Mike West

Published: October 31, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Hey Robert,
We just returned from Cedar Point, and noticed something different about what it takes to scare in different parts of the country.
Maybe we are jaded in California, but when we go to haunts out here, the ghouls are much more aggressive. The fright zone at Cedar was much spookier, more fog, harder to navigate, better costumes.
I suspect there's probably some safety concerns in Cali about obscuring the view that much(we seem to have rules for everything out here). But at Cedar, deep down under all those wonderful effects, there were nicer folks inside, and you could tell. Personally I liked it better. I've never been too comfortable in letting a total stranger approach me with the seeming intent at harm. I just wonder if we can't find a better blend of fear at the west coast parks, less of the chainsaw, more of the spooky. And wonder if others have perspectives about this as well. Less of the trick, more of the treat.
Robert Niles
Editor

Published: October 31, 2008 at 10:36 AM

Interesting point. I have been to enough events around the country to have seen that myself, but I can envision it.

I suspect that the SoCal haunts employ a healthy number of un- and under-employed actors, people professionally trained to inhabit a role, and to do so aggressively. Certainly not everyone working a haunt is on IMDB, but I suspect enough have been to have influenced the culture.

That said, I don't like aggressive scare-actors, either. I've always been aggressive, myself, in looking for and making eye contact with them before I am "in range." With the element of surprise gone, they leave me alone. (FWIW, I am at a huge advantage here given the number of times I visit parks, allowing me to have pathways memorized. Less experienced visitors have to look where they are going, while I can look for who's in the way.)

A fog and maze zone where I didn't have to deal with scare-actors would appeal to me, as would special overlays on classic attractions. As much as theme parks have succeeded with their Halloween events, I think that there even more money left on the table, from folks looking for that spooky, not scary environment.

rick stevens

Published: October 31, 2008 at 9:48 PM

I have done the Knotts event for 12 years and have noticed that there is less fog and fewer really frightening spooks. I think it is the legal environment in the cali area. The park visitors also seem to be out to get the actors. I don't know if this is just a so cal thing, but I have seen teens and young adults taunt the actors.

Growing up here also makes it strange since you can be walking through a maze and have a ghoul come up behind you and call you by name! I don't think it helps that I am not the prime target. I am not one to scream and carry on.

Joshua Counsil

Published: November 1, 2008 at 3:01 PM

Define "trick" and "treat".

I went to a Halloween kegger last night, which was a treat. This led to many tricks later on.

I suppose I choose "treat", but I consider beer a treat.

Robert Niles
Editor

Published: November 2, 2008 at 12:41 AM

Ah, the beauty of the poll: One must decide the meaning of the terms for one's self. (I feel like Kung Fu Panda now.)

On a somewhat related note, my daughter and I got into a conversation this morning where we decided that the phrase really ought to be "treat or trick." Start with the demand, followed by the consequence of not meeting the demand. Made sense to me.

And that reminded me of the first roller coaster review I wrote for the LA Times. I started to type "head over heels" to describe an inversion, but then thought: "Wait a minute. I'm *always* head over heels. That's my normal position. What I really mean is 'heels over head.'" So that's what I wrote, and that's the phrase I've used in several other reviews since then.