As most people who know me probably already know, I LOVE Halloween. In fact, I love all of October. I love that we get 31 days of horror movies and a reason to scare the shit out of people (though no one seems to go along with it). I love that the weather gets cooler and the rain starts to make its way over to sunny California.
Anyway, here’s a countdown of my top 5 favorite things to do here on the west coast during Halloween.
5. Halloween Party Crashing
Seriously, this is probably one of the best times to do it. If you have the right costume, you can show up just about anywhere, and as long as you don’t show your face, you won’t be asked to leave.
I’ve only done this a handful of times because, well, parties out here in California vary from small gatherings to wild college parties that I have no desire to frequent.
Also, you know, a little disclaimer, I don’t feel like being held responsible for you doing this and getting in trouble, so uh, don’t do it. If you do, uh, leave my name out of it, ‘kay?
Free (Though you might get arrested for trespassing or shot depending on where you live.)
4. Sinister Pointe
Ah, Sinister Pointe. We have a love-hate relationship, and yet it still makes my list every year. Although billed as one of the most realistic Halloween horror attractions, it doesn’t even come close to it. That doesn’t make it any less fun, but it does both me when you pay PER attraction or event.
There are two things I really like about this place that keeps me coming back for more:
The maze is interactive. The first time I went was in 2013 during Christmas. That’s right; they had a special Halloween horror Christmas themed maze setup. If that wasn’t amazing enough, the moment we stepped inside, we were locked in a room with no place to go. The only way out was for me and my guest to simultaneously press two switches. The catch? The freaking button was inside a sink drain with the disposal running! Yikes!
Now, obviously, there was no disposal unit attached to the sink to grind our hands to bits. Did that stop us from freaking the fuck out? No way, and that’s what makes this place amazing. No other place (until recently) gave the customer something interactive and terrifying to do like this, at least not in this area, anyway.
The second thing is that you go through without anyone but you and your guest(s). There’s a small line outside that waits for you and your guest to get near the end of the maze, and then they let the next group in. This makes it more immersive, and if any of you have ever been to a “haunted” attraction, you know there is nothing worse than being packed like a sardine into the maze. It’s not fun. Not even a little bit.
Now, they have what they call games or events in which they lock two people (up to four) into a room and make you figure out how to get out all the while they’re fucking with you. Sound terrifying? Well, that’s because it is.
$20 online per “event”
$23 at gate
$15 for re-entry to do it again
FREE parking (last time I was there)
3. Universal Halloween Horror Nights
I only recently started going to this place in 2014, but I enjoyed it. The monsters aren’t particularly terrifying (at most places they aren’t, so no real surprise there). The mazes are done a lot better than Sinister Pointe, but the budget is a lot better.
There are rides and plenty of themed mazes, but the one I love so far is The Walking Dead. You literally walk through a town full of Zombies trying to eat your ass. Not in that porny kind of way, either. Like, full on brain eating amoeba style… except much more horrific.
It might be a little on the expensive side, especially if you don’t buy the tickets online in advance. However, if you like Halloween attractions, this is one place you don’t want to skip.
$60 – $80 online
$85 at the gate
Front of Line Tickets Extra
It’s Disneyland. Depending on who you are, the scariest thing here could either be the ghosts of all those who died at the park wandering the streets or getting trapped on Cinderella’s Castle listening to It’s A Small World for an hour (that actually happened to me and it was terrifying!). For me, there’s nothing really all that scary there (except Cinderella’s Castle), but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one hell of a place to visit for Halloween/Christmas. Why? Because Nightmare Before Christmas.
I fell in love with NBC the first time I saw it. Being a lover of music and all things horror, this one took me away. Oingo Boingo lead Danny Elfman rocked the score with his imaginative and original talents while backed by Henry Selicks wonderful vision of Tim Burton’s characters. The adaptation of this story in Disneyland isn’t as wonderful as the movie, but it comes pretty damn close.
What else is there? Well, the entire Disneyland experience. You have rides and shows. The usual stuff. If you’ve never been, it’s worth going for the entire package, not just the NBC adaptation. If you’ve been, then you already know it’s worth the visit at least once a year for Halloween.
Expensive as fuck, and you still pay for parking. (unless you’re from California, then you get a discount AND you don’t have to pay for a hotel.)
1. Knott’s Scary Farm (Halloween Haunt)
Knott’s. This place is great for only one reason, it’s cheesy as hell. Why is this a good thing? Because it has a nostalgic feel to it in so many ways. I’m 33 going on 100. I remember what horror movies were like in the 80s and 90s. That cheesy romp through fake blood and shitty acting found a place at KSF. Add to that the carnival-like feel along with the theme-park centric atmosphere, and you have yourself one fun night.
There’s also the relatively new Skeleton Key, which gives you a level of interaction that isn’t quite as involved as the one from Sinister Pointe, but there’s more of them and it’s still fun as hell. It costs additional to get your key pass, but it’s worth it at least once, and you get full access the entire night to all the Skeleton Key rooms.
$39+ (again, buy online folks NOT at the gate)
$70 additional for front of the line access and skeleton key
Well, that’s it for now. I have a lot of stuff to post this Halloween, so be ready. In the meantime, where do you live and what’s your favorite thing to do in your area?