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Saturday, March 25, 2023

This Santa Clarita family has spent 50 years making free Halloween haunts. See inside its latest

There’s definitely something spooky going on at Seavely’s house in Santa Clarita. While other manicured Sugar Pine Way homes are decorated for Halloween, Sivley’s is surrounded by a towering medieval castle.

A detailed, hand-carved façade extends to the sidewalk, while skeletons guard the windows and walls of the castle. Two large wooden doors open to the annual Seavely Horror House, also known as Beware the Dark Realm.

The independent attraction featured in the 2018 documentary Epic Home Haunts is open six nights: 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30 October, from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Free admission. However, donating $ 10 to the nonprofit Family Promise of Santa Clarita will give you your first place ticket. All guests must wear protective masks at all times, regardless of vaccination status. Hand disinfection stations will operate on site. Not recommended for children under 10 years of age.

“We usually start construction around the second week of September,” said Scott Seavley, putting the finishing touches on the ghost last week. “The installation takes about a month and has changed over the years. It was a medieval theme for about 10 years, but we did a psycho-horror circus, we did an encounter with aliens, universal monsters and a haunted mansion. “

Seavely, who has been building refuge homes in the area for 50 years, began his career in his parents’ garage on Gothic Street in North Hills in 1971. He said that by the age of 10 he had grown to six feet in height. for people to comment or throw disapproving glances at him when he cheated on him, so he gave it up.

“Around the corner from me was a neighbor who worked for 20th Century Fox and on Lost in Space,” Seavely recalls. “He showed up in costumes from the show, scared the neighborhood kids and chased them, and I saw how much fun he did it, so I thought I could do it too. I also walked around and watched Disney’s haunted mansion when it opened in 1969, so I thought, “Okay, here’s what I’ll do.”

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He went down to the local JC Penny store and asked if he could get their old appliances and furniture boxes so he could build walls out of them. He built a maze of carved pumpkins, filled it with fear-delivering volunteers, and used the turntable to make scary sounds.

He continued to wander around his parents’ house until he married his wife Cynthia in 1988 and the couple moved to Sugar Pine Way. Neighbors began volunteering to help Seavely in the haunted houses, and their two sons, Christian and Jacob, also joined in the family fun. Seavley said that people always assume that he and his family are in the entertainment business, but he is actually a retired postman and his son Christian works for Nike. Each year, they continue to attract thousands of fans who line up around the block for the experience.

YouTube video

“It was always super fun,” said Christian Seavely, adding that in addition to running smoothly this year, he is the self-styled King of the Castle, with Jacob taking on the role of court jester again. … The pair will be joined by about a dozen other volunteers who will disguise themselves as various royal subjects, villagers, witches, knights, blacksmiths and more to keep up with this year’s theme. He also said that some of the volunteer scarers have been working with the family for over 30 years.

“I think one of the coolest things about our event is that we do all of our costumes by hand or custom, and we also use a lot of dentures and makeup,” he said. “We have learned this over the years from a family friend, a professional makeup artist who also volunteers with us. We devote a lot of time to this. We also have many of the same volunteers who come back, and they have developed their own way, or their own style, of how to scare people. “

Christian is also responsible for creating the backstory for each attraction. Although the medieval castle stood for over ten years, the theme has changed. One year, werewolves invaded him, and the next – the killing of crows. This year it is filled with dragons.

Thick fog, a lot of eerie lighting, animatronics, special effects and the whole attraction takes about 10-14 minutes. Some actors lie in wait just to scare, while others help slow the crowd down with their stories.

“In a ghost, it’s important to control the speed of people because if you leave it wide open, they’ll walk right through it,” Scott said with a laugh. “I learned about this many years ago. I didn’t do all this so that you could just get through it. ”

When his house is haunted, props and walls are kept in a garage, on the side of the house, or in a hut that Seavely built in his backyard. They have amassed a sizeable collection of props over the years, and Seveley said that now that he is retired, he sets aside about $ 1,000 a year to invest in the attraction, most of which goes to juice from the fog and to feed the volunteers. … He makes money selling things that he no longer needs.

Each year, he donates proceeds from the event to a local nonprofit that includes food banks, the Historical Society of Santa Clarita, family centers, anti-domestic violence programs, and in the past couple of years, Family Promise, which helps families experiencing homelessness. …

“With all of the canned food and cash donations we have raised over $ 100,000 for charity over the years,” Scott said, noting that the participants are generous and that sometimes the line for donations is longer in the evenings than the line for free admission.

Scott said he was trying to work with the city to find a new location so Beware the Dark Realm could expand and raise more money for local nonprofits. He said he has had an excellent relationship with the city and the surrounding area for more than three decades, but he is not sure how long he and his sons will be able to take over the house at full capacity if it cannot be relocated.

“We just outgrew this space,” he said. “If we moved, we could really make a lot of money. Here I can only work six nights – no more than in the district. There must be an abandoned building or piece of land somewhere that we can take over. So we are looking for it very seriously. “

Beware of the dark realm

When: 19-10 hours 15-16, 22-23 and 29-30 October

Where: 28621 Sugar Pine Way, Santa Clarita

Tickets: Free admission; $ 10 donation to Family Promise Santa Clarita Valley will get direct access. These passes can be purchased at bewarethedarkrealm.com.

World Nation News Desk
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