CLOTA’s 16th Annual Spookhouse has been slated as a largely outdoor haunt this year in order to follow all of the COVID-19 protocols for ensuring a safe event for our local community during this Halloween season.

Earlier this year, CLOTA had no other choice but to cancel their production of “The Diaries of Anne Frank” due to the mandated closure of all non-essential businesses in California.

However, with their recent announcement for “The Ruins: Surviving the Apocalypse,” it seems that they’ve clearly adapted to the new set of rules and are dead set (no pun intended) against canceling their much-anticipated annual Spookhouse event.

CLOTA Board President Josh Cotterell said,“since we had a successful run last year, the first time it was partially outside, we knew we could do it fully outside and follow CDC guidelines.”

Cotterell went on to explain why it was decided to have the actors wear masks rather than rely on make-up effects as in the past years of Spookhouse. “Traditionally, as is the norm for theater, we would have make-up artists put make-up on the actors, but in the current situation, we can’t have people share that. So this works perfect!”

Once the masks were added into the equation, the “Mad Max-ish” post-apocalyptic theme seemed to come by rather easily.

Speaking of masks, besides the actors, CLOTA staff and those attending this event will also be required to wear masks while at this event. They will also be required to have their temperature checked with a touch-less thermometer before participating in the haunt.

Social distancing markers will be in place in the queue line and groups will be kept to a maximum of four people. Larger groups will need to be divided accordingly but it should be noted that smaller groups from separate parties will not be grouped together.

Although all ages are welcome, parental guidance is suggested as this is meant to be on the scarier side (hence the name “Spookhouse”). Nonetheless, these are undoubtedly talented actors and so if need be, I’ve been told, they would be more than willing to tailor their experience for those who would much more prefer a toned-down version (such as my husband Dwyer who, unfortunately for me, not only dislikes scary movies but also those with post-apocalyptic themes).

That being said, I’ll more than likely be buying an additional ticket for myself, once to go in with him and the other to go solo in order to get the full experience because there’s nothing like belting out a good blood-curdling scream or two to get you into the Halloween spirit.

Show dates are Oct. 23- 24 and 29-31. Spookhouse will be open from 6-10 p.m. and 6-11p.m. on Halloween. The venue for this event is CLOTA Center Stage, 1425 N. Inyo St. in Ridgecrest, CA. Admission is $5 for ages 13+ and $2 for ages 5-12. For those under the age of 5, admission is free. Cash and credit cards will be accepted.

One last note, although CLOTA was forced to close its doors along with everyone else, they didn’t pause for too long with trying to keep the masses entertained, and kudos to them. They updated their web-site ( with links to free and subscription-based plays for the public. So, if you enjoy Shakespeare, there’s a link to Shakespeare’s Globe, which contains a selection of free plays on YouTube. However, if for some odd reason you’re not into the Bard, there’s a link to National Theater Live as well as a link to streaming services such as Broadway HD. Not to mention, also posted is a link to Eric Coble’s “Prometheus the God(father),” a radio play which CLOTA recorded during isolation.