Emma’s Haunted Hallow promises a good scare

A scene from Emma's Haunted Hallow in Vista.
(Emma Bailey)

As a month-long macabre ode to Halloween, Emma’s Haunted Hallow in Vista will run from Oct. 6-31. The hallow is a scary walk-through haunted house filled with creepy, life-sized animatronics and gory displays. Open from 4-9 p.m., guests can come during the day although it looks best after dark, if you dare.

The haunted house is free to attend but donations are welcomed to support Downstown, a nonprofit organization with a series of residential homes in North County for adults with developmental disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. The organization’s mission is to encourage public understanding of people with developmental disabilities and maximize the residents’ potential for community involvement and independence.

Founded in 1984, Downstown has grown into a six-home community with homes in San Marcos and Vista. House manager and haunted house curator Emma Bailey has been a caregiver for 14 years. She has been around the Downstown organization since she was a little girl as her late mother Mary Jorgensen was the executive director of the organization and managed one of the homes. Bailey’s Vista home currently has three residents, the youngest is 24 and the oldest is 72 years old.

All of the Downstown houses get together for game nights and potluck dinners and Bailey’s haunted house has become a fun annual tradition at Halloween. The housemates get excited when the decoration boxes come out and the haunted house begins to take its spooky shape.

“This is the first year that we’ve opened it up to everybody,” Bailey said. It is her hope that the community will enjoy the scares just as much as the residents do and that the event will help raise awareness about their organization.

For more, check out @EmmasHauntedHallow on Instagram. The haunted house is located at 2248 Tierra Verde Road in Vista.