I remember seeing something odd while on a visit to Wisconsin to see my mom. It was 17-18 years ago. While I was walking through the front door, a countertop Halloween haunted house, equipped with a motion sensor, began flickering and making appropriately scary noises as it picked up my entrance. It was odd for a couple of reasons. First, mom was entirely too cheap to make such a frivolous purchase, and second, it seemed strange to be decorating inside for Halloween.
Yes, Halloween decorations have been around a long time, but the practice seems to have really taken off in recent years. There were always those clever and creative few who would go to extraordinary lengths to entertain the costumed Minikins as they approached, bags in hand. But that and dressing up for the office party seemed about the extent of the celebration. Most, like me, were simple observers.
For the record, it turns out my sister had bought the haunted house for mom (solving the frivolous purchase mystery), and second, oh, how times have changed. It seems Halloween has become the largest excuse this side of Christmas to celebrate, play, and display over a season rather than just a day…or a night. And while there may be some “naysayers”, (it’s just another example of commercialization), I’m not one of them. I say, why not, let’s have some fun!
What has come with all of this are the events and venues that accompany any celebratory season. Yes, for years now, we have had the “Haunted Houses”. While they have always been fun, creativity, combined with advancements in technology, has made many of these “immersive experiences” really something special.
So, this Halloween Season, we have even more events to choose from right here in our area. Here are a few we would recommend and one we would like to try.
Ghostwalk 2021 follows its 26-year tradition with historically based stories, real or imagined, told by ghost citizens that lived or might have lived in the Santa Clara River Valley. This family-friendly event runs weekends from October 15-October 30 and will run tours leaving every 15 minutes from the waiting area right outside of the Santa Paula Theater Center at 125 S. 7th St. Santa Paula CA 9306.
Ventura Harbor Village hosts a series of events over the Halloween weekend. Beginning with the Witches Paddle on October 29, followed by the Seaside Skeleton Hunt on October 30-31, Howl-O-Ween dog costume contest on October 30, a Professional Pumpkin Carving Demo by a local artist on October 30-31, and culminating in a Kids Trick-or-Treat on Sunday the 31st.
We mustn’t forget the adults. Well, the partying adults, at least. Back for 2021 is the Ventura Halloween Pub Crawl. Costumes, booze, and prizes are all a part of the fun with participating Pubs in Downtown Ventura.
But lastly, the event that has all of my attention is the Ventura County Fear Grounds production taking place throughout the month of October at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. I am totally excited to go and have this immersive experience. No costumes or booze for this one, but the disclaimer says it may be too intense for young children as well. I don’t plan to wear a diaper, but if it turns out, after the fact, I needed one, I’ll just have to chalk that up to getting my money’s worth.
This one’s for you, mom!