I think we can all agree that 2020 has had enough “horror” for the year, so when Kings Island, just like Cedar Point, decided to celebrate things a bit differently this year, it was understandable. There are no haunted houses, you won’t find jump scares and screams lurking at every corner, there is a distinct lack of fog pouring out into the streets. Gone are the monsters of years past. This year things are much more… festive. This year we are doing the Kings Island Tricks and Treats Fall Fest.
By Justin S. Landers
Decorations still adorn the midway and are throughout the park, including pumpkins, skulls, and orange and purple banners. Characters still wander through, including witches and wizards and those in festive fall costumes. Special food items are still available, and drinks bubble over with magic. There are games for kids, trick-or-treat opportunities for the family, and shows everyone can enjoy.
As you walk into Kings Island and down the midway, on either side of the fountain are decorations all the way down. Then you reach the main stage, where a show is almost constantly happening. Kings Island seems to have done a better job of fully covering the park with entertainment – at Cedar Point, most of the trick-or-treating and games were at the front, with the back of the park focusing on entertainment. Here at Kings Island, it feels more balanced with a good spread of entertainment, trick-or-treat doors, and decoration through the entire park.
Kings Island shares similar shows with Cedar Point: a few bands, a couple of witch-themed shows, and some entertainers walking around. There are pumpkin carvers going to work on amazing creations in the back. There’s a DJ, and an arts and crafts table found near Banshee. The trick-or-treat doors are all completely different from what was at Cedar Point, and are found more throughout the park instead of focused at the front. Kings Island also had a corn “maze” for all ages, and a separate one specifically for children. The focus on younger children at this year’s Fall Fest is very clear, with the teens and adults probably wanting to spend more of their day trying the different food options or riding rides.
Fortunately, unlike at Cedar Point, every ride in the park is open. Kings Island does not suffer from the staffing issues of Cedar Point, so they are able to maintain operations a lot more easily through the end of season. Operations at this event seemed much better than at their normal Halloweekends event, which suffers from extreme overcrowding, allowing for limited rides and haunted houses. I was certainly able to get more rides in this year than I do during Halloweekends. Mystic Timbers is always an amazing experience, Diamondback provides amazing airtime, and of course, there is the all-new Orion to help reach new heights.
It’s great to see the parks adapting to the times, and still providing an added value of these events – even if it isn’t the fog-filled normal we are used to. It’s great to see them offering something for the whole family, and in a lot of ways, I think this is an improvement over the haunted houses. Next year, at Kings Island and Cedar Point, I hope to see a combination: in the daytime, keep the Fall Fest event, but in the evening, bring back the haunted houses.
I have a feeling if the other Cedar Fair parks were still open this year—Worlds of Fun, Dorney, and those that didn’t open—we would have seen Tricks and Treats Fall Fest undoubtedly replace Halloweekends at all of them. Next year, hopefully, those other parks will get to experience a merged event.
Kings Island’s Tricks and Treats Fall Fest is running now through Nov. 1 on Saturdays from 12-8 p.m. and Sundays from 12-7 p.m.
29-year-old Justin Landers owns Just Shoot Light Multimedia Productions. He has been involved in the amusement and theme park industry since 2013 as a freelance photographer and videographer. You can follow him on Instagram @Inverted_Therapy and Just Shoot Light on YouTube.