As guests entered Knott’s Scary Farm 30 minutes before its official opening on Sept. 24, monsters in the first section of the theme park immediately terrorized them. The “talent” interacted by scaring unaware attendees, joking alongside them and getting the crowd hyped up for the rest of the night.
This is the 43rd consecutive year of Knott’s Scary Farm and features eight mazes, four key scare zones and two live shows. Sean Williamson, head security at Knott’s Berry Farm, said the turnout has improved over the years because of the production and time put into the event.
“We are very proud of our show,” Williamson said. He has been coming to Knott’s Scary Farm since he was 18-years-old and said throughout the years it has gotten much better.
Starting in 1973, Knott’s Berry Farm decided to create a Halloween-themed event for guests. Back then, ticket prices were $4 in advance, $4.75 the day of the event. By the following year, Halloween Haunt became a hit and sold out with over 22,000 guests each night.
In the late ‘70s through the early ‘80s, Knott’s even went so far as to use live rats and snakes in some of the mazes. Knott’s also hired Seymour, Wolfman Jack, Weird Al Yankovic, the Crypt Keeper, and Elvira to host featured shows and dance parties throughout the years.
This year, with over 1,000 monsters at the door and the return of one of the most well known Halloween and horror movie hosts Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, guests will get a sense for how much Knott’s Scary Farm has grown.
Elvira’s show features dancing, pop culture jokes and twists on hit-songs such as “Hey Mama” by David Guetta and “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. The Hanging, a live stunt-show, also returns for another year.
“I am most excited for Elvira’s show,” said 21-year-old returning guest, Miranda Ortega. Ortega has been coming to Knott’s Scary Farm since she was about 13 years old.
Other returning hit-attractions include Special Ops: Infected, an interactive maze guests can enlist to fight the zombie outbreak using laser guns and teamwork. Due to the time it takes for guests to walk through the entire maze, the theme park issued select reservation times at the beginning of the night.
New mazes added to Knott’s Scary Farm include Dead of Winter, Paranormal Inc.: a faux live television viewing as paranormal investigators visit the Hayden Hill Sanitarium; and My Bloody Clementine: featured in the mine ride.
Many attendees and employees were excited about the new Paranormal Inc. maze. Set designers said it took two to three months to build the Paranormal Inc. maze, and the creator, Jon Cooke, started planning for the maze immediately after last year’s event ended in November.
“I’ve been working haunted attractions for over a decade and been a fan of them even longer,” said Michael Beggs, one of the monsters. “I can without a doubt say that after walking through Paranormal Inc. one time it is my new favorite attraction at Knott’s or anywhere else for that matter.”
Returning mazes include Voodoo: Order of the Serpent, Tooth Fairy, Trick or Treat, The Gunslinger’s Grave, Pinocchio Unstrung, Forevermore, and Black Magic.
Knott’s Scary Farm is open from September 24 to October 31 on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets are $69.