What began as a way to connect with others during the 2020 pandemic has turned into a year-round passion project for Long Beach resident Robert Duck and his home haunt, Fairbrook Manor.
With its own unique backstory, Fairbrook Manor is set to entertain neighborhood kids and Halloween-fanatics alike with it’s twisted corridors, jump-scare actors and props that take Duck over six months to plan and build.
“January, February, March, a lot of people are cleaning out their homes, so I start hitting all the estate sales and I start looking for props for the next year,” Duck said. “I already have the scenes sketched out, already have in mind what I want the layout to be.”
Over the past three years the amount of props to create the Fairbrook Manor experience have taken over Duck’s entire front lawn. The current haunt is a far cry from the haunt’s first year in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic.
“It started out as a display, as a community thing for the neighborhood and for us,” Duck said. “We had a big turn-out, bigger than I expected. That right there gave me the bug. I got the bite and I said ‘alright, this is amazing, I love this.'”
Since that first year, Duck has sought to grow the haunt every Halloween into something spookier than the last. Duck has reached out to local schools for scare-actor volunteers, as his enthusiasm for the haunt stems from his childhood memories of Halloween while living in Downey.
“I’m a showman at heart and an entertainer. I love to tell a good story,” Duck said. “When it comes to Halloween, growing up in Downey there was a lot of home haunts. There were always these houses I loved to visit. I always said when I was a homeowner, I wanted to be that house that people remembered.”
Perhaps one of the most memorable things about Fairbrook Manor is it’s backstory, crafted by Duck himself and centered around one of the family’s first Halloween decoration, a woman animatronic.
“I got her from a catalog maybe 10 years ago when we first bought this house and she’s been in the window for about seven years and all the kids in the street were always scared of her. That was our main decoration so I said, ‘let me build the story around her,'” Duck said.
The Fairbrook Manor legend states that a woman, Victoria Fairbrook, lived in a mansion when her husband and son drowned in a nearby lake. Driven mad by grief, Victoria set out kidnapping local children and brought them back to live at the mansion, where Duck’s home now sits.
The story is woven into the details of Duck’s haunt, with plenty of children’s toys, clothing and dolls scattered throughout.
The manor combines Duck’s passion for entertaining, storytelling and Halloween, but also for giving back.
This year guests will pay a $5 entrance fee that is set to go towards the Long Beach Rescue Mission, an organization that supports people experiencing homelessness and food insecurity. Barrels are also provided by the mission for people to drop off canned goods and toiletries as donations.
Last year $4,000 was raised and 12 barrels of food were donated to the mission.
“Not many people would associate Halloween with a time of togetherness, Christmas usually gets that. For something that is only a few years old, it’s rallied the community and that’s what any city needs. You got to have a central place that’s doing something good,” Duck said.
The Fairbrook Manor is located at 5426 E. Fairbrook St. and opens from Oct. 21 to 22 and Oct. 27-29 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. On Oct. 29, guests can tour from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with no scares.
More information on the haunt can be found on their Instagram page.