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Is it only me who doesn’t get the Halloween/scare attraction hype?

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. Sorry if this is a slightly random thread, particularly given that it talks about Halloween attractions in May, but I was thinking about how enthusiasts all seem to get super excited about the Halloween season and scare attractions, and I was thinking about how I struggle to get on board with this hype. I’ve never been that excited by Halloween, and if I’m being completely honest… I don’t like the idea of scare attractions at all. There are many elements to them that make me anxious or I don’t overly enjoy, and they’re not the type of thing I personally go to a theme park for. So my question is; is it only me who doesn’t really get the Halloween hype? Does being scared of these attractions and not overly interested in them make me a complete wuss?

It’s weird, because there’s very little that fazes me in terms of thrill ride hardware these days. Drop towers? Love them! 200ft hyper coaster? Get me on! Hydraulic launch coaster? Bring it!

But I am a complete scaredy-cat when it comes to anything psychological. Ghost trains, even the really low budget ones, still unnerve me somewhat, and the jumpscares in those are quite obviously fake and a good few feet away from you, so god knows how I’d react to an actual person doing the same thing at a much closer distance, possibly even touching me dependant on the maze!

Another element to consider… I don’t know if I’ve ever confessed to this before, and I apologise if this makes me sound like a complete wuss, but I have a slight phobia of costumed characters. Or at very least, they make me pretty anxious. Even the “happy” ones scare me; as an example, we were eating in Restaurant Castillo on our recent trip to Europa Park, and Ed Euromaus suddenly appears out of nowhere and starts greeting children. I should point out that the character was nowhere near us at this point in time (they were at the other side of the restaurant), but I’ll confess I was pretty scared until he was out of my sight. Ditto with when Winnie the Pooh suddenly appeared in Fantasyland on my visit to Magic Kingdom; we were stood some distance away, but I was pretty anxious until the character disappeared. My thought there is; if a completely non-intimidating costumed character stood a considerable distance away scares me, then I’m sensing I wouldn’t like a costumed character intended to scare interacting very intimately with me!

And even putting aside my various fears, that style of forced participation-based attraction isn’t something I personally enjoy. As shallow as it sounds, I prefer attractions that you can play a more passive role in, where you simply sit down and they whisk you along on whatever adventure they choose. Roller coasters, flat rides, water rides, dark rides etc are great at that, which is why I enjoy them, whereas things like scare mazes, walkthroughs, midway attractions etc aren’t something I especially enjoy. One exception to that is interactive dark rides (e.g. Duel at Alton Towers), which can be quite good fun, but in terms of the forced participation attractions with an element of human interaction (e.g. “can I have a volunteer?”); being an introvert, that kind of thing isn’t for me at all.

With all that in mind, I’ve never really been sold on the hype around Halloween season, and perhaps controversially, I tend to avoid parks during the month of October for this exact reason. Don’t get me wrong, I still go on forums and engage with the hobby during October, but I do kind of check out of the vlogs and such, and actually visiting parks, during scare season.

Is it only me who doesn’t like the idea of these attractions at all? Does this make me look totally stupid, or overly close-minded?
 

HeartlineCoaster

Theme Park Superhero
Is it only me who doesn’t like the idea of these attractions at all? Does this make me look totally stupid, or overly close-minded?
Not at all, there's absolutely no obligation to like every single aspect of theme parking, we're all in it for different things.

I'm very similar when it comes to Halloween - not fussed. I was generally a 'Thorpe Blast' person over a 'Fright Nights' person (I would say those were the days, but eww).
I've enjoyed the various other Halloween events I happened to end up at in parks, but never gone out of my way for them. Night rides, atmosphere and pumpkins are the positive aspects I tend to look for and the scare attractions I have bothered to try never really interested me in the slightest.

Just to clarify, when Europa Mouse makes you anxious it's because he/she might bring eyes and attention to you, right? Not because they're physically threatening. Need to work on that costume otherwise.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
Just to clarify, when Europa Mouse makes you anxious it's because he/she might bring eyes and attention to you, right? Not because they're physically threatening. Need to work on that costume otherwise.
Oh yes, definitely. It's nothing to do with the actual costume itself, more the whole principle and the fear of them coming over to me, as you imply.

