If you have a curiosity for the tragic side of Hollywood history or if you just have a penchant for the macabre, you’re not alone. ‘Tis the season for ghoulish scenery and celebration of all things gruesome. Here’s a guide to the most popular cemetery tours in LA for your Halloween enjoyment.
Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour
6000 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90038
Price: $15 per person
When it comes to the history of film stars laid to rest at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, few are more knowledgeable than Karie Bible. Hollywood Forever was a fixture long before film stars made LA what it is today, and consequently, its 60 acres will be home to the stars long after they’ve gone. Bible enthusiastically guides sightseers through the history of Hollywood, from Florence Lawrence, the very first film star to suffer from overexposure in the press, to the grave of the legendary Vampira, where visitors leave pumpkins and other ghoulish gifts all year long. Other famous tombs include those of Toto from “The Wizard of Oz,” “Golden Girls” Estelle Getty, as well as the DeMille family.
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Dearly Departed: The Tragical History Tour
6603 W. Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028
More than 50 years of the darker side of Hollywood History is explored on this caravan tour of LA and surrounding areas. Visit the setting of modern real-life horror stories such as the Menendez brothers’ massacre, to the hotel window where Whitney Houston last stayed as your tour guides divulge the salacious details you didn’t read in the papers. Once you board the “Tomb Buggy” for your three-hour tour, you may find yourself in good company. Current celebrities such as “The Girls Next Door” have satisfied their morbid curiosities on this tour.
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Most celebrity cemeteries are very private and do not support a regularly guided tour. Masek is a seasoned guide who posts regular updates on Twitter and on his webpage for people looking for an independent tour. If you’re interested in seeing the smaller, more modern cemeteries, check out Masek’s website to download ebook guides to the seven most popular cemeteries in LA, and make your own tour. Private guided tours with the man himself can be arranged via telephone.
Westwood Village Memorial Park
1218 Glendon Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Although this cemetery is small and does not feature an internal tour guide or map, its serene, perfectly manicured grounds are home to some of Hollywood’s most famous stars. Two world-famous bombshells, Marilyn Monroe and Farrah Fawcett, are laid to rest here. Make sure to also visit a few celebs who have managed to maintain their sense of humor in the Great Beyond. Merv Griffin’s tombstone reads “I will not be back after this message.” Rodney Dangerfield’s tombstone, right next door to Fawcett, reads “There goes the neighborhood.”
Calico Ghost Town
36600 Ghost Town Road
Yermo, CA 92398
Price: $10 ages 10 and older/$5 ages 5 to 9/free for ages 5 and younger
If you’re still looking for a way to combine history, ghouls and mystery, here’s a way to satisfy your curiosity. Gather your most fearless friends and head two hours north east on the 15 freeway to California’s own historical ghost town, Calico. This old mining town, founded in 1881 has been a State Historical Landmark since 2005 and hosts a 75-minute after-dark tour on Saturdays. Pick up tickets at the Maggie Mine or by calling between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. A visit to Calico exposes guests to natural phenomena such as a crooked house and a stream that runs uphill. Supernatural experiences and ghosts spotting have been reported for decades, and continue to this day. Don’t forget to check out Calico’s annual Ghost Haunt on the weekend of Oct. 26 to Oct. 28 for seasonal fun for the whole family.
Danielle Farve is a freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.