13 haunted reasons to visit Kings Island before October ends

October is quickly disappearing like a ghost but not before it gets a few more bone chilling scares in as it ramps up to Halloween.

There’s no shortage of spooktacular things to do in the region. From haunted houses, ghost tours, corn mazes and pumpkin patches to community festivals and parties, there’s plenty of spooky scares and creepy entertainment to enjoy.

When it comes to a concentrated series of scares and frights the Halloween Haunt event at Kings Island can’t be beat.

Originally named, “FearFest,” Kings Island’s Halloween event first happened in 2000 and today has grown to one of the best Halloween events happening across the country with six mazes, four scare zones, three shows and more than 20 amusement park rides.

“When I’m describing Halloween Haunt to someone who’s never been before, I usually say that it’s like stepping into a horror movie,” said Chad Showalter, director of communications for Kings Island. “You can be walking around the park, minding your own business, and then all of the sudden, out of nowhere you’re standing face-to-face with a grinning clown who looks like he’s having a real bad day. And it doesn’t end there — there’s enough scares at the park than you could possibly get in one night. Many of our guests have Halloween Haunt’s opening night circled on the calendar for months before the event begins. It’s a way to see the park in a whole new way, and over the years it’s proven to be one of the best entertainment options around during the Halloween season.”

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With just a few weeks left to soak up the screams and frights from aliens and spine-chilling clowns to zombies and blood terrifying butchers, here are 13 frightening reasons to head south to enjoy some spine-tingling outdoor scares at Halloween Haunt.

1. Kings Island is famous for its night rides such as The Beast, Banshee and Mystic Timbers. During the summer it’s hard to get night rides in because it stays light out so late. However, during Halloween Haunt they are open later and it gets dark sooner, so there are many more opportunities to get those night rides in.

2. Each of the indoor mazes allows guests to access areas of the park that aren’t open during the park’s regular operating season. For example, Hotel St. Michelle takes place in the old Action Theater building which originally opened in 1993, featuring a motion simulator ride based off the Tom Cruise movie, “Days of Thunder.”

3. Kings Island hires hundreds of scare actors to take over the park during Halloween Haunt. Each one of them goes through a scary make-up transformation that can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

4. This year, Halloween Haunt has a new haunted maze, the aforementioned Hotel St. Michelle. Everyone has heard about the haunting tales of the old Hotel St. Michelle, but are they true? As you sneak into the abandoned hotel, named after the manager’s missing daughter, you eerily find the hotel is not abandoned but very alive in spirit. It also has a new Scare Zone, Alien X, when darkness falls, the personnel working inside Area 72 show their true form, and the secrets of Area 72 are revealed. Walk through the displays of alien creatures who have been contained … well most of them.

5. There are two new shows. NyteWalkers looks at what happens when the acrobatic and action sports world meets Zombies. And Terror Rising features a Skull Squad that combines rhythmic step moves of five dancers with thrash, EDM and heavy metal.

6. There’s a Rides graveyard, an area where guests can see the tombstones of former rides and attractions at the park, and what years they were alive (operated).

7. On Saturdays and Sundays, during the day, families can enjoy Tricks and Treats Fall Fest. More information can be found here: https://www.visitkingsisland.com/events/tricks-and-treats-fall-fest

8. There are only two weeks left to enjoy it. Halloween Haunt is open Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 29 and Sundays through Oct. 30.

9. There’s a variety of rides, activities and entertainment at Halloween Haunt, which makes it an event the most ages can enjoy. Visit the parks website in advance to become familiar with what’s offered during the event and learn which ones are appropriate for you and those in your group. Younger kids and guests who are more timid often take advantage of the ‘No Boo’ necklace which typically allows for safe (not as scary) passage throughout the park.

10. It’s the best time to buy a Gold Pass. Purchasing a Gold Pass now includes admission to Halloween Haunt and WinterFest this year, and all of 2023.

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11. Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt was the 2021 winner of the USA TODAY 10Best.com readers poll for Best Theme Park Halloween Event.

12. There are 15 roller coasters, including Orion ready and waiting in between frights.

13. According to Showalter, the transformation of the park into Halloween Haunt begins in late July with planning for new attractions taking more than a year. With that kind of work and attention to detail, if you love the scares this is a hard one to resist.

Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

HOW TO GO

What: Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt

Where: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, Warren County

When: Halloween Haunt is open at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights through Oct. 29, plus Sunday nights through Oct. 30

Cost: Tickets start at $44.99

Other: Tricks and Treats Fall Fest, a non-scary time for families that has rides, fall activities, game shows, food, beer and more, is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 30. Children may trick-or-treat throughout the park.

Bags policy: To increase safety and provide efficient entry into the park during Halloween Haunt guests will be asked to adhere to a new policy which states that no bags of any kind larger than 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 2″ may be brought into the park after 6 p.m. on Halloween Haunt nights. All bags will be subject to search.

More information: visitkingsisland.com/haunt

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