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Woodland Hills teen builds haunted forest in his backyard for all to enjoy

By Carley Porter daily Herald - | Sep 26, 2019
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Asher Bambrough installs lights while Joey Mariteragi stands by the entrance to their haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to the Bambrough family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Masks hang within an enclosed walkway inside The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, a haunted house located next to the Bambrough family’s home in Woodland Hills, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough and Joey Mariteragi check out a map of where props and lights should be placed within their haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough and Joey Mariteragi work on installing small lights along a pathway at their haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Londyn Bambrough, 14, walks through a portion of her brother’s haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to their family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Props stand within The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, a haunted house located next to the Bambrough family’s home in Woodland Hills, on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough walks through his haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough strips wires for lights at his haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Joey Mariteragi checks out a map displaying where props and lights should be placed as Asher Bambrough installs small lights within their haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to the Bambrough family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough walks through a central section of his haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Asher Bambrough moves a log to mount lights on within his haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to his family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

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Joey Mariteragi walks out of the entrance to his haunted house, The Nebo Nightmare Haunted Forest, located next to the Bambrough family’s home in Woodland Hills on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Mornings and evenings are turning crisp and cool, the leaves are changing, and in one Woodland Hills neighborhood, things are getting a little spooky.

It’s all because of 18-year-old Asher Bambrough. Bambrough said he’s always liked Halloween and haunted houses — his mom, Monica, said he started going with his dad to haunted houses when he was just 10 years old. Four years ago, Bambrough said he was out in his backyard with friends and the idea of building his own haunted house just came to him.

That first year, when Bambrough was 14, he charged people $1 per entry. Bambrough’s “Nebo Nightmare Haunted House” has grown since then, adding new attractions each year, with Bambrough’s dad and friend, Joey Mariteragi, helping build sets. This year, Bambrough said they’re building a whole hotel room.

Also new this year is an experience called the “Touch of Fear.” While general admission is $5, attendees can sign a waiver and pay a $10 fee to allow volunteers dressed up in masks and costumes to touch them, grab them or take them from their groups. Actors will single them out based on unique-colored glow sticks the customers are given.

To help keep it family-friendly, different colored glow sticks will be given to children who don’t want to get too scared. Bambrough plans to use the profits from this year’s haunted house to fund a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which he plans to serve next year.

Monica Bambrough said her son has always been creative, and although she isn’t a huge fan of the mess the haunted house makes in her backyard, she’s grateful for all the things the experience has taught Asher Bambrough.

“These are life experiences he could never get anywhere else. Running his own company basically for four years,” Monica Bambrough said. “And that life experience is better than taking a class on it.”

It’s been a positive enough experience that Asher Bambrough said he hopes to create haunted houses as a career.

“I studied a lot about it, and figured out how much these guys make from this, especially when they’re going professional and charging $25-35 a ticket. There’s a good amount of money there,” he said. “And I love it. I love building, my mind’s always been artsy and creative. So it’s something I love to do and I’d really be interested in possibly pursuing a career.”

For now, it’s just a good time that brings the community together. The haunted house typically has 20-22 actors each night, ranging in age from 6 to 55 years old, most of whom are from the surrounding neighborhood. In past years, the haunted house has grown mostly by word-of-mouth from the people involved. Both Asher Bambrough and his friend Joey Mariteragi dress up and participate.

“I do it for the people who want to come, make it enjoyable for them,” Mariteragi said. “It’s just fun to be behind something that makes people smile and laugh at the end.”

Favorite memories for both young men mostly have to do with the things people do when they’re scared witless — like boyfriends throwing their girlfriends in front of them to save their own skin, Asher Bambrough said.

“People like being scared,” Asher Bambrough said. “It is a cool experience to be behind something that you know everyone enjoys.”

Nebo Nightmare Haunted House

80 East Bridger Circle, Woodland Hills

7:30 – 10 p.m.

Oct. 17, 18, 19, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30

$5 general admission, $10 for “Touch of Fear” experience

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