Atomic Redhead’s Knott’s Scary Farm Survival Guide

Every fall a heavy fog creeps into Knott’s Berry Farm, transforming it into Knott’s Scary Farm. In a way, Knott’s Scary Farm is an entirely different version of Knott’s Berry Farm, as it offers so much more, and therefore is worthy of its own guide. If you’re more interested in learning more about a regular visit to Knott’s Berry Farm, check out my guide here.

Atomic Redhead's Knott's Scary Farm Survival Guide - An old west hotel covered in cobwebs. Two skeletons in western attire stand on the balcony.

Since 1973 Knott’s Scary Farm has grown to take over the entire park, with a variety of mazes, shows, and “scare zones.” Knott’s Scary Farm is a unique way to enjoy the Halloween season, but isn’t for everyone. However I highly encourage people to go, as it is such a fun experience. But before you go there are several factors I think you need to consider being venturing into the fog for the first time. On the same note, Knott’s Scary Farm is more geared toward teenagers and adults, but there is not age restriction, however Knott’s does suggest visitors be at least 13 years old.

Tickets. A ticket booth at Knott's Berry Farm with special signage for Scary Farm.

Knott’s Scary Farm is a separate ticketed event from regular admission into Knott’s Berry Farm, on select nights during September and October. On days that Knott’s Scary Farm is occurring Knott’s Berry Farm will have shorter hours. If you intend to spend the entire day at Knott’s, for both daytime enjoyment as well as Scary Farm, know you will have a gap of about one and a half to two hours between when normal operation ends and Scary Farm begins. The perfect amount of time to stop in at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant for some fried chicken!

I recommend buying your ticket ahead of time on-line, where you can save up to $40 off the price at the gate. If you are a local, I recommend purchasing the Knott’s Scary Farm pass. Yes, there is a pass! Which gets you admission to every night of Scary Farm. The plus side to purchasing a pass is that you do not have to cram everything you want to do into one night.

You can also add Fright & Fast Lane to your ticket, which gives you “unlimited priority access” to all mazes, and the rides that offer Fast Line, such as the wooden rollercoaster GhostRider, the interactive ride Voyage to the Iron Reef, and more. I received Fright Lane as a gift one year, and I really enjoyed it, and but I believe is only worth it if you are only going for one night.

As mentioned, Knott’s Scary Farm happens on select nights during September and October, typically Thursday through Sunday, with two Wednesday nights this year. I recommend visiting on Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday nights, which often have shorter lines, as most people have work or school the next day. To view the calendar of nights available click here.

When You Arrive - Two hands holding a map for Scary Farm over a wheelbarrow of pumpkins.

Arrive early to allow time for parking, as they area is very busy. Many people are still leaving from spending the day at the park, or coming and going for dinner at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Also, lines can get very long to enter.

When you arrive you will have your bags searched and walk through a metal detector. Please know that no weapons, or items that look like weapons are allowed. Pepper spray is not allowed. And please leave all costumes, including masks, at home. You are paying to be scared, not scare others.

Upon entering be sure to grab a map. Not only does this tell you where all of the mazes are, but when all of the various shows are. Even if you are familiar with Knott’s Berry Farm, but have not experienced Scary Farm, a map is very important, as several mazes are in backstage areas that have been opened and dressed up for the public to walk through.

Mazes - The sign for the maze "The Red Barn"

Inside Scary Farm there are a variety of “mazes” to make your way through. Each is themed, and each year there are new mazes. Some mazes return for many years, while some may last only one season, which makes returning to Scary Farm every year a new experience.

Like regular rides at amusement parks, these mazes can have long wait times, which is why a “Fright Lane” wristband can be advantageous if you are only going for one night, or why a pass may be better if you are a local. I have seen wait times of up to two hours for some mazes, and as little as five minutes for others.

These spaces are called “mazes” but don’t let that fool you. Unlike a maze in a child’s activity book, or a corn maze at a local farm, you cannot make a wrong turn. They are more like twisting hallways and series of rooms, you will always be able to find your way out, and you are never alone. Inside the mazes you will encounter a variety of ghosts, goblins, demons, and more. Some are real actors, while others may be props or animatronics. Please, do not touch the monsters or the props, and remember the monsters are not allowed to touch you.

Within the mazes you will notice there are several people dressed in all black. These people are not there to scare you, they are there for both your and the monsters’ protection. They are known as “Black Outs” and are basically maze security. Once a monster scared me and I literally leapt out of one of my shoes, I said “I lost my shoe!” and before I knew it a Black Out had a flash light out and found my shoe. So if you have any issues in a maze, know these people can help you.

If you find yourself in a situation you do not want to be in, and do not wish to continue the maze, there are several exits throughout the maze. Some are well labeled, others not so much, but a Black Out can help you find the one closest to you.

I am going to say the following several times in this post as it is extremely important and I see it happen all of the time: do not harm or mistreat the monsters. Do not touch the monsters (or the props within the mazes). You are paying to be scared. If they scare you they are doing their job. Also do not use your phone as a flashlight in mazes.

