It is that time of the year, where the creepy creatures of the night come out. I am excited, like a kid in a candy store. Don’t get me wrong, I love Kings Island all season long. But when the summer season ends and the haunt comes, my excitement escalates. There is something about roaming the park at night, not knowing what is around the next corner. The park looks different with the decorations and fog. Here are some park hacks to make your spooky walk in the park a bit more relaxing... for now.
As you plan your night, the best night to go is Friday. Friday night is when high school football is usually played. There is less chance that it will be crowded with teens. Friday night is also when some parents want to stay home to rest after a long week at work. They just want to prop up their feet. There will still be crowds. But there is less chance of having an hour-long wait for a maze. Park Hackers look for times when the crowd is lightest, Fridays are the best bet.
Conquering your fear (Coaching others to manage theirs)
Halloween Haunt is not for everyone. It can be loud, grotesque and horrifying. If you can handle being startled by a loud scream or bang, there is a lot of fun to be discovered.
The first step to bravery, is to see the whole experience for what it is. The park is thoroughly decorated with lights and fog. The spooky characters are park employees in makeup and rubber masks. They still have to obey rules of safety. You should still respect them as representatives of Kings Island. Hopefully everyone is there to have a special kind of spooky fun. At each maze entrance the greeter clearly states, “Do not touch them, they will not touch you.”
If you can handle loud sounds, but darkness gives you the chills, then you should try to get to the haunt event as early as possible. During daylight, the performers certainly have high energy, but the light of day makes it less threatening. Then the darkness comes on gradually and the look of the park changes dramatically as the park’s artificial lights begin to interact with the fog.
There are some particularly disturbing things that pop up from time to time. There are some hearse vehicles with demonic animatronic imagery. Once you know where they are, you can steer clear of them if you want.
One more trick that really is effective at reducing the scare-factor, is to go really late. As I mentioned, the character performers are kids and young adults in costume. After a long night of scaring people, fatigue sets in. In the latest two hours of the haunt, the performers are a lot less likely to burst at you with loud screams.
Finding a babysitter from 7pm-1am can be hard. It is possible to still take your kiddos. I (Krystal) am not crazy. The park offers a “No Boo” necklace, normally runs about $5-12. This is to be worn by those who don’t want to be scared by characters walking around the open areas of the park. I have used them for my toddlers. I wouldn’t take my kids into the mazes and some shows for obvious reasons. There are some nice things they can enjoy. There is a drum show that kids can enjoy. It’s not rainbows and butterflies, but it is music. People dance to it.
Another special feature of the “No Boo” necklace is the characters will spot it and approach my kids, kneel and talk to them in their normal voice. It keeps the experience from being scary, which I find to be very cool.
I like to work through the mazes like the cops do in television police dramas. You check the corners behind you as you enter the room. The mazes are designed with lots of little spaces where a costumed character can suddenly emerge. Looking ahead for potential threats, helps me keep my heart rate reasonably calm.
Skeleton key - Some mazes have special rooms. Because I (Mike) am openly opposed to the Fast Lane, seeing it as bought permission to cut in front of others, I’m unable to enjoy these special parts of the maze. If you have experience, I’d love it if you’d tell us what they are like in the comments below.
The characters love to pose for your pictures! If you politely ask them, they will usually give you a fun pose. Make sure your camera is set to take photo in very low light.
There are special themed zones around the park where the characters are grouped into a related theme. Check your map for their locations. The Freak Show over by Planet Snoopy is a hoot, with a bearded lady and other fun circus-themed players. New (to me, Mike) this year is the Wasteland and Dance of the Macabre. If they were there in previous years, I just didn’t know about these special areas.
Other Benefits of the Haunt
Besides the spooky, creepy creatures and such, for the past two years another feature of the haunt is food trucks. One food truck was there both years, which had the most amazing Apple Cider drink ever. I recommend that you try it at least once.
The other reason to go during the haunt is to ride rides. With many of the visitors’ attention set on the mazes and haunts, this is a great time to jump on a few rides. Lines are typically much shorter than a usual Friday or Saturday. Plus, if you ride rides like the classic Racer, or the windy Windseeker, you get a view of the spooky fog covered park!
On Saturdays the park is open during the day, and shifts to the haunt in the evening. If you want to see the park in daylight, it is open from 11am - 7pm every Sunday, including this first weekend of the haunt.
Last year's post on Halloween Haunt also has a few extra tips!