PUMKIN JACK'S HAUNTED HOUSE
Touting itself as “where Disneyland ends and your nightmares begin,” Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House is a highly impressive home haunt located in Santa Clarita, not far at all from Six Flags Magic Mountain. Always ready to capitalize on recent horror trends, Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House has featured timely themes like Five Nights at Freddy’s and, in 2018, Stranger Things, still managing to provide their own unique twist on the iconic properties so as not to feel like a soulless cash-in. Rather, it’s easy to forget that Pumkin Jack’s is a home haunt at all; much like their Los Angeles county brethren in giants like Backwoods and Rotten Apple 907, the production value at Pumkin Jack’s is off the charts, resulting in massive crowds down the block during the last weekend of October.
- Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House
- 28603 Natalie Lane, Santa Clarita, 91390 (Santa Clarita Valley)
- Elaborately themed haunted walkthrough maze
- Home haunt built inside a local residence
- Close quarters, but no intentional physical contact
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While there aren’t quite as many home haunts in the Santa Clarita Valley as other neighboring areas, Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House more than makes up for it with a level of production design that’s absolutely mind-blowing. The corridors of this walkthrough haunted maze are narrow enough to induce just the right amount of claustrophobia in its nervous guests, but not so narrow as to feel cramped or uncomfortable. This detail comes in handy when looking at photos of seasons past, because it’s easy to feel claustrophobic when looking at the unbelievable size of the crowds that Pumkin Jack’s commands on a yearly basis.
Part of the reason for Pumkin Jack’s popularity, aside from top-notch props and scenery within its walls, is their willingness to adapt to the latest trends in the world of horror. In 2016, they recreated Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza for a maze based on the prolific Five Nights at Freddy’s, inspired by a suggestion from creator Bond Landeen’s then-9-year-old daughter.
“When you first come in the very first room, it’s like the entry of the pizza parlor,” Landeen would tell local radio station KHTS in an interview, “but because it’s kind of the haunted version, instead of having Freddy Fazbear up there, we have Freddy Krueger, with the pizza boxes.”
That year’s video game-inspired theme wasn’t the only influence that Landeen’s young daughter would have on the house. The name of the haunt, Pumkin Jack’s – mind that second P, by the way, no “pumpkins” to be found here – stems from her childhood love of The Nightmare Before Christmas and what she would call Jack Skellington.
In 2017, Pumkin Jack’s returned to a more familiar theme, a pastiche of well-known and beloved horror icons, ranging from the neon Bates Motel sign decorating the yard all the way to the eerie soundtrack, culled from classic films like Friday the 13th and Halloween.
But in 2018, the house on Natalie Lane became a small pocket of Hawkins, Indiana, as Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House themed themselves after hit sci-fi/horror series Stranger Things. Once again, the home haunt outdid themselves, creating scenes from the series that wouldn’t look out of place at Halloween Horror Nights’ own Stranger Things maze. In one room, a Joyce Byers look-alike brandished an axe in front of the unforgettable Christmas light/alphabet wall, completely immersing guests in the world of the Upside Down.
Pumkin Jack’s Haunted House may be a slightly longer drive than often spoiled Los Angeles-based haunt enthusiasts are used to, but it’s easily worth the trek to see just how impressive and passionate home haunters can get.
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