Knott’s Scary Farm Looks to its Past for Fresh Scares This Year

We interrupt the Arizona road trip posts to bring you a special Halloween bulletin! Fog has rolled into Knott’s Berry Farm transforming it into Knott’s Scary Farm! And I was there opening weekend to experience all that is new for the year.

Entrance to Knott's Berry Farm. A black and white banner reads "Knott's Scary Farm" above the arched gateways into the park.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, seated in front of a fountain filled with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, standing in front of a stage with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, standing in front of a fountain filled with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, standing in front of a stage with massive jack o'lanterns.

Close-up of my purse, which is round and made of black vinyl, it reads "Knott's Scary Farm" in white text. It hangs on a cross shaped wooden tombstone.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, standing in front of a stage with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, seated in front of a fountain filled with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, standing in front of a stage with massive jack o'lanterns.

Myself, wearing a black t-shirt with a zombie playing an upright bass shaped like a coffin, and text reading "Nekromatix Coffinbass is Cool" and a black pencil skirt, seated in front of a fountain filled with massive jack o'lanterns.

Each fall Knott’s Scary Farm creaks open the doors to multiple mazes, several unique shows, and the park is crawling with over 1000 monsters to make you scream. But, like Knott’s itself, Scary Farm has humble beginnings.

Three massive skeletons greet you as you enter Knott's Scary Farm.

Knott’s Scary Farm started in 1973, and was originally called “Knott’s Halloween Haunt” which is why some people still refer to it as “Haunt.” The idea came from two people in the marketing department and another from the entertainment office, who wanted to create an event that would give the Farm an extra bit of money for what was normally a slow time. A rag tag group of stuntmen and regular employees were made up like monsters and were given the lone instruction to run around Ghost Town frightening Guests. The event, which lasted only three nights the very first year, has only grown as the decades have gone on. Nothing like this had ever been done before, and through trial and error, Knott’s developed a unique form of entertainment that has been copied at parks across the globe.

Today, Knott’s Scary Farm begins in mid-September and runs on select nights until early November, and features over 1000 live actors, nine mazes, four Scare Zones, and four different shows. Each year new mazes and shows are introduced and this year is no exception. Two new mazes entered this year, and one is certain to go down as a classic.

The citizens of Calico, who have been turned into hideous creatures

Moments in Scary Farm history have developed into legend and become part of the lore of the Scare Zones, including the legend of Sarah Marshall, the Green Witch of Calico. And this year, Scary Farm returns to its roots with a brand new maze, Origins: Curse of Calico, which provides a backstory to the curse that has been the centerpiece of Ghost Town Streets during Scary Farm. The maze also pays homage to the former attraction, the Haunted Shack, and is incredibly detailed, featuring good ol’fashioned tricks combined with new technology to create a frightfully fun and unique experience.

The entrance to Origins, a red barn with a gallows erected out front. Text reading "Origins: The Curse of Calico" is above the opening.

The Green Witch flies above those who dare to enter Origins.

The second new maze is Wax Works, where within a partially burned down wax museum, a former plastic surgeon combines human flesh with wax to create “masterpieces.” Its macabre, yet has oddly beautiful moments.

The entrance to Wax Works, a brick building with a devil head above the sign reading "Wax Works"

Inside Wax Works a dummy has wax pouring from her jaw, beehives are behind her.

New mazes mean that some mazes must go, and this year marks the end for ShadowLands, which is inspired by Japanese lore, where demon samurais and more look to find victims to drag to purgatory, and Special Opts: Infected, an interactive laser tag type maze with zombies.

Also new for this year is Puppet Up! Uncencored. It’s one part behind the scenes documentary at puppets, and one part improv comedy. With suggestions from the audience, puppeteers from the Jim Henson Company, under the watchful eye of his son, Brian Henson, create hilarious moments using a wide cast of puppets, and you get to see just how these unique puppets are brought to life. It’s hilarious to the point of tears. I’ve seen it twice already, and I’ve laughed so hard I’ve cried both times.

The stage for Puppet Up. Puppeteers hold puppets high above their heads, and two large screens on either side of them showcase what the camera sees. A large cabinet of puppets sits off to the left.

Brian Henson and another puppeteer do a sketch with a member of the audience.

Knott’s Scary Farm also has returning entertainment, including The Hanging, which changes year to year, as it is a pop culture parody stunt show ending in the hanging of the “most egregious offender of the year.” This year however The Hanging incorporates elements of the legend of Sarah Marshall, and for the first time, a maze, Scare Zone, and The Hanging are all integrated for one story.

A cowboy stands in a spotlight on the stage for The Hanging.

A man dressed as Freddie Mercury sings into a microphone. Behind him a man dressed as the devil mimics him.

The devil, dressed in a red suit with small red horns, dances his way across the stage.

Returning shows include Conjurers, a magic act inside the Birdcage Theatre, and Awaken the Dead, a DJ dance party in Fiesta Village. All of the shows are away from the Scare Zones, and give you a break from the myriad of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls who roam the Scare Zones.

There are four Scare Zones, the first of which is Ghost Town Streets, the original Scare Zone, where the dead have risen from Boot Hill and the citizens of Calico have been cursed to show their true animal versions of themselves. The area of Knott’s known as the Boardwalk has been taken over my crazed clowns and side show freaks to become CarnEVIL. Within the Hollow, witches have cast a spell, bringing scarecrows to life as well as a plethora of other eerie creatures, all of which face off with a group of witch hunters. On the shores of Forsaken Lake, residents of a swampy cemetery rise from their damp tombs and gorgeous yet creepy reapers seek new souls to take.

A ghostly bride stands inside a coffin on the porch of the undertaker's.

A tall, half-bull, half-human cowboy carrying a massive pitchfork walks through Ghost Town.

A clown in classic white make-up and a bowler hat leers toward guests

A scarecrow brought to life stumbles through The Hollow.

A nomad like creature with a beard and tusks gazes into the camera in The Hollow.

A woman in grey Victorian dress pulls a string of leaves from her mouth, as the victims of the Lake wonder through the Scare Zone of Forsaken Lake.

The Reaper of Forsaken Lake, a woman in short black hair, ghastly make-up, and a large cowl of tattered cloth.

Many of Knott’s Berry Farm regular rides operate during Knott’s Scary Farm hours, and like last year, the Timber Mountain Log Ride has been transformed into the Halloween Hootenanny, a spooky Halloween experience through log country’s backwoods. This Halloween overlay is also available during regular park hours.

Simply put, Knott’s Scary Farm a colorful and creepy quilt that provides something for everyone’s macabre tastes. So if you’re a SoCal local, or visiting the area for the Halloween season, I highly recommend going. And if you do, check out my Knott’s Scary Farm Survival Guide here, which has been updated for the 2019 season.

Knott’s Scary Farm is separate ticketed event located at Knott’s Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California, and occurs on select nights from now through November 2. Knott’s Scary Farm is not recommended for children under 13 years of age. To learn more, including purchasing discounted tickets, please visit Knott’s Berry Farm’s website.

Not into the really scary? Knott’s also offers Knott’s Spooky Farm. While Spooky Farm is more geared toward children 3-11, with shows and crafts, it’s still fun for adults too. Spooky Farm begins next week, and occurs only on weekends and Halloween day. For more information, visit Knott’s Berry Farm’s website.

Outfit
Shirt: Nekromatix concert
Skirt: Dolly & Dotty
Shoes: Re-Mix
Purse: Knott’s Berry Farm

Disclaimer: I received a Media invitation to the opening night of Knott’s Scary Farm.

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