With Halloween just around the corner, everyone seems to be looking for a way to embrace the spooky season with old traditions and new adventures. Staying up late watching horror movies with friends you just met a month ago or buying mini pumpkins from Trader Joe’s are all part of enjoying the weeks leading up to Halloween away from home! One activity that I always loved to do, even though I get scared ridiculously easy is going to Halloween-based amusement parks! The ambiance of an amusement park at night is already enough to bring people together, but if you add in a terrifying ax man right behind you, you’ll be clinging on to your friends for dear life. While I’m so glad that they opened again this year, it’s clear that the pandemic has touched every aspect of our lives, including spooky amusement parks!
- Rush to be scared!
One of the first things I had noticed actually came to light in the middle of June. I was working my summer job at Starbucks and I was noticing that the morning rush was abnormally busy. As I worked at the drive-thru, I asked several of the customers what their plans were for the rest of the day and almost half of them responded by saying that they were going to a place to find good wifi to buy tickets for Disney’s “Oogie Boogie Bash”! They had gotten their coffee at about 5 in the morning and were all ready to purchase their spot when the tickets went live at 8. I could barely believe what I was hearing until I started noticing all of the Disney merchandise families had in their cars. The tickets were apparently all sold out by the end of the month and it was clear that everyone was dying to do fun activities since March 2020. One year without Halloween and all of the events that come with fall was enough for everyone to be looking forward to these Disney Halloween events in June!
- Pay Extra for Frights
Another aspect of Halloween amusement parks that was impacted had to do with how financially impacted these corporations were over the course of the pandemic in the first place. Recently, one of my close friends back home had mentioned that they wanted to come visit Los Angeles and go to Fright Fest. As we made our way through the park, we noticed that there were certain areas of the park that made up the majority of scary decorations and attractions. However, those parts of the park were reserved for people who paid to get into those areas. While it makes sense that the incentive to raise prices and make-up revenue is stronger now than ever before, the park itself didn’t really provide the feeling of October for anyone who didn’t pay extra to get into some parts of the park!
- Halloween masks, not costumes
Lastly, while this is a bit obvious, mummies and chain saw maniacs are a little less scary when they’re all wearing masks too in front of you. I want to note that I am extremely glad that they are and that the health of the actors employed at these corporations is prioritized. However, the surrealness of haunted houses or spooky attractions was something that worked because it was extremely detached from reality. Now, with goblins and ghosts all wearing face masks and essential protective gear, it feels like reality seeps in a little more and it’s a bit less scary to be around people who went through so much with everyone else this last year and a half. It’s a reminder of how far we have come, but also how long we have to go until a new feeling of normalcy cements itself into people’s daily lives.
I hope that by the time that you’re reading this, you have been able to experience all that this year’s spooky season has to offer and that you’ve been to a scary amusement park yourself! Even with these slight differences, the parks so far have been insanely fun to go to safely and that’s due in part to the fact that you can experience more with friends and family again. Happy Halloween!