The 17th Door Haunted House Returns with Crybaby!

Four years ago the 17th Door Haunt Experience stormed the SoCal haunt scene and has become one of the most talked about attractions in Southern California. Brilliantly blending a traditional walk-through haunted house with theatrical and extreme elements, it’s a more intense, but still accessible level for haunt fans who had felt they’d “seen it all.”

This year the 17th Door Haunted House returns to its home in Fullerton for the second straight year, allowing the team to build their best haunt yet! One of the scariest, most intense, and most interactive haunted houses in the country has taken things to a whole new level for 2018. This year, guests will also be able to undergo the Vixi Ward Virtual Reality Experience, an enhanced 15-minute immersive venture for an additional $13.

New rooms and new scares… you will hate it and you will love it! Will you cry “Mercy?” or will you survive all 20 (22 with VR) rooms of psychological terror?

STORY

At Perpetuum Penitentiary, the madness continues. As Paula continues to serve her time, she continues her descent into darkness. An unseen side of Paula is now coming into focus. A thought or mention of her dead child torments her soul and brings forth a psychotic rage aimed at those around her. The prison psychiatrist has prescribed “Art Therapy,” inflaming her rage and suffering. As a last resort, he has given her an unorthodox tool… a therapy puppet named “Lincoln.” Meant to present her suffocated infant son, it will push her to a place of evil and perversion. The depravity spreads like a virus.

Will the puppet, Lincoln, lead her to accept her crime? Or will it push her to nightmarish depths previously unknown? Will Paula choose a path to redemption or will she be devoured by the darkness, becoming a permanent inmate of hell… otherwise known as Perpetuum, Death Row.

Paula, her dead son, and You are… Crybaby. 

THE VIXI WARD EXPERIENCE

In the heyday of Perpetuum Penitentiary, the prison partnered with the enigmatic Vixi Labs on a new experimental treatment method for its most troublesome inmates. Touting a revolutionary machine that was capable of interfacing with the human brain – the VRX-2000 headset – Vixi Labs helped Perpetuum to establish the new Vixi Ward within the prison.

After only a short operating streak, Vixi Ward was officially shut down for “excessive casualties” incurred during treatment. Yet in spite of this, screams still echo throughout the halls of Vixi Ward, and it’s rumored to continue operations on particularly unruly inmates.

Guests sentenced to Vixi Ward will face a 15 minute immersive experience. Guests may first endure a pre-op procedure to assess their fitness for treatment. They will then don the VRX-2000 headset themselves to begin their virtual reality experience. Once the guests’ treatment concludes, they will then be snuck back into inmate general population using a secret entrance. There, they will begin The 17th Door maze inside Perpetuum.

 “We’re always striving to outdo ourselves each year and 2018 is no exception!” said The 17th Door co-owner Heather Luther. “With a refocus on storyline, refinement in room details and sets and layered elements of new innovative and interactive scares, we are expecting this to be our best show yet!”Pre-sale tickets for this year’s season are now available online at www.the17thdoor.com. Act fast because they sell out quickly!

The 17th Door is designed for a mature audience, preferably 16 years of age and older, as guests will find themselves in intense situations. All guests must still sign a liability waiver and the actors are allowed to touch guests. At any point during the haunted house experience, guests may use the safe word “Mercy” to be escorted out. They will be given the option to rejoin their group in the next room or leave the haunt entirely.

The 17th Door 2017 Haunt Experience Dates:

September 21-22, 28-29

October 5-7, 11-14, 17-21, 24-31

 

Terror Tips: Maximizing Your Theme Park Haunt Experience

It’s haunt season again!

Many of the big theme-park haunts are creaking open their gates this weekend and we’ve carefully assembled some Terror Tips for getting the most screams and bang for your buck out of the night. As you begin your planning and preparation for the season of the witch, this list of tips will help you experience every maze, attraction, and maybe even the dumb shows at these mega-haunts. So pay attention, please. We don’t want you or your money to be left behind.

Trust us, we know how to Haunt Stalk.

