The following appeared on the inside cover of Issue #2 of the Haunted Media Magazine featuring Halloween Haunt
Knott's Berry Farm's Halloween Haunt has spawned an absolute subculture whose roots are deep and are dedicated to an event that takes place only one month out of the year. While huge theme parks and Halloween events are pouring money into their advertising and worrying about hiring employees, Knott's Scary Farm doesn't really need to take that route. After 30 years of scaring thousands of people, the fan base of the Haunt is built-in and the employees and characters are the first to line up to be "unleashed" for the month.
An incredibly large handful of devoted guests return each year to the Haunt for their frights while an incredibly large handful of devoted employees are on the flip side dishing out the scares. Two types of people: The Victims and the Monsters. What is it about the Haunt that creates this sort of fever on its fans and employees? It's certainly no joke to state that both the employees and fans are on fire about the event and at times, even addicted or obsessive. It's almost to the point (if not already) where this thing is a phenomenon and the numbers are growing as you read this. Although thousands of factors make the Haunt what it is, there are two factors that perhaps, are what make the Haunt the best: The Mazes and all of the Monsters.
The Halloween Haunt Mazes carry quite a history. Full of terror, artistic design and theming. The Haunt Mazes are presented in a fashion that is impeccable, innovative and incredibly fascinating. Much as a painter, musician or author create worlds with their art and talents, the Maze designers of Halloween Haunt present the same factors to the visiting guests. When one enters a Haunt maze, they are entering the sick and twisted depths of the mind that created such a place. However, artistic creativity cannot possibly be the only factor that draws thousands of guests each year, can it? When do guests have a chance to appreciate the gruesome art design when monsters are popping out of every corner? Perhaps it is the design that is the creator of the mood, setting a foundation for the terrors and entertainment that await the guests.
In over two decades of presenting mazes to the world, Knott's Scary Farm offers something different each year as they change the themes of the scare attractions. By changing the themes, anticipation grows within the fans as they wait in wonder what new concepts will be presented to them. Through years of creating mazes, Knott's has fine-tuned the mazes not only into an art, but into a science as well. With every new theme that is presented, another world of terror and imagination is brought into the deep wells of the guests' minds. Guests will sometimes wait in line for hours to see a popular new maze. Knott's presents an incredibly artistic design mixed with a twist on a theme, these mazes (as well as the Scare Zones in-between the mazes) are the icing on the cake. However, what's the icing without the cake itself? That leads us to the second factor of Haunt: The Haunt Monsters of the mazes and Scare Zones.
The characters of the Haunt are the "things" that make the event live breathe. What makes these characters fly far above anyone else in the industry? Is it the amazing costumes and makeup? Is it the fact that the Haunt has been going on for three decades, which would enable the "secrets" to be handed down from generation to generation? Is it pride in their work? Being a part of the "world's largest and scariest" Halloween themed event could possibly create a better work ethic due to pride, right? How about the scare tactics? Knott's has invented quite a few popular scare tactics over the years. Is that what makes the characters so special? Well, how about all of the above. Taking pride in one's work mixed with the tools to be effective is possibly a good start in trying to discover what the big deal is. But, pride and experience alone cannot account for what these characters possess. The truth to the matter is this: magic takes place in these characters that simply cannot be explained and the guests love it!
These characters are very, very dedicated to what they do in October. If you asked each one of them why that dedication exists, you would certainly get several different answers. However, one thing remains constant in all of them: The work they perform at the Haunt comes from the heart and "THAT" my friends, in a nutshell, has probably got to be one of the main ingriedients for the Haunt's success. By working from the heart, the guests can somehow feed off of the energy that the employees have for their work. Is it not the ideal formula to have your employees passionate about their work? Well, try addicted to their work and these characters all have one primary focus: To scare the daylights out of as many guests as they possibly can. Money can't buy the passion a Haunt Monster has for the event. The energy is just inside of them brewing and stirring, waiting to be released in October.
I know, I know. You probably think it's all totally crazy. You probably think that the characters, designers and fans are crazy too. Well, to some extent you are probaby right! I suppose one must be pretty nutty to be into this type of thing. However, don't be too quick to judge if you have purchased this CD-rom and are taking the time to read this, there's a good chance you have some interest in the genre. Maybe, just maybe, you have a little bit of the but too.
Well, don't feel too awkward about carrying some interest about the Haunt. After all, the Haunt still sells out and still has people lining up for the event. In other words, you're not the only one. Haunt is a world of dark visual performance art whipped through a blender and served to a willing audience. Like it or not, nobody can deny the passion that is put into the event. The mazes, designers, Monsters and the rest of the Knott's Berry Farm staff pack a serious punch that obviously leaves quite a mark on many, many people. It's all perhaps a bigger deal than most people would like to admit.