Throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond, haunters are getting ready for a spooktacular Halloween, setting up garages and front yards as haunted houses, each unique and special in its own way.
The haunting community is a tight-knit one, and most belong to CalHaunts, a group of Halloween haunting enthusiasts.
“It’s awesome because everybody helps everybody else,” Club Fear creator Jason Shields said. “What I like about it the best is there’s no competition. People want to go to all the haunts, so every haunter wants to promote the other haunts, and it’s just a win-win.”
This year is Club Fear’s last in the SCV, as the Santa Clarita native is set to move away, with Shields going all out for the haunt’s final year.
Shields began doing haunts in high school with friends when “too old to trick or treat, too young to party,” he noted.
“Everybody likes to scare trick or treaters, so we took it to the next level,” Shields said, adding that as an art student, he enjoyed doing set design.
Since then, Shields has continued partnering with friends to take his haunts up a notch, starting Club Fear in 2016 and coming up with the haunt’s main character, Rellik (killer spelled backward), a serial killer clown who terrorizes everyone he comes across,
“This is your chance to go into his house and see what the house of a serial killer looks like … and you have to find your way out,” Shields said of the haunt’s “Twisted Manor II: Final Chapter” theme.
Rellik’s maze-like home is filled with secret doors and scare actors, along with loads of new, high-end technology — the same used in professional haunts, like at Six Flags Fright Fest or Universal Studios — including lasers, 3D projections, sound effects, air cannons, strobe lights and more.
While Shields used to play Rellik, he has since passed that tradition down to his son, Kaden, a Valencia High senior who said he, too, loves every bit of it.
It takes about a month to set up the haunt, but the Shields family works on the set year-round, as everything, from the faux cinderblock walls that are carved out of foam down to the faux books sitting on the fireplace mantel, are handmade from scratch.
Though time-consuming, it’s people’s reactions that make all the hard work worth it for them.
“They’re scared but they’re laughing and they’re screaming and they’re having a good time — it’s awesome,” Shields said.
Club Fear Twisted Manor II: Final Chapter, is located at 23501 Clearidge Drive in Valencia. The haunt is open 7-11 p.m. Oct. 22, 23, 29-30, with a kid-friendly walk-through on Halloween open 6-10 p.m. Any donations are set to go to the Valencia High School baseball team.
For more on this year’s local haunts, see the Oct. 24 edition of The Signal’s Sunday magazine.