Battle of the Scariest Theme Parks

From top to bottom: courtesy of,,,

From top to bottom: courtesy of,,,

Pauline Ngo, Photojournalist

There are numerous theme parks in Southern California that transform into a frightening, disturbing theme park during the month of October. However, we’ll focus on Knott’s Scary Farm and Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights—the most popular according to students at YLHS.


This year, Knott’s completely reinvigorated their Halloween Haunt to compete with Universal Studios. Instead of thirteen amateur mazes, there will be only nine—quality over quantity. The following descriptions are some of Knott’s best attractions. Creatively, Knott’s came up with a unique interactive attraction called Special Ops: Infected. In Infected, one is put in an infected area and given an infrared laser simulated assault rifle to have the mission of killing roaming zombies. Moreover, the Trapped maze is back and newer than ever. Failing to satisfy visitors the past two years, Knott’s redesigned the maze to make it more difficult to escape the doorless rooms, with every room being better than the previous. In addition, there is the Tooth Fairy maze. This maze tells a story that combines two ideas: the fantasy figure that every child knows and an excruciating trip to the dentist. Lastly, there is a Forevermore maze with a modern-day serial killer who gets inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe’s twisted tales. Some of his tales that are included are “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.”


There are a couple of students who got the chance to go to Knott’s Scary Farm this year. Vanessa Le (11) admitted that she’s “not really a big fan of scary things, but [she] kind of liked it there.” She went for the first time in the beginning of October, which means she went just the right time when Knott’s decided to revamp their Halloween Haunt. Vanessa conceded that she was too scared to open her eyes that she doesn’t even know what her favorite maze is. “I was hiding under my friend’s arm and was using her hand to cover my eyes, and one of the scareactors went to my ears and taunted me to take her hand off,” she recalled. Jenna Rayo (12) revealed that Knott’s was “lots of fun—scary the first time but fun the next time you go.” She got the unlimited terror pass, which means she can go to Knott’s Scary Farm as many times as she wants; in fact, she has been going every weekend. Jenna disclosed that the Halloween Haunt is a “lot more strict since the monsters have to focus on scaring you and to not take pictures with the visitors.” The scariest part for her was Infected because it was really intense; “you get a gun, and zombies charge at you!” Her favorite maze is Forevermore because it “brings the tales of Edgar Allen Poe to life.” Megan Portugal (12) also went and admitted that it was “not necessarily scary, but it was really entertaining, and it keeps your adrenaline going.” Since Megan also had an unlimited terror pass, she went five times this month. Infected was also the scariest for her because “it was new, and I didn’t know what to expect; it felt real because squad leaders kept on screaming at you.” Carnevil was the most fun for Megan because “the entire section is full of creepy clowns, and the clowns would make fun of you.”


On the other hand, there is Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. This year, it features seven mazes and five scare zones. The mazes include The Walking Dead, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alien vs. Predator, An American Werewolf in London, Dracula Untold, Face Off and Clowns 3-D. The five scare zones include The Walking Dead, The Purge, Mask-a-Raid, Dark Christmas and Skullz. The Walking Dead maze is inspired by season 4, where people will follow a small group of survivors who try to escape of a zombie infested prison to get to Terminus, a sanctuary.


At the main entrance, visitors will enter the area where all crime, including murder is legal. Based on The Purge: Anarchy, the scare zone will be swarming with murders wearing the signature Purge masks. The Mask-a-Raid scare zone is set in pre-Revolutionary War France. It is a masquerade ball attended by cannibals wearing masks. In Dark Christmas, Krampus and the Christmas Devil drag disobedient children to Hell.