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Halloween Haunt Reviews for 2022


brenthodge
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haven't been yet this year, so I'm just going on pics and reviews, but it seems MUCH less focussed this year. I was impressed that in 2019 we started seeing some "overall thematic integration" with International street being Dia de los Muerta decor with Drums of the Dead set tying into that. It felt like when they launched trick and treats the next year they missed the opportunity to integrate it even more with things like moving "Shipwrcked" by Viking Fury and having the pirate themed trick or treat station there along with the pirate "game show" to develop a whole integrated pirate area. 

Pumpkin eater flowed great into RiverTown Reaping which really seemed like the start of developing a whole story arc for that area. Then that theme was abandoned the next year (maybe because of pandemic overtones, but I don't think many people even understood what the masked guys were supposed to be other than scary)

The zombie scare zone outside of KillMart made sense as it was "world building" that brought an indoor maze to life in a bigger way. It seemed like they could've even brought that out into the Antique Autos with zombies along the path at night. 

With the exception of the alien scare zone outside of CHAOS this year, it seems like they've abandoned all of the strides they were making to have wholly themed and integrated areas that used the rides, buildings and existing area theme to tell a great story indoors and outdoors. They had the potential to tell that story during the day in a less scary way, then transition to a more intense version of the story as the day unfolds in each themed area. This year it just seems all over the place and random. Maybe theres an operational reason I'm not seeing having not been, but it seems way less impressive this time around. 

I'd honestly rather they go back to charging a separate admission for HAUNT - have Tricks and Treats be the "included" option -  and give us a great experience like Knotts instead of the continually lessening experience KI seems to get. Wonder why they don't "rotate" some of Knotts HAUNT attractions as they retire them to other parks.

https://www.micechat.com/327156-knotts-scary-farm-2022-guide/

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3 hours ago, brenthodge said:

haven't been yet this year, so I'm just going on pics and reviews, but it seems MUCH less focussed this year. I was impressed that in 2019 we started seeing some "overall thematic integration" with International street being Dia de los Muerta decor with Drums of the Dead set tying into that. It felt like when they launched trick and treats the next year they missed the opportunity to integrate it even more with things like moving "Shipwrcked" by Viking Fury and having the pirate themed trick or treat station there along with the pirate "game show" to develop a whole integrated pirate area. 

Pumpkin eater flowed great into RiverTown Reaping which really seemed like the start of developing a whole story arc for that area. Then that theme was abandoned the next year (maybe because of pandemic overtones, but I don't think many people even understood what the masked guys were supposed to be other than scary)

The zombie scare zone outside of KillMart made sense as it was "world building" that brought an indoor maze to life in a bigger way. It seemed like they could've even brought that out into the Antique Autos with zombies along the path at night. 

With the exception of the alien scare zone outside of CHAOS this year, it seems like they've abandoned all of the strides they were making to have wholly themed and integrated areas that used the rides, buildings and existing area theme to tell a great story indoors and outdoors. They had the potential to tell that story during the day in a less scary way, then transition to a more intense version of the story as the day unfolds in each themed area. This year it just seems all over the place and random. Maybe theres an operational reason I'm not seeing having not been, but it seems way less impressive this time around. 

I'd honestly rather they go back to charging a separate admission for HAUNT - have Tricks and Treats be the "included" option -  and give us a great experience like Knotts instead of the continually lessening experience KI seems to get. Wonder why they don't "rotate" some of Knotts HAUNT attractions as they retire them to other parks.

https://www.micechat.com/327156-knotts-scary-farm-2022-guide/

 

I suspect that when you do actually attend, your opinion on the event based on photos and reviews will change....for the worse....

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Went to Haunt Opening Night last night and was extremely let-down. What once was a well-themed and well-executed Haunt has slowly become a vague, almost thrown-together event.

Honestly, this year seemed that it could've taken one week to put everything together. The decor is sparse this year. It used to feel like there was decor and theming around every corner and this year, it doesn't. There is barely any fog, lots of untouched spaces, and lots of random lighting features.

There are six mazes. In year's past, there used to be over 7/8 mazes and scare zones. They took away mazes/zones and you can definitely tell. We went through three mazes last night and it is the same old same old. The new maze, Hotel St. Michelle, was well-done but it seems they used a bunch of old props/items from old houses and tried to make a cohesive idea come to life.

The scare zones had just a few actors, not a lot of fog, and just lacked the charm/personality of years past. Don't even get me started about "AlienX". This scare zone had people dressed in silver bodysuits with lizard face painting. The mom in front of us said "are these alien pimps?" It was.....something.

