The rickety gate opens, and I step into MacDevitt Manor Haunt ‘s Witch Hollow. A series of scarecrows with withered pumpkin heads welcome me until I reach a small cottage, reminiscent of one Hansel and Gretel may have visited when lost in the woods. With no where else to go, I approach the cottage, grab the handle, and pull open the door, revealing a dim interior illuminated in a pale blue light from a crystal ball set upon an altar. An old crone rests in a rocking chair next to it, but she’s not moving. As I move to investigate—the aged sheet upon the altar stirs, and a creature crawls out, growling as it crawls towards me.
MacDevitt Manor Haunt is a home haunt in West Covina that has been operating for the past 24 years. Creator Kirk Higgins showcases his technical know-how by bringing Witch Hollow to life with an impressive witch’s cottage, aesthetic lighting, and great sound design. All sets inside felt lived in, aged and worn with time, and nothing felt store bought. Numerous actors move among the space, scaring guests with glee. The linear walkthrough is quick—five minutes or so depending on your speed—but it’s one that definitely is deserving of a visit.
While there is little narrative conveyed through dialogue in Witch Hollow, the flow is enough for participants to understand what has transpired. As you traverse the woods, wonder fills your eyes as you find a cottage, a safe respite among the unfamiliar. Yet, as you travel inside, it’s clear that the safety you sought will not be provided here—and as you attempt escape, the witch’s spiders are quick to spin a web that only a huntsman can free you from. It’s a simple narrative, but a perfect contrast for a haunt that is anything but simple.
The set design of Witch Hollow may be the best part of this home haunt, transporting you into a fairytale world that feels magical and whimsical before the scares begin. Nothing here is store-bought—and looks custom, purposeful, and personal to this narrative. From the straw used to make the witch’s brooms hung in droves from the ceiling to the webs adorning the caves outside the cottage, it all creates an intimate feel even when in a large space. Further, it allows the actors to move around obfuscated from view and create some effective scares.
These actors range from the witch herself to plenty of her familiars. They scurry around the floor, hidden by fog and straw, and scare from around corners. It’s easy to see joy on their faces when you yelp in surprise. Yet, the biggest scare was the huntsman at the end, with his commanding voice, urging me to get out once I escaped the grasp of the witch.
MacDevitt Manor Haunt is a fairytale come to life through impressive design, purposeful décor, and actors who love what they do. We were thoroughly impressed with the Witch Hollow façade, but what’s inside is even more impressive and tells a story that families of all ages would be interested in. We could see a long line for this haunt this Halloween—so make sure you plan your trip early, or you may find yourself lost in the woods, with pumpkin faced scarecrow’s urging you forward without a cottage to welcome you.
MacDevitt Manor Haunt is located at 2436 W Macdevitt St, West Covina, CA 91790. For more information about MacDevitt Manor, check out their Instagram. For information about similar events, check out our Event Calendar.
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