The Santa Clarita area is a treasure trove of impressive home haunts—just check the SoCal Haunt List to see for yourself. Detailed walk-throughs and spooky yard displays are common here, and we highly recommend taking a trip to this area to check them out. But this year, three of the usual top home haunts will be dark. And that’s because the haunters behind Beware the Dark Realm, Restless Souls Manor, and The Farm have teamed up to create a professional haunt for 2022: “Bones Gulch,” located in Castaic.
The haunt is serving as a fundraiser for a new museum for the LA Sherriff’s Department. And as we pulled up to the location on opening night, we were immediately greeted by multiple cop cars in the road flashing their blue-and-red lights. It was probably unintentional, but the heavy law enforcement presence actually put us a bit on edge as we parked and walked up the hill to the Jack Bones Equestrian Center.
While waiting in line, we could observe some of the sets outlining the town, and the lighting and music set the “Old West” stage. There was a small hiccup on opening night with a broken generator that led to a 1-hour delay in opening. But this delay was probably for the best, as the sun was just setting as we entered the Old West town.
The entrance to Bones Gulch is a very large scare zone area with free-roaming actors who both scare guests and impart some of the town’s backstory. There are many facades lining the main street, such as a jail and swamp shack, and characters lurk in the shadows. Eerie lighting, an impressive sound system, and powerful fog machines create a very spooky atmosphere and instantly reminded us of the Ghost Town streets at Knott’s. Enhancing the scene are the real-life desert hills that surround the area, and we really felt like we were transported to an old western town.
After exploring the town area, we got in a short line for the maze. Employees were mindful to let only small groups into the attraction at a time, but the line still moved quickly. Each room in the maze presented a highly detailed scene, and distinct characters in every room took their time interacting with us and giving us more of the backstory as we progressed through the maze. Because it was a bit more interactive than other haunts, with the actors stopping us to give a warning about the mine or to show us the selection of body parts inside the butcher’s shop, it was sometimes hard to tell when we needed to move on to the next room. However, we expect this was probably just a first-night issue, and the pacing will likely be fine-tuned as the haunt progresses through the month.
Above all, we were completely impressed by the highly detailed sets that were built for this haunt, most of which easily match the quality of Knott’s Scary Farm or Halloween Horror Nights. And this is exactly why we were so excited to visit Bones Gulch…we know that these home haunters have an undying love for Halloween and haunts, and they’re obsessed with getting the details right. So this is not just some cash-grab haunt filled with props bought at Spirit Halloween; it’s an immersive journey into an Old West town that really showcases the talent and dedication of the team who built it.
Don’t just take our word for it. Our friends from Hollywood Gothtique also visited Bones Gulch and share similar sentiments in their review.
We highly recommend visiting Bones Gulch this haunt season. Tickets are only $20 and include entry into the town, where you can roam and mingle with the townspeople, as well as entry into the maze. You can buy a repeat ticket for an additional $10. We do suggest buying tickets before you arrive, as there is no cash option onsite (you’ll be directed to pay via Venmo or go on your phone to buy tickets). Parking is free. You could also make a full night of it by visiting Bones Gulch and then exploring other home haunts in the area.
Bones Gulch is open every Saturday in October and Sunday, October 30, from 6 to 10 pm. A special FREE daytime event for kids will be held on October 30 from 12 to 4 pm. Put this haunt at the top of your list this season!