Knott’s Halloween Haunt opens for its 39th year this Friday. Here’s a peek at what they’re doing to keep it new, fresh, and forever scary.
Knott’s “Scary Farm” promises to be scary again.
Veteran Knotts employee Craig Harreld says that he reads online message boards and blogs, and is aware that some visitors to Halloween Haunt have been let down in the past few years. But he insists that’s all going to change.
“We’re going to put the scary back in ‘Scary Farm’ this year,” he said to the nearly sixty “scare actors” who assembled in mid-September for a rehearsal of the clown infested “Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre in 3D” maze. This followed a rant bemoaning the excessive use of shaker cans, snarling, and “clicky fingers” gloves that actors often use to startle guests.
Harreld tells me later that in past years shaker cans have been all but banned from the park, and that he tempted to eliminate the use of the gloves. Instead, he tells actors to be creative, and develop characters with their own unique brand of creepiness.
Take a Card. But not just any card.
Everyone through the gates of Knott’s Halloween Haunt on opening night will receive the first in a series of thirteen trading cards, each featuring a classic Haunt personality or attraction. The first card covers “Seymour” aka Larry Vincent, a local TV late night horror host in the late 60s and early 70s, who Knotts enlisted as their first “ghost host” in 1973.
Additional cards will be distributed at different points in the park on select nights. Details on when and where to find them, and who and what will be on additional cards, will be unveiled on Knotts’ Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Get scared faster
For the first time, this year Knotts is introducing a premium, front-of-line “Fright Lane” pass. For an additional $50, Halloween Haunt ticket holders will be ably to bypass regular lines at all mazes, and a one time front of line pass to the park’s roller coasters. (ticketing details)
Previously, the big tip to be able to evade the often long lines at Halloween Haunt was to participate in the pre-scare dinner, which allows access into the park before the main gates open (along with a full meal), for $24.95.
Three new mazes
The Calico Mine Ride received a new Halloween makeover as subterranean monsters turn it into “Invasion Beneath,” while “ENDGAMES: Warriors of the Apocalypse” pits visitors as prey for the upper class in an arena from the near future, and “Delirium” expands on themes from past mazes “Asylum” and “Lockdown.”
When asked by CreepyLA, Craig Harreld says “Delirium” may be the scariest of them all. He mentions that one scene has a woman covered in cockroaches. “I walk through Delirium and…” Harold shivers, shaking off whatever emotions it evokes, and leaves the rest to the imagination. (for a spoiler rich peek inside Delirium, check out Theme Park Adventure’s interview with maze designer Daniel Miller)
Knott’s regularly swaps out its mazes every three to five years in part due to wear and tear, and also to keep things fresh. For example, one of the longer running mazes, “Dollshouse,” will retire after at the end of October after a five year run.
For a full rundown of this year’s mazes at Knotts, check out our complete profile of the 2011 Knott’s Halloween Haunt here.