Walking into the 43rd annual Knott’s Scary Farm, the first thing I noticed was the wandering monsters. No longer confined by scare zones, werewolves and creepy creatures surrounded me as soon as I pushed through the turnstiles. I never ran into the Green Witch, but I know she was hiding somewhere in the dark with her Seven Deadly tricksters!
First stop of the night for anyone should be Special Ops Infected – Patient Zero. There is no upcharge for this interactive zombie apocalypse laser shooting attraction. This year, the field of play takes up all of Camp Snoopy which is huge! Brand new guns improve when players have kill streaks, making this even more exciting than before. Your health decreases when zombies get too close, so aim for the head and RUN. Unfortunately, I did not get to try this attraction because first night lines were extremely long. When you arrive at the park, go directly to the right side of the entrance plaza to get a timed return ticket. Arrive early! Lines can back up causing delays past your ticketed arrival time, so it’s worthwhile to allow more time to complete it. I did talk to some groups who went through the game and the consensus was that even with the long wait times, it was “totally worth it”. Groups of twelve at a time go onto the course. I was told there is a standby line for people who want to take the “single rider” approach. If you don’t mind going through without your friends it is worth asking about that.
MY FAVORITE MAZES
Trick or Treat. Ring the doorbell and enter the home of the Green Witch on Halloween night. I liked the new potion room and bewitched attic, but my favorite part of this maze is still the hallways full of 70s plastic Halloween masks hanging on the walls. Creepy relics from her past victims.
Voodoo – Order of the Serpent. It’s a beautifully designed maze, and the Louisiana swamp theme felt perfect on a hot night. However, the new Skeleton Key room is not as fun as the standing coffins from last year. I’m not allowed to reveal what is inside any Skeleton Key rooms, so I’ll talk about the other changes… Last year the maze had a lot of fog in it and this really made the pathways through the swamp disorienting and scary. This time, there is no fog, so when you see the other guests walking by on the alternate route, I could clearly see that they were friend (and not foe). A small change that made a big difference. I still really love the level of detail in this maze, especially walking through a disturbing woman’s living room while she sat on the couch watching what looked like an episode of Cops. A genius detail. I also appreciated the new finale, but wasn’t quite sure why it continued outside the maze. For me, once you walk outside, a sort of spell is broken and it’s hard to appreciate monsters standing outside the exit.
Paranormal Inc. – Case 1. The Haunting of Hayden Hill. This maze was really fascinating. I don’t want to reveal too much, but I liked the flying stunts and the use of digital projections. I thought that parts of this maze were extremely beautiful as I walked along dark pathways pulsing with blue lights. At one point my friend was so mesmerized by the special effects that she turned to me and said… what’s the theme of this maze again? It’s a haunted hospital, not that it matters. As I crept through the darkness, we weren’t sure if we were in heaven, hell, or some other alien dimension. A very cool and unusual experience. Don’t miss this one.
The Tooth Fairy. This maze had the best Skeleton Key room that I visited (I didn’t make it to Forevermore). Again, I’m not allowed to say anything about it, but it was the most interactive and exciting of the night. A large portion of this maze is very dark, but it is not a complete blackout. As you enter through a black hole in the wall you will probably be tempted to “feel your way out” because of the interesting texture on the walls. I’ll say no more. My favorite room in this one features chattering robot heads in cages. They look like some insane version of the TinMan. Totally creepy! The finale is also much scarier than last year. Watch out for The Tooth Fairy!
Forevermore. Guests walk through the crime scenes of the “Forevermore Killer” inspired by the works of Edgar Allen Poe. I didn’t have time to make it through this one, but I heard the Skeleton Key room is a real “killer”.
Gunslinger’s Grave – A Blood Moon Rises. This is a long maze winding in and out of a town in the Old West where werewolves have taken over. It’s fun walking in and out of the buildings, but can be a bit confusing to navigate. Luckily there are a lot of gunslingers around to keep you on track and point you in the right direction.
My Bloody Clementine. Set inside the Calico Mine Ride, this story takes guests through the mine where Clementine and her father were viciously murdered. Now featuring live monsters, I definitely heard surprised screams from people on our train as the monsters reached out to grab us. Fun.
The Dead of Winter. This brand new maze has a beautifully designed Skeleton Key room. I loved it. Unfortunately, the maze lighting was too bright and hindered the monsters trying to scare me. Masks were unconvincing in the light and there were few places for them to hide. Some monsters were just seated on the ground with guests awkwardly stepping over them. Air conditioners blasting cold were really nice on a sweltering night and helped it to feel like a wintery snowscape. I think a lot could be done to improve it with lighting or projections to continue the feeling of the Skeleton Key room. Even though I’m terrified of spiders, the mechanical parts of the spider animatronics were all too easy to see and the sparse cobwebbing and pretty blue lights made it look more like the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance than the lair of a terrifying Ice Queen.
Pinocchio Unstrung. Pinocchio returned with an all new Pleasure Island and Skeleton Key Room. This one seemed to have more monsters in it than previous years. More monsters is always a good thing! The Skeleton Key room for this one required a volunteer, so get ready to participate if you dare.
Black Magic. The Skeleton Key seance room from this maze last year, has now been added to the regular maze, so no key is required. Back for the third year, this popular maze follows Houdini’s ghost through a theater where illusions and tricks have all gone horribly wrong. The magician’s assistants are sliced and diced… and look out for the demented white rabbit. I think he’s tired of being stuffed inside that top hat and he’s ready for revenge.
Elvira’s Asylum. The Mistress of the Dark returns with another adorably raunchy stage show. I don’t know how she does it, but I was seated in the front row and she looks GORGEOUS. She clearly must have made a deal with the devil. I suppose as a woman, I should be offended by all the booby humor, but I’m not. She’s got such charm and manages to breeze through her parody songs and skits with the playfulness of a puppy at Christmas. Surrounded by demented dancers and featuring a thrilling aerialist, Elvira performs twice a night. Don’t miss it.
The Hanging. Once again the best and worst in pop culture shows up to take their knocks from the stuntmen and dancers at Knott’s. From Kanye West to Donald Trump, all the people you love to hate are knocked around with blood splattering puns until finally one (or two) of them get the noose. I’m not going to give it away, but if you’re a social media butterfly it’s fun to see how many references you recognize during this show. Nothing is sacred. Thank goodness.
With eleven mazes, one thousand monsters, two shows, and thirteen thrill rides it’s really hard to cover it all in one night. Luckily, Knott’s has the best value of any theme park with the Knott’s Scary Farm Pass offering unlimited visits to all 24 nights for $80.
Single night tickets range from $39.99 to $49.99
Fright Lane with Skeleton Key offers priority line access to all mazes and entrance to the exclusive Skeleton Key rooms starting at $70 (Scary Farm admission ticket required and not included).
Scary Farm is open select nights now through October 31st.
For more information visit knottsscaryfarm.com