Similarly to you, I'll admit that the night rides aspect of Halloween events does interest me, but at many parks, I can simply go to a different event if I want to do that. For instance, at Alton Towers (the park I visit most often), I can just go to Fireworks for that experience.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
First off Matt, there is nothing wrong in not liking scare attractions. I’m a scare actor and lover of them, but they are certainly something that a lot of people will not like.
Each to their own.

I thought I would name a few reasons to why I personally love them to give perspective to why people like them:

Theming:
Scare Attractions usually are full of themed sets and costumes, this can sometimes tell a story or the sets can immerse you into its world.

The Actors:
Audience participation is something that you’re right is a key point. I personally don’t like being singled out in the dungeons per se, but for me in a scare attraction I love being singled out by actors. Having that 1v1 experience is terrifying!

I know as an actor it’s so satisfying to single people out, scare the hell out of them or tell them a very witty improv line. The type of acting present in these attractions are so personal and unique to your group. As actors we barely do the same thing twice in a night, so there is generally a constant sense of freshness in these attractions.

Fear/Escapism
Just like theme parks- mazes are a great form of escapism. Immerse ourselves in a walkthrough full of theming, scary audio, scary actors. It also to a lot of people gets the heart going, gets people scared. If not scared, you probably will have a few good jump scares or at least be caught off guard.

Scare attractions also feel so different to watching a show for example, you can directly interact with the show. The stage is the set of the maze itself, and it can lend itself to some great moments and interactions with actors. I have countless stories on comedy gold interactions I’ve had with guests as well as stories of people who’ve fell over trying to get away.

But yeah for those who don’t like being part of the show, I sure as hell could understand why you would not enjoy them. And that’s totally fine! Quite a few people I know are sworn off coming to see my at Tulleys as being chased with chainsaws at a farm in West Sussex is not every bodies idea of fun. The same applies to any mazes at the theme parks.


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zazobo

Hyper Poster
But yeah for those who don’t like being part of the show, I sure as hell could understand why you would not enjoy them. And that’s totally fine! Quite a few people I know are sworn off coming to see my at Tulleys as being chased with chainsaws at a farm in West Sussex is not every bodies idea of fun. The same applies to any mazes at the theme parks.


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Ahh fun- some of my favourite scare attractions have been at Tulleys! Such an awesome collection of actors, each doing something different to the other. Love it- well done.
 

Indy

Mega Poster
Nah, I don't really care for them either. Not because I get scared, but the total opposite; I never find them scary.

Maybe I should pour myself a glass of prune juice before starting this rant, but back in the day I used to be a lot more interested in them, particularly Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. However, houses have just become so freaking predictable over the years. In Universal's case, they started focusing way too much on IPs and trying to essentially recreate a film set rather than scare the daylights out of people. And the scare zones have just become photo ops. The event has gone so far downhill. I hear good things about other events like Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens, but I just can't be bothered. It doesn't help that I also really don't like waiting in line for haunted houses. It's like waiting an hour for a scrambler. Given the lack of entertainment I get from houses, it's just not a good investment of my time nor money.

It's great that people enjoy them so much. They make parks boat loads of money. So, to each their own.
 
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Peet

Giga Poster
Scare attractions are alright by me, I probably enjoy them a little more than the average GP, but nowhere near enthusiast level.

For me the best thing about Hallowe'en events is the late night riding on the coasters 🙂.
 

Matt N

CF Legend
First off Matt, there is nothing wrong in not liking scare attractions. I’m a scare actor and lover of them, but they are certainly something that a lot of people will not like.
Each to their own.

I thought I would name a few reasons to why I personally love them to give perspective to why people like them:

Theming:
Scare Attractions usually are full of themed sets and costumes, this can sometimes tell a story or the sets can immerse you into its world.

The Actors:
Audience participation is something that you’re right is a key point. I personally don’t like being singled out in the dungeons per se, but for me in a scare attraction I love being singled out by actors. Having that 1v1 experience is terrifying!

I know as an actor it’s so satisfying to single people out, scare the hell out of them or tell them a very witty improv line. The type of acting present in these attractions are so personal and unique to your group. As actors we barely do the same thing twice in a night, so there is generally a constant sense of freshness in these attractions.

