10 Reasons Why I’ll Probably Never Return to Knott’s Halloween Haunt

ratguy.JPG On Friday night, I returned to Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt for the first time since I was a high school junior 10 years ago. My experience then was great, and I was excited about checking out the new mazes, rides, and recurring shows (e.g., the Hanging). Either nothing about my last visit sucked, or I just blocked it out because the whole experience was much scarier, and not in a good way.

I’m sure there are thousands of people who attend Halloween Haunt, love it, and can’t wait to return. I’m not one of those, and here are 10 reasons why (after the jump):

1. The significant other and I left East LA about 6:45 pm and made it to Buena Park at 7:45 pm. This was after leaving the Westside at 4:30. Spending an hour on the 5 was annoying, but it felt normal.

2. Once we exited the freeway, we spent almost two hours getting to the park and finding a parking spot. For an event this large, you think Buena Park city planners and Knott’s officials would make sure folks can actually get to the park without spending a couple of hours.

3. Once we finally got out of our car, we waited in another chaotic line to get in the park. We looked like a mob trying to attack someone, as we waited for security and Buena Park PD to search everyone.

4. The median age was probably 17. I don’t mind teenagers most of the time, but Halloween Haunt is like a club for them and that means they’re even more annoying.

5. It’s a theme park. Every ride, maze or show worth watching (e.g. the Grudge) has lines snaking through the park. At times it felt like we spent more time looking for the end of the line than actually waiting. Our group decided to skip out on the Grudge because we didn’t want to spend the remainder of our night in line.

6. The funnel cake line was about an hour long. No amusement park junk food is worth that much.

7. Knott’s offers a buffet dinner for $12.95. If you eat dinner there, you’re allowed in to the park before doors open to everyone else. Nice advantage, but I heard the dinner sucked and was worse than a Hometown Buffet (they had paper plats and utensils).

8. For the 3D mazes, you need to buy your own 3D glasses. They cost $1.

9. The beer garden was located right below two roller coasters. At least they had a beer garden. That was nice. For a night like that, beer is necessary.

10. It’s pricey. I spent $36 on my discounted ticket (I think it’s $44 pre-sale). Parking costs $15. Each domestic beer cost $5.50. My 3D glasses were $1. And the lousy late night buffet breakfast was $7.95.

I’ve never thought I was too old for anything associated with Halloween. I’ve been proven wrong.

15 Replies to “10 Reasons Why I’ll Probably Never Return to Knott’s Halloween Haunt”

  1. I think that’s not so much being too old for Hallowe’en, as it is not being so young that you’re willing to put up with all the annoyances. I’m sure if the teenagers weren’t distracted by their friends, they’d be grumpy about putting up with everything too.

  2. Cedar Point’s Halloweekends are the best. There are hardly any lines and lots of people dressed up scary but it’s really just silly. There are whole sections that are completely dark and foggy and people will get as close to you as possible to try to scare you. It’s really fun, so if you’re ever in Ohio around Halloween you should go.

  3. After 2 Knotts Scary Farms…I have vowed never to go to one ever again…the first one wasn’t that bad since we went early in the halloween season and the crowds weren’t that bad…but the second time, it was like a mad house and the haunted mazes there are lame…not as good as the Univeral Studios one…

    I actually ended up going to the Universal Horror Night on Friday ONLY after a friend called me and said he knew a hook up who could get us in for free (which we did). I went to the Universal one like 6 years ago, just because they had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Maze (which kicked ass) and had a great time (even ran into Joss Whedon and a few cast members, including Alyson Hannigan there). So I was actually pretty excited to go to Universal again…we hit a City Walk bar before hand, worked up a buzz, went to Horror nights, went on the Studio Tour (which was pretty cool cause you could get off and walk through the War of the Worlds set and the Psycho set) walked through one of the mazes. Then we looked for more alcohol, only to find out there was NO ALCOHOL sold during the horror nights so we left when we lost our buzz. SOOO glad I got in for free.

  4. If you use some mapping-fu and figure out an alternative way to get there (involving Knott Ave., if I recall correctly) you can save yourself the post-freeway nightmare.

