Forget the parties, forget the clubs -- the only Halloween experience you NEED TO DO, is Knott's Scary Farm.
Yes, the berry farm. Yes, the place where you get artisan jams. Yes, the oldest theme park in America, has the absolute best mazes, scare zones, and shows of any major park experience EASILY.
The scare factor is off the charts.
This isn't some predicable, almost cliche actor popping out from behind a black curtain in-between scenes. This is dudes dropping down from vents and flying across set pieces.
At one point, a person came to life out of a wall of moss. I just about died.
There's also four great scare zones, including the streets of Ghost Town, with Twin Peaks-esque miners roaming in complete darkness, scaring the crap out of everybody the second they step foot in the park.
The beauty of Knott's is none of their mazes are based on other properties, so they're forced to be creative (instead of leaning on classic horror movies like other parks.)
There's nine mazes, each more inspired than the last. My favorite is 'Trick or Treat: Lights Out' where park-goers are actually given a flashlight to navigate through the pitch black house. And as much as I'd love to let this be a surprise, you might not realize it so I'll say it...
...The flashlight flickers, cuts out, and turns into a black light because of sensors placed throughout the maze.
BOOM. Mind blown.
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Or maybe you'd prefer 'Special Ops: Infected' -- a zombie survival role-play maze with integrated laser tag that let's you shoot collars on the zombie actors.
And yes, you get a score at the end.
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Life goal complete.
In general, Halloween is a very expensive month.
All the costumes, parties, and haunted houses might have you eating ramen noodles for all of November, but If you're thinking zombie laser tag and sensor-controlled flashlights are expensive, you'd be wrong.
Knott's comes in at an easy $42 when you buy online, but beware, it's $75 if you buy at the gate. Why? Hell if I know, but I don't question things for being good, so just buy it online and don't worry about it.
Real talk: I tried three times to write a critical review of the decorations, but they sort of nailed that too.
Between the scare zones, and the dense fog over the whole park, you honestly forget you're at Knott's.
The park's 'miner town' layout really lends itself well to getting lost in the darkness.
This place takes the cake, it really does.
I didn't believe my friends when they said Knott's was better than Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights, but they were right.
And as an added bonus, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark puts on two shows every night in the park's theatre. But this is the last year before she retires from her long-standing show, so you've only got a few days left to see her live and in action.
If you're still not convinced, I leave you with this thought -- I had food poisoning when I went, and it was still my best day in October.
Check out more Halloween goodness on Circa.com:
Are Disneyland and California Adventure really worth it for Halloween?
Is Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights picture-perfect, or an overhyped date night?
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