The shows were entertaining but not outstanding. Nytewalkers has so much going on during the show that you can't even focus on what is going on. The dancing went from show choir moves to a bit more "suggestive" but when you've seen all the Cirque shows and other All Wheels Shows, this is just another show with the same stunts you've seen in those shows. 

Leaving last night, we discussed as a group that they need to drop the word "Haunt" and just have Haunt be a part of Kings Island at night. It didn't even feel like a Halloween event honestly. Back in the day, Haunt and Fear Fest were really special...there was a special charm/environment/mood that is severely lacking this year. The intense fog, cheeky music throughout the park, an abundance of decor and theming....none of this is here this year. It seems like Cedar Fair Corporate is trying to take this event and make it a more "corporate" event and it just doesn't work.

Bring back the fun and the excitement. 

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1 hour ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

Is Halloween Haunt really that bad this year?

Personally, I didn't think it was too bad. Mainly just without scare zone back by The Vortex plot, felt a little dead crossing between Coney Maul and Rivertown Reaping. Also I totally understand it's the first weekend, but the fog really needs to be turned up a notch. Maybe it was the wind, but the fog seemed mostly non-existent in the graveyard area, as well as other areas in the park. I hope as we get further into the season, things will continue to be tweaked. But overall, new maze was decent. Would love to see a pattern start of a new maze revamped each year, maybe with a revamped club blood or wolf pack coming back next tear.

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2 hours ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

Is Halloween Haunt really that bad this year?

Everyone has an opinion and the opinions range from voted best Halloween Event to this season was worse than the offering last year...to everywhere in between.  Certainly getting a fair amount of poor reviews on social media...

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4 hours ago, disco2000 said:

 

I suspect that when you do actually attend, your opinion on the event based on photos and reviews will change....for the worse....

That’s what I fear. I almost feel like they are setting this up to go out with a whimper by having a lackluster year, getting poor reviews and ho hum attendance so they can “try a new type of event” next season and not outright cancel it, but blame it on an “overall lackluster reviews last year despite being voted the best event by USA Today”.

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A few observations last night.

  • The fog machines were very sparse. I don't know if this is intentional (maybe for security) or they just have not gotten more out yet?
  • The houses got better as the night went on, because more actors where there and present in each room.
  • I do agree that I liked Pumpkin Eater better back by BLSC than Action Zone. It just seems to flow better in that midway. 
  • It would be nice to have some fall decorations up as you ride the antique autos. Even if it's just bales of straw,  pumpkins and some scarecrows.
  • Overall I enjoyed the park atmosphere and I thought the Haunt workers and scare actors were doing great.

 

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  • The fog machines were very sparse. I don't know if this is intentional (maybe for security) or they just have not gotten more out yet?

if that’s the case it’s not an excuse. The event starts the night it starts. It’s not a “tech preview “ and they’ve had weeks to get this set at this point now. 

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I went last night and had a good time. Because I got there a bit later (8:45-ish), it was starting to get crowded. Hotel St. Michelle was my first maze of the night and first (non-Hallowtween) maze since 2018 (I had wanted to start with Chaos, but the line was super long).  I really enjoyed the maze's location and theming (especially the jazz music playing out front). I was in the back of the group, which was fitting as this was my role when I was in Urgent Scare in 2019.  I then did Slaughter House and while there were some changes from past years, it was still good to be back (as I've said today, it's still "comfort food" to me, pun sorta intended lol). "Chops" is great! :D I then did Killmart twice; the second time through was a lot scarier. Afterwards, I did Chaos and it was interesting. Booked it down to Cornered and saw a familiar face while walking through. The maze's location was sorta random imo, and I think the second half was better than the first half. That being said, I think I liked Field of Screams better (and not just because I worked there in 2019...). However, 

Spoiler

that fake "Exit" sign was great lol. I was at first disappointed and then realized there was more maze around the corner

I then walked all the way to Madame Fatale's and that was alright (I was starting to get tired by this point), however

Spoiler

there were no flashlights or glowsticks this year, which was disappointing

. I then did Slaughter House and Hotel St. Michelle again before leaving. Like my trip through Slaughter House in 2018, I went into Hotel St. Michelle by myself and I'm pretty sure I was the last "group" of the night (not unlike that one night where I was one of the last inside Backwoods Bayou many years ago).

Before summarizing, I want to talk about the new Scarezones. Alien X is awesome; the

Spoiler

green aliens with frills around their neck look so cool and remind me of a Jurassic Park creature!

While it was strange walking through the old Pumpkin Eater pathway with no scareactors (I thought it would be a dead end for some reason...), I enjoyed the placement of the new Pumpkin Eater and thought it was well done.