    The trick is to go early in October (around the second weekend they’re running it,) cough up the extra cash for the pre-scare dinner (it doesn’t suck that much, it’s a great way to set the mood ahead of time, and you’d be surprised how much it rules to get in earlier than everyone else, even if it’s just 30 minutes or whatever,) and be prepared for the teeming mass of annoying teenagers.

  5. I went on Sept 30th to Knott’s this year, and like Wil suggested, I bought into the VIP pre-scare dinner with a group of friends. The park ticket (with a Burger King coupon) was $29, and the dinner was another $18. No paper plates anywhere to be seen, and the tables were full of beef, chicken, turkey and all the shrimp you could eat. Once we were fed and watered and got into the park early it was fun. After the teenagers were let in, it was a bit overwhelming. I guess that can’t be avoided, but at least the folks scaring people were up for the job. (It was particularly satisfying to watch a gaggle of 16-17 year old boys scream and run in complete terror from a park employee chasing them whilst weilding a chainsaw.)

  6. Jillian,
    I probably wouldn’t have cared too much about the crowds and other things if I hadn’t spend a few hours just trying to get there.

    Tabitha,
    Thanks for the recommendation. In the future, I’d be willing to check out another theme park for Halloween.

    Michelle,
    I’ve never checked out the Universal’s Horror Night, but I’d be willing to simply because it’s not in Orange County. But no alcohol? Sounds a bit scary…

    Josh,
    In terms of the scary factor, I’d say it was more scary before. However, I’m pretty sure that’s ’cause I was 16 and it was less crowded. I did find a couple of the mazes worth my time, but we missed a lot.

    Wil,
    We actually spent about an hour JUST on Knott Avenue. We literally did not move.

    I did consider going to the dinner beforehand, but the SO and I would literally have to take the whole afternoon off from work just to make it to Buena Park in time. The friends who did go to the dinner found that it sucked, but was worth getting in to the park early.

    Lomara,
    I’m with you. It’s quite amusing to see the boys jump up in fright. That was definitely on my short list of things I enjoyed about the night.

  7. I have you know that home town buffet ain’t that bad. Might I recommend the meatloaf, greenbeans and ice creme. Yes, I was there last night.

  8. Duh! I haven’t been to KSF since I was a teenager, cause that’s who it’s intended audience is. The hassle factor is WAY too high. What stopped you from turning and running once you saw the line of cars and teenagers at the park entrance?

  9. Bill,
    I go to Hometown with the grandparents. Apparently they have a pretty good senior citizen discount. I’m not sure the examples you gave (meatloaf and green beans) will make me want to go there again.

    Mofomon,
    And what sucks is that normally the lines at Knott’s go so fast.

    Paul,
    See, I conveniently forgot about the hassle factor. Stupid me. I didn’t stop and run once I saw the cars and teenagers because (a) I wasn’t driving, the SO is quite stubborn when he drives, (b) I was already in Orange County and had my tickets, might as well make use of them, (c) my friends — who I was meeting up with — already think I’m a flake, no use in giving them more fuel for the fire.

  10. I concur with Bill, though I’ve only been to Hometown Buffet once (which coincidentally is the same number of times I’ve been to Knotts for Halloween),for what it is the place rocks!

  11. A bunch of my friends were going and my sister was in town, so we decided to go the one Saturday night that USC didn’t have a football game (yes, games are _that_ important). The car I was in was lucky enough to leave early and get there within about an hour of drive time on the 110, 91, and Knott Ave., while the other car decided to come via the 5. Although we left about the same time, it took the other car 2 hours more than us to get there.

    As for food, I recommend the chicken to go. Really good food for not too much money. Usually doesn’t take too long to get through the line either.

    I wasn’t thrilled with the massive lines and wasn’t that impressed with the mazes, but I think what really made me never want to go back was how exhausted I felt battling people just to get from one place to another. Definitely not worth the $44 it cost to get in.

  12. Why did you go on a FRIDAY? Everything you mention is going to be much worse on a weekend night, without fail.

  13. They have to sell way too many tickets to make up for the money they lose during the regular year just to operate the park. This is the only time of the year the park is nearly sold out every night. They want to cash in as much as they can. For us we want to maximize our money and go on as many rides as possible. For kids it’s just the experience of being there, hanging with your friends, and going on a couple of rides. I do agree though, Fri and Sat nights are probably the worst to go.

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