Kings Island hopes to frighten and a-‘maze’ visitors

Kings Island hopes to frighten and a-'maze' visitors

Kings Island offers a frighteningly special experience during October.

By Kristina Fothergill, Staff Writer

As the leaves begin to change and the smell of bonfires fill the air, summer is ushered out, followed by autumn and perhaps most importantly, Halloween. It’s a time filled with haunted mazes or trail rides, and yes, haunted mansions, too.

At Kings Island, however, the traditional haunted mansion is only the beginning of the spookiness and horror that thrill-seekers going to Halloween Haunt so enjoy.

Each fall, hundreds of people visit Kings Island in search of eerie shows and frightening attractions at Halloween Haunt (formerly known as Fear Fest). Part of the park undergoes a metamorphosis and a new haunted section emerges.

The fear-filled atmosphere of Halloween Haunt is hardly conducive for those under 13, but the park does welcome families during the day for normal park rides before 7 p.m. Once nighttime comes upon the park, however, the once seemingly benign environment gives way to a variety of haunted attractions. These include indoor mazes like Carnevil (where the dream of joining the circus turns into awful nightmares) and the newly added Mysteria (where nothing is what it appears to be), as well as thrill-filled shows like Hot Blooded or Half Pint Brawlers.

The park also goes all out with its special effects, making sure that the atmosphere is as spooky as possible. “I remember there being lots of fog, so much fog at times, you couldn’t see what was coming,” said Kevin Johnson, a 2010 Fairmont graduate.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity to scare their guests, park employees also lurk about throughout the park. “I saw people hiding behind benches and in the woods by the Racer, just waiting to scare people,” said senior Edward Fleitz, who went to Halloween Haunt last autumn.

Those who have gone in the past, however, shouldn’t be expecting all the same attractions this year. The park has made an effort to diversify its horror-filled rides.

One new attraction is Nightmare Alley, a haunted outdoor maze filled with foggy twists and turns with Kings Island staff members, dressed up as haunted creatures, waiting behind every shadow. Another new addition to the park is Holiday Horror in which visitors’ favorite holidays are transformed, turning them into fearsome and horrific scenes. “The mazes were always set up really nicely with their themes,” said Megan Weyrauch, another 2010 Fairmont graduate. “Park officials really went all out.”

Despite the eerie transformation of the park, the regular rides are still open for visitors’ enjoyment. Although many go to Halloween Haunt for the fear, they may still enjoy taking a ride on the more traditional rides. “I liked how Kings Island left their roller coasters open during the event,” said Johnson. “It was fun to ride them at night.”

Halloween Haunt isn’t all about the fear, though. At the heart of it, it’s still just an addition to an amusement park, meant for fun. “It was great because I hate scary things, but this didn’t bother me much,” said Weyrauch. “Overall, it was fun and was just a really good bonding experience.”

Amusement park fans can buy their tickets for Halloween Haunt online. Tickets for Friday nights (7 p.m. to 1 a.m.) in October are $24.99, and tickets for all day on Saturdays (11 a.m. to 1 a.m.) are $29.99.