For us Europeans, Halloween is a relatively new attraction. It simply did not exist in our parts until a couple of years ago. We used to celebrate All Saints, which is on November 1st and is a catholic feast.
But with the influx of American TV-shows, more and more children got familiar with the Halloween happenings and events are taking place all around Europe now. Hey, I’ve even written a collection of short stories especially for Halloween (to be published in October 2009).
So you can just imagine what it must be like in the country of origin. I once visited New York City at the end of October, and could watch the Halloween Parade (well, I must admit it looked more like a carnival at home, but who am I?) there. I suppose I’d be more attracted to visit a haunted house or a ghostly attraction.
Of the latter, there are a couple of places worth visiting. Later this month (March 27th) two new attractions will open in Columbia, Missouri. They are the Fear Fest and the Necropolis and they will open their doors for the 2009 Haunt Show in St. Louis. You can visit both attractions for one price. Go to www.fearfesthauntedhouse.com for more information.
In California, Knott’s Berry Farm (Buena Park) closes in October at 5.30 pm and reopens at 7 pm as a ‘living horror movie’. Along the highlights are twelve walk-through mazes and four scare zones, where monsters roam free. Attention: these attractions are not suitable for children under the age of thirteen. More info at www.knotts.com
In Florida, you can choose between the Howl-O-Scream experience in Tampa (six live-action haunted houses, five scare zones, two themed musical shows and nighttime thrill rides) or Halloween Horror Nights in the Universal Studios in Orlando. The “Sweet 16” party gives away cake and balloons to resurrected horror-makers from old times, and also has seven classic haunted houses. Again, these two attractions are not suitable for young children. Info at www.noone2trust.com and www.universalorlando.com
In Pennsylvania, you can go to the Phantom Fright Nights in Kennywood Amusement Park (West Miffin), open on Friday and Saturday nights through October 28th). It’s a family orientated park near Pittsburgh that changes for Halloween into an attraction with three haunted mazes and a haunted midway. Not suitable for children under the age of thirteen. Info at www.phantomfrightnights.com
Billed as ‘the largest Halloween party in the Northeast’, the Fright Fest in Six Flags (Jackson, New Jersey) has a family by day, fright by night approach. They do have a creep-o-meter, to determine which shows are good for kids. At least one attraction with a heart for kids! More info at www.sixflags.com/parks/greatadventure
A couple of haunted houses around the country, are also worth a visit. They include:
- Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, Georgia
- 13th Gate Haunted House in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- The Bates Motel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- The Darkness in St. Louis, Missouri
- 7 Floors of Hell in Cleveland, Ohio