Life and Arts

Family haunt

Diane and Preston Meyer could be considered the Addams Family of Burbank.

For 20 years they have been conjuring up ghostly fun for neighbors with their haunted house attraction. This year, the theme is Nightmare at the Museum. A building constructed in front of their home is divided into several rooms — Ice Age, Egyptian and Aztec — displaying articles that correspond with the themes.

The attraction began as part of a birthday celebration for their daughter, who was born on Oct. 26.

“A couple times we had her party on Halloween and the trick-or-treaters wanted to know what was going on inside, and the next year the public came in, and it became bigger and bigger and bigger,” she said.


For many years, they created a haunted house in the front part of their home and had their daughter’s birthday party in the back of the house. The attraction started in the living room, down through the dining room and kitchen, then back down the hall.

But Mom grew tired of giving up so much of the house, so about 10 years ago they started building the structure for each haunt.

They had various themes over the years, including God Save the Queen, Clowns and Vampmont Village.

“We came up with that when my grandmother lived in Belmont Village in Burbank,” Diane Meyer said.


They made a play on the name and called it a retirement home for older vampires.

“We had instead of Starbucks, Bloodbucks, and a slumber room filled with coffins because they were all vampires,” she said.

They do the haunted house because it’s a fun and creative outlet, Diane Meyer said.

Helping are her daughter Melissa Thompson and son-in-law Jason Thompson and about eight other family members and friends.

The premise of this year’s haunt — “Nightmare at the Museum” — is that the museum has been long abandoned, and everything is out of control. In the Ice Age room there are the head of a wooly mammoth, a caveman and saber-tooth tiger, which the family makes themselves.

“The Jungle room is going to be overrun by spiders and hidden dinosaurs, and the Aztec room will have a god-like figure on a temple,” Diane Meyer said. “The Egyptian room will have a pyramid, mummies. Actors will be hiding and jumping out and scaring people.”

Diane Meyer will be dressed as an Egyptian woman and greeting people at the door to keep the line moving. Her daughter will be dressed as a cave woman.

Melissa Thompson, who took fashion design classes at Pasadena City College, makes the costumes. Earlier this week, she was working on a mummy costume using tea-dyed muslin, piecing it together using fabric glue to look like bandages.


“For the body portion of the costume, I found clothes that fit the person who will be wearing the costume and applied the bandages on top of it,” Melissa Thompson said. “That will make it easier for the person to get into it.”

Melissa Thompson’s favorite haunt was the year they did a zombie theme. She was a ghost-type figure and stood perfectly still at the end of a hallway.

“So people would know I was a real person, and they’d expect me to jump out. But there was a hidden passageway, and I would go around them and scare them from behind again. There was a man and a woman at the end of a group, and I came back out and scared the guy, and he went trampling over his girlfriend. The girlfriend didn’t know what hit her.”



What: Rotten Apple 907 presents “Nightmare at the Museum”

When: 7 to 9 p.m. today and Sunday and 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30 and 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 31.

Where: 907 N. California St., Burbank


Admission: Free but donations will go to Family Service Agency of Burbank