3 Things You Need to Know about Lafayette’s Favorite Haunted House

Are you looking to scare up some Lafayette Halloween fun?

Consider braving the Lafayette Youth Commission (“LYC”) Haunted House, scheduled for Friday, October 25 and Sunday, October 27, at the Lafayette Community Center (500 St. Mary’s Road).

Created in 2004, the original LYC Haunted House (the “House”) was the brainchild of then Lafayette Recreation Supervisor, Christina Hanson, and the 2004/2005 LYC members, all local teenagers. They figured it might be a fun way to help accomplish what the Lafayette City Council had asked the LYC to do – hold events, encourage teen volunteerism, and raise funds. Now in its 10th year, the House is the LYC’s signature annual event and their largest fundraiser.

Lafayette Youth Commission Haunted House Collage - 2013 (small) 

If you’re new to this popular Lafayette Halloween tradition, here are 3 things you need to know:

1. The LYC Haunted House has a new theme each year – and that’s good news.

The original 2004 theme was, The Haunted School. Other past themes include Haunted Camp Ground, Haunted Castle and Haunted Fairy Tales.

This year, you’re invited to, “The Haunted Hotel.”

The changing theme helps keep things fresh for those who return every year. Jonathan Katayanagi, Lafayette’s current Recreation Supervisor, says that the fact that the make up of the LYC naturally changes as members graduate high school and go off to college helps, too.

The current nine LYC commissioners represent Acalanes and Campolindo High Schools, the Athenian School and Stanley Middle School. 

Always, creativity is encouraged – and surprises result.

“The House often inspires big, creative ideas which has brought a draw bridge, zip line, bomb shelter, full size car and other grandiose props into the Community Center over the years,” says Jonathan. “Every year, the youth commission’s main focus is to bring the wow factor and spread Halloween cheer to all who enter the House.”

2. There are 2 levels of scary.

The LYC creates two different haunted houses for each year’s theme – an early evening (5-7pm) “Not So Scary” House for 7 & unders accompanied by parents, and a later evening (7:30-9:30pm) “Scary” Haunted House designed for those 8 and over.

How different are the two haunted houses each night? Very.

“For the Not So Scary version, we take out all the blood, guts, and gore for the younger kids, and really try to play down any prop that might seem too scary for kids under 7,” says current LYC Chair Julia Goddard, an Athenian School sophomore.  “The characters change for the two Houses as well. In the Scary House you might see a zombie, whereas in the Not So Scary version that same actor could be a witch or a ghost.”

By opening night, the number of teenaged volunteers swells because other local teens serve as additional actors for the House. All are instructed to temper the scary factor based on individual visitor reaction, regardless of age.

Says Julia: “If there is a younger kid coming through the Scary version of the House and that kid is obviously too scared, we try to tone down how scary we are being. That goes for an even younger kids in the Not-so-Scary House.”

3. Scary costs more.

Regardless of age, the Not-So-Scary House costs $3 and the Scary House costs $5. Proceeds support local causes identified by the LYC.

For more information about the Lafayette Youth Commission’s Haunted House, contact the Lafayette Community Center (,, 925.284.2232


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