Rotten Apple 907-Kilpetto’s Toy Shop
This year is my busiest Halloween season yet, with more big-ticket events than ever, like CREEP LA and Delusion. A lot of work and passion goes into those projects, but they are still professional enterprises. Rotten Apple 907 is a welcome change of pace. A homemade haunt in a residential neighborhood, Rotten Apple feels like what Halloween might have been like in simpler times. Started 28 years ago as a child’s birthday party, it has developed a reputation and following that lures Halloween fans from all over.
Plus, it’s free! Instead of admission, a local charity sets up a table out front and collects donations. Rotten Apple doesn’t even take a share to cover their costs; it ALL goes to the charity and stays in the community. So when you get to the front of the line, just check your wallet. See if you’ve got a few singles to give. It’s well worth it.
This year’s theme is Kilpetto’s Toy Shop. An evil twist on the Pinocchio story, Kilpetto’s Toy Shop features jack-in-the-boxes, dancing marionettes, evil puppets, and more. It’s creepy enough to walk through, but halfway in, you find out the truly scary secret of the shop, imbuing you with a new sense of urgency to escape. The workshop setting is high quality, with many custom-built props designed to fit the story. With the entire haunt in the front yard (and maybe garage? It’s hard to tell in the maze), they maximize the space very well. Many of the walls are salvaged from TV sets after the studios are done, and I applaud the eco-conscious aspect.
Like last year, the charity benefiting from Rotten Apple is one with personal significance–the Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter. I volunteered with this group for two years, and they are a great organization, with truly dedicated leaders. Their mission is to get abandoned animals adopted into loving homes and keep them happy and comfortable during their time at the shelter. The donations from Rotten Apple are a huge boon to the group, and you can meet several of the volunteers helping out at Rotten Apple each night.
As always, there are impressive sets and great surprises inside the haunt. The small group size (4-6) makes everything feel more personal and lets you soak in the details. Plus, menacing figures inside will be able to scare you more easily! This year seems to have a slightly bigger emphasis on actors. There are 3 characters with speaking parts. 2 of them are essentially living scenery, but the third one is a full break in the haunt, which turns into very light immersive theater momentarily. I wonder if they have been inspired by all the great immersive Halloween shows lately and made a decision to add something similar. There is one slightly gory scene. I still think it’s fine for all ages–certainly any kid that is excited to go through a haunted house wouldn’t have trouble with this scene. The best scares are those created by the live performers. One moment in particular is so cool it reminded me of one of the best scenes in the current big-budget Delusion show, The Blue Blade.
Things to Know
Rotten Apple 907 is only open for 3 more nights. October 27, 28, and 31 from 7pm to 10 pm. Be warned, the event is popular and there is often a line that stretches down the block. I recommend arriving before 7:00 to minimize the wait (or going with chatty friends). The experience only takes a few minutes to walk through, and I would have loved to go a second time. Unfortunately, I would have been at the back of the line again.
I encourage everyone who’s looking for some local Halloween fun to check out Rotten Apple 907. It’s a real labor of love, with high-quality craftsmanship and hosted by a talented and generous family, with donations supporting a wonderful favorite local charity. Their website is here. The Volunteers of the Burbank Animal Shelter have their own website here where you can learn more about them, apply to be a volunteer, and donate to them even if you can’t make it to the haunted house.
Rotten Apple 907 is located at 907 N. California St. in Burbank. See you there!