The Haunt world in 2020 was a sight to see, almost non existent. Almost all haunts were shuttered and left waiting out the COVID storm that was raging all over the world. One of the few haunts to adjust and create a “COVID Safe” event was Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Although missing its iconic hayride, LAHH was able to create a fun, in story, event during the pandemic that kept us satisfied till 2021. Finally, we’ve made it to a point where haunts can actually operate and LAHH is back at Griffith Park. Before fully getting into our review, like many haunts, it was emotional coming back to Griffith Park to experience LAHH. Seeing the wonderful cast of characters that make up the citizens of Midnight Falls and being able to interact with them all. It was a blast being back and being able to enjoy it once again.
One major difference this year is the events location. Previously, LAHH took place a bit up into the hills and closer to the famous Los Angeles Abandoned Zoo. This year, its on a lower portion of Griffith Park and is more of an open area. Contrary to what one may think, the location of the event does affect the end product. Specifically, the landscape of Griffith Park is a big part of what gave LAHH so much characteristic. The hayride itself went around the abandoned zoo, mazes had portions that butted up against the forested areas, and the Town Square felt much more intimate. It’s not all bad though. Because the new location is so much bigger, it allowed the mazes to expand substantially, allowed so much more room for guests to roam, created a bigger area of Monty Revolta, and a dedicated area for food. But we’ll get into all that a bit later. It’s clearly a give and take when it comes to location changes. Let’s hope that next year they can get their original location back because it gives the event much more character.
Because of the change in location, parking is a bit different and could be confusing to some who are unfamiliar with the area. Do look at the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride website for info before going to the event.
Not something we typically start off with in any review for a haunt, but let’s talk about the food at this years event. We were pleasantly surprised with how many options there were for food at LAHH this year. They had two different food trucks and 4 to 6 different food stands where you could get anything from a bag of popcorn to a Pulled Pork Crepe.
Because of the larger space, there is a dedicated food area for guests to relax and munch on their treats. For us, this makes LAHH less of a haunt and more of a full night out!
TOWN SQUARE OF MIDNIGHT FALLS
The Town Square of Midnight Falls is the epicenter of the festivities. While guests walk around between attractions or hang out to soak in the atmosFEAR various townsfolk from the Midnight Falls community roam the space interacting with guests and attending to their local business.
Although this area of the event is listed as a scare zone, it’s much more of an experience than just a simple scare zone. Yes, some of the citizens of Midnight Falls are less than…appealing to some visitors. But, a majority of experiences in this area are about engaging with the citizens. With this, you’ll hear stories of characters and see how their dynamic works within the unseen society in Midnight Falls.
Because the area between mazes and the hayride is rather large now, the amount of characters roaming the grounds feels slightly less than back in 2019. But the interactions we did have were really fun. Don’t skip out on interacting with these characters because you’ll make some of the best memories talking with them. We constantly talk about interacting with a character back in 2019 who had us in stitches. The actors portraying these characters are just as good as they were in 2019 and we’d love to see this portion of the event expanded.
Within the foothills of Midnight Falls, the leaves turn brown and the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. The Witch of the Woods has cast her spell to summon the spirits of the underworld to cross over and assimilate into form. The Hayride leads to a thrilling adventure of horrors afflicting the town. Dazed within the spell cast upon them, the Witch commands her army of crops and flesh to seek revenge on the people that have casted her out. The Spirit of Halloween comes to life surrounding helpless victims brave enough to board The Hayride.
The main attraction for LAHH…is the hayride. Not something you’d find in Los Angeles, something typically reserved for the Midwest. Because it’s not something we usually have, it’s such a novelty to have it. Unlike 2019, which had vignettes that were separated by the landscape of Griffith Park in which you’d stop for each one. 2021 felt more continuous with smaller moments and many more decorations in-between. We found the timing of the scenes to be off and with scares; it’s all about the timing! Sometimes scenes went off after we’d already pass through and that also happened with animatronics. Although we were sitting near the front of the hayride; scenes should happened for the whole car. This was a bit disappointing because we constantly felt like we were missing the scares. If the hayride itself stopped in scenes more, we might have felt differently.
Additionally, since LAHH really cemented the idea of Midnight Falls being the all encompassing story; we’d really love to see that extend into the Hayride itself. Yes, the description for the attraction seems to connect the experience to Midnight Falls. But based on what was incorporated into the hayride; it doesn’t seem like it was taken into account all the time. Or if it was, it went over our heads a bit.
Even with these minor issues, the hayride is very enjoyable. The large sets dominate the experience and are what we’ve come to expect from LAHH. There is a nice balance of scary and funny moments throughout that lends a nice balance to the experience. The lighting and sound design of some of the scenes were beautifully crafted as well.
The mazes this year are significantly longer than they were in 2019. More space gave the designers more room for fun! We constantly felt like mazes were coming to a natural conclusion, only to be met with more monsters and maze to traverse. It was a delightful surprise, especially because you can only go through the experience once. Once again, each maze ties into the over arching story of Midnight Falls and plays a different role in the community itself. We love the idea of a central story that expands to each of the events offerings. It makes everything feel much more cohesive.
