Park of the Week: Efteling

Vote of the week: What's the best part of a Halloween event?

September 19, 2008, 2:24 PM · Over the next few weeks, Universal, Busch, Knott's, Six Flags and other local theme and amusement parks will open the 2009 editions of their after-hours Halloween events, led by Knott's Halloween Haunt and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights. [Note that I'm talking about the events for grown-ups this week, excluding kids' Halloween events, such as those at Disney and Legoland.]

Many elements, beyond the parks' "normal" attractions, have helped make such events so popular with theme park fans:

  • live shows, with their mix of gore and humor,
  • haunted houses and mazes, for up-close scare opportunities,
  • scare-actors, roaming the streets to surprise you,
  • the crowd itself, with no kids and more of a "party" vibe.

    Tell us about your favorite Halloween event element, in the comments.

    Replies (10)

    September 19, 2008 at 2:57 PM · Scare actors are usually the best because they are great at improv.
    September 19, 2008 at 3:42 PM · haunted houses are always greatly themed next come scare actors, then shows, crowds are the worst lol.
    September 19, 2008 at 3:56 PM · Its a love hate relationship. The actors give me the most anxiety. There's always a little distrust about how crazy someone could be behind that guise in that potentially terrible role.
    But that's part of the fun.
    At Magic Mountain, those guys with the metal knee plates that run, drop, & scrape in a shower of sparks up to you through the fog.
    The little girl schreek that came out of my mouth! It was some of the most fun I'd ever had while not on a coaster.
    In the haunted maze(level 4 or 5?) the moment when I was sure I didn't want to turn around, & only did so when I heard a girl say "Are you afraid of me?"
    She was holding her own head of course.
    These are those moment's we will always remember.
    The parks do their job in rare form during this season!
    September 19, 2008 at 10:34 PM · I live for the mazes. They get so incredibly creative and scare the jeepers out of me. I've always considered Knott's king of the Halloween Haunt - but I'll be experiencing Universal Orlando for the first time in a few weeks so I'll let you know how it turns out.

    Best scare ever was when Scream was popular. Knott's had a movie themed maze and at one point you walked "through" the screen of a movie theater and faced the audience. The camera was projecting in your eyes so it was difficult to see. You had to walk up the center aisle to get out. In every other seat sat Mr. Ghost Face - some real, some mannequins - and you can bet more than one "real" one came at you unexpectedly as you ran up that aisle. It was the scare of my life!

    September 20, 2008 at 10:58 AM · I love the shows, Bill & Ted at Universal is just excellent, and I always go more than once.

    The houses are great, just the queues that are very off-putting.

    The Scareactors can be pretty fun, my wifes terrified of them, so I have to "Help" her avoid them, but if shes not paying too miuch attention I tend to walk her toward one or two.

    Next Friday I'll be heading to Howl'O'Scream at BGA for the first time, really looking forward to that!

    September 20, 2008 at 7:03 PM · I personally love the atmosphere not created by the crowds, but instead by the scenery and, my favorite, the fog.
    September 21, 2008 at 1:22 PM · Personally, I'm all for the crowds. I say this because places like IOA and Universal are packed full of little kids almost all the time (and by little, I mean 7-15). I'm not particularly fond of the little ones, so an event like Halloween Horror Nights, usually comes complete with no, or extremely few, little kids. Unfortunately, it's difficult to keep away the REALLY annoying kids from this event (generally, anyone still in high school, college, or having just graduated from either or).

    But, it's also more for the fact that I enjoy the party mood, and I enjoy the fact that I'm hanging around with individuals that share the same interests as me. Getting the crap scared out of them. :)

    September 24, 2008 at 1:18 AM · It can't be 2009 already! Where did 2008 go?!

    I was thinking about this last night: I, as a theme park fan, find it highly ironic about myself that I can't bring myself to set foot into these highly themed, theatrical and detailed environments. It could be because I don't live in the states (though - and I wish editor would take note that these events are now appearing not just in the US - but in the UK as well), but it could also be down the fact I just can't stand people jumping out at me... and crowds (though, ironically, crowds could make the whole experience seem less intimidating if I were to actually go!).

    September 24, 2008 at 4:43 PM · The reason I'm going isn't for any of the 4 choices given, but I respect any of those 4 choices as being excellent reasons. ( It's kind of interesting to hear everyone's feedback above; it helps me appreciate the experience through the eyes of others. ) In my case I'm a SoCal resident and while I've heard of the events at Knotts Scary Farm, DCA and Universal Studios I've never been. My friends and I had to pick just one to go to so we're going to DCA for one reason that seems to interest us more than others.

    ...they're letting us wear our cotumes. `:-)

    So if you're at DCA on October 31st and see a bunch of Ghostbusters walking around, come on over and say hi. Narcissistic? Maybe. ...but it's pretty fun to hang out in the park with all my other costume-and-prop-building friends for an event like this.

    September 24, 2008 at 5:04 PM · My favorite is the atmosphere, the overall vibe a well put together event can have. That's why for me HHN was so lacking when it was over at IOA for a few years. It just didn't have the same vibe USF provides. There's just something cool about a New York street shrouded in fog and creepy lights.

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