October gives people the opportunity to enjoy the changing of the color of leaves as Fall continues to lead the way to Winter. It also means that many people will make their way to a large variety of Halloween events around the world ahead of the holiday at the end of the month. Over the last decade, one of the industries that has really led the way in putting on special Halloween events has been theme parks and amusement parks. Larger parks may have the budget to put on truly spectacular events, but even the smaller local parks can get in on the spooky fun, and my local park, Wild Waves Theme & Water Park, is one of those parks. Fright Fest gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy many of their rides in the darkness of night, as well as three different haunted houses.
With this being one of the larger Halloween events in the region, it has become quite popular, and on this night, the line to get into the park would emphasize that point as it went all the way from the gate to the top of the hill of the parking lot.
Having been to this park many times, I did not spend a whole lot of time with the rides, rather to go and visit the three houses, which are all located on different corners of the park which helps to spread them apart. While larger parks will typically have scare zones in the midways as well, Wild Waves doesn’t offer this, however, they did add fog to some of the midway areas, and they also have a children’s area with less scary activities for them to enjoy.
The first house of the night was the Playground, located near and inside of the station of the Lumber Jack Falls. This house was based on circus clowns and while the use of clowns for haunted houses is certainly not a new concept, this one stood out because of the use of 3-D Glasses. The glasses were the simple paper variety, but they were pretty effective for this house as some of the paintings would stand out from the others, and some of the clowns inside had a really bizarre look because of how their face paint could have a layered effect because of the glasses. The length was shorter than the other two, but they did a great job in the house of having things to see to draw your attention away from potential scares by the scareactors.
The second house was Camp Whispering Pines, located in the picnic pavilions next to Timberhawk. This house was themed after a haunted summer camp, and was the longest house with the most performers. Something that really stuck out with this house was the use of nontraditional items for a haunted house, such as a harmonica. This house by far had the best reactions from the people going through it as they were great for getting scares, and much like the playground, had a lot of things to draw your attention from the performers who would pop-up to scare you.
The last house to visit was the Chamber of Souls, which was located inside of the water park area of Wild Waves, which isolated it from the rest of the park since the water park attractions were closed for the season, although they did have some of the restaurants open. This would also be the house with the longest line due to its location near the front gate. While this house had great design detail inside, it seemed to lack a bit compared to the other two for the ability to scare the guests walking through.
It was a fun evening getting to enjoy a local Halloween event, and while Wild Waves’ Fright Fest isn’t quite at the same level as what you would find at the likes of Universal Studios or Busch Gardens, it certainly helps get its visitors into the Halloween spirit. If you’re not able to make it to the larger Halloween events of the larger theme parks, it’s can certainly be worth a stop at your local park if they offer a Halloween event, as it was for Wild Waves.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ll be back for more Coasting with Culture!
Take Care, and Safe Travels