Freddy Krueger and Others Are Waiting For You!
Once upon a time Knott’s Berry Farm down in Orange County had the clever idea to make a big deal out of Halloween; thus was born the Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt. Over the years it has proven to be such a success—imagine selling out the park for many nights in October—that Universal Studios Hollywood and other theme parks have caught the bug.
Speaking of bugs, they got those at Universal, plus spiders (with webs), axe-murders, zombies, werewolves, crazed mummies, communists; you know, the usual suspects roam the park in clouds of smoke and fog. They jump out at you from nowhere. You aren’t entirely safe most anywhere in the park. If they are feeling particularly rambunctious they’ll rustle up a hangin’ in the town square.
The event is known as Halloween Horror Nights, and Universal has the decided advantage of bringing in some of the really bad dudes in their slasher movies for the festivities (it’s bad press if Knott’s Halloween Haunt tries to make Snoopy into a death-merchant, whereas horror gurus Jason and Freddy Krueger are all dressed up and ready to party).
There are some awesomely scary and gruesome mazes in 2011–there are six in all, each with delightfully different themes.
The park closes down at 6 pm to get ready for the night’s mayhem. It then re-opens from 7 pm to 1 am (or 2 am on weekends) to welcome thousands of fun folks who want to feel superior to the victims whose skeletons adorn various nooks and crannies.
It’s serious fun, and there are signs warning the faint of heart. Even during the daytime you’ll see the occasional mutants and other subtle signs of the goings-on after the sun sets and the moon rises. Halloween brings out the fun in the Universal’s House of Horrors attraction, where you can see the equipment used to help Frankenstein’s lovely bride pull herself together.
There are other haunted houses and the like around southern California at Halloween, but they don’t have Freddy K.! If you have the money and the stomach, try to visit either Knott’s Halloween Haunt or Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights or both. They are both supposed to be killer good (the Guru hasn’t been to one of those events in many years) so if you must pick one, choose the park that is least expensive or is most convenient.
Knott’s is still the granddaddy though, so if you’re sentimental about your Halloween horror and must pick one, you might head toKnott’s Scary Farm. Prices vary with the day of the week and how close to Halloween you get so check their web sites. Here’s a link to the official Halloween Horror Nights page at Universal Studios Hollywood.