"Halloween? Didn't we do that already?"
In the theme park world, Halloween's grown from a one-night party to a month-long festival. We've long finished off the candy the kids collected at Mickey's Halloween Party at Disneyland earlier this month, but Halloween - officially - doesn't arrive until this weekend. Here on Theme Park Insider, we've been writing about Halloween for months, covering the build-up and launch of big events such as Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights.
Even as Halloween expands backward into September, many fans just can't get enough.
Why is that? I invite your thoughts in the comments, but here's mine, to start:
Halloween's rep is all about scares and death. But in practice, a great theme park Halloween event really just celebrates friendship. You go through a haunted house or scare zone, get scared out of your mind - and you and your friends get to laugh about it.
Over, and over, again.
It's all about humility: seeing yourself reduced to screams or tears, and having your friends see that, as well. And you see the same, from them. The shared humility becomes a bonding experience.
And let's not forget the young gentlemen taking young ladies on dates to Halloween events, hoping that a strong scare might, uh, lead the young lady into the gentleman's arms. ;-)
(That's why the good scareactors target the girl in a couple walking down the street, but the great ones target the guy. Let's let the ladies see what their men are made of.)
More than any other theme park event, Halloween events depend upon audience response. If the park provides the scares and the people provide the right attitude, it's a great night - the largest, friendliest party you'll ever attend.
Even the kid-friendly, trick-or-treat events elicit a similar spirit. No one's getting scared, but lots of kids are getting together for that inevitable post-trick-or-treat after-market of I'll-trade-this-for-that.
Theme parks, are, at their heart, a shared narrative experience. Even if you go by yourself, you're never alone. Halloween events amplify that sense of community. That's why so many fans love them.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.