Time to skele-brate: Boney Island, the much-missed Halloween attraction, to live again

It started as a homespun front yard display but went away; now the beloved seasonal treat will return at NHM.

Boney Island

What to Know

  • Boney Island at the Natural History Museum
  • Sept. 28 through Oct. 31, 2023; Thursdays through Sundays (plus Oct. 30 and 31)
  • $25; $20 NHMLA members; tickets go on sale Aug. 24 for the general public and Aug. 22 for museum members

A neighborhood with its own homegrown Halloween attraction can become the stuff of local legend, especially when the creator of the yard-based haunt has such a remarkable creative resumé.

Such was the case with Boney Island, the Sherman Oaks city o' skeletons dreamt up by Rick Poluzzi, a producer of "The Simpsons."

The sweet-and-sassy display, which featured animatronic figures, mysterious lighting, fanciful effects, and Maestro Maxilla, the mischievous master of ceremonies, charmed visitors to the charming corner pop-up over several fall seasons.

In time, the vibrant and vast display outgrew its original surburban corner, and, after a brief stint near Griffith Park's Travel Town Railroad, the Boney Island brilliance dimmed... forever?

A hope-filled question mark always lingered in the minds of Boney buffs across Southern California, and now a new location is happily on the haunting horizon: The Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

The eerie attraction will again shimmer into being in late September, staying for a full and frightful month.

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"The event will feature familiar sights for long-time Boney Island fans — skeletons performing rope tricks and levitating through hoops, shadow puppetry, and more," promises the museum.

"NHM will put its own spin on the event with artistic performances, real fossils, live animal presentations, trick-or-treating, and other ghoulishly glowing installations. Visitors can wander the garden paths as creepy crawlies, silly skeletons, and carnivores from the Cretaceous abound!"

Tickets will soon go on sale for the event, which is sure to be one of the 2023 Halloween season's most popular draws. It will be open Thursdays through Sundays from Sept. 28 through Oct. 29, as well as Monday, Oct. 30 and Tuesday, Oct. 31.

"We are so excited to bring Boney Island to Exposition Park," said Lori Bettison-Varga, President and Director of the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County.

"NHM aims to be a place of community and fun far beyond the exhibitions on view, and this one-of-a-kind attraction will be a wonderful way to experience our beautiful Nature Gardens after hours. When the Museum is closed, the creatures come out, and we invite you to celebrate the spooky season in nature with us."

Tickets for the evening event go on sale Aug. 24, with a special on-sale date of Aug. 22 for museum members.

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