Recently we were invited to cover Knott's Scary Farm which has become one of the hottest Halloween attractions in the Southwest. The annual event draws capacity crowds to the famous theme park for guests who want to experience not only the rides and attractions, but to experience the haunted mazes and Halloween shows that simply have to be seen to be believed.
We were there for the opening night which began with processional of decorative hearses followed by a mass of monsters storming the park gates to the up-tempo beats up a live DJ. We then went to the very nice Knott's Hotel for a fabulous reception where we sampled all manner of great culinary treats ranging from roast beef to Tapas and desserts while enjoying the company of various monsters who roamed the conference room what we died and socialized.
At the appointed time, we gathered in our assigned groups to take the guided tours of next Halloween mazes. Since the park was open to the public during this event, the guides enabled us to bypass the lines which thankfully were not as crazy as they normally are for this event which I had been told was largely attributed to it being a Thursday night. The traditional weekend dates often result in capacity crowds which require guests to purchase their tickets in advance due to frequent sellouts .
The mazes are truly amazing and are a far cry above what you might encounter at your local haunted houses. Thanks to the resources that are available to Knott's, professional and high-end makeup, actors, sets, sound effects, music, and special effects are combined to create a unique theme that blends scarce with a story and decor that is truly captivating.
For 2013 the park offers five new mazes and they were the first ones that we visited Gunslinger's Grave was a chilling walk through an old West town complete with a ghostly black horse and plenty of undead cowboys to spare. Dominion of the Damned followed and was an incredible vampire themed maze complete with decor that would make you think you were in a Gothic Locale.
The third maze we visited was Forevermore which aside from being my favorite, was a new maze based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Segments of the maze were based upon classic Poe stories such as the Pit and the Pendulum, Murder at the Rue Morgue, The Cask of Amontillado, Masque of the Red Death, and others. From the mechanical pendulum to the multilevel sets and elaborate detail the chilling locales kept getting better and better with each step. The music, lighting, and sound effects also combined to perfectly capture the experience.
Our group took a break after this for a question and answer segment with the maze developers for we learn firsthand about how the creative process behind them came to be as well as how groups decide which mazes to retire and which ones to bring back for subsequent years.
The talented individuals clearly strive to constantly top themselves and build upon their past successes. We then went to Black Magic which is a new maze based on Harry Houdini and featured a decorative entryway that changed appearance based on lighting and included a floating magician.
Our final new maze was Uncle Willie Slaughterhouse which for me was ghoulish delight, in that it chronicled the secret ingredients of the famous redneck diner including human sausage, a cold room, and several hanging corpses being prepared for barbecue.
As we shifted gears to visit some of the older mazes, the Witch's Keep which was located in the Calico Mine ride was a nice change of pace as was the apocalyptic EndGames which was like a Cyberpunk adventure come to life. Elements of Borderlands 2, Mad Max, and other wastelands adventures were captured in a fresh and unique way.
Trick-or-Treat was the classic romp through the witch's house complete with a flying which and the enjoyable Delirium was a nightmare brought to life complete with gigantic insects and other creatures that were created based upon the maze designer's own darkest fears.
There is also a classic glass maze called mirror mirror, and Pinocchio Unstrung which chronicled the effects of Pinocchio being denied his wish to become a real boy.
Mazes are not the only thing that is offered as the rides are in full effect and for those wishing more Halloween shows; Elvira offers her Sinema Seance as well as the popular The Hanging and other live shows and musical events.
There are over 1000 monsters roaming the park in between the mazes and attractions and it is very common to come around the corner into a extremely thick bank of fog that is so dense you cannot see in front of you. This is the perfect scenario for which creatures appear. I remember one segment where I was walking when a burst of fog developed in front of me and suddenly an 8 foot tall werewolf was practically nose to nose with me. Now I do not frighten easily and I was absolutely captivated by the theatrics of the moment, but I can tell you that my wife and several people in our group shrieked with delight during this moment and several other appearances of the very talented cast who entertain throughout the evening.
There are dining facilities opened both in and around the park for those that can maintain their appetite during the scares and with the traditional event running from 6:30 PM until 1 AM, you will have plenty of options.
I do want to emphasize that during the nights that Knott's Scary Farm is taking place, crowds will be large and at capacity. For those looking to get around the crowds, a Fright Lane skeleton key can be purchased which will allow unlimited access to the front of the line for all 11 mazes and a special bonus room for the new mazes.
There are also some special events coming up around the event including Anil Biro look-alike contest on October 5th and University night on October 10 as this is the 41st annual Knott's Scary Farm.
The amazing event runs through the first weekend of November and discount and regular tickets are available at the address below
We had not been to the event and several years due to schedule conflicts and distance but since we have opened our second office in Arizona we have made it part of our annual coverage. This was the first year that Gen and I had covered the event in eight years as we have sent staff in the previous years. We have such an amazing time that we certainly are going to be making considerable effort to be doing more hands-on coverage of this event in the years to come as it truly was a memorable evening of fun and frights that is not to be missed.
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