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Oct. 9, 2022

Day 39: Haunted Harvest inside Frosty’s Forest in Chino, CA

Day 39: Haunted Harvest inside Frosty’s Forest in Chino, CA

Haunted Harvest is inside Frosty’s Forest in Chino, CA. Think of a haunt where each scene is split up and separated by lots of corn. Instead of flats and transition hallways, you have lot of corn and plenty of opportunities for scares outside. But the...

Haunted Harvest is inside Frosty’s Forest in Chino, CA. Think of a haunt where each scene is split up and separated by lots of corn. Instead of flats and transition hallways, you have lot of corn and plenty of opportunities for scares outside. But the corn comes with some challenges. Today, we’ll hear about this year’s themes and the challenges that come with this style of haunt. Follow along to our Hauntathon:


Brandon Spletter: Brandon Spletter, co-owner of the Haunted Harvest here in Chino at Frosty’s Forest and Pumpkin Patch. So, the Haunted Harvest is a little bit different than your typical haunted house, we got two acres of corn, and we got five haunted houses. So, it's not your typical black walls, we have corn for the pallet cleansers, 2 acres of corn. It's a 15 to 20-minute walk through and there's nothing quite like it in Southern California.

Brandon Spletter: So, here behind me, you have the first haunted house. This is House of Jack. We have vintage Halloween, we got scary ghosts, we got devils, pumpkins, skeletons, and all the good stuff there, and that's just one of five. Inside you're going to find Brujeria, which is witchcraft, you have chickens, you have bodies crucified, you have symbols, occult pages, stuff like that.

Brandon Spletter: We have Maniacs, and that's going to be true crime serial killers, we got Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Richard Ramirez, the Night Stalker, all of their scenes reenacted in the corn. We have Pestilence, that's a quarantine-style theme, think The Thing, and things like that. We got hazmat suits, you're pushing through a claustrophobia tunnel, you know it's locked down. You're finishing with XXXmas, which is not your typical Santa, treating you like you've been naughty, and you have dead bodies, you got Frosty’s other forest in there, and that we finish with a big Frosty head.

Philip Hernandez: So, tell me a little bit about how you all choose the theming of it. 

Brandon Spletter: So, when we started as a home haunt, one of the biggest things that we kind of faced was, we had limited space. Which is the polar opposite of what we have now. So, we would choose one theme, and sometimes we'd do that for two years. But we're very indecisive, we love Knott's, the Universal experience, you have multiple haunted houses, and I feel like this is the perfect marriage of that where you can put it into one big maze and utilize the two acres of corn. 

Brandon Spletter: Before we came to Frosty’s, they used to kind of just do vignettes and we've kind of elevated that, done in a much bigger way. Since it's Frosty’s Forest, we thought it be kind of cool to do a twist at Christmas because this is also a Christmas tree lot, so we have that. Brujeria is a throwback to a maze that we did five years ago that was very popular, and unpopular with some of the locals, they didn't like the cult. Maniacs, I mean that was just a stroke of good luck, we have the Dahmer series out right now, so that seems to be everybody's favorite theme. That was another thing that we did about four years of, serial killers.

Brandon Spletter: Pestilence is a sequel of something we did last year too. I kind of loved the sci-fi sort of like laboratory aesthetic. House of Jack is something close to my heart. I love pumpkins, I love jack-o'-lanterns, we have our logo Gourdy back there, we have this pumpkin, so it's it kind of gets you in the mood right from the start, right in the tent.

Philip Hernandez: So, logistics. You are in a live cornfield, it gives you a lot of natural background to work off of, obviously, you don't have to build flaps in between scenes, right? But the downside is you're in an actual cornfield and you have to wait until the corn is planted and grown, and then you guys come in. Then there's the weather, you're on the ground itself, you know, you're not covered.

Brandon Spletter: No, it looks great, but it is certainly hell getting all this power here because the watering cycle is probably the biggest hurdle that we face when we do this. The way this whole thing works is they water it three days on, and four days off. We're up against two clocks, the water clock and then the clock to open. One of the biggest things is that it is the weather, even though it's hot, when they kill the water, it goes down into the ground and it comes back up. So, we do elevate some of it, which helps, but the lines can get pinched, lines can flood, and lines can get bitten by Gophers. There's tons of Gophers in here, you see holes that you didn't see the day before, and they sprout all over the place. 

Brandon Spletter: As far as power goes, the sheer size of this, I mean, it's over 650 feet in one direction, it's a lot. So, we're having to use way more power, generators, things like that. Last year we were throwing power almost every night. We've kind of perfected that, but getting the lines is one of the biggest things. The cords from room to room is probably one of the biggest challenges we face. We did a few less rooms than last year and did bigger areas, and I think that kind of was the best choice that we made this year.

Philip Hernandez: I also noticed the elevated sets too. 

Brandon Spletter: It's one of the best solutions because you still get the mud tracked in sometimes, you got to sweep that out at some point. Probably the hardest thing about non-elevated rooms like we have Brujeria, which is dirt, it's supposed to look like it's a cabin. One of the most difficult parts about that is that it pinches the lines. When it pinches the lines, you get floods you get, puddles you get things like that.

Philip Hernandez: I also notice that your lighting too, you're really going light on the power consumption.

Brandon Spletter: If we're going to use big power, I mean its different cords, spider boxes, things like that, it is a challenge. The pin lights are really great though, because it's darkness where you want it and light where you want it. I think that we've kind of painted with light pretty well, and that's been a big thing too, because it doesn't pull a lot of power, so we're not throwing off lights.

Philip Hernandez: Talk to me a little bit about what you guys have planned for the future, because this is one of those haunts that there are a lot of constraints you're working with, but you do get that really cool aesthetic of being corn. But also, there's foot traffic. I mean, being inside of this pumpkin patch, a captive audience is here. There's a lot of marketing that goes behind it, so I think there are pros and cons to this, but what are you thinking about for the future?

Brandon Spletter: We're at a point where what we want to try to do is almost have like what Knotts does with their haunted houses, but in one big corn maze. So, we'll have favorites that come back and maybe one or two new ones that we premiere in the tent. I think starting with something new every year, redoing the line and everything like that, keeps it fresh, keeps people coming back. This maze is actually bigger than last year's. Last year, I think we had about one and a half acres, and this is a full two. They've said that we can go a little more this way next year, so our heads are always in the future in terms of size, and just in general, the themes.

Philip Hernandez: Let's end with ticketing information and dates.

Brandon Spletter: So, we operate Thursday through Sunday in October 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM. Tickets start at $30.00 and $45.00 for front of line passes.


Brandon Spletter

Co-Owner of the Haunted Harvest