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Exploring the world outside of the park
Knott's Scary Farm

By Kevin Yee

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm

It's getting to be time for Knott's "Scary" Farm and the Halloween Haunt. If you're local to Southern California (and maybe even if you aren't), then you've heard this before. They refer to the annual tradition, going back some 29 years, of transforming Knott's Berry Farm into a Halloween- themed park in the autumn evenings, redolent with fog effects, monsters done up in makeup that try to startle you on the streets.

And of course those "mazes": warehouse- sized buildings that are not mazes at all, but rather a single pathway through a series of rooms where visitors come face to face with horrific, startling, scary, or downright gross scenes. It's not for the faint of heart. Or rather, maybe it is - this is well-known as a date- night hangout.

No need to be *too* scared, though. The performers don't touch you. Oh yes, those are live performers. Over 1,000 of them (wow!) in fact. They inhabit the mazes, hide in otherwise non- threatening attractions throughout the park and wait to spook you, or they wander the streets and do their best to scare the pants off you. Some of them don skateboard kneepads and slide at you from great distances, occasionally generating a good deal of sparks.

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm

Naturally there's the headlining talent, in the form of Elvira and the Crypt Keeper. Let me just give you the rundown:

Five new mazes

  • Malice in Wunderland in 3-D
  • Elivra Presents: Red Moon Massacre
  • Lore of the Vampire
  • Blood Bayou
  • The Crypt Keeper Presents: Horrorwood Fright FestEvil

Five returning mazes

  • Carnival of Carnivorous Clowns in 3-D
  • Alien Attack
  • Army of the Underworld
  • The Underground
  • The Inquisition

Three new shows

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm

  • Elvira at 20... Almost Legal
  • The Hanging Starring the Crypt Keeper
  • Dr. Cleaver Returns

Three returning shows

  • Ed Alonzo's Magic and Mayhem
  • Tony Angelo: Haunted Hypnotist
  • Festival of Freaks Theatre

Plus, the add on packages...

Pre-scare dinner special: $11.95 for early entry - not by much - as long as you also hold advance dinner reservations. Call (714) 220-5055 for dinner reservations.

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm

Hotel Packages at the nearby Radisson, ranging from $159 to $999. The most expensive ($999) is for two people and includes two tickets, one hotel room, VIP front of line passes to all mazes, two t-shirts, two dinners, breakfast for two, and complimentary parking. Call 800-333-3333 for details on the packages.

Very Important Monster Tour: Haunt admission plus back-door access to Haunt attractions for four hours. Reservations required. For up to eight guests, the total cost is $1,500. For nine to sixteen guests, the total cost is $2,500. You are escorted around by a host or hostess in this tour.

Frequently asked questions...

1. How much do tickets cost? The Haunt is *NOT* covered by your normal Knott's admission ticket or annual pass, you have to buy a special ducat. The ticket prices vary (is it presale or the day of the event? is it near the beginning or end of October? did you buy your tickets at a discounter like Burger King?) - but in general expect to pay between $20 - $40 per adult. Due to some of what is presented, kids under 13 aren't encouraged as visitors.

2. Don't tickets sell out? Yes, usually. But not always, especially in the early part of the run. Buy early to be sure.

3. How do I buy tickets? Buy them at Knott's, or at Ticketmaster outlets such as Robinsons-May, Tower Records, or Wherehouse. Or call (877) 858-7234. You can even head to online!

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm

4. Can I wear a costume? Sorry - no costumes are allowed.

5. When is it? Oct 4 (preview), Oct 5 - 7 (discount), and Oct 11-14, 18 - 21, 25 - 31. Each night starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until 2 a.m.

6. Is it worth it? I think so. It's an institution, really, especially for those date nights (and it's almost as good in *creating* a date out of this night). Fear sells you know. And let's not forget that such themed events as this led to Disney's recent foray into seasonal entertainment, such as the Small World Holiday and Nightmare Before Christmas Mansion.

I still like the Haunt, especially for those in the ages of 14 to 25 (well, maybe 16 - 25... it can get pretty intense at times).

Knott's Halloween Haunt - Promotional art  Knott's Berry Farm
Promotional art Knott's Berry Farm


Knott's Berry Farm
8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park

This is the nation's oldest theme park. It includes 165 attractions in multiple themed areas such as Calico Ghost Town, Mexican Village, Indian Trails, The Boardwalk and Camp Snoopy. (714) 220-5200

Hard Rock Cafe
451 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach

One in a chain of 104 Hard Rock Cafes around the world. You are paying for the honor of sitting under the autographs of rock stars. The highlight of the decor is the garish suit worn by Prince in the film "Purple Rain." (714) 640-8844

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
7662 Beach Blvd., Buena Park

Watch "knights" engage in jousting and other forms of mortal combat while you eat dinner. Paper crowns (a la Burger King) included. (714) 521-4740

Movieland Wax Museum
7711 Beach Blvd., Buena Park

An elaborate collection of movie and TV memorabilia, including authentic costumes and sets and more than 200 lifelike replicas of famous stars. Open Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Admission $6.95-$12.95. (949) 522-1154 or visit Movieland Wax Museum online.

Rainforest Cafe
3333 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa (In the Sears wing of South Coast Plaza)

A themed restaurant with a jungle motif. Includes animatronic creatures, indoor thundershowers, live parrots, talking trees and a large saltwater aquarium. (714) 424-9200

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum
7850 Beach Blvd., Buena Park

"The odd, the unusual and bizarre from nature and man." Open Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Admission $5.25-$8.95. (714) 522-7045 or visit Ripley's online.

Wild Bill's Wild West Dinner Extravaganza
7600 Beach Blvd., Buena Park

Watch dancing Indians, lariat-twirling "cowboys" and singing cowgirls while you eat dinner. (714) 522-6414

Wild Rivers Water Park
8770 Irvine Center Dr., Irvine

A water theme park with over 40 water rides and attractions, on the site of the late lamented Lion Country Safari. (949) 768-9453

Intrigued by this abbreviated list? Click here to visit Douglas's more complete list of significant locations in Anaheim, including including HISTORICAL SITES, MUSEUMS, SEASIDE ATTRACTIONS, GARDENS, SHOPPING, JUST FOR KIDS, and MISCELLANEOUS FUN categories.

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