1. GET THERE EARLY

This is the number one tip. Seriously, if you follow only one recommendation on this page, this should be the one. This will make or break your entire night. TRUST US. Get there before the haunt opens; we recommend at least a half-hour early. Remember you need to plan time for parking and to get through any security checks so you can queue up to get inside at opening. Some haunts will actually start letting people in before the posted official opening time. Universal has started opening some haunts as early as 5pm. If you get there early you might be able to go into a maze with almost no one else in it. Other haunts have “opening scare-amonies” that are worth watching and set the mood for the night (but skip them if you can get into the mazes ahead of the crowds). At Knott’s Scary Farm we’ve been able to get into three mazes within the half-hour before the haunt even opens, and we’ve never bought the early entry or “pre-scare dinner” option.

Related to this: Buy your tickets in advance if you can. Waiting in line for tickets wastes valuable time. Why add another queue to your night?

2. Go Early in the Season cal_right

Haunts get more crowded the closer it gets to Halloween. They hit their peak on the weekend before Halloween. We suggest attending as close to the opening weekend as possible. The actors are also fresh and ready to scare. We’ve witnessed “monster fatigue”  when we’ve gone near the end of haunt season, when we’ve noticed monsters talking to each other inside the maze or drinking a soda as they lean against a wall. The only downside with attending early in the season is that some scares might not be completely worked out, and actors might just be finding their groove. The second or third weekend of a haunt is usually the best time to visit.

3. Haunt Stalk on “Off Peak” Nights

From our experiences, you’ll find much shorter lines by going to haunts that are open on Wednesday and Sunday nights. Thursdays can be lighter earlier in the season. However, do pay attention to the local school holidays as those can have a significant impact on the crowds’ sizes during these “off nights” as the haunt will be filled with pre-teen brats who were dropped off by their parents so that the ghost and ghouls can babysit them for the night. The Sunday before Columbus day is especially risky.

4. Consider a Front-of-the-Line Pass on Friday and Saturday Nights

…if you insist on ignoring the previous tip. Perhaps this tip should have been titled “Avoid Friday and Saturday Nights,” but we know that’s not realistic for most people. Work and school get in the way of attending haunts during the week. Sunday night could be a good compromise—lines will be much shorter, and you’ll still be able to arrive early (see tip #1) to avoid more of the crowds (your co-workers are used to seeing you looking hungover on Mondays anyway). But if you absolutely must go on a Friday or Saturday night, we recommend upgrading your ticket to a “Front-of-the-Line” pass (don’t forget to buy in advance!). Time is money, however, we realize that these passes can be pricey, so if you follow the other tips, you might be able to bypass the upgraded ticket and still see everything. After all, there are a lot of great haunts to attend, and you don’t want to blow your budget on a single ticket.

5. Bone Up on the Rules

dsc_0023_6With the terrors of the real world growing rampant, the security measures at many of these haunts has increased significantly. With this increased security comes annoying policies and rules that can make it even more time consuming, difficult, or even preventative for you getting inside; even if you have no intentions of being a haunt evildoer. Therefore, bone up on the rules at the respective haunts before you arrive. You don’t want to be the one who has to go all the way back to your car to return your forbidden camera, spiked jewelry, or switchblade.  We also suggest that you travel light as there’s usually express lines for Haunt Stalkers who aren’t trying to enter with purses, bags, clothes (j/k), etc. Anyway, you’re just going for a night and not moving in… unless the haunts choose you to fill their residency quota.

6. Eat Before You Get There—Or Wait Until You Leave

Do you really want to wait in line for a crappy hot dog that costs $8? No, you don’t. As part of the “GO EARLY” plan, you should have an early dinner near the park. If you get hungry, grab a snack and eat in line. Don’t waste valuable time queuing up for theme park food. On the other hand, you could also wait and eat afterward. For example, Knott’s usually has a “midnight breakfast buffet” (12 am to 3 am) at the Chicken Dinner Restaurant next to the park that might be a good option.

7. Keep Your Group Small

“The More the Merrier” does not apply to haunts. Hitting all the mazes, scare zones, shows, and rides in a single, crowded night requires coordination, and the more people you have in your group, the less likely it is that consensus will be reached about where to go and what to do. Some people will want to go on the rides first, some will want to hit the mazes, some might be hungry and want food (see #3 above). We recommend keeping your group to no more than 6 people unless you’re willing to accept that you won’t get to do everything.

