Thursday, October 1, 2015

First Impressions of Halloween Haunt 2015 at California's Great America

Last Friday night, I kicked off haunt season at California's Great America Halloween Haunt. It's Halloween Haunt's 8th annual year and they have many new haunted attractions included in their 2015 lineup. Among the new attractions are a brand new maze, inSANITARIUM and three new scare zones to experience, Lockdown, Evacuate! and Killer Klown Town. In addition to the new haunted attractions there is also a new show called, SideShow. I didn't get a chance to experience all that Halloween Haunt has to offer on my first visit so here are some first impressions and thoughts on their first night.

Also returning this year is the Skeleton Key room experience. The mazes with these Skeleton Key rooms are CornStalkers, Madame Marie's Massacre Manor, RoadKill Road House, Toy Factory and inSANITARIUM. What actually lurks inside these rooms is a mystery, there's only one way to find out. The Skeleton Key also comes with Fright Lane, which lets you bypass the regular line, only good for one use at each maze though. I decided to wait on the Skeleton Key on the first night since there was barely a wait at each maze.

I started off the night with their brand new maze, inSANITARIUM. I was sad to see that classic CarnEvil maze was replaced this year. I loved that maze, it's been there since their opening in 2008. I already miss hearing that CarnEvil theme playing throughout the area. But I feel inSANITARIUM could be a nice replacement in time. I did experience some great well placed scares and the scare actors really did set a creepy tone in the maze. I need to experience this maze again to get a better overall feel.

The next maze on the list was the Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors maze. I noticed something rather odd when I approached this maze, it was missing it's entrance sign (see photo below). Not sure why the sign wasn't out, hopefully it will be out later. The Wax Museum Chamber of Horrors was just as good as last year and continues to be among my favorite mazes at haunt.

(Photo of the Wax Museum Chamber of Horror from Halloween Haunt 2014)

After taking a trip through the Wax Museum, the Dia de los Muertos maze was next. It was as vibrant as always and still is one of the most beautiful mazes there.

Toy Factory was great as usual, still my all time favorite maze at Halloween Haunt. Madame Marie's Massacre Manor was just as good. I was sad to see the Madame Marie's Voodoo Chophouse is no longer there too, it served delicious food and had a great front of the lane pass for any one maze. I loved that it also provided early ride time on the Goldstriker roller coaster. Never did get my soul back from Madame Marie, I hope she took good care of it.

The only haunted attractions I missed seeing last Friday was the Zombie High maze and the Mirror Mirror attraction, the lines for both attractions had a very long waits. I planned to come back later that night to see them but ran out of time.

Sad to say but one of the biggest disappointments I had with this year's Halloween Haunt was the lack of scare actors lurking in the haunted attractions. It didn't really hit me until the middle of the night when I walked through the CornStalkers maze, I noticed more then halfway through that there was literary no scare actors hiding in the shadows. I was basically walking though a deserted corn maze with theatrical lighting. I'll admit it was nice night stroll walking through the tall cornstalks and fog, but it definitely needs more scarecrows and creatures to spread terror in the maze.

I didn't think it could get any sadder from there. Another maze that was severally lacking scare actors was RoadKill Road House. It was practical empty, I encountered three scare actors at most. And for some reason it was darker then usual inside the maze, could barley make out any of the props.

Moving on to scare zones, Lockdown was my least favorite. It wasn't as thrilling as the scare zone before it, The Gauntlet but it had the most active scare actors of the night. The whole area was surrounded in screams and fog.

(Tried to get a photo of the Killer Klown Town scare zone sign but got photobombed by a creepy clown.)

Killer Klown Town was nicely set up in Planet Snoopy, it was great to see that there are still some clowns roaming around Halloween Haunt. I noticed the new show, Sideshow is placed in this area. I think it will go along great with this scare zone.

Evacuate! was the most elaborate and unique scare zone there. The area is surrounded by abandoned cars and zombie like creatures, looked like a scene of out the television show, The Walking Dead.

Didn't catch many shows on my first visit, the only shows I watched was Blades of Horror and only part of NyteWalkers (missed the first half). I'm so happy they brought back Blades of Horror, I absolutely love this show. It combines horror and figure skating, how cool is that? I will definitively check out Academy of Villains, the all new SideShow, and see the full NyteWalkers show on my next visit.

Outside of the Blades of Horror show was a cemetery that payed homage to past haunted attractions and scare zones. Like Club Blood, Dead Man's Cove, Werewolf Canyon, CarnEvil, etc. I'm not hundred percent sure if it has always been there but it was a really nice touch.  

Even though my first visit felt like a mixed bag, I still had fun at Halloween Haunt. My favorites mazes did not disappoint and it was good to see Blades of Horror again. It was only the first night and I know Halloween Haunt is still hiring for monsters. I hope California's Great America is able to get more monsters to fill their mazes. Nothing is more sad at a haunt then an empty maze.

Halloween Haunt is still hiring! Click this link for more information:

For more information on Halloween Haunt at California's Great America, check out their website: