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Kings Island Halloween Haunt (Mason, OH)
"Grown Men In Spandex Suits"
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com

In 2000 Fear Fest debuted and was such a big hit that Kings Island decided to bring it back. For 6 years it would be known as Fear Fest until Cedar Fairs purchased Paramount Parks in 2006. In 2007 Fear Fest changed its name and became Halloween Haunt. Over the years many haunts at Kings Island have come and gone. Trail of Terror, Death Row, Route 666 and many others have either undergone name changes or been completely removed. Rides and shows like Ghouls Gone Wild, Friday The 13th and Elvira's Superstition are also no longer at the park, but the main focus of Kings Island has stayed the same and that's to bring lots of entertainment in one place at a low price.

If you want to take a ride on Drop Zone, you're welcome to because all 20 rides available at Kings Island are open during the night time hours at Halloween Haunt. If you want add a little fear to your fall season, then check out any of the 13 haunted attractions at the park. But if rides or scary attractions don't suit you, then sit down and enjoy the popular show Hot Blooded.

The park opened at 7 PM and we luckily had our map with directions to all the different attractions. The first haunt we would tour would be Carnevil. This is the only clown themed haunt that Kings Island has ever had and one of the original haunts at the park. It was once called Circus of Horrors 3D and has stood the test of time. One thing I noticed right away was that we weren't handed 3D glasses like in years past. A lot of the haunt has 3D elements and the glasses would have really made the attraction come alive. Without the glasses it's still a fun haunt. You'll enter rooms where clowns are held prisoners. You'll experience clowns attacking you from the sides of a wall, a mind bending vortex tunnel and many many clowns that infest Carnevil. It's a fun haunt, but very short. We were out in under 5 minutes and we're left disapointed.

The map helped us a little as we walked through the park, but we kept getting lost in the fog and had to navigate around people so we didn't get knocked into. The next attraction we found was Tombstone Terror-Tory. This has always been one of my least favorite haunts mostly because you have to wait in line to enter the train and after you are dropped off, you have to wait in another line. Thankfully we had out Fright Lane Pass which allowed us to skip the line for the train, but we couldn't find any staff members when we were dropped off. So, we had to wait a little even though we had a Fright Lane Pass.

The train ride is my favorite part of this haunt. The conductor tells the haunting story of Tombstone Terror-Tory before the train mysteriously breaks down. After that you're on your own. From there you'll navigate through a maze of crates as actors dressed in western gear pop out and try to scare you. Nothing has drastically changed about this haunt and honestly the best part is the lighting that is used throughout. Lighting can really bring a scene to life and this is the case with Tombstone Terror-Tory. Many scenes that lack walls look great as red lighting illuminates the fog. It's quite mysterious and spooky. This haunt used to be called Headless Hollow and focused on the Headless Horseman, but it hasn't changed much since its debut in 2006. I would save Tombstone Terror-tory for last. The wait in both lines can be long and you'll need that precious time if you don't purchase a Fright Lane Pass.

After we exited the haunt, we decided to take a small break and check out the rides. Kings Island has just about everything you could imagine from the 301 foot Windseeker to the heart pounding Drop Tower. I've never been a huge fan of amusement park rides, but I at least rode The Scrambler which was very similar to the version at Coney Island. It was very fast and brought back memories of when things were easier in life and there wasn't so much stress. Well, that's enough about me. You want to hear more about Halloween Haunt.

The newest attraction for Halloween Haunt is Mysteria. I didn't really know what to expect, but I was still interested. Kings Island called it "A New Dimension Where Nothing Is As It Appears". You could say that again. When we first got in line a man with a white spandex body suit walked up to us. I honestly was a little grossed out and not in a good way. But it really got weird when I actually entered the haunt. Imagine grown adults and teenagers dressed in spandex body suits getting lasers shot at them as they try to blend in with their surroundings. I guess the actors were wearing spandex body suits because they were supposed to resemble shadows, but who really knows. All I know is that I'm still freaked out over this attraction and I'm unsure as to why it was ever created.

The haunts so far weren't too bad. They were short, but still enjoyable. The next haunt on our list was the outdoor maze Corn Stalkers. Ever since Cedar Fairs bought Paramount, they have added more outdoor mazes and Cornstalkers has been at the park for many years. Cornstalkers is basically a large maze full of actors in ghillie suits and other characters that resemble scarecrows. It's a short maze and doesn't have many scenes at all. The majority of actors either grunt or growl as you try to escape.

