Photos from the Spook House, Mission Viejo’s original haunted house

Mission Viejo hosted its first official haunted house from 1969-1985, at the Montanoso Recreation Center. The rec center was built in 1968 with a 25-meter racing pool, tennis courts, and a large clubhouse. Community organizers of the event formed and ran the event that lasted over 15 years, transforming the center into the Spook House, the event included the most scariest costume contest, devilish desserts, haunting mazes, a Dracula meet and greet, and more.

Frankenstein’s monster and his ghoulish crew consisting of the wolfman, Dracula, troll, witch, etc. are preparing the graves for the surprise guests for the annual Spook House event. (1971)

Jason Sutherland (center) and Laurie Bloomberg visit with count Dracula, at the 14th annual Spook House. Forget Santa; this ageless Transylvanian bloodsucker would be a smash in every mall this October. (1981)

A beautiful mugshot of Frankie to promote the upcoming 7th annual Spook House event, to enter “warm flesh is always welcome,” or just up to .50¢ at the door. (1974)

Shanell Thompson is my hero, be like Shanell. The goblin mask with glued cotton balls wins everything. “She will shed her skin and go back to being her own sweet, lovable self.” Its the holiday spirit that Shanell lives for. (1979)

A local clown came to cheer up the crowd at the 2nd annual Spook House. Before Stephen Kings It, this clown was the thing of nightmares. (1970)

In hell’s graveyard with its fiendish crew of spirits, the more horrifying, the better chance to win the best costume award and some extra candy at the 6th annual event. (1973)

Frankie boy, and his bride, with a surprise appearance of King Kong with a cowboy hat. Who points the way to the Spook House. The dead eyes on the bride, though. (1972) 

Lonnie and Jennifer’s story is that this “Great Pumpkin” will keep evil spirits away. A scary movie it should have been. However, a missed opportunity. (1976)

Have any memories of this event, or have any scary haunted house stories yourself, please comment below.

Thank you to the Mission Viejo Reporter, for access to their archives.