Boney Island: The Magic of One of L.A.’s Best DIY Haunted Houses

Why does a former producer on The Simpsons spend four months building his elaborate haunt? For fun.

As the nerve center of America’s moviemaking industry, Los Angeles is awash in talent, whether it’s production designers with time on their hands or talented amateurs inspired by the images they see onscreen. This time of year, L.A. becomes the capital of do-it-yourself haunted houses, elaborate displays that take up entire yards and require months to set up.

The Halloween spirit is out in full force at Boney Island, a haunted house with a fortune teller, a flock of skeletal hummingbirds, and a glow-in-the-dark water show. Rick Polizzi, a former producer on The Simpsons, has been staging it for 13 years (with a few years on hiatures) in his yard in Sherman Oaks. He says he doesn’t have any production design skills and that Halloween isn’t even his favorite holiday. He’s just an enthusiastic amateur who wanted to create a fun display that wasn’t too scary for his daughters (they’re now grown). He must be plenty enthusiastic; Polizzi estimates he shells out between $8,000 and $12,000 each year and to get it donwe in time for Halloween, he begins setting up the display in July.

Boney Island is free and runs every night through Halloween.

 Our list of L.A.’s private haunted houses.

 Our list of L.A.’s official haunted houses.