California’s Great America is joining in on the Halloween season with the return of their annual Halloween Haunt beginning today until Oct. 29. Guests ages 13 and older can come face their fears with spooky mazes and live entertainment. [Read more…]
King’s Island Halloween Haunt will start September 23 and run every Friday and Saturday night through October 29.
Halloween Haunt at King’s Island will run from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m., except for September 24 when the Mason, Ohio park opens to the public at 7 p.m. The event features 11 haunted mazes, three outdoor scare zones, three live stage shows and more than 600 assorted clowns, ghouls, vampires, werewolves and zombies, plus 20 rides including the Banshee, Beast and Diamondback roller coasters.
New this year is Field of Screams, a 10,000-square foot outdoor maze experience. Returning haunted attractions include: Backwoods Bayou, Blackout, Board to Death, CarnEvil, Kill Mart, Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror, Slaughter House, Sorority House, Urgent Scare and Wolf Pack.
The live entertainment lineup features Blood Drums, a percussive blood bath of rhythm and music; Hot Blooded, a seductive after-life revue; and Monster Rock, which features the music of Journey, Foreigner, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith and others.
Tickets for Halloween Haunt start at $30.99 when purchased in advance online at visitkingsisland.com/haunt or the Kings Island’s mobile app, which Android and iPhone users can download for free. Admission to the event is free for Gold and Platinum season passholders.
Guests can add Fright Lane with Skeleton Key for as low as $40, which allows them to bypass waiting in line to experience 10 of the haunted attractions. The Skeleton Key unlocks a secret extra room inside of five of the attractions: Kill Mart, Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror, Slaughter House, Sorority House and Urgent Scare. In addition to the five mazes with a secret extra room, a new standalone Skeleton Key room, The Viewing, has evening services each night of Halloween Haunt.
Parents, be advised. Halloween Haunt includes graphic scenes, suggestive themes and intense imagery and is intended for mature audiences.
For younger guests, the all-new Great Pumpkin Fest, presented by the Hershey Company, takes place every Saturday and Sunday in October to provide fright-free fun. Kids can trick-or-treat, play in a foam pit, visit a petting farm, enjoy Halloween activities, participate in a costume contest and meet characters from the Peanuts gang. Guests can also watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” in honor of the show’s 50th anniversary.
For further King’s Island thrills, watch this ride-through rendering of Mystic Timbers, a new wooden roller coaster coming to Kings Island theme park in spring 2017:
By Andy Guinigundo
Interstate 275 is the freeway that encircles Cincinnati, Ohio. Go five miles north of the circle on I-71 and you’ll come to one of the booming northern suburbs of Cincinnati – Mason, Ohio. Mason is known for several things including traffic, car dealerships, a world-class professional tennis tournament and Kings Island amusement park. Kings Island’s current ownership is Cedar Fair, the amusement park juggernaut that owns Cedar Point, also in Ohio, Knott’s Berry Farm in California and many parks in between.
The air is cooling down in Ohio. In fact, this morning, it was 52 degrees, while it was already 82 degrees in Orlando. The leaves are just beginning to turn. Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays are packed with football. Autumn has arrived. With autumn comes Halloween season at amusement parks around the world.
I have little ones ranging in age from 1 to 7. Although they have asked to attend Halloween Haunt, the grown-up, “all you fear is here” event at Kings Island, we opted for Howl-O-Fest, the “ultimate kids Halloween party”. The whole park was dressed in orange and black as the Haunt is actually spread out throughout the park. Skeleton people and pumpkin headed people displays are everywhere. These definitely set the mood as we headed straight for the Howl-O-Fest area.
In the picnic grove between Nickelodeon Universe and Boomerang Bay is Howl-O-Fest. A 30-foot-tall non-scary blow up Frankenstein greeted us. The area was abuzz with activity. We were headed toward the hay maze, but took a side trip to get a picture with the cast of Scooby Doo. While we frequently see Scooby in the park, we’ve never seen Fred, Thelma, Shaggy and Daphne with him. Scooby and his dark-ride are the last holdouts in the park’s kids area transformation from Hanna-Barbera Land to Nickelodeon Universe. We soon learned the park dusted off many of the old throwback Hanna-Barbera characters just for this event. While many of the characters were unknown to my girls, I was like a kid in a candy store. “Look, it’s Fred Flinstone, Barney Rubble, and Dino! There’s Yogi Bear! It’s George Jetson and Astro!”
After pictures, we played: hay maze, nursery rhyme fun house, dance party and pumpkin patch. We made stops at each of the five candy stations. They also had a mask making station. The final stop was the games area. The games were definitely kid-friendly. Each game was $1 and every play was a winner. We finished up and grabbed some free popcorn and punch.
We then headed off to the usual – the rides. We enjoyed more Halloween décor as we ran around hitting some of our favorite rides: Runaway Raptor, The Beast The Diamondback. One of the more amusing sites was a safety net that protects pedestrians from objects falling from Diamondback riders’ pockets. Usually, you can see coins and an occasional cell phone up there, but today, a skeleton! I also chuckled at the tombstones of the rides of yesterday: King Cobra, Screamin’ Demon, Sky Ride and others.
I think the girls had fun. I believe the event has evolved and improved over the years. The last time we attended a few years ago, the fest activities were widely spread out and few in number. While I would still say the event is similar to a local carnival, in the end, there are the usual park amenities to fall back on. It’s fun to see the usual dressed up unusually.
Admission is free for both Halloween Haunt and Howl-O-Fest for season pass holders. The normal admission fee is less than $30 if you get tickets ahead of time online. The Haunt is held Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The Howl-O-Fest is Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The events continue on until Nov. 1.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.