Ride Overlays - The sign for the Timber Mountain Halloween Hootenanny Log Ride. Wood sign with circular saw blades on either side.

Over the years some of the rides at Knott’s Berry Farm have been decorated for Halloween. Currently Timber Mountain Log Ride has received a wonderful Halloween overlay with the “Halloween Hootenanny.”

The drop on the Timber Mountain Log Ride, the top of the mountain features a large skull, and the wooden pillars below are topped with pumpkins and fall leaves.

The overlay is more spooky than scary, and is also available during regular park hours.

Another attraction that has received the scary treatment is the virtual reality experience available for an additional cost in the Boardwalk area of the park.

A sign that looks like a zombie hand with green skin and a broken bone protruding from the side reads "Time Zombies" over the top in red letters.

Recently Knott’s Berry Farm introduced VR Showdown in Ghost Town, a virtual reality steampunk western experience, but for the first time this year, only during Scary Farm, can you experience Time Zombies. Once again, the Time Zombies experience is an additional cost.

A stage with a spooky looking house, silo, and barn, a variety of figures in costumes such as Black Panther and Han Solo stand.

There are a variety of entertainment offerings at Scary Farm, and each show runs multiple times each night. Check your trusty map for the times of the shows.

The Hanging

A staple of Scary Farm entertainment is The Hanging, a live stunt show that looks back on pop culture of the last year, poking fun at it, and “hanging” the “most egregious offender” of the year. The Hanging includes violence, lots of crude humor, including sexual innuendo, and not everyone may find it funny. The Hanging takes place outside on the Calico Mine Stage and is subject to inclement weather.

Hacks

Hacks is an improv comedy act that includes volunteers from the audience and a collection of stock footage from B-horror movies to create hilarious moments. The show runs about a half hour, and is a nice respite from mazes and monsters. Hacks is inside the Charles M. Schultz Theatre in the Boardwalk portion of the park.

Conjurers

Throughout the run of Scary Farm, a variety of magicians are performing within the Birdcage Theatre, offering up wonderful illusions. Nothing scary to see here, you’ll just me amazed! Like Hacks, the show is about a half hour, and is a good break from all of the jump scares. Conjurers is inside the Birdcage Theatre in Ghost Town.

Scare Zones - a lanky figure in a bowler hat walks through purple fog.

From the moment you step into Scary Farm you are likely to scream. Why? Because there are hundreds of monsters roaming around the entire park. As mentioned in my regular Knott’s Berry Farm guide, Knott’s is split up into several different areas, Ghost Town, Fiesta Village, The Boardwalk, and Camp Snoopy. During Scary Farm each of these areas become themed Scare Zones with creatures matching that theme.

Ghost Town is the original Scare Zone, with ghosts of the old west, along with disturbing half-human, half-animal hybrid creatures.

A ghostly train conductor tries wonders along the tracks.

The Boardwalk becomes CarnEVIL as it becomes overrun with clowns. Camp Snoopy transforms into The Hollow with scarecrows come to life, slain soldiers, and witches. And new for this year Forsaken Lake, which takes place around the lake that runs under the roller coaster Silver Bullet. The monsters here are both elegant and hideous, and throughout the night they have a funeral procession inspired by those of New Orleans.

A crowd in gothic inspired fashion walk, some carrying parasols.

This year Fiesta Village is not Scare Zone, but offers a DJ and dancing, and if you need a break from the fog and monsters, the area is a good place to chill out for a moment.

As mentioned earlier, do not touch or insult the monsters. If they scare you, good! That is what they are getting paid to do! Do not feel insulted if you get scared. Do not taunt the monsters. Do not insult them. Do not shine bright lights in their faces. All of this can result in you being ejected from the park.

Food & Drink - Chocolate covered licorice, including one dipped in green chocolate so it looks like a witch's finger with the red bit of the licorice sticking out.

I recommend dining prior to entering Scary Farm, it means you don’t have to take time out of your evening to eat, which leaves more time for mazes and shows. However if you wish to eat during Scary Farm only a limited number of food locations are open. These locations are noted on the map. I do recommend eating at the Ghost Town Grill, and especially outside if you can. It is fun to watch people get scared from the patio!

There are several special treats to enjoy throughout the park, including the Ghost Town Bakery, with themed cupcakes, pumpkin flavored items (I highly recommend the pumpkin cream cheese danish!) and more. The Ghost Town Grill offers a “Monster Burger” which includes a sausage on top of the patty and is served on a black bun. At the churro window in Ghost Town you can find the “Inferno Churro” which is churro with a wee bit more cinnamon than normal, filled with bavarian cream, partially dipped in white chocolate, and covered with Halloween sprinkles, it’s pretty darn good too! And inside the Ghost Town Candy Shop there are a variety of treats with a fun Halloween spin on them.

If you are a regular Knott’s Berry Farm passholder with the meal plan, please know that your meal plan does not work during Scary Farm, however your refillable cup does.