The next haunt on our agenda is Club Blood. Ever since it's debut in 2007, it's become the most controversial haunt at Kings Island. This year it's not as extreme as it used to be, but it's still pretty extreme compared to the rest of the attractions at the park. You'll enter a night club infested with vampires and the undead. They want blood and you are the supplier. Scantily clad women dance in cages, a loud motorcylce is reved up and a woman tries to sell you her baby. Drug refrences have been toned down a bit and there are less women dancing in go go cages and on polls. This has always been a popular attraction with men for obvious reasons. It's not really scary, but it's sure eye catching. If you're headed out to Cedar Point make sure to check out Hallow Weekends version of Club Blood. It's a gothic take on the provocative haunt.

The night was still young and we had a lot more attractions to tour. The new Holiday Horrors was the next haunt we found and I was pleasantly surprised. I was expecting this to be pretty cheesy, but it was pretty creative. You'll enter different scenes that are themed around the holidays. What other attraction have you been to that has a killer Peter Cotton Tale where a woman with a painted on smile warns you of this demonic bunny? Other scenes include a great Halloween room featuring a cackling witch and Michael Myers himself. You'll also wonder into a Fourth of July area with fireworks and a big boom. Every holiday you could imagine has a home at Holiday Horrors. Some are executed well while others like the St Patricks Day room with an irish bar tender just fall flat. I enjoyed the small details like the song Calendar Girl playing as you wait in line, but this just isn't a very scary attraction. If it was longer, it might be worth the wait in line.

We decided to take a small break and to give our self a small rest before touring the rest of the attractions. It's quite amazing how crazy Halloween Haunt gets late at night. You've got your gallons of fog covering the park while costumed characters can be seen roaming around Kings Island in search of the next person to scare. I always enjoy the actors who wear what is known as sliders. When you least expect it, they come from behind as they slide on kneepads before their inches away from you. This method of scaring people was adapted from Knott's Berry Farm, America's first themepark.

We had been at the park for less than 2 hours and we were able to get through more than half of what Halloween Haunt had to offer in the way of haunts. The haunts were decent, but I just wish they were a bit longer. Some lasted less than 5 minutes. The next haunt on our map was Wolf Pack. This haunt debuted in 2010 and became Halloween Haunt's first werewolf themed haunt. The creators were trying to simulate a haunted forest indoors, but many of its walls are painted black which can be a little distracting and looks a little cheap. You'll venture through a graveyard, a junkyard, a haunted forest and more. Most of the monsters are werewolfs and there are a few surprising animatronics you'll encounter. Wolf Pack has the best sound design of any of the haunts Kings Island offers. But like many of the haunts, it's just not long enough. It's still one of the better haunts at the park though.

Your night can't be complete without a pirate themed haunt and that's exactly what Kings Island has. It's called Cut Throat Cove and has called Kings Island home since 2007. At the time it was called Red Beard's Revenge and over the years not much has changed except for its name. You'll venture through a maze of wine cellars, barrels and various scenes involving undead pirates wanting a little booty. Ok, that didn't sound right. This attraction will appeal to fans of the Pirates of Caribbean movies.

There was still plenty of time to spare since we had only been at the park for about 2 hours. So we decided to head on over to Slaughter House. I love the smell of rotting cow in the morning and one of the main highlights of this haunt years ago used to be its realistic scents. Unfortunately the makers have cut way down on the element of smell which added to the realism of the haunt. This is still one of the better haunts at Kings Island with its sick and twisted rooms full of slaughtered animals, bloody bits and pieces, sounds of slaughtered livestock and more. You'll feel like you're in a butcher's sick nightmare as you walk through a gory kitchen, a butcher shop, meat locker and more. As you exit, you'll travel through a large claustrophobia tunnel. Sadly, there was a huge gaping hole at the end of the tunnel which made the experience less intense since it wasn't a very tight squeeze. Hopefully it's repaired in the near future.

