Well, it's finally here. The end of the Haunt Season.
Sad Face ...
As a site, this was our fifth year covering Halloween and we've had an absolute blast.
Below are our site awards for 2018!! Some of these events still have some nights coming up this weekend so be sure to check them out if you haven't already.
If you missed ANY of our Halloween Updates be sure to check them out.
Also this year, we opened up the voting to you, our loyal Park Journey readers. So you'll not only see our staff picks, but yours as well.
Best Theme Park Haunt
Staff Pick - Knott's Scary Farm
With the addition of new mazes and the freshening up of some previous years mazes it was another banner year for the amazing Knott's Scary Farm.
Reader Pick - Knott's Scary Farm
It was a clean sweep for the original Halloween Event, although Halloween Horror Nights Orlando and Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest did gather a tying second place vote.
Check out our Knott's Scary Farm 2018 Review
Best Non Theme Park Haunt
Staff Pick - Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
This was a tough category as there were so many amazing Non Theme Park Events that could have claimed this spot. Very close second would be ... see below.
Reader Pick - Tie: WB Horror Made Here and Queen Mary's Dark Harbor
In just it's second year, WB's Horror Made Here managed to tie one of the best and biggest events around, and for good reason. If it weren't for the readers calling this a tie, we may well have in our Staff Pick above. Congrats to WB and Dark Harbor. We hope you continue to duke it out for years to come. =)
Check out our Queen Mary's Dark Harbor 2018 Review
Check out our WB Horror Made Here 2018 Review
Best Independent Halloween Event
Staff Pick - Ghost Train
Reader Pick - Ghost Train
Another clean sweep in our Independent Haunt Category!! Congrats to the Ghost Train which manages to not only be fun for all ages, but thrilling for even the most extreme Haunt fan. Coming in second place in our Readers pick was The 17th Door, which continues to grow each year.
Best Year-to-Year upgrade of a maze location
Sewer of Lost Souls - Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain
We thought about opening this category up for the Reader Vote, but weren't quite sure how to word it. Basically, the maze that has been in this location the past few years, let's face it, kind of sucked. But not this year!! Totally revamped, no more black walls or vines everywhere, a truly unique and innovative maze was to be found.
Best Family Friendly Halloween Event
Staff Pick - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom
Reader Pick - Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom
It's really hard to top Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, and for good reason. Unlike most family events, Magic Kingdom gets to use their park at night for their Family Halloween event vs having nights reserved for scary stuff.
Check out our Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party 2018 Review
Best Home Haunt
Staff Pick - Beware The Dark Realm
This was our second year visiting this haunt near Magic Mountain, and it won't be our last. Truly ambitious and thrilling, the team at this Haunt puts on a great event, for a great cause.
Reader Pick - Backwoods
So let's say you go to some imaginary "Haunt Graveyard" and get animatronics and sets that basically tells the history of Southern California Scary Events and put them all in your house. And then it all works in an amazing way. That's what Backwoods is and it's amazing. It's no wonder our Reader's picked this as their winner.
Staff Pick - Universal Monsters at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Truly the toughest category we had to figure out, this could have gone to any number of 5 or 6 mazes at 4 or 6 different events. But for thrills, fun, effects and talent, none was better than Universal Monsters
Reader Pick - Stranger Things at Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights
This was easily the most popular maze at two different parks 2500 miles away. Stranger Things is truly epic in every way and it's not hard to see why fans loved this maze.
Best New Maze
Tie: The Depths at Knott's Scary Farm and Sewer of Lost Souls at Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest
We typically exclude Halloween Horror Nights from this category as they don't tend to repeat mazes, but that's not to take away anything from these two amazing mazes. One (The Depths) a fantastic idea with a mix of great talent, technology and fun and the other (Sewer of Lost Souls) a true upgrade for Six Flags Magic Mountain's Fright Fest.
Staff Pick - Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain
The staff at Fright Fest has been together for years, has the freedom to hone their craft and create their own characters. And it shows. Despite some truly busy nights at the park this year, the staff was on top of their game all season.
Reader Pick - Knott's Scary Farm
Ghost Town, Carnevil, The Hollows ... names synonymous with amazing scares. Throw in the all new Forsaken Lake and 9 mazes and it's not hard to see why the talent of this event always gets high marks.
Best Scare Zone
Vamp 85 at Halloween Horror Nights Orlando
We all agreed, this was the scare zone to beat this year, and it's not very hard to see why. Great talent, great atmosphere and a killer soundtrack.
Special Runner Up to Holidayz in Hell at Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood, which we hope comes back as a fully realized maze in 2019. Especially the Thanksgiving part.
Check out our Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando 2018 Review
Best Year to Year upgrade of an existing maze
Staff Pick - Paranormal Inc at Knott's Scary Farm
Reader Pick - Paranormal Inc at Knott's Scary Farm
This one wasn't even close, almost a clean sweep for Paranormal Inc. The new ending breathed new life into the maze and it's better than ever. Even with huge upgrades to some other mazes, none came close to having the impact of Paranormal Inc.
Related Updates: +
To say that the Warner Brothers Studio Tour Hollywood "Horror Made Here - A Festival of Frights" was one of our most anticipated events of the entire Halloween season would be kind of an understatement.
In just it's second year, and really, first year that they've really put a lot of hype into the event, the event delivers on everything they've promised. It's selling out every night, and for good reason.
Let's head in and see why!!
Written by Gregg Condon
Welcome to the WB Studio Tour Hollywood!!
We got in a bit early so took the opportunity to check out the layout before it got dark.
I mean, what else would you call the merch store?
Many people's most anticipated maze was Arkham Asylum, and we had a great time during our 3 walk-throughs.
It takes a LOT of talent to get skid-marks around a pole. =)
The joker is waiting for you!!
There was some confusion on opening night as to what we could film vs what we could take pictures of. But we hope you enjoy the combination of both pictures and video in this update!!
Here is a slideshow of Arkham Asylum!!
Returning from last year was the Niebolt House, but not really as it was hugely expanded, and was a great fun maze. Really the only "traditional" maze at the event.
The other two had major show elements, which was amazing and made the event truly unique.
Hey, you leave Georgie alone!!
A video of Pennywise torturing Georgie.
We really loved the way some of the pics from inside the maze turned out. We hope you do too.
Again, what else would you call your arcade? Hope The Lost Boys theme expands in future years, would love to finally see a Lost Boys maze.
The Exorcist was really cool in concept, they seemed to be having some issues, but it was the first night.
Anybody who's been since know if they've got it figured out? It's an amazing concept!!
Included with Horror Made Here is a great exhibit of Tim Burton movies, which is part of the standard tour.
Another great slideshow of the exhibit, which made us want to do the normal VIP tour even more than we already did.
The other really cool thing was the Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake, which is a walk-through in the forest on the lot. You have to take a tram out to the site.
It really is great, and dark, and creepy. Everything a haunted trail should be.
Last but certainly not least was the Conjuring Universe experience. We hesitate to say maze, because it wasn't. It was really a mini Haunted Play.
Somebody is missing ...
Oh, there she is!!
Lots of amazing artifacts
We really liked how this turned out
Lastly, let's take a look at some of the amazing merchandise both in the regular store and Little Shop of Horrors!
For more info on the event, click here. Be sure to get your tickets as it sells out every night!! And for good reason.
Related Updates: +
Dark Harbor is back for 2018 and we have to say, the event is better than ever.
Each and every maze has undergone some amazing changes, some very drastic and two mazes that were constantly struggling to find their way, found their way in a BIG way this year.
Let's head in and get the ship scared out of us!!
Written by Gregg Condon
Welcome to Dark Harbor!!
The Captain is waiting for you!!
As always, the Ringmaster was on hand for the festivities!! She's the best!!
Speaking of the Ringmaster ... we got the chance to go through Lullaby with her. Yes, Lullaby, which definitely was an interesting experience as you'll see below.
Even the stages are bigger this year!!
Deadrise is back, our favorite dead sailors are up to no good again.
Our favorite end-of-maze moments are always found at Deadrise.
Although, having the entry and exit in the same place means people are pretty much expecting it at this point. Still, we managed to get some great reaction shots below.
Feast was back this year, in a new location and was a lot of fun yet again!! Crawling through the grinder was interesting as always.
The food options were MUCH improved this year!!
Watch out as you head into B340
Speaking of B340, wow, talk about a huge plus over the previous year. Simply fantastic and is not to be missed.
Circus was back, we tried to find the hidden bar like last year but it was not to be.
Our early season vote for best year-to-year improvement of an existing maze HAS to go to Intrepid. This one has really struggled to find it's way.
We are VERY happy to say Intrepid has found it's way. And it may have been our absolute favorite maze of the entire event. It's THAT good. Kudos to Jon Cooke and his amazing team for breathing new life into this maze.
Thanks to Queen Mary for another fantastic year of Dark Harbor!! We hope to be able to return again before the season is over.
Related Updates: +