8. Tackle the Haunts Front to Back

Note: this works only if you’ve arrived early. You might think going straight to the mazes in the back of the park is a good idea, but you’re wrong. Sure, there will be no one in the back when you get there, but when you circle back to the mazes in the front of the park, they’ll be packed. Almost everyone else will be working from front to back, so as long as you’re ahead of the pack (by getting in early, see #1 above), this approach works best. If you’ve arrived late, forget it. You’re screwed, no matter what approach you take.

As a side, with Universal Hollywood’s unconventional layout they tend to allow early entry for the mazes in the lower lot, at the back of the park, so follow this plan doing the first mazes you encounter on the lower lot and then keep working your way to very back.  You’ll likely get through all those mazes, which is a majority of them,  with a significantly reduced wait time. Just be prepared to wait a little longer for the few on the upper lot.  However, your overall wait time for the night should be reduced with this plan.

9. Don’t Loiter in the Scare Zones 

Scare Zone Fog… well only if you’re talking about our website. You will most likely pass through the scare zones as you make your way to the mazes. This absolutely adds to the overall experience but don’t get caught up hanging in the scare zones until you’ve already been through all the mazes/houses. As while you’re busy running away from and taking #selfies with a ghoul, the crowds will be surging past you and filling up the #longlines. You can always go back later in the night and leisurely scream through the scare zones.

10. Go On Rides and See Shows Only After You’ve Been in All the Mazes

It’s Halloween season, and mazes/houses are the main attraction. These are open only 5 or 6 weeks at most during the year. You can go back and to get on all the coasters and E-Ticket rides some other time. And let’s face it, most shows at haunts are pretty terrible. Save all of these “dis-ttractions” for last, or at least until after you’ve hit all the mazes you really wanted to go through.

Most Importantly Remain Calm and Happy Screaming!

Halloween 4: Behind the Scenes Preview of the New HHN Maze

9/13/18 Update:

Take a special behind the scenes tour of the Halloween 4 maze at Universal’s 2018 Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood with HHN creative director John Murdy, Trancas Films’ Malek Akkad and Halloween 4 director Dwight Little.

 

8/14/18 post:

4th Time is a Scream: Michael Myers Returns to HHN 2018

Last week a few leaks revealed that Halloween 4 will be coming to HHN in Orlando and Hollywood.

Today Universal confirmed the rumors and provided a detailed overview of what victims… guest can expect to happen inside their latest Halloween maze. Previously, both HHN events have had mazes based on the original Halloween and Halloween II. Hollywood also had a Life and Crimes of Michael Myers maze back in 2009 that featured some of his most iconic kills from the first few movies in the series including the bandaged wrapped Michael from Halloween 4.

As the title suggests, Halloween 4 features the return of Michael Myers to the film series revealing that Michael survived the fire in Halloween II but has been in a coma since that night. While being transferred back to Smith’s Grove, Michael comes out of his coma and overhears that Laurie Strode, who died in a car accident, has a daughter. Michael escapes the transport and heads to Haddonfield in search of his niece, Jamie. Fellow survivor Dr. Loomis also goes to Haddonfield after learning that Michael has escaped again and must reconvince everyone that the evil has returned. After slicing his way through more police, trick or treaters and horny teens the town residents rally to turn the tables and hunt down Michael. There are a few scenes from this movie that could provide some good scares such as the scene where a bunch of teens dress up as Michael and surround Dr. Loomis and the cops as a prank only for it to be revealed that Michael was really amongst the group of masked hoodlums.

 

Halloween 4 should make for a fun maze and is a fitting title as this is the 4th time HHN (Hollywood) is featuring a Michael Myers in a maze. We still think it’s a little strange that they’re not doing haunts based on the upcoming movie. Perhaps we’ll get twice the Michael Myers at HHN (Hollywood) with an appearance of the Halloween 2018 old man Myers in the rumored Blumhouse of Horrors: Chapter II maze.

