Full disclosure: it’s been a decade since I last went to Knott’s Scary Farm, and my memory of it was a good one; full of scares, friends, and fun. So, when I had the opportunity to experience it all over again, I met it with an immediate “Hell yeah!”
The plan was to get there early, eat, and then experience the haunt. We showed up on the south side entrance where employees and “haunters” enter and met our gracious hostess Lupita. She walked us through a back area of costumes, guts, and gore, all the while explaining that we were getting a behind-the-veil look at the magic.
Haunters were getting ready for the night standing in circles, chanting “HU! HU! HU!” to fill the park’s alleys with spooky energy. Lupita let us know this particular night was going to be the busiest of the season, so the Haunters needed it.
Part of Knott’s Berry Farm’s lure is their food, a big reason we frequent and cover the park so much. Our first stop was at Spurs Chophouse and at this time, the main attraction was just starting, as indicated by the screams and fog rolling through, prepping us for the night ahead. We were sent a cavalcade of burgers, churros, ice cream sandwiches, funnel cakes, and chocolate shelled heads that looked like Frankenstein. The stand out pieces? For sure the burgers and the desserts.
There was a black-bunned Nightmare Burger that sandwiched mac and cheese which resembled brains — classic. And then there were the desserts, themed so perfectly for Halloween. The Frankenstein chocolate head was filled with mousse and blackberries that looked like the iconic monster’s brains with a light drizzle of sauce running down its face playing off as blood.
Pretty epic. Stuffed full of brains and blood, we were more than ready to take on the fright.
The scares and mazes were on another level of frightening this year. More blood, guts, gore, screams, and realistic set design made for a good haunt. The park is set up to have scare zones — where monsters lurk in corners of the park to jump out and terrify — and mazes to immerse park goers in the experience.
Ghost Town Streets was the most fearsome zone by far. Picture fog so dense you can’t see in front, behind, or what’s about to attack you. It’s you and the fog trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B, while half-human monsters prowl and the notorious sliders are ready to pounce.
Once out, the goal is to find the next adrenaline rush. The best mazes this year were Paranormal Inc. — a realistic look into what it would feel like being trapped in a sanitarium with ghosts, and Special Ops: Infected, where you’re caught in an outbreak and the zombie apocalypse is indeed real. Picture yourself being thrust into a live action game, given a weapon to fight off the ravenous zombies, and given the narrow expectation make it out alive.
I don’t remember my experience being this good 10 years ago. Knott’s has really stepped up their game with realistic scares and keeps you coming back for more. And the food? Delicious, made to order, and so on point for Halloween that you’re catching yourself for being a little too excited to dig into what looks like brains for dinner.