Halloween yard displays are a safe and friendly way for passionate home (and apartment) owners to showcase their love for the season. These creators are incredible, spending weeks, if not months, to build massive facades, ships, castles, manors, cemeteries, swamps, and more to immerse audiences and passerbyers in this world. During this year, many home haunts have evolved their walk-through experiences to become shows or displays that feature actors, offering light displays, projections, or narratives on specific nights. If you’re looking for an experience to round out your Halloween plans, a yard display crawl is a fun way to get in the spirit while supporting your local Halloween enthusiasts and amateur creatives. We had a lot of fun exploring the OC yard haunt displays, and found some real Halloween gems along the way. Below is a summary of our experiences and recommendations.
The Grey Phantom is a full 3 dimensional haunted ship complete with holographic ghosts, an industrial engine room with a haywire circuit breaker, and a captains cabin where a veiled skeleton enjoys a meal and a drink from a comfortable armchair while upbeat oldies play and waves crash in the background. Watery flickering lights, skulking shadows, and ominous foghorns set the mood for this seaborne scene of destruction. This one stands apart due to the massive construction of the ship and the use of projections to create a cohesive theme. Donations accepted.
Hull house features an ominous and quiet cemetery full of tombstones bearing the names of famous horror directors and actors from Tobe Hooper to Wes Craven, to Gunnar Hansen, to George A. Romero. Behind a picket fence, old fashioned music plays faintly from the burning house. Jack O’Lanterns grin and flicker around an open casket. The set is beautiful, subtle and moody rather than flashy and overblown. The weekend show ups the wow factor with additional animatronics, so plan to come then if you’re interested.
“I love the cemetery, especially at midnight”. A creepy doll perched on a tombstone holds a teddy bear as she pleads with us to come play with her. The cemetery on 9th yard is full of skeletons, blacklit tombstones, and ghosts hanging from the trees. The yard’s centerpiece is a horse drawn hearse manned by a hooded skeleton. In the back, strobe light illuminates the passenger as he rises up and out of his coffin. This fairly simple display is elevated from the average by the recordings of the young girl.
6513 Cerritos Ave
Sometimes when driving, you find a gem that is not on any haunt list, but you just have to stop. That is how we found 6513 Cerritos Ave, which they jokingly nicknamed “The Bank-Account Drainer.” This haunt is easy to see off the main road due to its massive amounts of décor and beautiful lighting. Instead of just throwing all their items together, they create small scenes that all tell small stories. A dog can be seen trying to pull down the underpants of a skeleton desperately climbing a tree. A group of reapers with glowing red eyes encircle a glowing grave, attempting to send a body to hell. And a pair of gossipy skeletons sit on a bench whispering secrets to each other. This one is just a fun look at the creativity of creating scenes from all the Halloween items you have. Don’t miss the car filled with two skeletons looking like they are about to drive off any minute.
9242 Via Balboa Cir
Similar to 999 Happy Haunts, this yard is a massive labor of love. An incredible amount of Halloween décor fills this yard, showcasing themes ranging from pirates to pumpkins to skeletons. There’s something for everyone here. Starting from the corner, you’ll see a zombie desperately trying to escape his confinement in the gallows; two inflatable minions stand guard over two skeletons enjoying a drink; and pirate skeletons ride a massive sinking ship as a crocodile chews on a severed foot in the water.
But the stand-out part of this location is walking up the driveway. Here, the side of the home is lined with beautifully lit pumpkins, leading to an open garage. Here multiple rows of waves showcase a home-made ocean, complete with shark fin and a 2-D pirate ship in the background. Reminiscent of a school play, the nostalgia of this set is just beautiful and fun. Keep an eye out for a ghost that hangs from the sky as it moves along a clothesline back and forth.
This address is one to bookmark as the family who lives here says they go equally as strong for Christmas. We know we’ll be back to check it out.