Here are the details from Universal Press Release:

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., ORLANDO, Fla. (August 14, 2018) – Beginning on Friday, September 14, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, from Trancas International Films, takes a stab at Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights, bringing the notorious slasher to Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort in all-new mazes inspired by the iconic horror film.

Based on the fourth installment in the classic slasher series created by John Carpenter, the mazes will transport guests to the suburban town of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night where Myers has escaped Smith’s Grove Sanitarium and is hungry for revenge. This time, he relentlessly stalks his niece Jamie as his next victim, stopping at nothing to kill her.

Guests will follow Myers as he escapes the mental hospital, encounters his first victims at Penney’s Gas Station and Diner, and wreaks terror on Haddonfield, all set to Alan Howarth’s ominous score. The maze will include horrifying scares by Myers in his classic featureless white mask and navy jumpsuit, with guests dodging his bloody knife at every turn. Halloween fanatics can expect a cameo by Myer’s psychiatrist Dr. Loomis and other famous characters from the film as they try to escape the bloodbath.

Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween event. For more than 25 years, guests from around the world have visited Halloween Horror Nights in Hollywood and Orlando to become victims inside their own horror film. Multiple movie-quality mazes based on iconic horror television shows, films, and original stories come to life season after season. And, the streets of each coast’s event are transformed into highly-themed scare zones where menacing scare-actors lunge from every darkened corner.

HorrorWorld 2018: Last Year’s Best Haunted Attraction Makes a Big Return

In 2017, buzz was strong for the freshman haunt Into the Black, which took up residence at the Pomona Fairgrounds. Created and executed by Larry Bones, the venerable owner of the makeup effects giant Bone Yard Effects, this haunt had so much promise. But it’s requirement that all guests go through completely alone was what made it a unique and nail-biting experience for even some of the most experienced haunt enthusiasts. We had high hopes for this haunt, and it did not disappoint.  But we wondered whether the single-person model would be lucrative enough to allow Into the Black to return in 2018.

That’s why we’re thrilled to report that not only is the haunt returning, but it’s expanded into a multi-haunt event called “HorrorWorld.”

For 2018, the event has moved into the Puente Hills Mall in the San Gabriel Valley and will include THREE haunted mazes, a virtual reality experience, a collection of vendors, and a blacklight horror-themed game area.

MAZES

Into the Black

Last year’s hit maze returns, and yes, you still must enter ALONE. (If you’re wondering how intense this is, be sure to read our review from last year.)

Discover the twisted history of the 19th century home belonging to the infamous, devil-worshiping, and occult-following Black family.  Are you brave enough to enter completely ALONE?

Psycho Sanitarium

Step inside the halls of the Psycho Sanitarium, a crumbling reminder of humanity’s ability to neglect and mistreat those deemed “unfit” for society…but what happens when the tormented fight back? Experience the chaos within the newest maze from Bone Yard Effects, Inc.

The Fleshyard

Abraham and Sarah Kearny had it all, a happy marriage, 5 children, and a successful livestock farm. Until they were found brutally murdered and their farm burned to the ground. The spirits of the violently butchered family cannot rest. They continue to haunt their land while they seek vengeance for their untimely demise. Can you survive?

 

HorrorWorld makes its debut on September 28 and runs select nights through Halloween. We highly recommend buying tickets in advance for this event as space is limited each night. For more information, visit their website.

Hunt for Jack the Ripper in New Virtual Reality Experience in Santa Clarita

Over the past few years, we’ve watched virtual reality become a growing part of the haunted attraction industry. From Delusion to Into the Black, more and more haunts are using VR to augment the  guest experience. So it’s only natural that stand-alone VR experiences are tapping into the market by creating horror-themed seasonal experiences to coincide with the haunt season.

The latest entry into this field comes from the award-winning Hollow Studios and their Jack the Ripper–themed virtual haunted house, which can be experienced at Mountasia Family Fun Center in Santa Clarita, CA. This immersive VR experience transports groups of up to 4 people back to 1888, where Jack the Ripper is on the rampage. Guests will have to work together while exploring the mysterious wax house to find clues to solve the mystery of the Ripper’s identity.

