By Serena Scholle
With the fall season underway, midterms are wrapping up and CI students are preparing for the final half of the semester. What better way to congratulate yourself on a job well done than to participate in the Halloween festivities in the area? Halloween is the favorite holiday of many, and whether you prefer to indulge in seasonal delights like pumpkin carving or face your fears in a gut-wrenching maze, there are plenty of opportunities in the area to celebrate the season. Before the end of October sneaks up, check out some of the events happening nearby.
Underwood Family Farms
Just a short 25-minute drive from CI’s campus is Underwood Family Farms, one of the most popular pumpkin patches in the county. The farms are located just off Highway 23, but accounting for traffic, Santa Rosa Road is the better route to take.
The pumpkin patch is the perfect location to snap some Instagram-worthy fall photos, snack on a bag of kettle corn, navigate through the corn maze and pick your own fresh produce. According to the Underwood Family Farms website, general admission is $10 on weekdays and $16 on weekends. Additionally, live performances may be included on some weekends.
Reign of Terror
In past years, I am sure I was not the only one who felt that the Reign of Terror at the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks was overrated, but there has been buzz that this year it is worth the experience. The Reign of Terror website highlights that there are “ALL NEW Characters, Props and Special Effects.” For those of us who have participated before, the revamping of this maze rejuvenates the anticipation we experienced the first time.
The cost is more affordable than recent years as well. A “Regular Timed Admission” ticket is listed on the website as $30 per person. The price jumps to $55 for the “Intermediate Timed Access” ticket, which involves no wait time. The increase in price is steep, so it may be worth waiting the extra time in line.
In this maze, it never seems to matter how closely you follow the group in front of you, because the scares are not timed by group. This means that no matter how fast you feel you need to go, or who is the leader in your group, there is still a good chance you will be equally as frightened on your way out.
The Haunted Hayride, located at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, is one of my favorite events for a large group, even if not everyone in your party is a thrill seeker. The event is affordable; the activities available with a purchase of the $40 general admission ticket will likely keep you occupied most of the night.
The hayride itself is pretty terrifying, especially if you are the type of person who relies on sprinting through a maze to avoid being scared, because you are driven through most of the maze. However, I enjoy that the trailer allows for a large group to go through at the same time so you can feed off each other’s fear and enthusiasm.
For those that do not enjoy the intense scares, there are shorter mazes in the larger event area. These are available to anyone with a general admission ticket, and in past years the actors have handed out candy. It is up to you to decide whether that is comforting or unsettling. There have also been live performances and even psychic readings available at this event most nights.
Ventura County Fear Grounds
Hosted by Surfers Point LIVE, this event is located at the Ventura County Fair Grounds every night until the end of October. Only one ticket option includes entrance into all attractions. This is the RIP Total Fear Experience, which is listed on the website for $52.98 per person, and also allows you to skip the line for most attractions. The company that creates the mazes is also credited with having created Halloween mazes at popular amusement parks such as Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead)
Hosted by the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, this event will feature “altars, vendors, food, musical performances” and more in celebration of Día de Muertos. The event will be taking place Nov. 5 at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and admission is free. In addition to Día de Muertos celebrations, the event will “also acknowledge Araw ng mga Patay, the Filipino Día de Muertos,” according to the event website.
More information about the artists, vendors and activities at this event can be found here:
Halloween Horror Nights
There is no denying that Southern California is spoiled by the entertainment industry, and this list would be incomplete without mentioning Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. This event begins at 7 p.m., but purchasing tickets online includes early admission at 6 p.m. According to the Universal Studios website, general admission tickets start at $84 depending on the night, which is the most cost-effective ticket since the event does not end until 2 a.m.
The most efficient way to navigate the park is to go through the mazes in order of location. Additionally, I strongly suggest making time to see the Jabbawockeez show if you attend this event; it is well worth scheduling into your night.
Regardless of how you prefer to spend your time this Halloween, remember to relax and indulge in the holiday. Before you know it, pumpkin spice will be replaced with peppermint and the semester will be over, so enjoy the splendors of fall.