Ghouls, vampires, and creepy clowns are discussing their best scares in a fog-filled plaza. No, this isn’t your worst nightmare, but a scene of screamsters (volunteers and actors hired by Worlds of Fun for Halloween Haunt) at Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun. From mid-September to October 30th, the park constructs 14 different haunted houses, decorates the park, and sets up “scare zones” around the park. The haunted houses are the main attraction of Halloween Haunt. Stationed throughout the park, they bring their own unique theme to the table.
From my time at Halloween Haunt, three of the houses clearly stood out as winners: Cornstalkers, Blood on the Bayou, and Bloodshed. The ranking of these houses and scare zones are based on a few key factors: design, level of gore, and types of scares. The ranking system is on a scale of one to 10 pumpkins.
In third place: Cornstalkers.This haunted house is a bit different than a traditional haunted house, as it is completely outside. With jump scares galore, this haunted house uses the lack of natural light to hide the actors in plain sight. The use of real corn stalks to create a maze with wide and tight spots gives the visitors an extra scare as they don’t know what will be right around the corner. Design outside of the maze was lacking and could have added some different types of scares instead of relying on jump scares for the majority of the screams. Six out of 10 pumpkins.
In second place: Blood on the Bayou. This house uses its southern charm to lure you in but provides some of the best scares in the park. The house uses shocking scenes of humanity’s worst thoughts, along with angry alligators and snakes from the swamps. The house had some interesting screamsters, as they talked with the visitors about the gore of the house and what they would do to them. What brought the house’s score down were some of the miss-timed animatronics and empty spots inside the house. Eight out of 10 pumpkins.
Finally, your winner: Bloodshed. The theme from this house arises from a hunting camp gone wrong. What sets this house apart is their use of different scaring tactics. It uses jump scares, gore, and screamsters talking to the visitors to give the individual a different kind of scare every time. The design team did a great job with this house, as they used real deer head mounts on the wall, but covered them in a reasonable amount of gore to make it realistic. 10 out of 10 pumpkins.
The haunted houses aren’t the only thing Halloween Haunt has to offer. Scare zones have been added over time to keep the fear alive and well in the visitors. These scare zones include The Boneyard, a zombie paradise; Carnevil, creepy killer clowns; and Outlaws Revenge, haunted cowboys. The three zones are spread out between the haunted houses and rides to catch visitors off guard, including me. Each area made use of several fog machines to hide their screamsters until they were ready to pounce. What brought the scare zones down was the fact that they were small in size. Had they been larger in size, they would have received a higher score. Six out of 10 pumpkins.
In review, Halloween Haunt at Worlds of Fun is an exciting time for those who dare to enter the park. It brought a new face to the amusement park I had visited as a child and opened itself to a new audience of horror fanatics while maintaining true to its core of thrill seekers. A perfect way to welcome in the Halloween season.