Coming this fall for a limited time only: Experience the latest in virtual reality technology in Jack The Ripper Virtual Reality Haunted House at Mountasia Family Fun Center in Santa Clarita, California. The brand new state-of-the-art multi-sensory virtual reality (VR) experience from Hollow Studios invites guests into one of history’s greatest mysteries. Guests in groups of up to four will be transported back in time to 1888, during what the newspapers of the time coined, “The Autumn of Terror”. A time when Jack The Ripper roamed the streets striking fear in the heart of Whitechapel, London. Before suiting up in VR headsets, guests first enter an old dark London alleyway where they are recruited as assistants to a Scotland Yard detective. Media based effects tell the backstories of Jack The Ripper and the mysterious Wax House. Once inside, guests search through the creepy old abandoned wax museum looking for items and clues in hopes of answering the same question that has been on the minds of many for over a century: “Who was Jack the Ripper?”

This multi-sensory virtual experience will be part haunted house and part escape room. Guests will have 30 minutes to explore the VR world, where they will have to search for clues (for example, by picking up and holding objects, opening drawers) with the goal of escaping before they become the Ripper’s next victims.

Jack the Ripper Virtual Reality Haunted House is open NOW through October 31 every Friday through Sunday. To purchase tickets, visit www.HollowZone.com. In the meantime, check out the trailer:

 

URBAN DEATH TOUR OF TERROR: Haunted Theatre Attraction! Returns for the 2018 Haunt Season.

Our favorite theatrical haunters Zombie Joe and company return for a 6th season of shock and delight with their fun n’ freaky twist on the haunted house.

2017 SZ Haunt Review

Coming off of a critically acclaimed, sell-out run at the 2018 Edinburgh Festival Fringe — the largest performing arts festival in the world — Urban Death returns to their North Hollywood home to once again unleash their monsters upon the world.

“This has been an amazing year for Urban Death,” says Zombie Joe. “We have spread our wings overseas and are now looking forward to returning home with a big sloppy ‘thank you’ kiss to our beloved fan base with our kick-ass haunted house. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been brewing up for your screaming pleasure!”

Created by Zombie Joe and Jana Wimer, Urban Death first shocked audiences in 2005, revealing our deepest fears through a series of wordless, non-linear vignettes and intense physical performances.  URBAN DEATH TOUR OF TERROR: Haunted Theatre Attraction! is bold, terrifying, and entirely unique. You are advised to purchase tickets early as this event consistently sells out.

Don’t come alone.

WARNING: Graphic content, trigger warnings, and full nudity.

(Now you really want to go, don’t ya? )

Social Media:  @urbandeath_zju [Instagram] [Twitter] https://www.facebook.com/UrbanDeathZJU/

L.A. Haunted Hayride Celebrates 10th Anniversary

LOS ANGELES HAUNTED HAYRIDE ANNOUNCES THEIR MOST SPECTACULAR SEASON YET AS THE HALLOWEEN ICON CELEBRATES 10 YEARS BY BRINGING BACK ALL THE FAN FAVES OF THE PAST DECADE

 

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (@LAHauntedHayride) returns with the most immersive ride yet as guests are completely transported back to hayrides past. This is sure to be another Halloween feast with the return of the legendary Haunted Hayride, the heart-pounding House Of Shadows Dark Maze, the disturbed neighborhood of Trick Or Treat and everyone’s favorite haunted village, Purgatory.

 

For fans that have been to every hayride, it will be an unforgettable ride through the nightmares the hayride has been inducing for years.  You will also be treated to new surprises and some larger than life additions that one would expect for a celebration as grand as a 10 Year Anniversary. For first-timers, the experience will be a hayride on steroids as every memorable demon and apparition returns to say hello once again. Do you remember the demon church of “The Congregation”? Or the legions of psychopathic clowns from “Through The Eyes Of A Child”? Maybe you’d love to take a ride back through “The Rift”? Then, this is your year and then some! If you haven’t been to the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, you will not want to miss out on this limited run special edition.

