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Central Coast Living: Safe & socially distanced ways to celebrate Halloween

Posted at 8:08 AM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 13:33:35-04

Traditions of Central Coast Living are of course different this year but with a little creativity, locals are finding new ways to celebrate Halloween in safe and socially distanced ways.

Halloween Spooktacular in Atascadero

Jumping spiders, spooky skeletons and frightening sights are haunting Mark Russo's Atascadero home.

"This is our Halloween Spooktacular! It's wonderful," Russo said.

Now six years running, Russo started work in March to transform his home into a scary and fun Halloween display.

"I do it because it's not just a passion but I've always enjoyed Halloween as a kid and I really don't want that tradition to go away," he said.

He's keeping the spirit alive with COVID-19 guidelines in mind.

"This says 'Happy Halloween, please follow all social distancing guidelines and thank you for visiting,'" Russo said as he showed off his skeleton's welcome sign.

Right now, visitors can only admire the Halloween Spooktacular at 7720 Cortex Ave. from the sidewalk or driving by.

"But on Halloween night, we open the gate. Respecting social distancing, we walk through here. I'll have all kinds of actors," Russo said.

William Ellis and his family came by for a preview.

"It's just incredible what he's done here," Ellisa said. "I mean, you can't go to Disneyland but you can come here!"

Russo hopes his display reminds people the scares of 2020 aren't all bad and that community connection matters most.

"I just love having folks like yourself coming down and enjoying it," Russo told the Ellis family.

"I think the little ones need it, everyone needs to have something fun and lighthearted to go to and just get out," said Ellis.

For now, you can drive-by the Halloween Spooktacular and then come back with your mask and socially-distant, spooky spirit on Halloween night to walk through the lights and frights.

Haunted Hills in Santa Maria
In Santa Maria, you can take a spooky cruise Friday and Saturday night through the Haunted Hills at the Elks Event Center.

The Santa Maria Parks and Recreation department and the Elks Rodeo are teaming up to give you chills and thrills during a 20-minute drive-thru experience.

The Haunted Hills features cowboys of rodeos past, creepy sights and sounds and classic Halloween movie scenes.

Suzanne Schonig drove down from San Luis Obispo for the frightening experience.

"This was rad, a lot of scares," Schonig said. "People jumping in my car it was a little like, as a driver, I think I want to go back through as a passenger."

This is the second to last weekend to check out the Haunted Hills. It runs from 7:30-10:30 p.m. and costs $30 per car. Tickets are available online and are nearly sold out.