Overall, it was fun, but different from years past. I do plan on going a few more times during the season and I may even try to go on a Sunday night!

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I went last night (opening night) as well. Didn't do any mazes because I did all 5 last year and figure I might save the new one for when I'm there with more people. Mostly had a good time but it was more crowded than I was hoping. I went the first friday last year and the crowds were much lighter with basically the same exact weather. Also, I didn't realize the Halloween food items aren't available until the 25th. They should have waited a couple days before putting up the signs.

A little disappointed regarding the fog as well. Though I get it if they scaled it back for safety or security reasons but I remember going years ago and the park being completely filled with it. I loved that, especially the view when on taller rides.

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Yeah my biggest and really only complaint that they could improve would be more fog. It's been really weak, and almost non-existent. I also miss the past years cool fall evenings filled with so much fog it filled the parking lot as well. I understand security reasoning, but it still feels even less fog in some areas than reasonable for that. Like there were zero functioning fog machines by the graveyard, which was disappointing in comparison to years past. 

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19 hours ago, buckeyecoaster said:

Went to Haunt Opening Night last night and was extremely let-down. What once was a well-themed and well-executed Haunt has slowly become a vague, almost thrown-together event.

Honestly, this year seemed that it could've taken one week to put everything together. The decor is sparse this year. It used to feel like there was decor and theming around every corner and this year, it doesn't. There is barely any fog, lots of untouched spaces, and lots of random lighting features.

There are six mazes. In year's past, there used to be over 7/8 mazes and scare zones. They took away mazes/zones and you can definitely tell. We went through three mazes last night and it is the same old same old. The new maze, Hotel St. Michelle, was well-done but it seems they used a bunch of old props/items from old houses and tried to make a cohesive idea come to life.

The scare zones had just a few actors, not a lot of fog, and just lacked the charm/personality of years past. Don't even get me started about "AlienX". This scare zone had people dressed in silver bodysuits with lizard face painting. The mom in front of us said "are these alien pimps?" It was.....something.

The shows were entertaining but not outstanding. Nytewalkers has so much going on during the show that you can't even focus on what is going on. The dancing went from show choir moves to a bit more "suggestive" but when you've seen all the Cirque shows and other All Wheels Shows, this is just another show with the same stunts you've seen in those shows. 

Leaving last night, we discussed as a group that they need to drop the word "Haunt" and just have Haunt be a part of Kings Island at night. It didn't even feel like a Halloween event honestly. Back in the day, Haunt and Fear Fest were really special...there was a special charm/environment/mood that is severely lacking this year. The intense fog, cheeky music throughout the park, an abundance of decor and theming....none of this is here this year. It seems like Cedar Fair Corporate is trying to take this event and make it a more "corporate" event and it just doesn't work.

Bring back the fun and the excitement. 

I would agree that while the scare actors were phenomenal it felt like there weren’t that many. This may be because of the lessened fog and the fact that I could see much clearer, but if I wanted a good scare it felt as though we were walking towards scare actors. Alien X was a bit odd and that area could definitely use some more actors, but the concept could get somewhere. Overall, the experience was a bit underwhelming.

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It is interesting to read everyone's perspective of Haunt. I understand that is it a monumental task to put on, with a limited budget due to so much focus on Winterfest. With Haunt brings a different more aggressive feeling crowd. I wonder due to the problems that Haunt brings to the various parks as there was an incident at Carowinds last weekend, and an incident at Kings Dominion this weekend if Cedar Fair is trying to tame down the Haunt.  Valleyfair has the Tricks and Treats celebration. https://www.valleyfair.com/events/tricks-and-treats  I am willing to bet this is what all the parks will head to in the next few years.  The new CEO is on record saying he wants the parks to be more family centric. 

My thoughts on Haunt. I only have completed Cornered, KillMart and the Scarezones. I thought Corned could be better, the lights of Invertigo flooded the area, and made it bright. I would love to see it return to the fireworks pad, but I do not know if that is possible. The International Street scare actors were phenomenal, and costumes were very well done. They were fun to interact with, and the Ghillie suit guy got me again for like the 3rd consecutive Haunt. I need to be on the look out for him. The sliding guys are my favorite as they scare the daylights out of a lot of people.  Pumpkin patch needs to return to its old lane. Although I liked the new props. Coney Maul and clowns I hate it. Why did all the clowns have weapons? I made the bad joke to my wife that they were added security due to the fight that happened there last summer.  KillMart is fun, but they let too many people in at once. Just one group at a time and then wait a few minutes.  I will do two more mazes Friday, and Saturday. As with any regional theme park low expectations yield a fun evening.

