed food and drink, a psychic and other activities. Trick or Treat is an interactive maze set up like a neighborhood. Visitors go from door to door to see if they will receive a treat or something far worse. Finally, as the name implies, there is the infamous Haunted Hayride. Visitors will start on a hayride and and eventually go through a corn maze full of clowns on their own. Tickets start at $35 and it the attraction runs every Thursday through Sunday until Halloween.

The Haunted Shack

Another affordable option is The Haunted Shack, also a family-owned seasonal attraction.  The Shack is in Torrance and featuring a maze that takes six to eight minutes to complete. The maze is completely different every year, enticing people to return for two decades. This year, The Haunted Shack will run on Oct. 28 and 31 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Similar to the Backwoods Maze, donations are accepted and will go to the Susan G. Komen foundation.

CreepLA: Lore

Downtown Los Angeles houses CreepLA: Lore, a uniquely informative experience. Lore is based on the identically titled Amazon Prime show and explores the real-life stories behind the popular myths and legends heard today, including those of vampires, possessed dolls and werewolves. The experience is an interactive and engaging one-hour, eight-person tour full of “moody rooms, intimate encounters and terrifying scenarios,” according to CreepLA’s website. CreepLA will screen Lore Thursdays to Sundays until Nov. 12 and tickets are $70.

Dark Harbor

The Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach, has an annual Halloween show, Dark Harbor. The ship is rumored to be haunted by its namesake and has six mazes scattered throughout different parts of the ship. Monsters including Scary Mary, Samuel the Savage and the Voodoo Priestess could be around any corner, along with various other scares. Beyond the mazes, Dark Harbor features live entertainment and a 4-D theater experience. Tickets are available for every day of the week until Nov. 1, starting at $20.

Los Angeles is full of Halloween attractions for thrill-seekers of all ages. October will be gone before you know it, so be sure to let clowns, ghosts and goblins scare you to your heart’s content before the season is over.