When you visit the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride your evening will include a stop in Purgatory. The charm and magic of our old world ‘haunted village’ invokes the nostalgia of Halloweens past; smell the freshly cut hay and see the deep, rich, orange glow of jack o’ lanterns as you pass through our gates. Become a part of the show at Theatre Macabre, ride the ‘Scary-Go-Round’, enjoy fair food & drink faves at the Grub Shack, have a clandestine encounter with a psychic, and don’t forget to grab your limited run anniversary swag in the Bootique.

Returning for this massive anniversary, the park will bring back cult favorites House Of Shadows and Trick Or Treat. The legendary House Of Shadows sends you into complete darkness as you grasp onto your group and stumble through Southern California’s only true dark maze! It is a disorienting, claustrophobic experience where you might find yourself totally alone in the shadows. At Trick Or Treat, it’s Halloween every night. Check out our ALL-NEW ghoulish residents as we have amped up the fright factor for this annual freakish block party.

The terror of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride begins on September 29th, 2018 and will be open select nights until October 31st, 2018. Operating hours are Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7pm-10:30 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm-12am, with the exception of September 29th when we close at 11pm. General Admission and VIP passes that surpass the line are available, as well as a Platinum pass that includes VIP parking! There are also a limited number of Hayride Only passes starting at $26, all expected to sell out during the pre-sale. Pre-sale for tickets will end September 1st. Visit www.losangeleshauntedhayride.com for exact nights of operation and other details.

Social Tags: #LAHH, #LAHH2018, #LAHH10Years

Haunt-cation: Orlando 2018

Orlando has started to claim the title of the Halloween Vacation Capital. Orlando and the Central Florida area does offer a lineup of some of the nation’s top Halloween events. Orlando is one of our go-to Hauntcation locations but unfortunately, it won’t be one of our destinations this year.  Nonetheless, we highly recommend it and while you’re there make the drive over to Tampa for Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream.

Starting as early as Aug. 17 and running through Nov. 3, there’s something for everyone, from mild and family-friendly to what we prefer, wild and terrifying. This year’s lineup includes a host of all-hallows events and attractions; themed hotel packages; and the return of the largest horror convention in the nation.

Universal Orlando Resort announced today that it’s adding a 10th haunted house to this year’s Halloween Horror Nights event – giving guests more haunted houses and scares than ever before.

Visit Orlando, Orlando’s official visitor resource has created a special web page to help travelers plan a ghoulish getaway at VisitOrlando.com/Halloween. Follow #OrlandoHalloween for real-time updates and find a few haunted highlights below.

THEME PARK FRIGHTS

  • Halloween Horror Nights 28, Select Nights Sept. 14 – Nov. 3‎This year visitors can expect horrors inspired by the ’80s at Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights, with a haunted house in the theme of Netflix’s mega-hit “Stranger Things,” as well as nine other haunted houses, for a total of 10 – the most ever in the event’s 28-year history. The event will also run for a total of 34 nights, tied for the longest run in its history.
  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Select Nights Aug. 17 – Oct. 31On select nights from Aug. 17 to Oct. 31Magic Kingdom Park comes alive with jack-o-lanterns, special characters and entertainment for the whole family. Encouraged to come dressed for the occasion, visitors can trick-or-treat throughout the park, masquerade with costumed characters at the Boo-to-You Halloween Parade, sing along at the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular and end the night with a “Boo-tacular” fireworks show.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special ticket event and takes place on select nights each fall at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

  • SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, Weekends Sept. 22 – Oct. 28It’s an ocean of Halloween fun for the whole family at SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. During this daytime event, families are immersed in an underwater “fantasea” including trick-or-treating, not-so-spooky live shows, whimsical sea creatures, and the chance to mingle with everyone’s favorite Sesame Street friends including Elmo, The Count, Cookie Monster and more.
  • Brick or Treat at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Select Nights Oct. 6 – 31Families will enjoy all the fun without the frights at LEGOLAND’s Brick or Treat this year. The event features trick-or-treating, the world’s largest LEGO jack-o-lantern, LEGO Halloween characters and a bewitching Halloween-themed fireworks show at Pirates’ Cove.