At soul stealer you can find a yard display full of hanging ghouls, skeletal scenes, graves with undead arms reaching for the light, and even ghosts standing on the prowl of a haunted ship. The side of the house is dedicated to inflatable haunted clowns of all kinds, and bleeding skulls and large spiders sit on a web covered wrought iron fence. Kitschy odds and ends abound, from a baby doll mounted on a wall to what appears to be a haunted kennel. This quirky yard display is like a Halloween I spy book page full of unexpected creepy odds and ends.
Curse of the raven is another rendition of the graveyard theme complete with plentiful headstones, broken caskets, and ghostly children projected on a crypt wall, axes in hand as they giggle maniacally. Jack o lanterns hang from the trees. A gated “redrum” tombstone takes center stage, surrounded by candles, and in the doorway behind it a ghost seems to bob up and down, floating through the air. Animated Pumpkins on the front porch perched between skulls and candles tell heartwarming Halloween limericks and stories. A skeleton rocks leisurely on the porch while another digs a grave for his decaying companions. Equal parts frightening and charming, this yard display captures all sides of the Halloween spirit. Perfect for families and one of our favorites in OC, we highly recommend you stop by and take time to appreciate the production value and professionalism and listen to the pumpkin tales.
We arrived in La Habra to check out Milmur Manor, but what we found when we arrived is easily the most festive street we’ve seen on our journeys. Almost every home decked out with full yard displays for Halloween, and Milmur Manor told us that this was only about 60% of what people usually do. Some highlights was a walk up display entitled “Dolls” featuring numerous creepy dolls lining a driveway, a full display case of haunted dolls, and numerous dolls scattered across every tree and bush on the property; a massive pirate ship that has pieces spanning across numerous front lawns that shot out bubbles for kids to play in; a large home with large ghostbuster inflatables and a projection of various children-friendly scary movies; a home with a tree swing in which a real little girl swung back and forth giggling and whistling to herself, occasionally screaming at the top of her lungs (this girl wins Halloween); and many, many more.
This year, some houses even had candy shoots to give socially distant candy to passers-by, allowing trick-or-treating to live on in 2020.
The 8th Plague
The 8th plague has a a fairly small yard display. It includes some skeletons, projected ghosts and blinking cat eyes, a window full of jack o lanterns and a cobweb covered porch presided over by a large ghoul. This is fairly simplistic and low key compared to the other yard displays on the list, so don’t go out of your way for this display.
1870 haunt manor greets guests with dramatic piano music, immediately setting a theatrical mood. A lone metal door under a bright red 1870 sign stands out ominously against the house’s dark windows. One unfortunate skeleton hangs from a tree, while others sit on a porch near an old fashioned radio. A roped off area on the sidewalk contains a small sitting room with a flickering lamp, perfect for photo ops. On weekends, a live actor and denizen of the manor can be found engaging with crowds and peering through the house’s windows. This display is highly polished and theatrical, immediately setting an ominous and curious haunted tone.
OC Haunted House
OC haunted house is a nightmare before Christmas themed yard display with all of your favorite characters represented. A giant 3-D jack skellington looms over the scene, and a frightening Oogie boogie man grimaces near Sandy claus on a roulette wheel. A skeletal reindeer pulls Santa’s sled as he thanks us for stopping by. Tuning in to the radio station plays the prologue to nightmare before Christmas, and the lights flicker in time to the opening theme and many favorite songs. This displqy is sure to delight fans of the Halloween mash up classic. While you’re here, the house across the street features tombstones and animatronic inflatables of all kinds, coupled with projected ghostly figures and jack o lantern lights. The OC haunted house display is produced for a good cause – proceeds go to CHOC children’s hospital.
