Too many unknowns about COVID-19 conditions on Halloween has caused the Willes family of Chino Hills to cancel their popular Nightmare on Hickory Lane show.
This year, their lawn will contain only four tombstones with epithets such as “Rona V. Iris, No Fun While I was Around” and “Quaran Tiened, Loved by None.”
The center tombstone “RIP 2020” conveys the sentiments of many who have struggled with economic hardships and emotional challenges brought on by the pandemic.
“I figured it would be appropriate as we all want to lay 2020 to rest and get on with our lives,” said Brian Willes, who was ready to make year 10 the best Nightmare ever at his Hickory Lane home, east of Rolling Ridge Drive, south of Glen Ridge Drive.
Like others, Mr. Willes has fallen on tough times—losing his job of 14 years as a senior architectural designer at JB3D Inc., a company that does sign design, fabrication, and installation.
He is hoping somebody in the community knows of a position.
Mr. Willes said it was a difficult decision to cancel the event because fans were counting on it for a sense of normalcy.
“We thoroughly understand the importance of the escape from reality our show has provided every Halloween,” he said.
For the last nine years, Mr. Willes and his family have created a Halloween spectacular with computer-controlled lights, and animatronics synchronized to music.
The attraction draws hundreds of visitors to view 25-minute shows on Halloween and the week preceding Oct. 31. The folklore of Chino Hills is portrayed with a toxic pond and coffins washing out of the former Aerojet Ordnance Company and electricity sizzling from the Tehachapi towers. Mr. Willes said the event will return next year--bigger and better. “Rest assured,” he said. “We will be back.”