Knott's Berry Farm kicked off the Halloween-at-theme-parks revolution in 1972 when it transformed its property into Knott's Scary Farm. Until then, most seasonal parks closed their gates soon after Labor Day and ignored Halloween altogether. Now, however, virtually every park has haunted mazes, themed shows, and other scary stuff in the weeks leading up to Halloween. Along with the blood-curdling screams from coaster riders, parks elicit screams with actual blood. (Well, not "actual" blood, but you know what I mean.) Discover where to find spooky Halloween fun at theme parks.
The guide is arranged alphabetically by U.S. state and ends with Canada. This page includes Halloween events at parks in U.S. states from Arkansas to Massachusetts.
Magic Springs Hot Springs (near Little Rock), AR Magic Screams 2011 dates: Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 8 to 30 Cost: Included in park admission Details not available at time of publication. Past events have included a haunted house, a haunted Wild West Trail, a trick-or-treat trail, a Creature Feature show, and spooky hayride, plus a scare-free zone for younger kids that has offered pumpkin painting and other activities.
2011 Halloween Events at California Theme Parks. Includes listings for Knott's Scary Farm at Knott's Berry Farm, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Disney's HalloweenTime and Mickey's Trick-or-Treat Party at Disneyland Resort, Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Brick-or-Treat at Legoland California, Halloween Haunt and Nick or Treat at Great America, and Halloween Spooktacular at SeaWorld San Diego.
Even though it's no longer part of the Six Flags family, Elitch Gardens continues to use the name FrightFest for its Halloween event. Elitch will offer four haunted houses, including Grind House. which offers a tour of a slaughterhouse -- and you might be considered fresh meat, and Brutal Planet, a FrightFest standby that invites guests into a serial killer's hideaway. Shows will include The Grueling, which promises to deliver an execution. Those brace enough to give the Wheel of Misfortune a spin will end up eating live bugs. Now THAT's entertainment! Younger kids can get some sweets at Elitch's Trick-or-Treat Trail and enjoy other daytime toned-down activities.
Lake Compounce Bristol (near Hartford), CT Haunted Graveyard 2010 dates: Sept. 30, Oct. 1, 7-9, 14-16, 21-23, 28-31 Cost: Combo admission rate for both rides and The Haunted Graveyard is $29.99 and $20.99 for children under 12. Rides-only or Haunted Graveyard-only passes are available as well. Combo admission discount coupons are available online at The Haunted Graveyard site.
There will be a bunch of haunted houses, trails, and, scare zones to explore, including, of course, a haunted graveyard. Among the scares are Zombie Forest, Mayan Temple, and the ever-popular Slaughter House. Best of all, brave souls get to sample Boulder Dash, one of my picks for the top wooden coasters, in the deep, dark night. Now that's scary. Lake Compounce donates a portion of the proceeds to an organization tat supports diabetes research.
2011 Halloween Events at Florida Theme Parks. Includes info about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular.
Six Flags Over Georgia Austell (near Atlanta), GA Fright Fest 2011 dates: Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21-23, 28-30. Buy discounted Fright Fest tickets online, direct from Six Flags: Save money and time by getting Six Flags Fright Fest tickets in advance of your visit at Six Flags online store.
Wild Adventures Valdosta (near the Florida border) Phobia and Kid-O-Ween 2011 dates: Phobia: Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 30 to Oct. 29. 2011 dates: Kid-O-Ween: Saturdays and Sundays, October 1 to 30. Cost: Included in admission.
For the PG-13 Phobia, during which Wild Adventures challenges guests to face their fears (otherwise known as phobias), haunted atractions will include The Legend of the Blackwater Swamp. Shows will include Abra Cadaver, a "disturbing" magic show. Kid-o-ween offers toned-down family fun such as a hay maze, a coloring mural, and a Monster Mash Dance Party. Kids are encouraged to come in costume. Trick-or-treating will be available.
Silverwood Athol Scarywood 2011 dates: October 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 20-22, 27-29 Cost: $24.99 to $34.99 at gate, depending on day. Reduced price for season pass holders. Reduced advance passes available at Scarywood site.
Three haunts include Mind Warp, Blood Bayou, and Terror Canyon Trail an outdoor scare experience. The park's train ride is transformed into the ZombieWood Express. The wooden coaster Timber Terror runs backwards during Scarywood.
Six Flags Great America Gurnee (near Chicago and Milwaukee), IL Fright Fest 2011 dates: Oct. 1, 2, 7-10, 14-16, 21-23, 28-30 Buy discounted Fright Fest tickets online, direct from Six Flags: Save money and time by getting Six Flags Fright Fest tickets in advance of your visit at Six Flags online store.
Six Flags America Mitchellville (near Washington, D.C.), MD Fright Fest 2011 dates: Oct. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21-23, 28-30 Buy discounted Fright Fest tickets online, direct from Six Flags: Save money and time by getting Six Flags Fright Fest tickets in advance of your visit at Six Flags online store.
Six Flags New England Agawam (near Springfield, MA and Hartford, CT), MA Fright Fest 2011 dates: Oct. 1, 2, 8-10, 15, 16, 22, 23, 28-30 Buy discounted Fright Fest tickets online, direct from Six Flags: Save money and time by getting Six Flags Fright Fest tickets in advance of your visit at Six Flags online store.