The Best Haunted Houses in Town (Part I)


Sal Hernandez is one of a group of Alameda residents who take great pride in their Haunted Houses. Sal’s is at 915 Broadway.

Each year, he picks a theme and goes all out so that he and his neighbors can get into the Halloween spirit. He evens spends $100 or more on candy as Alamedans flock to his home for trick-or-treating.

This year, his theme focuses on Virginia City, Nevada, a mining town and one of the most famous boomtowns in the Old West. It appeared overnight as a result of the Comstock Lode silver strike of 1859.

Sal has done his homework. He’s got a group of skeletons enjoying a drink at the Bucket of Blood Saloon, for instance, which is an old bar in Virginia City that continues to delight tourists.

He’s also done a tribute to one of Nevada’s red-light district establishments with his display entitled “Mable’s Horror House.”

In past years, Sal has decorated his lawn and home with dead knights, pirate skeletons and more.

He’s really appreciated competing in Haunted House competitions over the last few years, but doesn’t know about any in town this year.

Please let us know if there are any competitions going on. And be sure to visit the Teen Haunted House at Veteran’s Memorial Hall this weekend (October 23-25), 2203 Central Ave.

Sal does issue a warning each year: His home is a very spooky (and popular) place to be on Halloween Night.


Where’s the Alameda Beach Buddha?

Everyday for many months, walkers, bikers, stroller-pushers, puppies and more members of the Alameda community were treated with the calm presence of the Alameda Beach Buddha at the intersection of Broadway and Otis.

Many residents shared fruit, feathers and other gift of thanks with the Buddha, who looked out over the bird sanctuary and San Francisco Bay.

At special holiday times, some Alamedans would put a colorful plastic wreath or even a wreath made of flowers on the Buddha. Interesting objects found in the area were also given to the Buddha, rather than just being casually thrown away.

And for a time, there was a Buddhist teaching taped to the statue: “Today is only today,” it read.

That special message seemed to resinate with with many Alamedans who stroll by the Bay as often as possible to relax, take a deep breath or two, watch a heron resting nearby and appreciate our daily life on the Island.

The Alameda Journal would greatly appreciate any news on the Alameda Beach Buddha. The empty spot where the Buddha used to sit lies empty. But the wonderful reflection and open spirit it embodies lives on.  

Even without the Beach Buddha, there are ways for Alamedans to find out more about Buddhist teaching. The Orgyen Dorje Den, 2234 Santa Clara Avenue, practices Tibetan Buddhism. Also, the Buddhist Temple of Alameda, at 2325 Pacific Avenue, holds Buddhist services and events.