Boot Hill 2019

Boot Hill 2019 – A Home Haunt Where the Dead Still Roam

I have walked as far into the ghost town of Bridgewood as I can go. Just as I look around, unsure of where to walk next, doors open and ghosts attack from the front and sides. As I turn around to flee, a coffin door snaps open and someone – something – else lurches in my direction. Getting back out of town won’t be as easy as it was to get into it. boot hill 2019

 

Boot Hill 2019

Photo: Thea Rivera

 

Boot Hill is an elaborate yard display that has been a part of the Irvine Halloween season for 20 years. Calling it a display, however, fails to recognize how detailed and elaborate this experience truly is. Projected shadows of the town’s residents can be watched and listened to while audiences wait in line and an animated jack-o-lantern scarecrow hangs around the photo spot just outside the entrance. The entire experience has a design aesthetic that rivals professional theme-park haunts, even down to the merchandise themed specifically to 2019’s haunt.

 

Boot Hill 2019

Photo: Thea Rivera

 

More impressively, Boot Hill has an entire story behind its experience: a legend of how the town of Bridgewood became the terrifying location it is today. The town was built from the wrecked trestle of a train accident, the legend says, and became a place where the town’s owner, Jebediah Smith, terrorized its citizens. He was captured and killed on Halloween night and that has prompted the town to reappear each Halloween season as a curse – and to scare those who dare enter it, of course.

 

Boot Hill 2019

Photo: Thea Rivera

 

The legend may be just a story, but this display packs a serious punch. People are sent into town in small groups of no more than four people, giving each group a chance to meet its own fate in an experience that can last between 5 and 10 minutes. The group first travels all the way into the display, about 300 feet and around a corner. Just as participants reach the dead end of the path, the real fun begins as scare-actors suddenly appear as haunted residents of the town to terrorize the participants back to where they began. It’s a unique way to transform a display into a more interactive experience and it is incredibly effective. The experiences going into the town and trying to leave it are entirely different while still utilizing the same amount of space for both segments of the trip.

 

Boot Hill 2019

Photo: Thea Rivera

 

Boot Hill has been around for 20 years because it’s a legitimately fun attraction. It has a truly unique design that scares audiences really effectively and equally efficiently. Boot Hill has refined its design to perfection, inside and out, giving audiences a nice, narrative buildup before they enter that is given a beautiful payoff once they step inside. This attraction is a ghost town everyone should visit at least once. Just be careful of those who still reside in Bridgewood, because they’re looking for others to join them.

 

Boot Hill has concluded its run, but you can find more information on their website and Facebook page. Check out our Event Guide for more Halloween and immersive entertainment throughout the year.

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