For many years several the larger theme parks have put on some incredible Halloween events. Featuring elaborate mazes, utilizing the latest in special effects, professional actors, and even offering up rides that run at night or are specially redesigned for the season. Fan favorites have included such events as Knotts Berry Farms Scary Farm and Universal Studios Horror Nights in the past. In 2021, SeaWorld San Diego decided to throw its proverbial witch’s hat into the ring to see if it could instill a bit of Halloween magic to its already amazing park.
This year was my first year of attending the event that is now in it’s second year. Much like the other parks I listed, it has several haunted mazes, scare zones and rides that it runs late into the evening. Featuring Halloween snacks and merchandise to round out this incredible event.
The following are this year’s featured Haunted Houses based on a number of themes reminiscent of some of your worst Halloween nightmares.
Circus of the Damned has you venturing through killer clowns and terrifying circus actors as you attempt to escape. If you’ve ever wanted to see what a circus is like when the lights go down, this is probably what you imagined.
Simon’s Slaughterhouse, features all that you would expect from a slaughterhouse, including slaughtered animals and blood splattered everywhere. Being chased around by actors with chainsaws is something you can certainly look forward to in this event.
Death Water Bayou features the mysticism and swampy atmosphere of walking through some cursed town deep in Louisiana. It provides a witchdoctor sort of vibe as you traverse the swamps at your own peril.
Nightmare Experiment Ever wanted to visit a mad scientists lab? Well, here is your best chance. As one would expect there are lots of jars filled with all sorts of vile things. Featuring a mad doctor running all sorts of crazy experiments on his unexpected victims.
Area 64: Alien Outbreak Aliens have landed, and they are out to kill you…or at the very least abduct you. There is certainly no E.T. and the only Close Encounters you will have are with those aliens who are doing their best to ensure you never escape.
One of the most interesting additions to this year’s house are the added speakeasies. Two of the houses have a speakeasy buried deep within the maze, give the special password and you’ll get a temporary reprieve from the monsters held within. It’s a cool edition and something extremely unique to the other maze events at other parks. Bravo to SeaWorld for doing something unexpected in their houses this year.
Of course, the Haunted Houses are the main draw, but there are plenty of scare zones throughout the park on your way to get there. Featuring such malicious spirits as Deadly Toys, and the Sea of Souls, you are sure to have plenty of scares on your way between houses.
SeaWorld also runs a few of it’s rides in the dark to complete your haunt-filled evening. Journey to Atlantis, Emperor and the Electric Eel are all up and running for those who are looking for a little extra adrenaline boost in between scares!
The Darkness Falls Show is a whole new show this year and features a woman’s fall into the death of a demonic curse. Featuring some incredible music, fantastic choregraphed fights scenes and a story of love and love lost. It’s a show well worth the time investment to see it. Running around 40 minutes in length, its entertaining throughout.
So, at this point you are all asking yourself “Is it scary? How does it hold up to the other shows?”. I spoke with a few other horror journalists during the media event that was held prior to and after the show and from what I had heard it was much scarier than the previous year. I felt the scare zones were incredible and the actors did an amazing job. For a show in it’s second season it really ups the ante to the other horror shows in southern California. They do offer a No-Boo Necklace (for $10) which my wife was adamant to get but ended up not needing it after all. While the event has it’s share of spooks and scares, it lends itself to being a more family friendly affair. If I had only one concern (I wouldn’t call it a complaint as it certainly didn’t detract from the event at all) was that there seemed to be a shortage of actors within the houses themselves. Plenty of outstanding props and ghoulish surprises, but not a lot of constant chasing from the actors themselves. It’s hard to know if this is still a residual effect of Covid (there are likely still limits on the amount of folks in confined spaces) or if they are just continuing to build on their previous success and will only gain greater followers (and actors) as the years go on.
If you are in the San Diego area and are looking for a spooktacular time, you certainly should check out SeaWorlds Howl-O-Scream event. You won’t be disappointed! Bring the kids too, this is an event that can be shared with everyone