WINTER HAVEN, FL — October 11, 2014 — LEGOLAND ® Florida Resort celebrates Brick or Treat this Halloween with costume contests, model builds, character meet and greets, and more. (PHOTO / LEGOLAND Florida, Merlin Entertainments Group, Chip Litherland)

“BOO!” BEYOND THE PARKS

  • Spooky Empire, the largest horror convention in the nation returns to Orlando Oct. 26–29 at the Caribe Royale Orlando. This year’s lineup of celebrity guests includes David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of X-files fame, and Kathy Najimy of Disney’s Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, with more to be announced. Other thrills and chills at the convention include a tattoo festival, costume contest, zombie walk and film festival.

  • A Petrified Forest features two outdoor scare trails for small groups to venture through a haunted forest at night. On a few special Total Eclipse Nights – which require a signed waiver for anyone under 18 – monsters can eventouch the guests, and each small group is given only one glowstick to light their path, regardless if it is dropped or stolen by a creature. The event runs select nights, Oct. 5 – Nov. 3.
  • American Ghost Adventures offers a wide variety of year-round paranormal experiences, with tour options all over Orlando, from the haunted pub tour, “Spirits with Spirits” to the “Dining with the Departed” tour, complete with a meal in a haunted restaurant.
  • Zombie Outbreak challenges guests to see how long they could survive a zombie apocalypse. This Halloween season and all year long, the terrifically terrifying attraction puts guests in the middle of a military base overrun with the undead.
  • Mortem Manor Haunted Attraction at Old Town features year-round scares, with two spooky stories, state-of-the-art animatronics and live actors. Entry is just $15, making this a bargain sure to scare the living yell out of guests.
  • Maitland’s Historical Haunted Tours invite curious history buffs and ghost hunters to explore the haunted grounds of the Art & History Museum’s Maitland Art Center or the Waterhouse Residence Museum via two separate tours, available on select days in October. From ghost stories to creepy Victorian artifacts, guests will discover the chilling truth behind what is said to be one of the most paranormal places in Central Florida.
  • Screamin’ Green Hauntoween at The Crayola Experience invites guests to get “zombified” with all-new monster-ific crafts, dance parties, a themed scavenger and trick-or-treating every weekend, Sept. 22 – Oct. 31.
  • SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology brings the dead back to life, with over 40 exhibits featuring 500 REAL animal skeletons. Special adult-focused event nights get even spookier, like SKELETONS After Dark: Forensic Night, where guests examine human skeletons and learn how to read the cause of death.
  • The City of Orlando’s Moonlight Walking Tours take guests on a dark, historical stroll through Greenwood Cemetery. Trek four miles and visit nearly a hundred graves of notable individuals in Orlando’s history. The tour is free, but usually sponsored by rotating charities that will be accepting donations, so guests can feel philanthropic AND afraid.

HAUNTING HOTEL HAPPENINGS

 

Halloween Haunt Returns To California’s Great America

Two New Haunted Mazes and One New Scare Zone Bring Fresh Frights in 2018

Halloween Haunt at California’s Great America, the Bay Area’s premier Halloween event, will begin terrifying guests on Sept. 21. Scares take place on select Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through Oct. 28. Tickets are on sale now at www.cagreatamerica.com/haunt.

Halloween Haunt offers eight haunted mazes, each with its own frightening theme in a standalone experience, plus three scare zones, where guests encounter midways that have been completely transformed with ghoulish monsters and rampant scares.

New for 2018, the Tooth Fairy maze will lead guests on a terrifying journey through the twisted world of a dental fiend in search of loose teeth who drags people from their bedrooms and into a nightmarish dentist’s office. Madame Marie’s Massacre Manor, a perennial guest favorite maze, will be reimagined in 2018 as Madame Marie’s Blackout. The lights have been turned off in Madame Marie’s mansion, and guests are given only a dim flashlight to lead their way through her cursed halls. Also new in 2018 is Ripper’s Revenge scare zone, where guests will encounter a mob of villains who are dead set on taking over old-town London—and running off any guests who stand in their way.

Halloween Haunt’s returning mazes include Backwoods, Chaos House, CornStalkers, Roadkill Roadhouse, Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors and Zombie High. Popular scare zones Jester Town and Feary Tales will also return in 2018.

