Diane Blum

Freelance Writer

"Halloween Haunt 2014"
posted Oct 17, 2014 in Almaden Times, Oct 24, 2014 in Evergreen Times
If you haven’t yet gone to Great America’s Halloween Haunt, make a plan to do so this year. Now in its seventh season, it keeps getting better, with a wide variety of activities to please everyone in your group. There are eight frightening mazes, scare zones, live shows and over 500 monsters roaming around in fog-filled cemeteries. And if that doesn’t scare you, there are thrill rides such as my personal favorite, the Gold Striker rollercoaster. Love that feeling of weightlessness while accelerating to almost 54 MPH, followed by the lateral gravitational pull during its 80 degree banking turn!

New this year, the Wax Museum Chamber of Horror. Nothing like seeing exhibits of murderers, criminals and whackos and finding some of the life-like wax figures are missing! Where did Lizzie Borden go? You’ll be pushing your “ghoul-friend” ahead of you, for sure. I applaud the excellent make-up job for the actors and the true wax figures; definitely a quality production.

The park is completely decorated for Halloween with an emphasis on scary and gory. We stayed the entire haunt time (7-midnight the night we went) and still probably saw only about half of what there was to see. We never even made it to any of the live shows, but heard that the Nytewalkers show was “to die for”. I mean, what’s not to like about gravity defying zombies?

Check online for the weekend-only operating schedule. If you go, arrive early (they open the parking lot prior to the 7:00pm haunt start) and be prepared for greater crowds the closer you get to Halloween. Purchasing tickets online will save you money, and there are specials for “2 or more” and groups. There is free admission for 2014 and 2015 Gold Pass holders. Students can get a special price with a current student ID. Note that there is a $15 charge for parking, so some “ghoul-pooling” is a good idea.

New this year is the “Fright Lane” pass, a special lanyard you wear that lets you have priority entry into each maze a single time. This pass will set you back a scary $40, but was worth it for me this year after having waited in very lengthy lines last year. Along with getting priority entry, with the Fright Lane pass there is a Skeleton Key that allows you exclusive access to interactive “horror scenes” in five of the mazes. A few of these were awesome…my group’s favorite being the Toy Factory’s seemingly inescapable room with no doors.

A few suggestions if you go. There are no in/out privileges so make sure you have what you need (there are lockers inside the park); and no costumes are allowed. Note that Halloween Haunt is intended for guests 13 or older. For those with young kids, the park has daytime Halloween-themed kid-friendly events, shows and rides…see the online information for more details.
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