NORTH COUNTY — For the first time since 2015, Halloween falls on a Saturday night this year and has many North County residents wondering where they can go to satisfy their spooky urges or take their little devils for a fun evening. 

The Atascadero News reached out to several local Halloween attractions in the North County and compiled a list for those looking for a safe, scary Halloween. 

The Haunt 

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, options are limited this year, but that does not mean that no fun can be had. Atascadero’s popular haunted house, The Haunt, is back this year full of safety precautions while still being just as frightening as ever. This year the multiroom, scare experience has turned fairy tales into scary tales and incorporated everything in between. 

The Haunt, which began conceptualizing their design in March and construction in May, has brought an immersive experience complete with animatronics, hidden actors, and all the long, foggy corridors your heart could desire. 

Unlike most scare mazes and haunted houses that pop up a few weeks before Halloween and are gone before the sign of the first turkey, The Haunt spends the year working on their maze and uses over 60 volunteers to do so. Each year a number of volunteers, many times local high school students, take on a room, then plan it and design it with a little help from The Haunt team.

One of the many themed rooms customers will walk through at The Haunt. (Contributed photo)

This collaboration makes each room elaborate and intricate, down to the pictures on the walls and the flooring you are walking on. To ensure safety for those enjoying the maze and the actors inside, The Haunt requires everyone get their temperature taken at the door and wear a mask while inside. The Haunt only sends in groups of four at a time (groups that have traveled together), ensuring each bunch gets the full attention of the demented fairy tales trapped inside. 

Tickets can be purchased online at The Haunt website (thehauntinatascadero.com). Single tickets can be purchased for $12 or a four-pack for $40. The Haunt will be open Thursday to Saturday from 6:30 to 11 pm and on Sunday from 6:30 until 9 pm. 

Nightmare on Main Street

This year Nightmare of Main Street is celebrating 10 years of scares Saturday and will once again be back in action as one of the scariest attractions not only in the county but perhaps in the state. If last year was any indication of how scary it can be, the 10-year anniversary might not be for the faint of heart.

Nightmare on Main Street is located at 99 S. Main St. in Templeton in a 120-year-old Victorian home. The organization, an established nonprofit organization, also gives back to the local community through donations. Over the years, Nightmare on Main, Inc. has given over $70,000 back to the community, including senior scholarships and middle school science camps. 

Attendees will have their temperature checked at the door and must wear masks for the duration of their time in the house. Nightmare on Main Street will also encourage social distancing and only send in customers with their immediate groups. 

The haunted house will be open Thursday through Saturday from 7 to 10 pm. Tickets are available for $10 and can be purchased at nightmareonmain.com.

Halloween Spooktacular

Local Atascadero resident Mark Russo has once again transformed his yard into a lights and sights show and encourages the public to drive by and enjoy with the entire family. Russo’s yard is transformed with props, fog, skeletons and all the sounds that are sure to send a cold chill down your spine. 

Russo’s house is located off of Curbaril at 7720 Cortez Avenue in Atascadero.

Virtual Costume Contest

For those looking to flex their cute holiday costumes, the Charles Paddock Zoo will be having a virtual costume contest in lieu of the annual Zoo Boo. The City of Atascadero is encouraging families to come to the Zoo in their best Halloween attire to take a photo in front of the photo op display posted out front. 

The contest is available to all ages and will have five different categories available. The categories will be:

  • Under-5 years old
  • 5 to 8 years old
  • 9 to 12 years old
  • 13 to 100 years old
  • Group costume (all ages)

Email your photo to photocontest@atascadero.org along with the participant’s name, age, email, phone number and the category entered by November 4.

Virtual Pumpkin Carving Contest

The City of Atascadero is also hosting a virtual pumpkin carving contest this year that will close on October 30 at 5:00 pm. Carve your pumpkin at home and then send a picture to recreation@atascadero.org along with the carver’s name, age, email, phone number, along with a note in the photo that has #AtascaderoRecreation. All ages can participate. On Halloween, all the pumpkins submitted will be showcased on the Recreation Division’s social media page. 

Getting through this together, Atascadero