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2 hours ago, Diamondback2112 said:

One thing you might want to consider is this was also homecoming for alot of schools. I'm sure that had alot to do with staffing. I would wait until next weekend to judge this year's haunt.

I always chuckle when someone says this...there are over 100 high schools within the greater Cincinnati area....certainly not all of them had Homecoming same weekend....

While some scare actors were good, most I saw were more interested in taking selfies with guests than doing scares (talking about the ones not in houses or mazes)....  A lot of pictures on FB confirm the number of selfies taken with the roaming scare actors LOL

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I think Halloween Haunt is overall an improvement from last year from what k have seen. I like how Kings Island still put the green lights up where Pumpkin Eater used to be instead of leaving it bare. I like how an additional haunted house was added. I like how there is actually a show in the International Showplace. However, it does not seem to be on the same level as 2019 Halloween Haunt. Many would argue that the event even peaked before that. The one thing that really seems to be hurting the atmosphere of this year’s event is the lack of fog. It doesn’t even look like there are fog machines with nose pictures I have seen so far of the event. I thought fog was light last year with it really only being concentrated on the scare zones. Now, there really isn’t much fog at all even in the scare zones. If Kings Island is seeing all the complaints about the lack of fog, I hope they’ll try to add more for next weekend.

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5 hours ago, Diamondback2112 said:

One thing you might want to consider is this was also homecoming for alot of schools. I'm sure that had alot to do with staffing. I would wait until next weekend to judge this year's haunt.

That’s not an excuse. It wasn’t MY homecoming. Why should I expect a sub-par experience that I pay the same for as someone next weekend? It opens when it opens. If you can’t staff appropriately, don’t open that weekend. 

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I’m going to go against the grain a bit. 

I think Haunt, as an overall product, is very good this year. I think the things they do have are good; however, I do agree that in a perfect world there would be more of it. 

There is a fine line between decorating the park for Haunt and throwing a bunch of trash in the park and calling it Haunt decor. It was trashy for from Haunt’s inception up into 2012ish. Around then they cut it down way too far. Now I think they hit a good balance. Kings Island’s decor team really is exceptional.

Hotel St. Michelle was something I have been really excited about. I went there first on Friday. The outside looked really cool! The inside? Not so much. They had the house lights on, so you could see the ceiling clearly. It really ruined the illusion of the hallway scene especially. I did it again later that night. There were more actors, but the lights were still on. Finally, I did it Saturday night and there were actors and the lights were off. I really enjoyed it! I loved how each of the hotel rooms had a “tragedy.” I guess my main critique is that the maze just abruptly ends. It needs some sort of “wow moment” to round out the maze, if I still think it was a very worthy replacement to Urgent Scare.

I’m going to hold off on my review of Terror Rising. I understand there are elements of the show that are not yet completed. What I did see, from afar, was good. I liked how there were dancers and a band rather than the “beat on stuff” show that we’ve had for over a decade. 

Nyte Walkers was interesting. Ever since Hot Blooded and Dead Awakening, there have been some hard shoes to fill. Skeleton Crew and Haunted Homecoming, in my opinion, failed to fill those shoes. This one is different. It has stunts, but doesn’t lean on them too much, it has dancing, but it doesn’t go too long. It tells a story, which I think is very important for Haunt shows. Some of the music is questionable, to say the least, but I feel like the energy is incredible in the show. I feel like the show needs more of a book end to the story. I also feel like, while the ending is cool, it needs more of a climax. Regardless, I feel like this show is the first show that’s been a worthy replacement for the two aforementioned shows. 

 

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I am hoping that it being opening night aged I to how bad I thought Haunt was Friday, but I doubt it.  The atmosphere is just nowhere near what it was in past years.  I know this isn't the first year without him, but I really miss the guy that made fun of people when you first walk into Internstional Street.  Why they moved Pumpkin Eater is beyond me, but if they were going to move it they could have at least made it look as cool as it did last year.  The scare zones were a joke, not many actors and the ones that were there were not very enthusiastic.  I did find the new St. Michelle hotel to be pretty decent.  Overall, I was pretty disappointed.

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I went both Friday and Saturday. My favorite part of Haunt has always been night rides in the fog. Fog was non-existent.  
 

I find the thought that they scaled back  the experience in the name of security concerning. How about just addressing the security problems instead of neutering what is arguably one of the hallmarks of KI’s Haunt?

 

I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a chaperone policy put in place this season. Saw more instances of misbehaving guests than I’d care to admit. 