Magician Ed Alonzo (of Saved By The Bell fame) will bring cutting-edge humor with his new show Ed Alonzo, the Second Greatest Showman, and a tantalizing opening ceremony will begin the nightly horrors at Great America’s front gate. The 2018 season will also delight guests with the return of fan favorite live entertainment shows Blood DrumsNytewalkers and Sideshow.

“This year, Halloween Haunt remains the Bay Area’s leading Halloween experience,” said Sean Lee, entertainment manager at California’s Great America. “With a new maze and scare zone, as well as a new twist on a returning maze, Halloween Haunt will continue to offer intense scares for Great America guests.”

Halloween Haunt is open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m.–midnight through Oct. 6 and until 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from Oct. 12–27. On Sundays, Halloween Haunt is open 7 p.m.–midnight, except Sunday, Oct. 21, when Halloween Haunt will be closed for an event at Levi’s Stadium.

For younger kids who want to enjoy Halloween fun without the scares, The Great Pumpkin Fest takes over Great America during daytime hours on weekends Sept. 29–Oct. 28 (closed Oct. 7, 20 and 21). Featuring trick-or-treating with Snoopy and the PEANUTS gang, pumpkin decorating, a hay maze and coloring, this event brings Halloween activities to life for the entire family. Great America will also entertain with “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” movie showings and book readings throughout the day.

Tickets for Halloween Haunt and The Great Pumpkin Fest are available now and can be purchased online at www.cagreatamerica.com. Gold Passholders get unlimited visits. Guests looking to enhance their Halloween Haunt experience can purchase a Fright Lane pass to scream past the regular lines and gain one-time front of the line access for each haunted maze. All students can receive discounted Halloween Haunt admission by showing their valid student ID.

What Scares You II: 2018 Horror Trends

In just a little over a week, the gates of haunts across the country will begin to creak open. For frequent haunt stalkers, we’ve seen just about it all when it comes to the array of haunt themes, characters, and storylines. We’ve also shared many of the popular haunt themes here on The Scare Zone over the years, which includes the mainstay characters such as zombies and ghosts to slashers and vampires.

(PRNewsfoto/America Haunts)

This year, America Haunts, an association of the most successful U.S. haunted attractions, has announced their top 3 scare trends for Halloween 2018. De-mystifying what it takes to heighten fear is second nature for America Haunts’ members, given their decades in the business offering high-caliber fear attractions. This year’s AH trends incorporate the mystic, the innately frightful, and raises the undead from cemeteries from another century. Their 2018 trends include:

  • Dragons Magical and mythical. Fiery dragons come to life with technology that makes realistic fire-breathing, and roaring sounds – appearing from the depths of dark, fantasy storytelling.”Dragons will definitely have a big presence this year and do their job to create fear,” said Amber Arnett-Bequeaith, Queen of America Haunts. “They are spell-binding and attack from above while breathing fire that can burn you alive. They’re terrifying.”
  • Killer Bees & the Creepy Crawly Killer bees, spiders and creepy insects tap into our phobias. Inside haunts, the scare is amplified when these creatures touch visitors. “The old days of haunted attractions with scary sets visitors view from behind glass are gone,” Arnett-Bequeaith explained. “Today, all senses are activated. It’s 4D. See, feel, hear and smell inside the haunts. Horror is big because horror is smarter. Guests may hear buzzing sounds and suddenly feel the sensation of killer bees swarming over their face, igniting the phobia of getting stung in a swarm of bees – then discover they are underneath giant hives with killer bee animatronics creating buzzworthy fear.”
  • Graveyards Resurrected Massive realistic graveyards within the haunt attractions create a perfect scene for screams. “It’s human nature to run from death,” said Duane Sandberg, 13th Gate in Baton Rouge. “A staple of the south, our New Orleans-style graveyard has elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums – creating an uneasiness that something is lurking behind the tombs. The smell of death leaches from the coffin and penetrates your nostrils.”

So there we have it America. Dragons, bees, and graveyards! These are very unique trends and we’ll have to keep our eyes out this season to see how many dragon bees in graveyards we encounter. Let us know if you see any too.

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