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Seeking homemade Halloween thrills? Here are 4 Riverside County homes that want to scare you

By in Press Enterprise on October 29, 2017

By Shane Newell

A skeleton crawling out of a World War I-era blood box is one of many surprises in store inside the Castle of Doom.

What started out as a small haunt in Joel Smothermon’s Sun City garage 26 years ago has transformed into a behemoth encompassing the now-Wildomar resident’s driveway and garage.

Inside the winding castle, whose cardboard walls were air-brushed with spooky images by Smothermon’s son, creepy skeletons and clowns jump up-and-down when guests arrive.

“It’s really intended to be more pretty than scary,” Joel Smothermon said. “Not a lot of gore. We’re not trying to make children cry, per se.”

The castle, at 23168 Empire Penguin Road, opens on Halloween about 6 p.m. and is free.

It’s one of several Inland homes welcoming trick-or-treaters for special thrills.

  • Joel Smothermon, who has been building haunted houses for 26 years walks through a hallway covered in art painted by his son as he shows off his current scare inducing house at his Wildomar home, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. (Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)

  • Jars of rats, bats, and snakes sit on a shelf in Joel Smothermon, haunted house at his Wildomar home, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. (Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)

    Jars of rats, bats, and snakes sit on a shelf in Joel Smothermon, haunted house at his Wildomar home, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. (Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)

  • Joel Smothermon, who has been building haunted houses for 26 years stands near some clowns as he shows off his current scare inducing house at his Wildomar home, Wednesday, October 25, 2017. (Andrew Foulk, contributing photographer)

    Joel Smothermon, who has been building haunted houses for 26 years stands near some clowns as he shows off his current scare inducing house at his Wildomar home, Wednesday, […]    

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