The last two haunts we had on our list were Urgent Scare and Massacre Manor. Massacre Manor is always one of my favorite haunts at Kings Island. It's detailed, creative and one of the longer haunts at the park. Luckily we had our Fast Lane Pass around our necks and all we had to do was locate the green spider to bypass the long line. It was crowded for Massacre Manor and we were looking forward to seeing some of the new changes. There weren't many.

The basic premise is that there's a haunted house on sale and you're given a tour. Emily is one of the undead who roams the halls of Massacre Manor in search of her next victim. Massacre Manor doesn't incorporate this character into the haunt as much as they used to and its storyline doesn't really connect with customers. Nothing has changed that much except for the end where you'll enter huge rooms full of huge amounts of fog. There was so much fog that I had to touch the person in front of me so I wouldn't run into a wall and get hurt. I enjoy fog, but there was way too much in Massacre Manor where I could hear people coughing and others were irritated to say the least. I honestly feel that the huge amount of fog was replacing scenes and it was a substitution at best. I think Massacre Manor has the potential to be a great haunt, but it needs to be longer and have more scenes.

It wasn't even 11 o' clock and we still had plenty of time before the park closed at 1 am. Thank God we had a Fast Lane pass to bypass the lines. We even had the choice to walk by ourselves or with a group. It doesn't get much better than that. We didn't have much left to tour. There was Urgent Scare and Nightmare Alley. So, once again we took a small break to check out the rides. The coolest ride at Kings Island has to be Wind Seeker. You're slowly lifted up in the air before you realise that you're 310 feet up in the sky as the ride flashes off and on with beautiful colors. It's pretty cool. I didn't have the nerve to take a ride, so we were once again off to check out the ghostly attractions.

Next on our list was Urgent Scare. This attraction debuted in 2008 and featured many gory props from the Company Unit 70 Studios. This year not too much has changed. I didn't seen any characters outside interacting with customers and the haunt itself is shorter than in years past. It's pretty intense walking through a bloody hospital with infected monsters and suffering victims. You'll walk through an x ray examining room, a security control office, the ER, various hospital rooms and more.

A new outdoor scare zone has been added to Halloween Haunt this year and it's called Nightmare Alley. It's not technically an attraction. It's mostly a strip of Kings Island that's been designated for various monsters to roam around and scare the living daylights out of you. After you are done getting the boots scared off you, make sure to head on down to the Kings Island Festaus for a little Midget Wrestling known as Half Print Brawlers. It's bloody, fun and downright humorous. So far we were having a blast at Halloween Haunt and the only thing left to do was to sit back and enjoy the stage show known as Hot Blooded.

We had only 10 minutes until Hot Blooded started and the race was on to find the amphitheater. For me, Hot Blooded is always the highlight of Halloween Haunt. It's a great show with incredible music, hot chicks, dancing and gore. What else could you ask for from a show? This close to 30 minute extravaganza features songs like Magic Man, The Final Countdown, Break on Through and countless other songs that go great with the simple story line. I wish there were more shows like this at Kings Island and less emphasis on the outdoor mazes. There are plenty of performances of Hot Blooded with the latest at 12:00.

It wasn't even 12 am and we were done with everything at Halloween Haunt. The haunts were fun while they lasted, but could be much better if they were longer. I strongly suggest that you show up at the park early since you'll have a near impossible time finding a close parking spot. Also, be sure to purchase a Fright Lane pass for $10 additional dollars so you don't have to wait in line. If you purchase a regular ticket, there's a good change you won't have enough time for some of the attractions. Overall Halloween Haunt is a great value with lots of thrilling rides and heart pounding haunts. Please visit www.visitkingsiland.com for details on ticketing, hours, dates and more.

Halloween Haunt is ranked differently than your typical attraction. Each haunt averages around 5 minutes with the exception of Tombstone Terror-Tory which is around 14 minutes and the other attractions like Hot Blooded and Half Pint Brawlers which are closer to 30 minutes. Your total experience at Halloween Haunt is under 2 hours if you don't include the rides, the walking and wait in line. This is the reason why length is rated so low. A person who doesn't purchase a Fright Lane Pass will most likely not be able to go through each haunt in one night. Acting is about the same for each attraction except for Mysteria which includes actors that barely talk or do much.

Length-6  Design-7  Props/Animatronics-7  Acting-8  Scare Effect-7

Final Stab: 7.0

http://www.visitkingsisland.com