Eerie shrieks ring out from grim grinners as fog rolls across the display. Made up of skulls, Jackolanterns, and old crates, the display is rustic and aesthetic. A grinning skeleton, per the display’s namesake, warms us that there are creatures hiding in the fields. And in fact a sackcloth shrouded creature with a pumpkin head draws the eyes, as does the spider by his feet waiting to jump out at unwitting victims. A two headed skeleton and another grinning pumpkin adorn a spider web covered porch. Over by the garage, classic black and white horror movies play amidst more strange skulls and monsters. An animatronic sackcloth pumpkin child holds a half eaten lollipop, perhaps the strangest and most unsettling figure in thee scene. The top notch animatronics and jumpscares coupled with aesthetic attention to detail elevate this display.
Chains of Wakefield greets guests with plodding and ominous piano renditions of horror classics. Rainbow lights illuminate a house positively covered in thick chains. Various skeletons are strewn among trees and on the roof, and soft candlelight and pumpkins complete the aesthetic. The lighting is a highlight here, lending depth and dimension to the set. The comedic postures of the various skeletons coupled with the high drama of the chains make this one a fun stop for your yard display crawl.
Goclowski Family Manor
A yard display show that runs every ten minutes or so, this haunt showcases a projection that wraps around the home showcasing Silent Hill imagery and some wonderfully disturbing sound effects. The projections don’t really tell a story that we could ascertain, but rather, showcase runes, grainy people, and creepy dolls. It’s a great use of projections and the fact that it wraps around the home is wonderfully done.
While the projection show is the main focus, we found the portraits to be a highlight. A series of three family portraits hang on the other side of the home. Watching these, the family will age before your eyes and transform, with a shocking ending that will surprise audiences. We audibly gasped and then pointed our friends to look.
5732 Mildred Ln
Just down the street from Goclowski Family Manor, the massive amounts of fog and gorgeous lighting caught our attention—and we are so glad we did. On Halloween, the family who lives here was dressed to impress; one gentleman in a Victorian overcoat and large top hat. This matched the hearse parked in front of the home perfectly.
This location pumped out massive amounts of fog, creating perfect photo opportunities and scares for any trick-or-treaters brave enough to enter. Numerous Victorian streetlights and skeletal reapers lined the path deeper into the yard. As you entered, the lights and neon effects made perfect additions to the fog. If you’re a fan of strong lighting, fog, coffins, and Victorian stylings, this is not one to miss.
“Do Not Enter” reads a broken wooden sign atop a gate guarded by large skulls. Gershan dungeon’s set feels like a haunted swampland. Soft green light oozes from a large tree as a massive skeleton skulls in the corner of a yard. A warmly lit shack in the middle of the yard hosts a rocking chair skeleton, and a large open sewer drain suggests that something sinister may be on the loose. Crosses and gargoyles guard a strange and shrouded crypt and an animatronic dragon stands perched atop a full castle drawbridge. With so many themes to work with and such a massive set, the full show is sure to be a lot of fun.
We thought The Pirates of Cindy Court would be the most accurate representation of a Disneyland ride we could find, but then we found the Haunted Mansion Haunt. While in previous years this haunt took guests through their garage, recreating the famous haunted estate to perfection, this year guests were treated what looked like props from the ride. The creator told us he rode the ride over 300 times, studying pictures to recreate these props to perfection. From the gravestones to the band to the singing statues, every aspect of this screams Haunted Mansion. The highlight for us was an incredible reproduction of the Hatbox Ghost. This is a must see for any Haunted Mansion fan.
The Bayou By You
The Bayou By You is the most impressive yard display that doesn’t technically have a yard. Using what space they do have in front of their condo, this haunt display recreates a two-story New Orleans inspired balcony. What really catches the eye is the numerous flame-like candles all flickering as if to some invisible tune. Fires rage behind a large front window, and the combination of the deep blue lighting with the orange glow of dozens of candles is one of the most aesthetically pleasing images I’ve seen. There’s a boiling cauldron in the front and a skeleton in the yard to add a bit more; but the real draw is the beautiful lighting here. For those aesthetically minded individuals, this one shouldn’t be missed.
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