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The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

Student Run News Site of Venice High School

The Oarsman

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Nightmarish Experiences To Check Out For The Halloween Season

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s that time of the year again…! As October 31st slowly approaches day by day, theme parks go above and beyond to create a spooktacular experience as the fall season begins, and people pay above and beyond kind of money to attend these attractions, but why?

Senior Jonathan Smith said, “I believe the main reason people are willing to pay so much for Halloween attractions is because of how exclusive it is. There is NO other form of entertainment that can cause you to shake, run, and hide from monsters!” 

While many teens have reached the age where Trick or Treating doesn’t satisfy your adrenaline fill, these top 4 filling the scale local horror attractions will. 

What goes into making a maze horr-tastic? 

Well, when I think of a really good maze, I think of these important factors:

  • First, NO dead space:  You should never know when the monsters are going to pounce at you,  Nobody likes an expected scare. 
  • Second, elevated FX makeup creates an illusion: FX makeup can make or break the experience. The scare actors should look so believable, that you cannot tell whether they are fake or real. Boring face paint won’t get the job done, prosthetics are necessary. 
  • Lastly, the set up of the maze: The maze is the most important part of your horror visit, so you want it to transform your experience. Walking through the maze, should be like walking through the real thing! The set up of the maze should be almost exact to the theme/ movie set. 

These are some of my least favorite Horror attractions to start off the spooky season.

Six Flags Fright Fest 

While Fright Fest has potential given that Six Flags owns thrilling roller coasters and space, the execution falls flat with repetitive haunted houses, boring themes, and uninspired scare acting. It fails to create a memorable Halloween experience compared to the higher quality attractions. 

The mazes can be very predictable, and short. With low action scare workers, and low quality FX makeup, mazes are not going to get a scream out of you. 

Fright Fest tickets start at around $40-50 for basic entry, and over $100 for express. However, in my opinion, the more affordable pricing does not make up for the lack of creativity, effort, and scares throughout this fourth ranked event. Overall, Six Flags need to step up their game and create a more impressional destination for exciting visits.

The Haunted HayRide

The Haunted hayride delivers classic, creepy Halloween fun with some unique twists. This Halloween attraction keeps things simple, while focusing on the scare factor rather than the fancy theme park tie-ins. You hop into a tracker pulled hay wagon and ride through creepy scare scenes filled with monsters. 

While monsters are jumping out at every corner, you are in the middle of a dark forest making it even creepier! After the hayride you can go through free walk mazes that change themes every year. Free walk mazes mean you go in with your group or alone, and you have to find your way out on your own instead of having strangers in front or in back to guide you! On top of that, scare actresses really embrace their roles for an intense scare, their intimidating and GROSS costumes add to the frights. 

General admission prices run around $30-40. Affordable and terrifying! The factor that brings the hayride to number three is the lack of mazes, every year there are only about three mazes, and the hayride. 

Knotts Scary Farm

Knott’s totally kills it with their scary Halloween mazes and creep zones that pull you into some freaky haunted worlds. The incredibly detailed sets make you feel like you’re actually in a vampire city or a creepy asylum! Knott’s incorporates rides into the experience as well unlike other parks , plunging you into haunting scenes. Over 1,000 scare actors are out each night, leaping out from corners to relentlessly terrify you!

Their costumes and makeup are for sure impressively nightmarish and realistic. While Knotts offers a premium pass, general admissions start at around $50-70. I would say this is reasonable given the amount of attractions there are to experience. The only reason Knotts doesn’t claim the number one spot over horror attractions is because no one can take away the iconicness of attending a park where original halloween movies were actually filmed! 

That takes us to…

Universal Studios Horror Nights

As home to many classic horror productions such as, Chucky, Frankenstein, Halloween, Bates Motel , and Jaws. Universal Studios takes number one, for best mazes/ halloween attraction. Every year, guests look forward to what new mazes they are in for. Mazes for Horror Nights are based on freshly released scary movies. Most popular, longest wait times for mazes are Stranger Things 4, The Last of Us, Chucky, Exorcist, and Terror Tram. Universal Studios has that movie making budget meaning their FX makeup is top notch!, and the mazes look like an exact replica of the set.  Although horror nights are the most visited and loved attraction, is it worth the price? 

Tickets vary from $87- $289. Yes, regular passes are lower than $100 but is it even worth going with a regular pass?

In my opinion it is not.

Lines for regular tickets are up to three hours long! People would tend to only witness 2-3 of the 8 unique different mazes. $300 is a lot of money for one night, but it will become the night you will never forget. Three hour waits turn into 3 minutes! It is very worth the expense if you want more for your buck.The mazes are terrifyingly detailed and the scare actors are very convincing. Universal spares no expense to make Horror Nights a nightmare-inducing experience.

Overall, no horror convention is absolutely perfect, even though some may come with more pros and cons, each have their flaws. From overpriced tickets and hour-long waits, to low effort and cheap experiences. It is important to know what’s with your money and what is not. If you are  looking for the most impressive produced scares, go with Halloween Horror Nights or Knott’s Scary Farm. For classic haunted houses with some unique twists, check out the Haunted Hayride. But Fright Fest needs a refresh to compete with these horrifyingly good events.

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