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.
There were big changes for FearFest in 2007. The name was changed to Halloween Haunt, to mimick the name of the haunt at Cedar Fair sister park Knott`s Berry Farm. Along with the name change, came longer hours with the park being open until 1am. Club Blood is a new maze housed in a new building in the Action Zone by the entrance to Top Gun. Death Row is the former Asylum/Maze of Madness in Coney Maul. Cowboy Carnage has been renamed and rethemed Red Beard`s Revenge. Massacre Manor is also back in Coney Maul as is Circus of Horrors 3D on International Street which has been renamed CarnEVIL. Psycho Path has been renamed Trail of Terror and Headless Hollow has been renamed Tombstone Terror-Tory. The three Fear Zones are Cornstalkers (from the Eiffel Tower to Rivertown), the Worksite (from the Eiffel Tower to Coney Maul), and the Cemetery (in the Paramount Story, which made its debut half way into FearFest last year). Also, there is a live show, Dead Awakening in the International Showplace. Nick or Treat also returned this year for kid friendly activities during the day.
In 2008, all of the haunts from 2007 returned, with Cornstalkers being relocated to the Timberwolf area due to Diamondback construction. Additionally, a new maze, Urgent Scare, opens in one side of the Action Theater. Dead Awakening returned for a second season in the International Showplace. A new live show debuted in the Festhaus, entitled “Ghouls Gone Wild.” Nick Or Treat is renamed “Howl-O-Fest.”
In 2009, more changes were in store for Halloween Haunt. In addition to being open on some Thursday and Sunday nights in October, there are two new Haunts. The Worksite and Red Beards Revenge were discontinued this year. Instead, Cut Throat Cove replaces Red Beard`s Revenge and is located at the Back Porch area of Outer Hanks. The other new Haunt in 2009 is Slaughter House, located at the Stunt Crew Grill. Additionally, “Hot Blooded” replaces “Dead Awakening” in the International Showplace. “Ghouls Gone Wild” returns for a second season in the Festhaus. All the other haunts remain from 2008.
In 2010, the following Haunts returned from previous seasons: “Urgent Scare,” “Death Row,” “Slaughter House,” “CarnEvil,” “Club Blood,” “Massacre Manor,” “Trail of Terror,” “Tombstone Terror-Tory,” “Cut Throat Cove,” “Cemetery Drive,” and “CornStalkers.” New in 2010 is the maze “Wolf Pack” located in Son of Beast`s station. Also returning in the International Showplace Theater is “Hot Blooded.” “Half Pint Brawlers” is featured in the Feshaus during Haunt. “Ghouls Gone Wild” returns in the Festhaus, but is featured exclusively during the day.
For 2011, the following Haunts returned from the previous season: ”Carnevil,” “Club Blood,” “Massacre Manor,” “Slaughter House,” “Urgent Scare,” “Wolf Pack,” “Cornstalkers,” “Cut Throat Cove,” and “Tombstone Terror Tory.” Two new mazes premiere with “Holiday Horror” in Planet Snoopy and “Mysteria” in Coney Maul (Mysteria was similar to Death Row). A new fear zone also debuts with “Nightmare Alley” in Planet Snoopy, Additionally, “Hot Blooded” returns for a third season, and the “Half Pint Brawlers” return to the Festhaus for a second season. Additionally, during the day, “Graveyard Shift” debuts in 2011, replacing “Ghouls Gone Wild” and located in the International Showplace.
For 2012, the following Haunts return from the previous season: “CarnEvil,” “Club Blood,” “Massacre Manor,” “Slaughter House,” “Urgent Scare,” “Wolf Pack,” “Cornstalkers,” “Cut Throat Cove,” “Tombstone Terror Tory,” “Mysteria,” and “Holiday Horror.” The new haunt “Madam Fatale`s Cavern of Terror” debuts in the former Crypt building. Also, “Hot Blooded” returns for its fourth season in the park in the International Street Showplace. “Graveyard Shift” returns in the Festhaus and “Blood Drums” premiers in the Action Zone. Also, the former Nightmare Alley in Planet Snoopy is renamed “Freak Street.” The Action Zone becomes its own fear zone dubbed “Grimm Blvd.”
For 2013, three mazes from previous years were retired. They are “Massacre Manor,” “Mysteria,” and “Cut Throat Cove.” Three new attractions to Haunt in 2013 are “Board to Death” (replacing “Mysteria”), “Delta Delta Die” (replacing “Massacre Manor”) and “Backwoods Bayou” opens on the pathway between Backlot and Diamondback. Also, “Hot Blooded” returns for its fifth season in the park in the International Street Showplace. “Graveyard Shift” returns in the Festhaus and “Blood Drums” returns at the International Street Bandstand.
For the 2014 season, Halloween Haunt adds Safe Auto as a title sponsor. Additionally, “Holiday Horror” does not return to Haunt. The returning haunts are “Wolf Pack,” “Corn Stalkers,” “Club Blood,” “Delta Delta Die,” “Board to Death,” “Madam Fatale`s Cavern of Terror,” “Urgent Scare,” “Tombstone Terror-tory,” and “Carn Evil.” New haunts for the 2014 season were “Slaughter House” which has the same theme as the previous haunt, but in a new building next to The Beast, and “Kill Mart” in Coney Mall. The Fear Zones in 2014 were “Cemetery Dr.,” on International Street, “Backwoods Bayou” in Rivertown, “Freak Street” in Planet Snoopy, and “Nightmare Alley” by the Kings Island Theater. Live shows included “Skeleton Crew” in the International Showplace, “Graveyard Shift” in the Festhaus, and “Blood Drums” at the Bandstand. Three of the haunts, “Urgent Scare,” “Madam Fatale`s Cavern of Terror,” and “Slaughter House,” feature Skeleton Key rooms, which are special rooms in the Haunts that only guests who have purchased Skeleton Key as part of Fright Lane, can experience.