Alcohol is available for purchase are various locations throughout the park as well.

Boo-fet

Knott’s Scary Farm offers a unique dining opportunity with the Boo-fet, which takes place in the time leading up to Scary Farm opening for the night. Here you get to enjoy an all you can eat buffet of Mrs. Knott’s famous fried chicken and more, as monsters lurk around tables and even take a seat next to you. You also receive a souvenir cup, which provides you with free refills during your night at various food and drink locations in the park, and $1 refills for every night you return. Those who enjoy the Boo-fet also get early access to several of the mazes. Learn more and purchase your Boo-fet ticket here.

Special Dietary Needs

For vegans, vegetarians, and those with food allergies and aversions, please visit Special Dietary Needs page here.

A skeleton stands in the ticket booth inside the Birdcage Theater.

Keep In Mind…

Every year I try to get my friends to go to Scary Farm, and every year several friends say they don’t want to go because they are afraid of punching someone or having a panic attack of sorts. I suggest psyching yourself up for the event in a way that will make it seem less intense by reminding yourself of these things:

-Everything you are about to experience is fake. The monsters are hired actors to scare you. It’s like a play. You aren’t afraid of the murder in a play actually murdering you.
-The monsters are not allowed to touch you.
-You and everyone else walked through a metal detector to enter the park. It is a paid, ticketed event, therefore the chances of something actually harmful happening to you are slim to none.
-Maze monsters are not allowed to follow you outside of their designated area within the maze. They are not allowed to follow you throughout the entire maze, or out of it. Sometimes you walk along a twisting path through a large room and sometimes a monster will follow you throughout the room, and some monsters do step outside of the exit into the immediate area, about three feet or so, but they are not allowed to go beyond that.
-Scare Zone monsters are not allowed to follow you outside of their Scare Zone. They are not allowed to follow you into stores or restaurants. So if you need a break, pop into a store.
-Do not engage if you are actually afraid. If you ignore them they will leave you alone. They want to scare people.
-If you don’t mind spoilers, or really want to know what you’re in for, look up Knott’s Scary Farm on YouTube and you will find videos of entire mazes, such as this one for The Depths.

Claustrophobia, Fog Sensitivities & Strobe Light Sensitivities

For the most part the mazes always feature a pathway of at least three feet wide. Within the maze of Paranormal Inc., in which guests explore an abandoned insane asylum filled with ghosts and otherworldly creatures, there is a hallway with nylon material where the walls are being pushed together by way of blown air, leaving the guests to push their way through between the walls. A guest behind me bailed out due to claustrophobia within this space. If you are prone to claustrophobia I suggest speaking with an employee at Guest Services or one of the employees standing near mazes (mazes have an employee with a wait time sign nearby and at the actual entrance) to find out if there are any mazes that you may have issues with.

If you have issues with strobe lights, certain mazes will be an issue, however they are getting better at labeling each of these mazes, so you know which ones to avoid. Once again, I suggest speaking to someone at Guest Services or at the entrances to the mazes to learn more.

If you are sensitive to fake fog, then Scary Farm is not for you. Fog machines are everywhere, including Scare Zones and mazes.

Boo-Boos and Other Aches and Pains

If you find yourself in need of a band-aid or simply not feeling well after churros and GhostRider, pop into First Aid, located between GhostRider and the Ghost Town Bakery in the Ghost Town portion of the Farm.

Manners

I honestly hate to even discuss this, but I am going to, having had multiple negative experiences. Please use common courtesy when visiting Knott’s Berry Farm, with both guests and employees alike. Please follow the rules. Rules are there for your safety and to provide the best experience for everyone.

And this last part on manners I cannot reenforce enough! Do not harass or try to scare the monsters. Remember you are buying a ticket to be scared. So if a monster scares you, they are doing their job. Do not give them a hard time if they scare you. Do not insult them. Do not touch them. Do not use flash photography. Do not shine your phone’s light in their faces.

Smoking

Knott’s Berry Farm permits smoking within designated smoking areas, which are marked on the map.

Questions, Guest Concerns (aka complaints), Guest Compliments, Disability Access

Guest Services, located between GhostRider and the Ghost Town Bakery can assist you disability access, as well as other guest issues. If you have a lost or found an item, have other questions, concerns, or compliments, you can visit Guest Relations, located near the exit of the park.

One More Note

If you still don’t think Scary Farm is your cup of tea, but would still like to enjoy the Halloween season at Knott’s Berry Farm, there is Knott’s Spooky Farm on select weekends, which you can learn more about here.

It’s extremely important to note that all of my text, ride availability, shows, characters, and prices, are all as of September, 2018. Anything can change at any time. Everything is subject to change. But I hope that I have been of some help to anyone planning on visiting Knott’s Scary Farm soon!

I was not approached by Knott’s Berry Farm to write this post. I did it of my own accord because I believe Knott’s Scary Farm is a fun and unique experience.

All photos were taken by either Patrick or myself.

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