TRICK OR TREAT
The neighborhood of Midnight Falls has sprung to life with the magic of Halloween. “It’s a different kind of Halloween” remark the citizens of Midnight Falls. The mayor has announced, “Monte’s Midnight Show is weird, it’s kooky, it’s…REVOLTING!” Yet, outsiders continue to pour in to witness what yours ghouly has brewed up.
The most unique haunt offering around, Trick or Treat dares you to approach the creepy house and ring the doorbell. Some may answer and give you a treat, but others will give you a trick. We’ll be honest, almost all of them were tricks but we aren’t mad! Trick or Treat is such a fun and novel idea to turn into a haunted experience. Taking something quintessentially halloween and creating something scary around it feels perfect. In fact, we got our biggest scare of the night in this maze. Gabe had to take a second to collect himself and that typically doesn’t happen…EVER!
Beware, the line for this attraction can get really long. This is because it’s pulsed in a way to allow parties to have a moment to themselves at each door. Now this doesn’t always work out perfectly, but there’s not way we can hold that against LAHH. Some people are fast walkers, some are slower, and some just want to take selfies at each and every house facade. It’s hard to create a standardized timing needed to wait to make sure each person has the most ideal experience.
We never want to see this maze leave Midnight Falls, but we would like to see some new scenes and houses added to the neighborhood to keep things fresh and new.
Dying to drum up more business the local Mortuary is hosting an open house where guests can tour the property to see what offerings await their demise. Guests separated from their tour risk becoming the next customer of the sinister funeral home.
This was our favorite maze of the night! Midnight Mortuary is dark, scary, long, and packs a punch. It has a beautiful facade which some might miss if they get ushered into the experience too quickly! We love how the maze goes through different locations in and around the mortuary without anything getting convoluted. Gritty, dark, and incredibly atmospheric; Midnight Mortuary is filled with intimidating monsters that lurk around each corner.
As we mentioned previously, the new location for the event allowed a lot more room for mazes to grow and we believe this one benefited from it the most. At one point in the maze, we believed the maze was coming to an end only to be met with a lot more to experience! It was a pleasant surprise!
DEAD END DINER
An old 70’s rest stop at the edge of town untouched by time has been used as a weary traveler tourist trap, literally. A series of establishments all work to trap and abduct patrons to be used as human meat in the local diner. Driven by the thirst for blood, the maniacal townsfolk have become more brazen and aggressive towards the travelers in this high intensity cat and mouse style attraction.
Dead End Diner is the newest attraction to join Midnight Falls for 2021. Taking the spot of Road Kill Ranch form 2019. If you experienced Road Kill Ranch, then you’ll notice a lot of props and sets used from the previous maze. While Dead End Diner started off strong, this was one of the mazes that didn’t benefit from having more room.
While the first half of the maze felt fast paced and fun, by the second half it felt unpopulated and slow. Relatively speaking, while Dead End Diner was last on our list of the mazes offerend at this year event. It was still a really fun maze and a great addition to the line up of mazes at the event. Continually focusing on the story of Midnight Falls.
THE MONTE REVOLTA SHOW
Get ready for the ultimate theatrical macabre experience from beyond the grave. It’s Monte Revolta, the undead irreverent lounge singer who is bringing the dead back to rock! Backed by his, Band of The Living Dead, this ghoulish show is sure to have you rocking to your death and rotting in the aisles. This is a night you’ll never forget…and possibly never survive!
Monte Revolta and his Band of the Living Dead were such a highlight of the night. Fun, witty, and incredibly energetic (for a dead people) this show was worth stopping and smelling the roses laid on top of Monte’s casket. The physical comedy and chemistry Monte has with his whole team really adds to the whole experience.
To be perfectly honest, we only stopped to experience a bit of the show before we went to the next maze. But we found ourselves wanting to stay longer and ended up staying the whole show! Because of the new location, the show has much more room for guests to gather around the stage. We highly recommend taking a moment to enjoy the antics of Monte Revolta and his Band of the Living Dead! You won’t regret it! According to Monte, you might regret it. He was continually trying to replace himself in the band.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is back and we love it. Although there might be some issues with this years event, it didn’t stop us from enjoying it all. Being back in the world of Midnight Falls really brought a smile to our faces. Constantly reminding us of the halloween season and why we all love it so much. The designers love for the season is undeniable and almost every aspect of the event is seeped in it. Like 2019, LAHH in 2021 is a throwback to the style of halloween that not only showcases the fun, but the frights as well. Massive tip for all those planning on going to this event, show up early! Around 10pm there was a massive flood of people entering the event. Be smart, get there early and get everything done before massive crowds show up. For anyone who is a lover of Halloween, make sure to check out this years Los Angeles Haunted Hayride.
FOR MORE INFORMATION REGARDING LOS ANGELES HAUNTED HAYRIDE, CLICK HERE!