In October of 2000, Kings Island debuted Fear Fest. During Fear Fest, the park transformed at night to include several haunted houses, fog and roaming “monsters” throughout the park. Some of the park`s scariest rides were also open. The event was not free with park admission or to season pass holders. However, season pass holders did receive a reduced admission fee into Fear Fest. Fear Fest ran from 8pm to 1am on Fridays and Saturdays in October. After the first successful season, the park brought Fear Fest back in 2001, again with a separate admission fee. Fear Fest was on its ways to becoming a seasonal tradition every October at Kings Island.
However, in 2003, the park decided to make some changes to Fear Fest. The first thing they changed was the admission. No longer did people in the park have to buy a ticket to get into Fear Fest. Additionally, season pass holders were able to visit Fear Fest for free. Because of this change and additional families in the park, the park toned down the in-park theming for Fear Fest, although the theming of the actual haunted houses remained unchanged. As a result of the increase in families, the park included activities for kids. They made the train ride into the Pumpkin Patch Express, in which the train stopped at a pumpkin patch and then again at the picnic grove, which was home to various activities, including a talking pumpkin. The haunted Houses the park had in 2003, were the same ones the park has used since the 2001 Fear Fest. They were: Circus of Horrors 3D, the improved Curse of the Crypt, Maze of Madness, Psycho Path, and House of Darkness. Additionally, in 2003, the park transformed the Antique Cars into a drive through a haunted forest known as Route 666.
2004 brought some more changes to Fear Fest. Just like in 2003, Fear Fest was free with general admission and season pass holders. However, because the Antique Cars were no longer in the park, Route 666 did not return for a second season. Instead, the park introduced a new walk through maze known as Sleepy Hollow Horror. Additionally, the park introduced a Friday the 13th movie in the Paramount Theater. The final change to FearFest 2004, is that Elvira`s Superstition did not return to the Paramount Action FX Theater. Elvira had shown in the theater every Fear Fest since 2001. Instead, the theater showed Dracula`s Haunted Castle, complete with some working Phantom Theater animatronics outside by the line.
In 2005, Kings Island introduced new scares to the FearFest line up. Rivertown was transformed into a scare zone known as The Curse of Sleepy Hollow. In that area was the haunt known as CornSTALKERS, where guests wander through the ruins of the Van Tessel farmhouse. Also in the Sleepy Hollow Horror area was Headless Hollow, the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad transformed into a haunt. Also new in 2005, was RL Stine`s Fear Street, which replaced House of Darkness. Also new was Funhouse Express in the Paramount Action FX Theater. Returning from 2004`s FearFest was Psycho Path, Circus of Horrors 3D, Maze of Madness, Massacre Manor (the Curse of Sleepy Hollow Horror from 2004) Friday the 13th in the Paramount Theater and Elvira`s Superstition in the Parmount Action FX Theater. The only attraction that did not return was Curse of the Crypt. In 2005, FearFest was held on Friday and Saturday evenings in October, and once again included free with park admission. For the family friendly side, the park introduced Nick-Or-Treat on Saturdays and Sundays, featuring past favorites like the Pumpkin Patch Express.
In 2006, the former House of Darkness and R.L. Stine`s Fear Street was renamed Massacre Manor. The former Massacre Manor that was housed in a tent behind the Eiffel Tower was discontinued. Instead, a new haunt Cowboy Carnage was developed for the Rivertown Mining Co. building. Also, Maze of Madness was renamed the Asylum. Also back for this year`s FearFest are Psycho Path, Headless Hollow and Circus of Horrors (which moved from the Festhaus into the old Enchanted Theater). The park has added two new FearZone`s for the seventh annual FearFest, The Worksite in Coney Mall, and Holiday Horror, featuring props from the now defunct WinterFest. Also, new live show offerings include Heckle and Howl next to Starbucks on International Street (utilizing the stage from Scrooge`s house at Winterfest) and the Monster Bash show in the Paramount Theater.