This season for Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt has been brewing for 45 years. The park will feature 13 haunted mazes and attractions, including the farewell performance of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Knott’s Scary Farm will terrorize guests for 25 nights from September 21 – October 31st and offers a special Halloween pass good for every night of the event.
As is their custom, Knott’s kicked off the Halloween season with a special announcement event in the Charles Schultz Theater on August 31st. Haunt god, Jeff Tucker, led the ceremony. What he lacks in height me makes up in wit and charm. The same could be said of Knott’s Berry Farm itself. They may not have the money of a Disney or Universal, but they put on one hell of a good show and their Haunt delivers more bang for your buck than just about any other theme park can offer.
There will be three new haunted mazes this year and one sort of new maze . . . play along with me for a moment. There’s also a flotilla of returning favorites, two big budget shows, and scare zones EVERYWHERE.
NEW MAZES FOR 2017
Dark Ride – We’re looking forward to this creative twist on a theme park staple. A once pleasant, now abandoned, dark ride becomes home to murderous sideshow freaks hellbent on causing terror. Some of the scenes may look lifted right out of Fantasyland, but don’t get too comfortable, something sinister is lurking around every corner. This attraction fits in perfectly in the CarnEVIL scare zone. Now, before you get too excited . . . this isn’t a real dark ride. It’s a walk-through maze made to look like an abandoned dark ride. But that’s got us thinking . . . Knott’s really needs a traditional Fantasyland style dark ride, don’t you think?!
Pumpkin Eater – This one gives me chills. Remember the nursery rhyme: “Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater. Had a wife and couldn’t keep her. He put her in a pumpkin shell, and there he kept her very well.” Turns out that it was all about a man murdering his wife after she strayed. Yikes! The things we tell our kids. Now Knott’s is unleashing a murderous 7-foot tall creature that haunts the old woods surrounding The Hollow in this year’s new maze, Pumpkin Eater. To escape the sinister Pumpkin Eater’s wrath guests must go on a quest, face a cave of crawling insects and solve the labyrinth of thorns that blocks the only way out. Now there’s a twist on my childhood memories. The next thing you know, they’ll be telling me that Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary is about a murderous British monarch . . . oh wait . . .
Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny – The world-famous Timber Mountain Log Ride is getting back into the Halloween spirit after taking a break for several years. The overlay of this attraction is intended to be family friendly and will be open day and night throughout the Halloween season. Theme park fans (including fans of Disneyland’s old Billy Hill and the Hillbillies) will be thrilled to hear that the attraction features a brand new original song sung by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies. Sounds very promising, even if it isn’t intended to scare.
Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out – So this one isn’t entirely new but I’m listing it with the new attractions because it is a significantly changed experience. You’ll step inside the Green Witch’s haunted home as before, but this time around you’ll be trapped there in the pitch dark, armed with only a “faulty flashlight” to find your way out. Of course there’s a lot of technology at work here and Knott’s has the ability to make your flashlight turn off, on, or change colors as they see fit. Just imagine seeing a monster across the room when suddenly your flashlight flickers and goes out. What do you think is going to happen when it comes back on?! Bingo. Monster in your face. Terrifying. They’ve taken one of the most atmospheric but least scary mazes and amplified the fear factor ten fold. This one has the potential to be the breakout hit of the whole event. Really excited about this one.
Even the returning mazes this year are getting some enhancements.
Special Ops: Infected – is still laser tag against the undead. It’s a fun and highly interactive experience which has evolved and moved over the years. This year will feature more laser guns, more interactive targets than ever before, along with new hidden surprises and a big new boss zombie. Sign me up!
Shadow Lands – This was the highlight of last year’s haunt for me. Shadow Lands was a beautiful and atmospheric masterpiece. The maze depicts demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the shadow lands. The attraction has been enhanced with a greater capacity of the initial show scene and a reworked ending filled with action and surprises. I can’t wait to return to this one.
PARANORMAL, INC. – This is another MiceChat favorite which is thankfully returning. One part ghost busters and one part American Horror Stories, Paranormal takes us on an adventure filled with ghosts, aerial stunts, and digital effects! It’s glorious and we can’t wait to see what they’ve done with it.
Red Barn – This was my least favorite maze last year. It was just too gory for me. For me, the blood-soaked maze, filled with carnivorous animals seeking to prey on human flesh was just a bit too much. But I’m sure that description is just the thing many folks buy haunt tickets for. Sigh. I miss the creepy, kooky days of Halloween past. It’s become too much murder, blood and body parts for me. [end rant]
The Tooth Fairy is another gory attraction. This bloody fairy tale romp twists a classic tale and preys upon our fears of dentists, drills, and tooth extraction. But it also has a clever blackout room you must feel your way out of. Not one of my all time favorites, but fun none the less.
Voodoo – Order of the Serpent. The last of this year’s returning mazes is also one of our favorites. I can still remember its opening year and how impressed we were with the New Orleans vibe and bodies of water inside the attraction. While this one has been around a while, they’ve reworked the route this year, so it has the potential to provide new scares. We think this one has the potential to be a great scare zone as well. So when the maze finally glows away, perhaps the idea can still stick around.
