Being a fan and veteran monster of Knott’s Scary Farm’s Halloween Haunt, I was very curious to visit and experience Kings Island’s version of Halloween Haunt. Upon first arrival, I noticed some similarities to both events: maze names (Club Blood, Slaughterhouse, Cornstalkers) and their current logo is the one Knott’s used for Haunt in 2003. With Cedar Fair owning both parks, these similarities seemed normal for sharing with multiple parks, but they are by no means equal.
When waiting for the park to open, or “rope drop” for Knott’s fans, Kings Island uses a different approach. Once the park is open, the gates are lifted and a good 50-plus monsters rush toward the guests. The effect is brilliant, and started the evening frightfully pleasingly! Upon viewing the monsters, it was evident that the vast majority of monsters were teenagers with basic make-up applied. Very few prosthetics and masks are used in the park when compared to the make-up spots, but the prosthetics that are used are very well done. Even a copy of a well-known monster from Knott’s prosthetic, the Green Goblin, is used on a street monster.
Halloween Haunt at Kings Island offers an impressive 12 mazes throughout the park. The highlight for me was the new maze for this year: Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror. There, you are trapped within Madame Fatale’s wax museum that features a variety of monsters from butchers, mummies, witch doctors, and even Lizzie Borden. The maze is located in the show building of the former Tomb Raider attraction and includes the effects and props that are still in the building for the maze.
Some standouts from other mazes include the ultraviolet-reactive bubbles in CarnEvil, the hidden panels in the walls for some great startle scares in Massacre Manor, and the intro room in Urgent Scare that has the entire floor move to make you believe you are on an elevator! Club Blood, Slaughterhouse, and Cornstalkers bear little resemblance to their counterparts at Knott’s, and are unfortunately, letdowns. The other mazes are short in length (about five minutes to walk through), aren’t fully staffed with monsters, and the lighting is so dark that it is almost impossible to view the detail work. The four Fear Zones (also known as scare zones) throughout the park are minimally-decorated areas that had four to six monsters roaming the night I visited. They are nothing like the massive scare zones at Knott’s, where there are close to 100 monsters in each area.
What Kings Island has that Knott’s does not have, is the beautiful wooded landscape. The park looks absolutely stunning in autumn with orange leaves falling on the ground and a cold nip in the air. With Halloween Haunt included in a Gold Season Pass and only $25 admission for a single ticket, it’s certainly a fantastic value, especially with the major attractions open and no additional charge for any of the mazes.
Is it the most terrifying Haunt? Not by any means. Will you have a good time enjoying this beautiful park in the fall, catch a ride on The Beast, and have fun in a maze or two? Absolutely.
- Jon Ylas/TPA Team Member