Around Town: Haunt ratchets up the scares, offers COVID-19 safe Halloween for kids at O.C. fairgrounds

Actors pose as cars stop during the drive-through "Urban Legends of Southern California"
Actors pose as cars stop during the drive-through “Urban Legends of Southern California” show at the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa on Sept. 29.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Creators of the haunted drive-through show “Urban Legends of Southern California” — which runs Wednesdays through Saturdays until Nov. 1 — have added new scare elements to its show at the Orange County fairgrounds, including a fifth immersive show featuring chainsaw-wielding clowns, double the actors and “jump scares.”

Mark Entner, the executive producer, said the creators responded to guest feedback following the event’s inaugural opening weekend and have amped up the terror without compromising on the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions put in place to ensure health and safety.

“Our team of more than 100 actors, dancers, ushers and production crew are not only grateful to have the opportunity to produce an event while so many other events are canceled, but we are also committed to reinventing how the Halloween season can be safely celebrated, especially during these unprecedented times,” Entner said in a statement.

The news comes as California public health officials are discouraging traditional activities like trick-or-treating and parties, instead advising families to observe Halloween in alternative ways at home or virtually.

To accommodate families with children under 13, the producers of “Urban Legends” have created a less scary Halloween experience on Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. Guests are encouraged to come dressed up and “deck out” their vehicles for a Spooktacular parade.

COVID-19-safe goody bags of packaged candy will be distributed to participants in the safety of their vehicles. Tickets start at $49.99 for a vehicle of five, and large group tickets are available for groups up to nine. For more visit,

UCI’s school of pharmacy establishes scholarship for diverse students

UC Irvine announced Thursday that the founding dean of the university’s new school of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences established the Founding Partners Scholarship for undergraduate students who belong to historically underrepresented groups or who aim to address inequities in the field.

“UCI has a distinguished commitment to increasing diversity in the pharmaceutical sciences and the profession of pharmacy, as well as a history of attracting and educating underrepresented and first-generation students,” Dean Jan Hirsch said in a statement. “Not only is advancing diversity a distinctive opportunity for the new school, but I believe it’s an important responsibility — and one we take on wholeheartedly.”

“We’re asking people to join us in supporting our school’s first undergraduate scholarship,” Hirsch said. “A gift of any amount can be contributed to this scholarship to help us further promote a culture in which an inclusive student body is able to grow and thrive.” said Hirsch.

The school of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences was approved by the UC Board of Regents on July 30.

Costa Mesa Police Department receives grant

The Costa Mesa Police Department recently received a $269,500 grant from California’s Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long enforcement and public awareness program aimed to reduce deaths and injuries and ensure safe travels inside city limits.

Each year the station is awarded grant money from the OTS for the federal fiscal year — from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. According to a department release issued Thursday, this year’s funds will be used on the following programs:

  • DUI prevention patrols
  • Patrols focused on awareness of California’s hands-free cellphone law
  • Patrols to promote awareness of bicycle and pedestrian traffic rights
  • Patrols centered on collision prevention, including speeding, improper yielding and lane change and failure to stop at signs and lights
  • Community education presentations on traffic safety issues
  • Collaboration with neighboring agencies on traffic safety priorities
  • Officer training and/or recertification

“The CMPD Traffic Safety Bureau receives a lot of community feedback, and this OTS grant will help us address community concerns about the city roadways and traffic safety,” Lt. Clint Dieball said in a statement. “This funding allows us to educate and enhance the safety of all residents, and we are grateful to have OTS’s support.”
Funding is provided by the Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Coastline College Foundation launches COVID-19 fundraiser

The Coastline College Foundation is launching an emergency fundraising initiative to provide aid for new students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The foundation first established the Student Emergency Relief Fund in April to provide emergency financial aid to students by providing grants for unplanned financial expenses to ensure students stay in school and continue pursuing their educations during the pandemic.

“The foundation’s goal is to generate donations to help Coastline students who continue to be impacted by this ongoing worldwide pandemic,” Mariam Khosravani, Coastline College Foundation’s executive director, said in a statement. “The Coastline College Foundation is committed to student success and provides an array of support programs and services to meet the diverse needs of our students, including financial assistance with tuition, textbooks, laptops, housing, food banks and more through scholarships, endowments and other financial programs.”

The foundation is asking for donations at For further information or help processing donations, call (714) 241-6154 or email Coastline College Foundation at

Newport Beach Public Library celebrates Halloween

Through Nov. 7, teenagers will be able to participate in a program hosted by the Newport Beach Public Library called “Spooktacular Short Stories & Art.”

Three entrants will have the chance to win a $25 gift card from Amazon. Anyone in fifth to 12th grade will be able to enter.

Short story submissions should be between 500 to 2,000 words and participants can submit up to six works for entry into the raffle. Entries must all be original content.

The library will also be hosting a “spooktacular” children’s program, running Monday through Halloween, that will have a virtual costume parade for children to show off their scariest costumes on the library’s website and social media accounts. Halloween craft kits can also be picked up at any of the four libraries in the Newport Beach public library system, which includes the Central Library, Crean Mariners Branch Library, Corona del Mar Library and Balboa Branch Library.

Each craft kit will come with a prize drawing ticket for entry into a raffle to win a prize bag. Winners will be drawn on Nov. 2 and will be notified by phone.

For more information, visit

Huntington Beach hosts cultural cinema showcases

The Huntington Beach Human Relations Task Force is hosting a series of cultural cinema showcases to promote and celebrate diversity in Huntington Beach through education and understanding.

This year’s showcases began Friday and run through Oct. 25. They include Hispanic-Latinx and Asian-Pacific heritage film screenings, as well as a pair of filmmaker question and answer panels.

For more information, free tickets and showtimes, visit

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