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We really enjoyed NyteWalkers. There is so much to absorb that we liked it more and more with each viewing. My only complaint is that the audio system doesn't feel like it puts out much bass. A nighttime show like this should have a full sound to match the energy of the cast and the visuals.

As for the other shows, it is GREAT to see a full live band return to Monster Rock. With a cast of veterans and newer performers it is back to its classic high-energy self.

Terror Rising is already pretty solid, so hopefully any missing elements will enhance the show all the more. I liked having the extra energy of the live guitars and dancers.

After the Golden Celebration further elevated the level of entertainment at the park this summer it's great to see the ambition continue into Haunt!

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Why do I keep reading reviews and comments that say "this isn't quite done" or "you can tell they still have a few things to finish" or "there are more elements coming" THE EVENT STARTED SEPT 23. We rail on people who complain "the park was closed during the day on Saturday" and tell them to check the calendar - well - the same holds for the park. The event opens when it opens - check the calendar. I'm disappointed seeing so many comments of incomplete things or "hope they will address this as the run continues. Yes - there will always be things tweaked, tightened and enhanced - like the really unnecessary extra lasers that were added halfway through the run of FFF, but it sounds like key elements or things that actually impact the experience just aren't there. I don't work at the park and I don't know how seasonal transitions are carried out, but it seems like if they want to continue down the "festival and event" model to drive attendance and in-park revenue boosts they need to get these events on point from the first night to the last. I remember with CARNIVALE last year they added all the metallic garlands that were color coordinated to each country they represented, they even when to the effort and expense of  buying lit garlands with color coordinated lights, then most of them weren't even plugged in, and they never got to it "later in the run". It often times doesn't happen, it just stays undone. 

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7 minutes ago, brenthodge said:

Why do I keep reading reviews and comments that say "this isn't quite done" or "you can tell they still have a few things to finish" or "there are more elements coming"

Because it's a forum, a collection of fans with their own opinions. 

 

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37 minutes ago, brenthodge said:

Why do I keep reading reviews and comments that say "this isn't quite done" or "you can tell they still have a few things to finish" or "there are more elements coming" THE EVENT STARTED SEPT 23. We rail on people who complain "the park was closed during the day on Saturday" and tell them to check the calendar - well - the same holds for the park. The event opens when it opens - check the calendar. I'm disappointed seeing so many comments of incomplete things or "hope they will address this as the run continues. Yes - there will always be things tweaked, tightened and enhanced - like the really unnecessary extra lasers that were added halfway through the run of FFF, but it sounds like key elements or things that actually impact the experience just aren't there. I don't work at the park and I don't know how seasonal transitions are carried out, but it seems like if they want to continue down the "festival and event" model to drive attendance and in-park revenue boosts they need to get these events on point from the first night to the last. I remember with CARNIVALE last year they added all the metallic garlands that were color coordinated to each country they represented, they even when to the effort and expense of  buying lit garlands with color coordinated lights, then most of them weren't even plugged in, and they never got to it "later in the run". It often times doesn't happen, it just stays undone. 

To be fair, I feel like your implication is that the issues listed had something to do with incompetence or malfeasance (although I do not know if that’s your intention, but it reads that way.) That’s likely not the case.

Look at the holistic situation: you had the relatively small decor team trying to simultaneously take down 50th stuff, plus do the massive feats of setting up Haunt and Tricks and Treats. I can tell you that these people work long, hard hours to get the changeover done. They do a great job. 

Some things are out of the control of the park. For example, I remember someone having to rush two flame heads up to the park from the Reds smoke stacks (yes - that’s what those are) because there are only so many to go around. They barely got it installed in time for the opening ceremony. If they hadn’t, it would have been an understandable situation but the park may have looked unprepared if two of the totems didn’t work. 

Plus, there’s third party stuff. Ever wonder why the 50th cartouche is still on the tower during Haunt? Doesn’t that look out of place? The company hired to take it down couldn’t make it out in time for opening day of Haunt. Is that the park’s fault? Does that make the park unprepared?

What about the labor? No one wants to work. It’s hard enough to get and maintain Haunt actors, how is this year any different, if not far far worse?

On a side note, anyone who thinks that Haunt’s budget was slashed (no pun intended) from last year is out of their minds. Have you not seen the two new shows? Love them or hate them, they’ve spent more on shows this year than they have in a while. The cost of those is far more than any maze. 

Also, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I’m glad a lot of the fog is gone. How did we have it as long as we did with the crowds… and types of crowds that Haunt attracts. A lot of the set pieces and scenery for Haunt is really creative and cool. You can’t see it with the fog. I know I’m probably unique in that though, but that’s okay. 

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