The Crescenta Valley’s Sheriff Station was transformed into a haunted jail for Halloween offering scares for the local community in a safe environment and reviving a tradition last observed in 2005.
“It surpassed my expectations,” Sgt. Cynthia Gonzalez said. “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen because it was the first time in years [that we held it]. We didn’t have anything to gauge whether people would show up – but they did.”
On the first two days, 404 people bought tickets to the fundraiser and on the third day – Halloween – there were more than 300 people. The weather was a bit of a factor, but Gonzales said overall it was a great success.
“People were happy and they came out with their thumbs up saying it was great,” Gonzales said. “That is what we wanted.”
The main goals of the haunted jail were to provide a safe place to have Halloween fun while at the same time providing a way for the sheriff’s station to connect with the community. In the past, the haunted jail was a staple in Crescenta Valley with both kids and adults going through. It was the only time that the public was allowed inside the heart of the sheriff’s station other than the open house tours held annually.
Proceeds from the $7 ticket price ($5 for kids) went to support the CV Sheriff’s Station, the L.A. County Parks and Rec Dept. and Prom Plus.
Mark Shelton and Mark Fenlason, both with vast experience in the film industry and special effects, designed the haunted jail and oversaw its construction.
“It was great working with them,” Gonzalez said. She said that the pair were focused; they knew what they were doing. “We at the sheriff’s station didn’t know how to build a haunted jail. But … they came in and gave us direction.”
Members from the Prom Plus Club were volunteer performers. Gonzalez said that was great because it allowed the students to see the sheriff deputies in ways other than just taking people in to jail.
“Next year it’s going to be a little bit bigger,” Gonzalez said. “We’re going to make some tweaks and change things up a little. Every year now it’s going to catch on and on.”