Ghouls and other creatures will take over Kings Island, the Cincinnati-area amusement park famous for their wooden coaster The Beast, each Friday and Saturday night through Oct. 27 during the park’s annual Halloween Haunt. The event features nine mazes, three live shows, and four scare zones that are sure to get you in the spooky spirit.
The event opened for its 2018 season Friday, Sept. 21 with two new scare zones, a new indoor maze and a new live show, but Capital students will get the chance to experience the Haunt for themselves this Saturday, Oct. 6 during a trip organized by Activity Management and Programming (AMP). I visited the park last weekend to see what’s in store for students who decide to tag along.
Because it was a nice day and it was only the second weekend of the event, lines to get into the park and attractions such as popular coasters and Haunt mazes were long, some over an hour. However, less popular attractions, such as the Adventure Express coaster, sometimes had wait times of less than 20 minutes.
Due to the wait times for the mazes and coasters and the amount of walking involved, we weren’t able to go through all of the mazes or see all of the live shows, but we were able to walk through all of the scare zones, which were probably some of my favorite parts of the event.
Scare zones are walk-through areas of the park that have themes and costumed characters that try to scare visitors as they’re on their way to coasters or other attractions; it’s one way the park tries to keep you on your toes outside of the Haunt mazes. This year’s scare zones were called Wasteland, Dance of the Macabre, Coney Maul, and Pumpkin Eater. Each of the zones had its own story and featured various unsettling creatures—everything from murderous clowns in Coney Maul to victims of toxic sludge in Wasteland.
My favorite of the bunch was definitely Pumpkin Eater, one of the two new scare zones for this year’s Haunt. The theming in this area of the park was incredible: garlands of giant pumpkin guts and seeds hung from the trees like Spanish moss, strings of glowing jack-o-lanterns above the walkway gave the area an orange hue, and what seemed like hundreds of real pumpkins were also used as decorations. At night, creepy beings with pumpkins for heads and bloodied pilgrims lurk in the shadows to give passersby a scare.
Out of the nine outdoor mazes available at this year’s Haunt, I was only able to make it through three: KillMart, an apocalyptic shopping center with undead beings lurking in the aisles; Urgent Scare, a creepy hospital; and Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror, a wax figure museum with sinister beginnings.
All three mazes were worth the wait and gave me a pretty good scare, but they weren’t too scary either, and they had a little bit of something for everyone. If scary stuff isn’t your thing, many of Kings Island’s most popular rides, such as Mystic Timbers, The Beast, and Diamondback, are also open during the Haunt.
Students interested in attending the AMP trip to Kings Island this Saturday can purchase tickets online for $20. According to Tori Cox, AMP’s executive director, the group will be meeting at 11:45 a.m. in the student union to check everyone in. Cox said the group plans to leave on a charter bus for Kings Island at noon and return to campus around midnight. Students who have a Kings Island season pass can reserve a spot on the bus by emailing email@example.com.