A Canada’s Wonderland’s Halloween Haunt 2019 Review

Each year, Canada’s Wonderland dims the lights and brings out the frights with Halloween Haunt, filling the park with spooky and scary attractions and shows. This year, I got a Fright Lane pass (allowing me to skip the attraction lines) and went through all of the attractions and some of the shows with my trusted scary stuff partner. Read on to find out what parts were my favorite, how an actor scared me so much that I accidentally hit him, and which attraction I crown as spookiest!

  1. 1. The Decor

    In two words: on point! We came here in 2017 and wondered if it would live up to our old experiences and we were pleasantly surprised. The decorations went beyond the average pumpkins and skeletons. Canada’s Wonderland went all out, and some of the decorations were Instagram-worthy props. The entrance was the most mesmerizing part, despite the advertisements for their winter festival (hello review part two!) with the fountain backdrop. It was a truly unique experience to be able to touch and interact with some of them, although with some, they were too scary to consider touching (looking at you, animatronic prisoner).

    Rating: four out of five pumpkins.

  2. 2. The Sinister Entertainment

    There were six shows scattered across the park: a radioactive LED dance show, an illusionist, freak show, Halloween horror flicks (courtesy of Vaughan International Film Festival), vampire disco, and devil’s circus. Sadly, midnight came too soon and we were only able to attend two, but oh my ghost, they were amazing. Walking past the vampire disco, we were surprised to see people dancing to silence… until I noticed the blue headphones. Sure enough, as we put some on, we were treated to some loud, wild dance music. Two vampires danced on a stage, while two more served as master of ceremonies and DJ. If the tunes weren’t enough to get people dancing, they served alcohol! Sadly, we had no time to spare, so we rushed off to the next location: the devil’s circus. To get there, we followed a flame. We noticed it flickering in the distance, agreed that fire was interesting, and went towards it. We had no regrets. It was truly incredible to watch four different performers push the limits of the human body and win. My jaw dropped the second we walked up and stayed there until after the entire show. I shouldn’t spoil too much of what happens, but I will share that my favorite act was indeed with the fire. I can also say that I’ve been not-so-patiently waiting to go back to experience them again!

    Rating: five out of five pumpkins.

  3. 3. The Scare Zones

    Most people walk past the Scare Zones without realizing where they are. This is largely due to the lack of signage indicating where you are, but if you’ve got a keen eye and a map, they’re spooktacular and executed perfectly. Throughout the park, there was the Frontier’s Revenge, Gate of Terror, The Plague, CarnEVIL, Trick of Treat, Wicked Hollow and Ghostly Pines. Each has a theme (for example, the Wicked Hollow has huts made of wood and are populated by frightful fairies; this was my favorite, especially the actor with the deer skull on their head!) and can be freely walked through. This was where an actor slowly crept up behind me and whispered in my ear, “don’t turn around.” I followed their advice and tried to play it off, but ultimately failed. They got me.

    What I really loved about the Scare Zones is that you could spend as much or as little time as you wanted in them. There were no lines, as it was just decoration. The actors were also very accommodating to picture requests. They were decorated absolutely beautifully (spookily?) and were a dream (nightmare?) to walk through. However, they could be very difficult to locate if you didn’t know what you were looking for.

    Rating: four-and-a-half out of five pumpkins.

  4. 4. The Haunted Attractions

    The attractions were the main reason we came, and truthfully, they were just okay. Nothing terrible, but nothing too exciting. As someone who loves Halloween-themed and scary events/movies/attractions, it mostly wasn’t enough for me. A large problem is the lighting: while dark can be scary, it actually worked against some of the attractions as it was too dark to even see the interior and their decorations. You essentially were quickly ushered (due to long lines and high turnover) through a very loud and dark maze. We would’ve loved to see the hard work put into the attractions and their decor, but we sadly didn’t get to experience it. The Crypt was an example of this. I love the concept of walking through a spooky, skull-filled maze, but we got one quick look at a wall filled with bones and that was it. The actors, however, were great. I have high standards, as a former volunteer scarer at Haunted Fort Night back in Thunder Bay, and was very pleased with their energy, commitment to character and adaptability. I got thoroughly tangled in some rubber tubing in the Blood Shed. I wasn’t really impressed with the maze until then, but one of the actors took the opportunity to ask me to stay so she could chop me up. It’s that creativity that I look for in these sorts of events, and all of the actors were outstanding.

    With that being said, there were some shining examples that we loved. In 2017, the one maze that scared me the most was Code Red: a haunted military-grade secret laboratory. It was the scariest in 2019 too! I noticed that most of the actors were situated either in the middle or end of the mazes, so I thought I was safe as we entered. I was wrong. An actor dressed as a deceased scientist jumped out at me from behind a wall and scared me so much that I shrieked and hit the poor guy on the nose (note: never do this! This was an accident). Luckily, it was very gentle and so I apologized endlessly as my partner dragged me away. We were able to see most of the maze inside from the lighting, and the actors wandering honestly terrified me. They weren’t stationary, moving freely around. It was the most “realistic” (as realistic as a haunted lab can be) and felt the least static. It honestly terrified me, and the line was short, so we ran back in to get scared all over again. As usual, the Cornstalkers corn maze was also super creepy (and I got spooked by a leaf).

    Rating: three out of five pumpkins.

  5. 5. The Worst of the Worst

    Not all attractions are created equally, and some just missed the scary mark.

    3. The Crypt: in a word? Forgettable. The lighting was too dark and you couldn’t see much. You’re not missing much, though, as it’s just bones haphazardly placed on the walls. 

    2. Forest of Fear: the concept of werewolves in a creepy forest is cool, but the execution was not. While it was bright enough to see (and looked terrifying), it lacked any life and it felt disconnected from other parts of the same maze.

    And the worst of the worst is…

    1. Blood Shed: not even clever acting can save this one. This cannibal/butcher-themed maze was about as well-put together and scary as the Halloween aisle in a department store. While they obviously can’t use real limbs for decoration, the plastic decor and fake blood looked very cheap and, well, unscary.

  6. 6. The Best of the Best

    The Crypt, Forest of Fear and Blood Shed were about as scary as a kitten, but luckily, three others hit every Halloween note.

    3. Spirit Manor: I’m biased as this is one of my favorite horror sub-genres, but every year I go, I’m consistently impressed with the atmosphere, acting and the decorations themselves. It’s a mini haunted house and I loved it. It may not be the scariest but it is incredibly memorable and fun.

    2. Cornstalkers: are scary corn mazes ever bad? This one sure isn’t. The nostalgic value and the fear of not knowing which scarecrows are alive is what makes this one worth the wait. It’s scary enough that I got freaked out by a leaf! You can’t get more tense than this, unless you count…

    The spookiest, scariest and overall best attraction…

    1. Code Red: the first 10 seconds inside the maze was enough to sell me. I don’t really care for sci-fi but I got chills and my heart was pounding the entire time I was inside. This was the only attraction that we went through twice, and I was just as scared the second time. The flow, lighting, decor and acting all worked together wonderfully into the terrifying maze.

    Congratulations Code Red on your terrifying coronation!

I came in with high standards and was not disappointed. I absolutely recommend this to those looking for a more casual Halloween event. Even if you decide not to brave the attraction lines, the various entertainment and scare zones are a blast. Tickets are available for as low as 31.99$ and can be bought online or at Canada’s Wonderland. Halloween Haunt is being held on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until October 27th, 2019. Go in and explore… if you dare!