The Green Witch is the theme for this years’ Halloween Haunt. She appears in her own maze as well as on the Mine Ride and in the midnight hanging. She also is present during the rope drop where she unleashes her tricksters on Calico. Knott’s Scary Farm offers five new mazes for its 40th Anniversary including its first ever interactive maze, Trapped and is headlined by Ed Alonzo.
The mazes promised to be scarier this year and we found a lot of them to be better. There did seem to be a few cutbacks though that seemed apparent. At this years’ Pre-Scare Boo-Fet they got rid of the peel-and-eat shrimp and were handing out what looked to be left over Snoopy cups instead of the Haunt cups they used to give. Also, there seemed to be fewer actors in Ghost Town. The scare zones were Ghost Town, Gypsy Camp, Necropolis and Carnevil. This year they did not allow pictures with monsters, although some did sneak into a shot or two. Instead we were told the monsters would line up at the end of the night for a photo-op.
This maze is short, but was one of our favorites and really has a Halloween feel. Go trick-or-treating and ring the doorbell to the witch’s house if you dare. You’ll go through this haunted house themed maze (a pumpkin lined staircase, old bookshelves, a grandfather clock, etc.) which has a few theatrical scenes. You’ll find things like a Ouija board and books that move on their own. There’s one scene where you’ll also look into a bathroom mirror where the witch appears. The Tricksters are scattered throughout the maze and stop you at the end to face the witch and witness her magic.
Pinocchio Unstrung is a new maze that replaces the Doll Factory but has the same layout. This maze is what every maze should be like and we feel that it’s here to stay for a long time. It has beautiful sets, an easy to follow story line and a lot of scares. There’s plenty of plot development to guide you through and you’ll want to pay close attention to all the detail as you become part of this gory and gruesome, twisted story.
Walk through scenes such as The Marionette Theatre and Pleasure Island. You’ll meet all the familiar characters such as Gepetto, Stromboli and the Blue Fairy. Instead of the story of a wooden puppet who just wants to become a boy, you’ll meet a demented puppet who wants to kill.
Dominion of the Dead
This vampire-themed maze from the 90’s is back. They play the cello and violin in a performance at an eerie art gallery in this classy and beautiful maze. Their costumes and make-up are well done and not over the top. The gothic setting is haunting with museum sized paintings and eerie gargoyles. Most of the scares are suspenseful rather than in-your-face. Watch out for the flying vampire though.
Trapped is a new interactive maze that costs $60 for a group of up to six people and requires reservations. You’re also required to sign a waiver. We won’t give anything about this maze away.
You enter this maze by entering a giant, mutant mouth. This sets the theme for the rest of the maze which takes you through a young person’s nightmare. Inside you’ll find a bedroom with cockroaches on the wall and bed, a hospital room with skeletons in a wheelchair and a dinner scene with human-sized insects enjoying a meal. These are just some of the weird and abstract things Delirium has to offer.
Endgames: Warriors of the Apocalypse
This post-apocalyptic, gladiator-themed maze is loosely based on the Hunger Games. It’s in a new location this year and features a video screen where you can see a live feed of people walking through.
While Endgames wasn’t really scary, we loved the soundtrack, detailed sets and theme of the maze, but the stadium scene seemed somewhat anti-climactic. We hope to see this one back next year and feel it has a lot of potential.
Terror of London
For the most part this maze seems the same as past years. There are a few changes though. The main change is that some of the gruesome murder scenes have been taken out which we felt really fed into the theme. We heard this was to make it more family friendly. Also, the scenes have been put closer together which means more frequent scares but really takes away the suspense of tracking the killer. With the new changes, we feel that this is a maze whose time has come.
The Evil Dead (Timber Mountain Log Ride)
We were disappointed when we heard that the log ride wasn’t going to have a Haunt theme this year. This has been a tradition for us since we started coming many years ago. Then we heard that they were turning it into The Evil Dead and that sounded like a really cool idea that got us excited.
A few days before we went to Haunt we heard that there had been new regulations from CAL-OSHA which really limited the actors allowed along the flume of this ride. What used to be a scary ride is now just the log ride with less than a handful of actors and a few props. There wasn’t really even enough talent or scenes to fully display the theme. We miss when the log ride featured attractions such as Camp Gonnagetcha or Santa Claws Mountain. If you’re a traditionalist like us I would say to include it as part of your visit if then line is short, otherwise save your time for something else.
Uncle Willy’s Slaughterhouse
We had heard that this maze was revamped and improved on from last year and we were glad to find out that was true. The story is much more coherent this year and retains all the gore. There are also a few new scenes including a loading dock complete with freight boxes and storage units.
Dia De Los Muertos in 3D
This is one maze that a lot of people would like to see replaced. We personally agree. Although there were some cool lighting effects and a few new scenes, there just weren’t that many scares. We do give kudos for the Amazon jungle and Aztec sacrifice scene.
Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre in 3D
Uncle Bobo’s is another maze whose time has come. For the most part it was the same as last year with just as much toilet humor and silly jokes.
Virus Z (Featuring Carrie)
This maze was the same as last year. It tells the story of a small town in the 1950’s where some kind of virus has broken out. You’ll visit scenes such as the convenience store, theater and high school. This year Carrie is added to the prom scene. This is obviously an advertising gimmick for the movie coming out next year.
This maze also was the same as last year. You’re in an underground shelter after some sort of toxic spill. There were some cool scenes and a few scares, but if it comes back next year we’d like to see a few changes. Perhaps next year they can have a scene or two preceding you going underground to more fully tell the story and possibly a few new props.
The Mine Ride
This isn’t really a maze. The Mine Ride no longer allows actors in the attraction due to the CAL-OSHA regulations. However, this year the ride features the Green Witch story in which she was exiled from Timber Mountain and took refuge inside the mine. There she used her powers to have the miners do her bidding and killed the ones who didn’t. The ride is decorated with miners wearing strange masks (most of them animal themed) and props featuring skeletons and the Green Witch. They also have the spider web gimmick and the return of the floating ghosts. There’s also a cool silhouette of the Green Witch and an eerie soundtrack of her laughing the echoes through the mountain. We appreciate that Knott’s did something with this ride considering their limitations. It was actually pretty fun.
If there’s one Halloween event we look forward to every year it’s definitely Knott’s Scary Farm. Our tradition has been to go to the Pre-Scare Boo-fet, enjoy the Haunt and go to the Post-Scare breakfast. We were disappointed that they didn’t have the breakfast when we went on Sunday. We were also a little frustrated with their new policy of not taking pictures in the park with the monsters. With that said, we still really enjoyed Halloween Haunt. We realized this year that whether you go on a slow night or have a front-line pass, there’s simply too much to do. How much you enjoy it depends on what kind of person you are. If you’re the type of person who sees the glass as half-full then you’ll leave getting your money worth with all the shows and mazes being top-notch. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who sees the glass as half empty you may leave saying, “What did I miss?” That’s the reason many of the people we talked to go many times during the season. Knott’s has been around for 40 years and it will be around for at least another 40 more. It’s the one event that really gets us into the Halloween spirit. No other haunt has as much fog, as many monsters, mazes and shows, or as much tradition as Knott’s. Unfortunately, I don’t think our schedule allows us to go back again this year, but we definitely looking forward to next.