You might think you are safe once you exit a maze . . . but you’d be wrong. Almost all of Knott’s Scary Farm is a giant outdoor haunted experience. There’s really nowhere to hide. So if the line for the mazes gets too long, you can still have a great time just wandering around.
Ghost Town Streets is the original and largest of all the scare zones. But it’s getting some enhancements this year with new characters, including a scary take on Sad Eye Joe (who’s now Mad Eye Joe). Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, while the notoriously startling sliders lunge from every fog-filled corner of the land.
Fiesta De Los Muertos was a dance party last year, but it’s a full scare zone this time around. Be on the lookout for creepy stilt walkers in colorful costumes.
CarnEVIL – The Boardwalk clowns are a terrifying and funny classic, perhaps almost as famous as Ghost Town Streets. This is one area where it’s fun to find a place to sit and watch the clowns scare, trick, and entertain other guests. Amazing.
The Hollow scare zone is a war between three covens of witches and their armies of the undead. The fog-filled streets along with the army of the undead treacherously blend into the shadowy night as they frighten all whom they encounter. Featuring an all new fiery finale, The Hollow is practically all new with a themed maze to accompany it. They promised lots of new props and themed elements for this scare zone.
ELVIRA – I think my heart might break. Elvira is back, but this is sadly her final year at Knott’s Scary Farm. Enjoy the wit, charm and giant . . . assets of Elvira for the last time. She only does two shows a night, so don’t miss out folks. She’s a legend . . . bow down before your queen!!!
The Hanging: Fake Noose – Love it or hate it, you still can’t look away from the Hanging. The show famously skewers pop culture and is filled with stunts, pyro, attempts at humor, loud music and, of course, there’s a hanging at the end. This show is always a craptacular mix of gags, some hit and some don’t. But it’s all in good fun and a much needed relief from the tension of the mazes and scare zones. With a tag line like “Fake Noose” we expect something really UGE this year. Believe me, it’s really big. Everybody says so.
Here’s my live video from the event, it’s about half an hour of Jeff Tucker and the Knott’s crew explaining everything that will go bump in the night:
Knott’s Scary Farm Pass & Admission
The Knott’s Scary Farm Pass returns for the 2017 season and offers unlimited visits to all 25 event nights. Current 2017 Knott’s Berry Farm Season Passholders can purchase the pass at the limited time price of $80 and non-passholders can purchase the Scary Farm Pass for just $90. Prices valid through Sept. 17 or while supplies last. That’s a killer deal, a bloody steal if you ask me.
This year Knott’s is adding rides to the front of line pass for the Haunt. Fright Lane with Fast Lane starts at $80 and varies by night (that’s an add-on on top of your admission).
There are also a variety of tickets for general admission, combo tickets with front of line access, tickets with early entry and an all you can eat “Boo-Fet.” You’ve really got to take a look at the ticket page for your specific night to know what your options and prices are. It varies. TICKETS OPTIONS HERE
Scary Farm Merchandise
Across from the Charles Schultz theater (under the Iron Reef attraction) is Elvira’s Bootique, which offers all sorts of merchandise for the Haunt.
In addition to what you see above, you’ll find a variety of pins, mugs, t-shirts, hats, and all sorts of other things. We’ll be bringing you wall to wall coverage of all things Halloween for the next two months, so keep checking back for more . . . more . . . more.
MiceChat Knott’s Scary Farm Spooktacular – September 30th
We’ve got bad news and good news for you. While the event has officially sold out (booooooo), we have started a waiting list and are often able to accommodate many of the folks on that list (hooray).
Your MiceChat Knott’s Haunt event ticket includes:
- Admission into Knott’s Scary Farm
- Meet and greet with maze designers
- Backstage tour of a new maze before the event
- All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boo-fet dinner
- Early entry into Haunt
- Unlimited front of the line access to all mazes!
- Fastlane front of line for rides!
- Priority Seating for Ghoultime Theater show for Elvira Mistress of the Dark in her final appearance at Knott’s Scary Farm!!!
Well folks, We got home from the event at midnight and immediately started putting all the details together for you. It’s certainly going to be a big event at Knott’s this year. If there’s a trend we’ve noticed in the last few years it’s that Knott’s is starting to focus on quality over quantity. They’ve always offered a lot for the money, but the results often fell short of the competition. However, these days Knott’s puts as much effort into their mazes as anyone else, more in some cases. There were several mazes at Knott’s Scary Farm last year that were as good as anything Universal offers. That’s saying something.
I’d really like to thank Scott Attula, Dsny Debbie and Brian Pinsky for joining me at the event. Those are their photos above. It was a 100º day in the parks and none of us were feeling the Halloween spirit . . . until this event. The fog, the monsters, the music with the heavy bass beats . . . suddenly it’s the spooky season. Boom! Just like that! Haunts throughout the area begin opening in just a couple of weeks. Ready or not folks, it’s Halloween!