Can Halloween Freak You Out Any More Than the Real World?
NEW YORK — In case the real world’s not scary enough, there are plenty of Halloween attractions out there designed to completely freak you out.
One in New York called This Is Real promises to “literally kidnap you and stash you in a Brooklyn warehouse.”
Fortunately, you can also find happy pumpkin-themed events if you seek a gentler approach to the holiday.
Here are some options, from family friendly to utterly terrifying.
PUMPKINS, MICKEY MOUSE AND OTHER FAMILY FUN
A pumpkin made of more than 100,000 Lego bricks can be seen at Legoland in Winter Haven, Fla., and Carlsbad, Calif.
The Legoland parks are hosting Brick-or-Treat celebrations on select dates.
At Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., a new family friendly event called Great Pumpkin Luminights is under way through Oct. 28.
Disney parks also offer a variety of Halloween celebrations. At Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place on select nights through Nov. 1 with a parade, fireworks, costumed characters and treat trails.
Tickets are separate from regular park admission.
Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, is so popular that it’s already sold out for this year.
Disney California Adventure has other new Halloween-themed features . Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: Breakout, which opened in May, is hosting Monsters After Dark nightly through Oct. 31 and Cars Land has been redecorated and dressed up for Haul-O-Ween.
REAL ENOUGH FOR YOU?
Intense story lines, high-tech special effects and actors who know how to spike your adrenaline without ever harming a hair on your head have become a big trend in Halloween attractions in the last few years. Many of them have warnings and age limits so check for details before you buy tickets.
The immersive This Is Real experience is billed as an interactive, survivalist game in an “extreme escape room.” The attraction charges $95 to $110 to lock you up in an abandoned Brooklyn warehouse where, the company says, you will watch a “psychopath kill others. They implore you to help them, but you cannot. Your time has come. You have just one shot at getting away if you are to survive.”
HauntWorld.com’s “scariest haunted houses” lists freaky attractions like Erebus in Pontiac, Michigan, with a half-mile walk inside a creepy building where “things grab you, bite you, land on top of you, and then we will bury you alive.”
Among the best-known and most popular Halloween extravaganzas are Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights, in both the Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles theme parks , featuring haunted houses, scare zones, mazes and movie-quality sets and productions. Many of the attractions are themed on popular horror genre films and shows. The forthcoming horror film “Jigsaw,” part of the “Saw” franchise, inspired a new haunted house in Orlando and a new maze at the Hollywood park this season.
Six Flags parks host Halloween Fright Fests, including one at Six Flags Over Georgia outside Atlanta, with a Camp Slasher haunted maze and The Good, The Bad and the Undead scare zone.
AROUND THE U.S.
Just about every region around the U.S. has local Halloween attractions, from haunted hayrides to huge displays of elaborately carved pumpkins. But some events and attractions also draw lots of out-of-towners.
In Philadelphia, visitors from all 50 states and 40 foreign countries bought tickets last year to Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, which is a real abandoned prison. The Halloween attraction is back this year with interactive options for visitors and a new component called Blood Yard. You can even get a cocktail in The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell.
New York City hosts its 44th annual Village Halloween Parade kicking off at 7 p.m. Oct. 31, with hundreds of gigantic puppets, 53 bands and thousands of costumed marchers. This year’s theme is “Cabinet of Curiosities: An Imaginary Menagerie.” Spectators typically pack the route for what has essentially become a massive work of live performance art.
West Hollywood, Calif., expects a half-million guests for its Halloween Carnaval , Oct. 31, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Salem, Mass., known for its all-too-real 17th century witch trials, also typically gets more than a half-million visitors from around the world throughout October for the city’s Haunted Happenings .New Orleans is best known for Mardi Gras, but its Halloween celebrations attract plenty of tourists as well. Events include the Voodoo Music + Arts Experience , Oct. 27-29, and Krewe of Boo Halloween parade, Oct. 21, which includes a zombie run, floats and costumed riders who throw Halloween beads and souvenirs to parade-watchers along the route, just like they do at Mardi Gras.
Finally, despite the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, Key West, Florida’s annual Fantasy Fest will proceed, Oct. 20-29. The event includes parties, a street fair, parades, a zombie bike ride and lots of colorful costumes.