Boot Hill: 2017 Review

Boot Hill, Irvine, CA

From yesterday to today, we make probably our largest geographical jump between haunts on back to back updates.  But like House at Haunted Hill, Boot Hill is a home haunt yard display that has the word "hill" in it and has made a name for itself over many years, to the point where it has become a neighborhood attraction well regarded as a wonderful tradition.

Waiting outside Boot Hill.

Waiting outside Boot Hill.

Specifically, this haunted attraction in sleepy, suburban Irvine has been thrilling guests for 18 years.  And although it is a yard display, it's also part haunted walk-through.  Guests enter one group at a time into the front yard, where they stroll past a series of beautifully crafted graveyard scenes--not to mention a few monsters.  Upon reaching where the front door of the house would be, they turn back.  It's short and sweet, but elaborately done--proving that it's not quantity that counts, it's quality.

Creepy characters prowl the street and find fresh victims--er--people waiting in line.

Creepy characters prowl the street and find fresh victims--er--people waiting in line.

That quality comes in the form of elaborately carved and lit gravestones, scattered projection effects, an eerie soundscape, a rich backstory, and a strong history that has attracted popular crowds across the years.  On weekends, people line down the block in anticipation of this fantastic little haunt, and the atmosphere is festive and spooky and even a little frightful.  You see, monsters lurk outside of Boot Hill as well, roaming the streets and working the crowd to offer entertainment for those in queue.  The whole production is very well done.

The graves and jack-o-lanterns look glorious in the show lighting.

The graves and jack-o-lanterns look glorious in the show lighting.

The head stones show off a variety of styles and craftsmanship from over the years.  There might even be a few recognizable names.

The head stones show off a variety of styles and craftsmanship from over the years.  There might even be a few recognizable names.

The ambiance is stirring at Boot Hill.  Majestic and eerie at the same time.

The ambiance is stirring at Boot Hill.  Majestic and eerie at the same time.

This year, Boot Hill ran the last three weekends of October, so for those of you who want to mark this for next year, a similar time frame can probably be expected.  And it's well worth visiting!  In a Southern Californian Halloween landscape where the majority of the notable haunts seem to be clustered more in the Los Angeles and Valley areas, it's nice to have something exquisitely done in Orange County.

The monsters call in all shapes, sizes, and ages at Boot Hill.  Beware!

The monsters call in all shapes, sizes, and ages at Boot Hill.  Beware!

Oh, and one other commonality with House at Haunted Hill.  Both that Woodland Hills haunt and Boot Hill here can trace direct inspiration and association with the revered Hallowed Haunting Grounds home haunt.  Both carry a floating lantern in tribute, and the creators of both have had overlapping history with the late Gary Corb, the mastermind behind Hallowed Haunting Grounds.  That bit of history gives Boot Hill a nice connection to home haunt lore, and its continued popularity is a testament to the alluring pull of the Halloween spirit!

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Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.