Thousands of people who enjoy a spooky adventure attended the Atalaya Fall Festival and Haunted Castle event at Huntington Beach State Park.
Although the event was rained out on Friday, Oct. 26, the line of cars extended past the park's front gate on Saturday, Oct. 27. The Atalaya “castle” became the setting for an evening of fright-fully fun family entertainment.
Mike Walker, interpretive ranger at the park said about 3,000 people came on Saturday night, which is more than both event nights last year. He said the extraordinary turnout for the event Saturday was likely due to the cancellation on Friday.
He said Friday's event was cancelled because there were thunderstorms and park officials didn't want to risk anyone being struck by lightning.
"In years past, we tried to do this event rain or shine, but on Friday night it was a safety issue," he said. "This was the biggest turnout we have ever had in one night."
Those who came out Saturday enjoyed two separate haunted house attractions: Little Scare, a not-too-scary maze of creepy rooms for the younger children; and Big Scare, a Haunted Castle for the brave at heart. There were also carnival games, unique photo booth opportunities, face painting, a balloon artist, ‘make and take’ arts and crafts stations in the courtyard, vintage spooky cartoons shown on an outdoor big screen, a “toast your own marshmallow” fire pit, local ghost stories around the bonfire and more.
Walker said this year, the event featured more elaborate displays like the dinosaur skeleton exhibit and a pet cemetery; and spooky characters, including several swamp witches. He said they also went through all of the candy they had on hand for carnival game prizes.
"We had crates of candy," Walker said. "That was the first time we went through that much candy."