The Braeburn Haunted House in Altadena will be open again to the public this Monday, October 31, for Halloween. This may be the last time you’ll get to see and experience the “horror” at the house, though, because they won’t be opening next year.
The owners, Judy Pastor and Vance Weisbruch, have decided to take a couple of years off after the 16 years that they’ve been entertaining – and scaring – community members and visitors. They’ve decided to take stock of what they’ve been able to accomplish, and perhaps plan things to create a better – or scarier – show, when and if they come back.
“Judy said, ‘yeah, we’re done,” because we’ve been doing it for 16 years and I’m thinking if we took two or three years off and then come back with something completely different, or… it’s just hard to say right now,” Vance Weisbruch says.
For the past 16 years, the couple have been producing the Braeburn Haunted House. Weisbruch says it takes about a month for them to set it up once a year, and anywhere from 25 to 30 people, including neighborhood kids, work with and play ghosts or zombies or help with the sound system and the controls and props.
Each year, Braeburn Road is closed down and CHP, people and local police guide over 3,000 visitors that customarily come to see the Haunted House.
“We’ve always loved Halloween. We have three kids and we wanted to have a safe place for the kids to go, and it just evolved. It just started to grow beginning with two bales of straw and two pumpkins, and then it just kept going and going and going,” Weisbruch said, as he recalled how they started with the Haunted House project. “Then we started getting animated props.”
Since then, news crews have been covering the annual event and more and more people have been coming by. Last year, over 4,000 people saw the haunted house, and the owners expect a little more than that this Halloween.
Most of the “horror” would be in the front yard, Vance says, from which people would enter and go through mazes before they get to the porch area.
“We have four different mazes that people go through – the first one is where you’ll see a bunch of bodies hanging and stuff like that, the second one is more of a slash morgue where there’s different monsters inside, then another has a little hospital area which actually has real flat tables from a mortuary, then the last one as you’re going out is the clowns.”
Weisbruch says most of the scary exhibits would be in the front yard. The house is about 3,000 square feet and the yard about 14,000 square feet, which outside of the Halloween season looks like any ordinary house in Altadena. He says during the preparation time which takes about a month before Halloween, he gets a lot of help from the neighbors who have come to enjoy the work and the show as well.
What’s remarkable about it is that the morning after Halloween, the whole exhibit – the props, the bodies, the mazes – would be gone and the area clean, again thanks to the neighbors, Weisbruch says.
He says they have spent over $35,000 through the 16 years accumulating the props and equipment, but the show remains free and open to everyone. They even don’t encourage donations, because, as Vance says, it’s the kind of work they enjoy.
“One thing that I’m going to miss is that it’s therapeutic, you know, after working,” Vance says. “And then it’s the camaraderie with the neighbors. When we first started, it’s just a couple of a hundred people, and over the years, more people were driving up every day with their kids and help with the work getting ready for the event. We have one girl who started helping when she was 10, and she continued until she was 17 and then went on to college.”
What to do with the exhibits? Vance says he plans to sell most of the props during the next few months, donate some, and keep about 10 percent of their favorite things to keep the place ready for, if and when, they decide to open again. People have actually been asking if they could buy some of the props on display, after Halloween, says Vance.
The Braeburn Haunted House is the largest free haunted house exhibit in the San Gabriel Valley, with items representing numerous fears and phobias. Guests also have the option of passing through two mazes before collecting their “treat,” one for adult Halloween enthusiasts and one for novice enthusiasts or children.
The Braeburn Haunted House, located at 1640 Braeburn Road in Altadena, is open from 4 to 10 p.m. on Halloween.
For more information, please call Vance Weisbruch at (626) 639-1713 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org