In a combination of spooky ghosts, goblins, animatronic projections, scarecrows and creepy clowns, the city of Santa Clarita hosted its inaugural Haunted Highway, a drive-thru Halloween experience.
The event, which took place in the George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex parking lot off Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita, was sold out by the beginning of the week.
With guests remaining in their cars, Saugus resident Chelsie Travinze said she was still thoroughly scared, yet felt a bit more reassured than if she’d been walking through a haunted maze.
“They did a really great job of still making it spooky, but I loved being able to hang onto my sister through it all in the car, hiding from all the creepiness,” Travinze said, with nervous chuckles. “It was a Horror Nights-level scare.”
Organized by the city of Santa Clarita’s Recreation and Community Services Department, the contactless experience allowed SCV residents to celebrate Halloween safely in the midst of the pandemic from the comfort of their cars.
“I loved that you could turn the radio to the station, and hear the spooky noises in time with the scary stuff going on outside,” added Reese Tramwell, a Castaic resident. “It was a blast driving the kids through it, hearing them screaming bloody murder from the backseat.”
Between Thursday and Friday nights, city of Santa Clarita officials estimate 2,000 vehicles were expected to pass through the sold-out haunt, first seeing the scarecrows created by SCV residents in Scarecrow Alley before entering the Haunted Highway, which is filled with dolls, ghouls and even some pirates.
Each immersive scene gave participants a different Halloween fright, with precision being placed into every scene.
“I just love the amount of detail that was in each of the displays,” Canyon Country mother Penny Ibraham said, sitting beside her 4- and 7-year-olds in the back seat of her car, after her husband had driven them through the event.
“I was shocked they actually had (actors) in there,” she added. “It really just came to life, but not in a too scary way for the kids.”
Though reservations for the Haunted Highway were sold out, Santa Clarita residents can still view the scarecrows in Scarecrow Alley 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Halloween day.
Scarecrows are expected to be judged by a panel of city of Santa Clarita staff and community partners, with prizes awarded for first, second and third place in three categories: Family, nonprofit and business.