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A Haunting Experience

I can’t remember when I went to my first Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt.  An educated guess would be 1996.

The first time I went I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it be too scary? I was thrilled and apprehensive about what I was going to see there.

I think my first year I was just in awe of everything there. It felt cool that I was going to one of the most popular Halloween events in the area. My relatives and I were not just going there to be at a fun event, and get scared. We were going there to see my cousins in action as actors in the mazes. My poor aunt, who scared easily, said she would just go there to see her son. Since I’m the youngest of my cousins on my mom’s side, I was usually seen as the Tagalong Kid. I had been invited when I was 10, but my mom said it was too scary and I was too young. Working as a scare actor is sort of a family tradition. I just never took those jobs because I don’t have a driver’s license and those jobs end around 2:00 - 3:00 AM. But if and when I do have those resources available to me I’d love to audition to work there. I’m not sure if I would be good at it.

The thing that people don’t understand is that they think an admission to the park when it opens will allow you to stay all day there for the Haunt. That is not true. The regular park closes in the evening for a while to set up the Haunt. They are 2 separate events with separate admissions.

My aunt (not the easily scared one) got this special package that came with a pre-Haunt dinner. I liked that the servers wore costumes. I think our waiter was a hippie, and there was a colonial girl and a guy with a giant Taz mask. I wondered how he waited in that. It was nice to have a meal there before you got scared.

I never acted like a punk *ss kid there. If I did my relatives would have been mad at me, and would have told my parents when we got back. People liked to yell at the monsters “I saw you! You don’t scare me!” I would think that, but I never said it aloud.

Being there was a learning curve. The monsters like squeamish people no matter what they look like. Buff guys, gangsters, or twelve year old girls. They especially like to scare the “tough” looking people. For me it’s not that I’m easily afraid of haunted houses and things like that. I just startle easily in any situation, not just haunted ones. If I remember correctly, at my first Haunt I spent most the time trying to distinguish who were real and who were mannequins or animatronics. Some of the actors were good at being very still. The street monsters were good at looking for distracted people. Remember this was in the late 90's, so there were no smart phones to be distracted by.

This was back when they used a lot of shaker cans. When you walked through the maze it sounded like there was a giant cow bell in the maze. I was so dense back then. I had no idea what that mysterious noise was. The noise wasn’t scary, just confusing. 

If somebody was snarling or growling that is more effective than screaming or talking. Some of my cousins had snarling down to an art form. The smells were probably the most memorable part. It smelled awful there! It was a mix of fake fog, latex and grease paint.

I got a commemorative shirt with a scarecrow and the year on it.

Then I attended the Haunt in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001. I have never been to any other professional haunted events in the area.
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Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 27, 2014 at 03:39 AM

@pikachulover I was Goofy, The Genie, Woody, Baloo, Brer Bear, Mr. Incredible, Kronk and my favorite, the Queen of Hearts. My version of the Queen was quite a diva.

Vaporman87 Posted on Sep 26, 2014 at 05:41 PM

Yeesh. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the nude haunted house. That just sounds like a whole lotta trouble waiting to happen.

I WOULD love to see Knott's Scary Farm one year. Seems like such a cool place to visit for the season.

pikachulover Posted on Sep 26, 2014 at 05:18 AM

@Hoju Koolander At least 4 of my cousins worked there and 2 family friends. Every year they were different things. What did you dress as at Disneyland?

Actually since this article proved to be popular I'll post another Haunt one. I had enough material for 2 articles.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 09:23 PM

"...character AT Disneyland" Although a physical representation of the entire park would be a pretty awesome costume.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 09:21 PM

Knott's Scary Farm is still on my to-do list. I grew up in Orange County and even worked as a character as Disneyland, but never made it over to a Halloween Haunt. I thought your description of the smell was very helpful in imagining myself getting terrorized by ghouls for hire.

So what was your cousin dressed up as?

@vkimo Those haunted attractions sound pretty kinky, uh yeah...

vkimo Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 08:44 PM


Now that I think about it, you were only allowed to be nude through one of the haunted houses, but still.

pikachulover Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 07:12 PM

Thanks crow.

@vkimo I think I would not want to go around an amusement park naked. It seems dangerous.

vkimo Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 05:01 PM

I never grew up around any amusement parks so I never got to experience them like you did, however I'm next to 2 of them know and they seem a little twisted. Like walking around a mental hospital while people jump out and tickle you with dusters...

Heck last year there was quite an uproar because Dorney Park was having Shocktober and after midnight they had a nude event where people could walk buck naked through their haunted attractions. I don't know why someone would want to do that, it was cancelled though.

Mr Magic Posted on Sep 25, 2014 at 03:40 PM

Good story, Pika!

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