world's largest haunted house
A creepy gorilla is one of the scares lurking within the maze of the World’s Largest Haunted House, opening Oct. 13 at San Ysidro Avenue in Gilroy. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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For Oscar Garcia, success is measured in screams and tears.

Garcia works in the business of scares, where inciting such fearful responses is not only expected, but welcomed with open arms.

After some years out of the industry, Garcia is back, and hopes to terrify longtime fans and newcomers alike.

The World’s Largest Haunted House is back in Gilroy, beginning Oct. 13, taking over a long-closed furniture store at 8630 San Ysidro Ave., Suite 104.

Brave guests will start their journey through a creepy cemetery, where zombies run amok, with Garcia noting this is where the scaredy-cats of the group will become known. They will then dive into a pitch-black labyrinth, coming face-to-face with a machete-wielding Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th,” evil clowns and other disturbing denizens, including an ending scene that Garcia kept under wraps on a recent tour.

“You’ll get some little kids who will go through this and not even blink, and then you’ll get some full-grown adults that are crying before they get to the first emergency exit,” he said. “We scare everybody the same. We’re not going to baby anybody.”

Halloween is in Garcia’s blood. His family started a walk-through haunted house at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in the 1980s, where he would work and scare guests.

world's largest haunted house
The maze begins with a walk through a cemetery. Photo: Erik Chalhoub

Noting that he always wanted to put on such an event himself, Garcia and his family and friends first set up a haunted house at the former Walmart building in Gilroy in 2006. The attraction bounced around to different areas in Gilroy and Morgan Hill before it moved to the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds for a number of years.

Garcia said while other haunted attractions rely on gags and tech, the World’s Largest Haunted House takes a more old-school approach, with live actors working to bring the scares.

“There’s no animatronics, no special effects except for a fog machine,” he said. “Other than that, it’s just good old scares.”

The safety of the guests and the actors is also paramount, Garcia said. The guests will walk through metal detectors upon entering, while cameras are set up in the maze that has multiple emergency exits. Guests and actors are not allowed to touch each other.

New to the attraction is the “Chicken’s Corner,” an idea from Alicia Juarez, who is helping Garcia with the event. Set up in one area of the building, guests who may be too afraid to take on the maze can check out various spooky displays and photo opportunities, as well as a number of altars set up in honor of Dia de los Muertos. Halloween accessories will also be available for purchase, as well as pumpkins, which the little ones can decorate.

Garcia and Juarez also plan on having a Christmas-themed event in the space later in the year, with more details to come.

For now, the crew is busy setting up the displays and making sure everything is organized to create the most terrifying atmosphere possible.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it pays off after you see everybody getting scared and crying,” Garcia said. “The first scare is always the best.”

The World’s Largest Haunted House, 8630 San Ysidro Ave., Suite 104 in Gilroy, opens Oct. 13 and runs Fridays through Saturdays from 7pm to midnight and Sundays from 7-11pm. It will be open on Halloween, Oct. 31, from 7pm to whenever the last customer arrives. Admission to the maze is $25 per person, and free for the “Chicken’s Corner.”

Actors and volunteers are still being sought. For information, email [email protected].

world's largest haunted house
Dia de los Muertos is on full display at the World’s Largest Haunted House. Photo: Erik Chalhoub
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Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.


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