Fear/Escapism
Just like theme parks- mazes are a great form of escapism. Immerse ourselves in a walkthrough full of theming, scary audio, scary actors. It also to a lot of people gets the heart going, gets people scared. If not scared, you probably will have a few good jump scares or at least be caught off guard.

Scare attractions also feel so different to watching a show for example, you can directly interact with the show. The stage is the set of the maze itself, and it can lend itself to some great moments and interactions with actors. I have countless stories on comedy gold interactions I’ve had with guests as well as stories of people who’ve fell over trying to get away.

But yeah for those who don’t like being part of the show, I sure as hell could understand why you would not enjoy them. And that’s totally fine! Quite a few people I know are sworn off coming to see my at Tulleys as being chased with chainsaws at a farm in West Sussex is not every bodies idea of fun. The same applies to any mazes at the theme parks.


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Thanks for offering your perspective; it’s really interesting to hear the perspective of someone who works in the scare attraction industry and is clearly very engaged with it and enthused by it!

I apologise if my opening post came across as a loaded rant about your industry; that wasn’t my intent at all. I was more wanting to express my reasons for not personally liking scare attractions/Halloween, and I was wondering whether anyone else fell into the same boat as me, as it feels like everyone loves Halloween in enthusiast circles.

I absolutely understand why people love scare attractions. A lot of people like horror films because they like being scared (I’m not personally a fan of horror films), and what is a scare attraction other than your own, real life horror film? So if you’re a horror fan and want to be immersed into that kind of story, then I definitely get why you’d be enthused by scare attractions.

However, that doesn’t appeal to me at all, personally. Each to their own, of course, but that type of thing isn’t my idea of fun at all, and I often feel like I’m in a vast, vast minority among enthusiasts for thinking that.
Scare attractions are alright by me, I probably enjoy them a little more than the average GP, but nowhere near enthusiast level.

For me the best thing about Hallowe'en events is the late night riding on the coasters :).
I’ll agree that night rides are one thing that would appeal to me about Halloween events at theme parks. However, I often find that you can experience night rides at times of year other than Halloween, thankfully; if I want night rides at Alton Towers, for instance, I can just go to Fireworks.
 

Furiustobaco

Mega Poster
Thanks for offering your perspective; it’s really interesting to hear the perspective of someone who works in the scare attraction industry and is very engaged with it, as I’m guessing you are!

I apologise if my opening post came across as a loaded rant about your industry; that wasn’t my intent at all. I was more wanting to express my reasons for not personally liking scare attractions/Halloween, and I was wondering whether anyone else fell into the same boat as me, as it feels like everyone loves Halloween in enthusiast circles.

I absolutely understand why people love scare attractions. A lot of people like horror films because they like being scared (I’m not personally a fan of horror films), and what is a scare attraction other than your own, real life horror film? So if you’re a horror fan and want to be immersed into that kind of story, then I definitely get why you’d be enthused by scare attractions.

However, that doesn’t appeal to me at all, personally. Each to their own, of course, but that type of thing isn’t my idea of fun at all, and I often feel like I’m in a vast, vast minority among enthusiasts for thinking that.

I’ll agree that night rides are one thing that would appeal to me about Halloween events at theme parks. However, I often find that you can experience night rides at times of year other than Halloween, thankfully; if I want night rides at Alton Towers, for instance, I can just go to Fireworks.

Honestly it’s not a rant, it’s personal preference! You’re absolutely right scare attractions are really not for everybody. You don’t need to apologise matt :))

And when it comes to the relationship between scare attractions and theme parks, I’d say this.

Most people who like rides like to be scared, or enjoy the feeling of fear and the flight or fight response. Scare attractions offer that experience too, it also delivers the theming aspect of rides too. Scare attractions very often find themselves in theme parks too, so that is why scare attractions tend to be fairly popular among theme park enthusiasts.


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Jamesss

Hyper Poster
I did my first scare attraction a couple of years ago in Dubai.

In my head I'd hyped them up to be scarier that what they actually are.

My first visit to Tulley's last year was amazingly fun, but not as "scary" as I had anticipated.

As a grown man over 6ft tall, seeing a 5ft teenage girl running towards me with a fake chainsaw doesn't quite have the desired effect.
 

