When I was a kid, I used to dream about what it would be like to walk through Disneyland's Haunted Mansion... at night. Not alone—are you nuts?—but with a few friends.
To curb my creepy/coolly/Gothic/ghouly jones, I became addicted to the plethora of haunted houses that seem to spring up during the Halloween season. Ah, fond memories of running through those bargain basement horror shows, scared witless—even though I knew full well the blood-drenched monster lurching after me was just some guy a few years older wearing a mask, doused in Caro syrup and red food coloring, as the strobe light up above messed with my head.
I'm not alone in my love for the altogether ooky: We've all probably witnessed the massive queues at Knott's Scary Farm or its numerous knock-offs. But have you ever heard of Laguna Beach's Pageant of the Monsters: Night of the Living Art?
On hiatus for a decade, it's back in town for only four days and its price is a measly few bucks. All in exchange for. wait for it. wait for it. an interactive Haunted House.
Pageant of the Monsters director Diane Challis Davy is the genius behind this non-profit fund-raiser for PoM and Festival of Arts. She's organized 80 volunteers, dressed as "phantoms of long dead actors, dancers and singers in spectacular settings"—including a medieval catacomb, a cemetery, torture chamber and a séance—and hidden them throughout the theater's winding backstage corridors.
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Marketing and Public Relations Director Sharbie Higuchi gives the night out a PG-13 rating and tells me that it's not recommended that parents bring children under 5.
Is it scary enough that people will be running through, I ask, instead of nonchalantly walking? "Guests won't want to miss any of the details, so walking through is a must," says Higuchi. "If they run, they might be chased!"
Pageant of the Monsters: Night of the Living Art at Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. (800) 487-3378; www.pageanttickets.com. Fri-Sun. 6 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Thru Oct. 31. $10-$15