Last year’s Idyllwild Haunted Ghost Town. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

The Idyllwild Haunted Ghost Town Halloween event has been going on for over 16 years and is a great family activity. For participants, it is a wonderful opportunity for adults to mentor and teach younger ones basic theatrical techniques, special effects makeup, audio and lighting, costuming, set design, animatronics, and special effects. 

The themes of the Ghost Town mazes are as entertaining as the guides — the storytellers. The scares are primarily based on phobias and basic fears but infused with some humor. 

Face your fears, come out laughing, and do it again. Laugh so hard at each other that your cheeks will ache. Youth learn to become stronger than that which scares them when they can overcome basic fears. 

The maze was created with lightweight theater flats. In the early years of the Ghost Town, heavy eight-by-eight flats made of two-by-fours and thick plywood were used. The newer flats are lightweight, four-by-eights, and both cleaner and easier to store. Not to mention, they go up and down much quicker. 

The event began at Town Hall when CSA 36 recreation was managed by the Idyllwild Chamber of Commerce. Later, the Ghost Town partnered with the Idyllwild PTA for many years and financially supported programs like Discovery Streaming. The organizers then partnered with the Riverside County Parks and Open Space District and the Idyllwild Soroptimists before obtaining their own nonprofit 501c3 status as Young Idyllwild Inc. 

The focus of Young Idyllwild Inc. is to help and improve the quality of life of all our mountain community members, “from the young to the young at heart.” Programs and events include Radio Idyllwild, Idyllwild Community Garden, Idyllwood Crafted Sawmill, Idyllwild Strong Music Festival, and Indy Film Fridays outdoor movie nights. 

This year, the Ghost Town event will be back in the center of town. Ghost Town will be in the open space along Highway 243 and in front of the Idyllwild HELP Center. The HELP Center will receive a portion of the gross ticket sales. This event averages about $25,000 in ticket sales and helps support some of Young Idyllwild’s programs. 

Volunteers are invited to join the 2019 cast and crew! If you are interested, email [email protected].