Serena

Miss CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
Firstly, you are not a wuss for not wanting to go in a scare attraction. It simply sounds like you know yourself and your boundaries, and that is a good thing. If costume characters and forced participation make you uneasy, it's completely fair enough to believe scare attractions may not be for you.

Scare attractions vary wildly. Some aren't scary at all (Europa Park) and some are pure nightmare fuel (Walibi Holland, every maze I experienced in Japan). The Merlin ones are a nice place to start as they are more fun than terrifying. Like Trailers is just a great themed experience, it's not horrific at all.

As someone who enjoys them, I will try to explain the appeal for me. I think it's to do with the unknown and testing your limits. Not knowing what scares / extremes the park will go to. I was so scared when I did Face It Alone at Thorpe Park (they don't do this anymore), I remember being stood outside trembling wondering what they were going to do in there. After I emerged from the exit it was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes of my life.

I also adore all the dark, exensive theming. Most scare mazes tend to better themed and have more story than rides.

There is a chance that if you are scared of them - but decide to try one, you might surprise yourself and enjoy it. Because you may feel so adrenalized afterwards for facing your fear. But only you can decide if you want to take that risk. As much as I understand your anxiety (I used to be TERRIFIED of scare mazes and never go in them) I would say, don't write them off completely. You can always venture in one and ask to leave if you don't like it.

Or you could slowly build up to scare mazes by riding stuff like Dual and spookier ghost trains, then maybe try a family maze like Darkest Depths at AT.

Or you can just enjoy fabulous night rides and never go in a maze and that's also fine! But personally I do think it's worth trying once as they are such a unique experience.
 

gavin

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Social Media Team
I'm not massive drawn to them, but after being to a few decent (ish) ones I've got an appreciation for them even if I won't go out of my way.

When I was younger, despite liking horror films, I wasn't a fan of "scary" theme park stuff, but I ended up working in it.

When I was at uni, I ended up working in a walkthrough without actually wanting to or applying for it. I sent in a general application to the park, went in for an interview and was directed towards entertainment based on my CV.

The entertainment manager sent me through their walkthrough, by myself, to see what I thought and if I could work there.

I hated it, was crapping myself, but needed the job, so put on a fake smile and started the next day.

When you see what's behind the scenes and how it works, you realise that people are getting freaked out by teenagers in costumes, flashing lights and loud noises.

I ended up working there for two and a half seasons, and really enjoyed it, before finishing out the second half of my third season in different entertainment stuff.

This was before the huge Halloween events were happening at UK parks. It was a year-round attraction and was really popular at the time. Looking back, it was crap compared to what's going on now, but at the time, there wasn't much else apart from Pasage at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and most guests probably wouldn't have done anything like it before.
 
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ChristianPalsson

Hyper Poster
Neither am I massively drawn to scare attractions but I love going to parks in the halloween season for night rides and sometimes really good theming. It's a event like anything else and always fun to check out.

Personally never really celebrated Halloween when I was a kid. Growing up in a Christian home Halloween was always the vigil for All Saints Day. It meant going to church and lighting some candles in the cemetery for our dead relatives, maybe also praying a rosary. No ghosts or monsters or any of that. It was more a time of happiness and remembering all fond memories of our deceased loved ones. I was brought up with the idea that ghosts and zombies, etc don't exist. Therefore, I haven't really been able to relate to the commercial halloween holiday. Knowing that it's super fake also makes me unsusceptible to scare mazes. Except for some really good jumpscares I never get scared.
 

Jamesss

Hyper Poster
For anyone anxious about scare attractions, the "Vile Villagers" walkthrough that Chessington added last year was a perfect way to ease into them.

It had actors, but it was outdoors and only took a couple of minutes to go through. Mildly scary, but family-friendly.

After doing that, you'd probably feel more confident about going into the indoor scare attractions.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Giga Poster
I find that I also am not a fan of scare attractions, but for a near opposite reason from that stated in the OP. As an adult, I’m not scared by them. I try to get into the fun spirit of it all. I like the mazes, the atmosphere, the theming. But if I were to react honestly to most scare actors, it would be a slight smile and a shrug. So I find myself sort of shamming vague intimidation or amusement just so as not to be rude, just to play along. But there’s something awkward and ironic about going to an attraction and having my mind most focused on not ruining it for the employees. Am I the only one who experiences this?
 
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