Families flocked to Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. on Sept. 25 for the opening day of the theme park’s family-friendly daytime Halloween celebration, Knott’s Spooky Farm. I attended the event with my husband and our 6-year-old daughter, who was the perfect age to experience the “spooktacular” activities Knott’s had on offer, which are aimed at kids ages 3 to 11.
Hordes of guests flowed into the park hoping to have some early Halloween fun during the first day of the festivities. Knott’s employees distributed bright orange trick-or-treat bags to children passing through the gates, and macabre seasonal décor and lively music helped guests get into the spirit of the holiday.
My family and I started off with a character meet-and-greet with the Peanuts gang at Camp Snoopy, where we snapped pictures with Snoopy in a vampire costume and Sally dressed as…a pumpkin? A flower? I wasn’t entirely certain what her costume was supposed to be, but she definitely looked cute posing with my ecstatic daughter. We also spotted Schroeder dressed as the Phantom of the Opera, a hilariously fitting costume for the child prodigy pianist.
After the photo-ops, families can take a ride on the Grand Sierra Railroad, where the Peanuts pals tell a unique Halloween story enhanced with 2D and 3D characters and special effects. They can also catch a performance of “The Great Pumpkin Palooza,” a new musical show at the outdoor Camp Snoopy Theater starring Snoopy, Lucy and Linus.
But what would a Halloween event be without trick-or-treating? Once she had experienced the fun at Camp Snoopy, my daughter was eager to head over to the Treat Fair, where friendly members of the “Ghost Town Halloween Society” were handing out candy to kids at multiple treat stations along Ghost Town’s Main Street and Schoolhouse Road. (Sorry, grown-ups. Only kids are allowed to trick-or-treat at Knott’s.) For those curious about the sweets on offer, candy selections during our visit included Airheads, Twizzlers and M&Ms.
Speaking of candy, the Calico Mine Ride got a seasonal transformation with a sweet ride overlay. Guests can grab a seat on the kid-friendly mine train and wind their way through candy-filled caves.
The Timber Mountain Log Ride offers spookier vibes for older kids with its Halloween Hootenanny makeover, which features aliens, ghosts, witches and other ghouls, plus an original song performed by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
Ghost Town’s Livery Stable plays host to an array of cringeworthy creatures, where Stanley Scarecrow has put his Creepy Critters of Calico on display. Guests of all ages can get up close to unusual insects and animals, such as tarantulas, snakes and a friendly iguana named Fiona.
Calico Park is the ideal spot for a family photo-op, with the grinning jack-o-lanterns adorning Calico Mine Stage providing the perfect pumpkin backdrop. Kids have the opportunity to show off their Halloween attire in the Costume Cavalcade hosted by the Calico Mayor and Cameo Kate. Calico Park also features seasonal craft booths (my daughter is a fan of the DIY slime kits sold here), and families can decorate miniature pumpkins or Halloween cookies for a nominal fee. You may even spot Linus dropping by to check out your frosting skills.
In the “you have to see it to believe it” category, the Bird Cage Theatre presents Bob Baker Marionette Theater’s “Hallowe’en Spooktacular.” A favorite of Los Angeles area children — and fans of weird and wacky entertainment — since 1963, the Bob Baker puppeteers put their artistry on full display in their creepy-cute show, which is sure to entertain young and old alike.
A new musical show called “¡ViVir!” takes over the Fiesta Plaza Stage in tribute to the Hispanic cultural celebration of Día de Los Muertos. The bilingual performances feature a small cast of actors in sugar skull makeup and ballet folklórico style costumes singing and dancing in tribute to their traditions and ancestors to a mix of music both traditional and contemporary. There are also surprising comedic moments that add to the festive air and provide moments of levity to the crowd-pleasing show.
There was so much Halloween fun to pack into the few hours we were at the park that we weren’t able to see and do all of the activities at Knott’s Spooky Farm, but we will definitely be back to experience as much as possible before the season turns from spooky to merry!
Knott’s Spooky Farm runs on weekends through Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is included with regular park admission. For more information, visit Knotts.com/Events/Spooky-Farm.