Halloween is my favorite time of year. Growing up on the East Coast, I’ve always loved the changing color of leaves, the slight but not too overpowering chill in the air, and the onset of that one time of the year when everybody lets their inhibitions go and embraces the crazier and darker side of the universe. The most exciting part of Halloween for me isn’t the costuming or trick-or-treating (though, admittedly, those are both tons of fun). It’s the rise of the seasonal haunted attractions – those overblown screamfests where people deliberately pay money to have strangers in costume and makeup scare the pants off them.

Since Los Angeles is in an area that isn’t affected by the major weather changes that come with autumn and Halloween, I’ve taken it upon myself to embrace the best (and worst) of all the crazy, spooky attractions that this city has to offer. And holy smokes, are there are a lot of them! It’s been a tradition of mine to visit as many of these as possible from the moment that they open to the moment that they close. That means a good month of traveling around LA and setting myself up to get scared.

This year, I’ve decided to share my annual experience with you, the readers of Whedonopolis. This is all leading up to our own major Halloween event, the annual screening of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog! So join me on my journey through haunted forests, spooky houses, interactive plays, and all manner of Halloween-y goodness under the Hollywood Sign. You can take my recommendations to judge which ones you’d like to check out for yourself, or offer suggestions in the comment section below for which ones you’d like me to visit and report on. Bear in mind, I’ve already compiled a pretty large list, and there’s little room to add more, but I’ll do my best.

Oh yeah. It’s gonna get real.

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