Events & Attractions

Monster Mayhem Ghost Haunt at Calico Ghost Town

This past weekend my family and I spent the weekend at Calico Ghost Town to partake in their annual Halloween festivities.  We camp at Calico at least once a year since my dad is one of the performers in the gun shows and regularly camps at the location.  This was our second time visiting for Halloween, but the first time we had the opportunity to offload the kids for an evening and enjoy some of the nighttime offerings in the town.

For those unfamiliar with Calico, it’s an old West mining town that was started in 1881 during a silver rush in California.  The town was one of the states biggest silver producers and housed over 500 mines.  When the value of silver declined, so did the towns population and the rest is history.  The town houses a number of the original structures and mines and offers a number of historical exhibits and attractions built around the original town, but it also houses a number of seasonal activities to attract visitors, like this year’s “Monster Mayhem Ghost Haunt.”

One of the decorated storefronts in Calico featuring a skeleton walking her skeleton dog.
Part of the storefront Halloween display at Dorsey’s Dog House in Calico.

Monster Mayhem is an all-day event with activities broken up into daytime activities, which are much more kid and family friendly and nighttime activities, which are a bit more for the teen to adult audience.  The daytime schedule has events as early as 10 AM and is chock full of fun for the little ones and they are all part of your paid admission to the town.  This year’s activities included an egg toss, Halloween Bingo, live kids music, trick or treating, a screaming contest, a “Monster Mayhem” carnival tent that was filled with games where the kids could earn prizes and more.  As a bonus, the storefronts in Calico decorate their shops for Halloween and visitors can vote for the one they like best.  They also introduced an all-new “Mad Scientist” Escape Room for 2017 at no additional charge, but sign up is on a first come-first serve basis.

As the sun sets a number of scare actors descend upon the streets of Calico as the event shifts into “Scare Hours.”  During the evening Calico attractions shut down for about an hour so that, The Maggie Mine, Calico Odessa Railroad and Mystery Shack can transform into Maggie’s Haunted Mine, Pickaxe Pete’s Revenge, and The Witch’s Demise.  In addition to haunt attractions, nighttime activities include live music and a reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven, which we sadly missed. (If you plan to attend this reading get there early, it fills up quick and space is limited.)

A scare actor dressed as a werewolf at Calico Ghost Town
A scare actor roams the streets of Calico Ghost Town during “Scare Hours”

“Pickaxe Pete’s Revenge,” a haunted attraction that takes place along the Calico Odessa Railroad.  We were fortunate enough to be comped tickets to this particular attraction, but if you want to partake in it you definitely want to get your tickets early.  This is a popular attraction and even though trains depart every 15 minutes, time slots fill up quickly.  “Pickaxe Pete’s Revenge” mixes both static Halloween decor with actual scare actors who sneak up on unsuspecting riders on the train.  The 10-minute ride takes you through a number of well-done scenes of horror and even has a story element that plays over the train’s speaker, but sadly we missed most of it on the account of the car full of loud drunk women ahead of us.  At just $4.50 for people 11 and older this is a steal and well worth experiencing if you make it up to Calico.

A monster from Pickaxe Pete's Revenge
One of the monsters we encountered on Pickaxe Pete’s Revenge

During our visit we also made a point of experiencing “Maggies Haunted Mine.”  The first thing to recognize about Maggies Haunted Mine is that you are descending into an actual silver mine from the 1880s. Like “Pickaxe Pete’s Revenge,” the mine features a mix of static haunt decor as well as scare actors who do their best to pop out and scare you as you make your way through the 1,000-foot mine.  While it suggests ages 13 and older, I didn’t feel the scare factor was as strong in this particular attraction.  This would definitely be a good one for a family looking to introduce their kids to a haunt as a stepping stone to say a Knott’s Scary Farm.

Overall Calico’s “Monster Mayhem” was a lot of fun and the haunted attractions are actually really well done for costing just a few dollars per person.  For most in Southern California its probably a bit of a trek out to the desert of San Bernardino, but if you can make a day or even a weekend of it, it’s well worth it, especially for families.  Entrance to the event is just $15 for adults, $10 for kids ages 4-11 and kids 3 and under are free.  “Monster Mayhem” will be held again this weekend from October 27-29 and will be open from 5 PM – 9 PM on Friday, 9 AM – 10 PM on Saturday, and 9 AM – 5 PM on Sunday.  Due to shorter event times, “scare hours” are all night on Friday and from 1 PM – 5 PM on Sunday.

If you’re looking for some additional spooky fun, be sure to check out the Calico Cemetery during your visit and while in town, inquire about the paranormal tours, which are held year round.

For more information about Calico visit and for more on the various attractions and their prices visit Calico Attractions.

1 Comment

  1. Great post. Just a reminder to everyone re: the Calico Cemetary, it is a real cemetary of townsfolk who lived there when the mines were open as well as worked there in the past and present, so please show respect.

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