The jack-o’-lanterns are carved and on display, the kids have finally made up their minds, and skeleton costumes are flying off the shelves. It’s official: All Hallow’s Eve is upon us. Folks typically scout out the trendiest, nearby hayride or local haunted house, but true Halloween zealots take the fright fest a bit further. And for them, we’ve scouted out the most ghoulish attractions, from Singapore to Texas, to compile a list of the Top 10 haunted amusement parks worldwide. Warning: This list may not be suitable for kids.
Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Studios Singapore – Singapore
(Oct 19-21 & 25-28, 2012)
The scream-inducing spectacle that is Halloween Horror Nights – seasonally at Universal Studios in both Orlando and Hollywood for years – is opening this year in Singapore. Universal Studios Singapore is prepping the fake blood capsules now, because soon crazed clowns – our worst nightmare – and mutated zombies will take to the themed streets. The debut features six scare zones and borrows terrifying ideas from the vets over in the States; Universal Orlando has been scaring visitors for 20 years now. Search and compare cheap flights to Singapore.
Scarefest, Alton Towers Resort – Staffordshire, England
(Oct 13-14 & 19-31, 2012)
The most visited theme park in the United Kingdom turns eerie for its annual Scarefest, a combination of devilish attractions and family activities that together make for a bloodcurdling – mind you, wonderfully so – holiday retreat. The Boiler House draws visitors underground to meet psychopathic serial killers while the Zombies! Scare Zone recreates a post-apocalyptic earth, sans humans. If the little ones are in tow, avoid the aforementioned attractions and Terror of the Towers, and instead head straight for Franklin’s Freaky Farm or Patch’s Trick-or-Treat Party, slightly less horrifying attractions. Search and compare cheap flights to England.
Screams Halloween Theme Park – Waxahachie, Texas, United States
(Sept 28-Oct 28, 2012)
Those utterly traumatizing clowns are back, this time just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth. Five major attractions draw Texans to Screams Halloween Theme Park on Friday and Saturday nights each October. Topping the list is the Castle of Darkness, a residential house of worry for nervous tour-goers. Next up (cue the big gulp) is Unkel Koy’s Klown Maze, where hounding clowns chase visitors through a winding haze of pure terror. Add the Arcane Asylum, Pirates of Peril Point and the Ghoulish Graveyard, and you’ve got yourself one frightening destination. Search and compare cheap flights to Dallas.
Terenzi Horror Nights, Europa Park – Rust, Germany
(Sept 28-Nov 3, 2012)
Winner of the much coveted Screamie Award for Best International Attraction in 2010, Horror Nights at Germany’s popular Europa Park offers devilish treats and gory characters for visitors 16 and older. The cornfield labyrinth and five haunted houses are maddening mazes for visitors to lose themselves in. Top that off with the Night Coaster, Vampire’s Club and wonderful live performances, and it’s easy to see why Horror Nights wedged out its creepy competition. Search and compare cheap flights to Germany.
Howl-O-Scream, Busch Gardens – Williamsburg, Virginia, United States
(Sept 14-Oct 28, 2012)
Again with the clowns! Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens lures visitors into “the creepiest show on earth,” Grin and Scare It – a version of a circus gone extremely wrong. Perhaps we’ll stay away from that one, but we’re excited to check out the park’s other scare zones: Widow Makers, Stitchin’ Time, Scavengers and Unleashed, where werewolves apparently roam. As it does year-round, Busch Gardens features country-themed areas, and incorporates appropriate attractions: the Catacombs in France, Dead Line (based on the Pompeii Metro) in Italy and Bitten in Germany. Search and compare cheap flights to Germany.
Halloween Haunt, Canada’s Wonderland – Toronto, Canada
(Oct 5-28, 2012)
Canadians have it horribly good just outside of Toronto, where Halloween Haunt sets up shop for one month annually to fool and ghoul visitors. New this year is the Terror of London, where folks are transported back to Jack the Ripper’s murderous reign in not-so-merry England. Other showstoppers comprise Clowns at Midnight, The Asylum and Mother Noose (Get it? Like Mother Goose!) – all guaranteed to induce unnerving symptoms. Those who make it out of the mazes alive can follow them up with live shows like zombie-ridden Beyond the Grave and thrill rides, including the Bat and Time Warp. Search and compare cheap flights to Toronto.
Halloween, PortAventura – Salou, Spain
(Sept 29-Nov 11)
A whopping 12,000 pumpkins are on display this year at PortAventura’s Halloween-themed spectacle – a seriously heavy commitment indeed. The world-renowned park pulls out all the haunted stops it can with eight live shows, including La Muerte Viva (Living Death) and Templo del Fuego (Temple of Fire), plus a nightly parade, featuring scary celebrities like members of the Addams Family and Beetlejuice. Fantastic rides, frightening festivities and the Mediterranean coast – what more could a thrill-seeker want? Search and compare cheap flights to Spain.
Knott’s “Scary” Farm’s Halloween Haunt, Knott’s Berry Farm – Buena Park, California, United States
(Sept 21-Oct 31, 2012)
Though it may not have the high-tech awesomeness that nearby Universal Studios Hollywood does, Knott’s Scary Farm carries its own via nostalgia thanks to 13 heart-racing, themed mazes and seven live shows. Like out of a horror movie, the park combines the worst of the worst – a Ghost Town (ghosts), Necropolis (vampires) and Carnevil (clowns) – over 160 acres of haunted terrain. Nearly 40 years young, the park taps into niche fears that’ll creep any visitor out. For starters: The Doll Factory. Search and compare cheap flights to Anaheim.
Halloween, Disneyland Paris – Paris, France
(Oct 1-Nov 4, 2012)
Walt Disney’s imaginative vision is executed unbelievably well at Disney Paris, Europe’s No.1 tourist attraction. And during its month-long Halloween festival, the park doesn’t let up. Bring the kids to Mickey’s Halloween Treat in the Street, and then shake hands with Jafar at Meet and Greet with Disney Villains. For the less faint of heart – older than 12 years old, that is – be sure to catch Terrorific Night for two nights only. After the sun sets, the entire park transforms into your worst nightmare – roaming monsters and all. Search and compare cheap flights to France.
Hersheypark in the Dark, Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
(Oct 19-Nov 4, 2012)
The sweetest place on earth gets downright spooky every October, when Hersheypark drapes itself in fall colors and scary trick-or-treat-themed witchery. More than 50 rides open under new guises: the Balloon Flight becomes the Balloon “Fright” and the SooperDooperLooper roller coaster becomes the SooperBOOperLooper, scaring visitors beyond the norm. Be sure to include the kids in this land of make-believe, where a Trick-or-Treat Adventure is offered for children 12 and younger – a perfect way to start their Halloween candy collection. Search and compare cheap flights to Harrisburg.
(Images: 2011 Cedar Fair Entertainment Company)