HOUSE OF SPIRITS: A HAUNTED COCKTAIL SOIREE is indeed what its name advertises, created by Meyer2Meyer Entertainment in a particular old mansion in the Adams-Normandie area of Los Angeles. The creators and owners of Meyer2Meyer Entertainment, Justin and Melissa Meyer. used to be the creative director and COO of the Los Angeles and New York Haunted Hayrides and The Great Horror Campout. They have gone on their own to follow their vision of sandbox style interactive and immersive events that do not only occur on Halloween.
Hands down, the show is great fun. The set up is that you have been invited to a haunted mansion for a cocktail party. Do you dare attend? The answer should be yes. The first floor is a fairly standard cocktail party with spooky accoutrements. You are encouraged to dress up, particularly in period finery. Does it matter what period of history? Frankly no. I saw people dressed in all sorts of upscale and goth adjacent wear and my favorite gear of the night was a guy who was dressed up in 70s Blaxploitation threads. He definitely gets the spooky prize if I get to award them. The idea is to get people in the mood and make the occasion feel special, which it is admirable and any time period from roughly the 1850s to 1980 is good according to Justin Meyer. I think this is a fantastic idea and while you shouldn’t show up in a Jason mask, thematically, it is very fitting for the show.
When you arrive you wait in the front yard and are given a tarot card that can be punched as you collect your cocktails and you get your first cocktail as you walk in the door. Did I mention that as part of your attendance you get 6 mini cocktails? No, okay you do and they are really quite tasty. There is live musical entertainment, a puppet theatre, a giant Ouija board that answers questions, a tarot reader, five other bars, and a small gallery of paintings. If you want non-alcoholic options or prefer to not go into the scarier areas, you could easily have a terrific time just chilling on the first floor, going out to the Garden of Agony, or having a meal at the food truck outside. Really, if the idea of the rest of the house is TOO SCARY, ‘fraidy cat, you could be fine there while others of your party go out to investigate. You are given hints by the people of the house if you speak with them, so interactions are encouraged. You will be able to navigate the adventure fairly easily. The second floor is the next level: different themed rooms await you in what is an adaptation of games at Halloween parties. The ideas are for the most part inventive and reminiscent of Halloweens past and the costumes for the, ahem, guides are really quite cool. The basic idea is that the house was the house of a painter, Francisco Vega based on the real life of Spanish painter Francisco de Goya (feel free to look this great painter up, I’ll wait). You must solve the mystery of his disappearance and the frightening events around it. You are told to look for a certain member of the household for clues. Then there is the basement, which is two parts.
The first part I found to be inventive and again reminiscent of one of the classic tales of suburban horror told by teenagers to frighten other teenagers. The second half, and I won’t say much about it, was quite impressive to me. It called for full commitment from the actors and was not something that I had really seen before. Full marks for the actors and the creators for taking this particularly daring path.
If you want my advice to attend and get the full measure of the attraction enter, get a drink, take a few moments to inhale the ambiance, maybe get another drink and head upstairs for the second floor. Check out the Garden of Agony or the puppet theatre and then head for the basement. You are going to have to wait in three separate lines and I think you should get to them as soon as you can, so you don’t miss anything and the experience is limited to a two hour window. The lines get longer as the time grows shorter. If you aren’t in line at closing time, you won’t get to go through the particular area and they are all worthwhile, especially the basement. Some of the stairs, particularly the second half of the basement, which is on the right side of the house are a little steep. I would also go to the left side of the basement first, then the right side as a finale. Then go back to the cocktail party to wind down and discuss with others of your party or get a tarot reading. There’s plenty to enjoy at this macabre party.
HOUSE OF THE SPIRITS is a sandbox style attraction that is not extreme and is a whole lot of fun for an adult Halloween. A lot of thought went into the ideas for the show and they cast some really good haunt actors. It is a very pleasant and sophisticatedly spoopy experience that uses its location very well. The decor, costumes (especially the creature masks and costumes) are really good and you can tell that this is a creative endeavor rather than a get ‘em through type house. The point is to be spooked and have fun and Meyer2Meyer Entertainment has done a terrific job with building a spooky house that is full of sinister hospitality and, yes, some wonder. It has a sense of sophistication and old world fun that is frankly missing from most haunts. It’s a lot like stepping into a more gracious time.
I really enjoyed every minute of this attraction and I look forward to Meyer2Meyer’s future endeavors. They care about their scares. HOUSE OF SPIRITS: A HAUNTED COCKTAIL SOIREE will run until November 2nd and tickets can be purchased here.