Demons were on the loose at the Sept. 22 opening night of California’s Great America’s 10th Annual Halloween Haunt. Early in the evening, a red-robed demon greeted the crowds. This creature emerged from the Carousel Columbia and glided across the Reflection Pond where bursts of fire shot up from the water. Also, on the roller coaster Demon: Re-Ignited, theme park guests screamed their lungs out during the hell-raising ride that channeled fright and doom.
“Rides aren’t usually the focal point of Halloween Haunt but this year, with Demon: Re-Ignited returning with its lights, the blood red waterfall and the fog, it really has guests excited,” said Roger Ross, Public Relations Manager of California’s Great America. “Broadway star James Monroe Iglehart was a big fan of the ride as a kid and he did us the honor of bringing his Tony-Award winning voice to Great America [on the Demon: Re-Ignited roller coaster].”
Even before it got dark, teens were running and screaming through the three scare zones, such as the new Jester Town, where masked jesters popped up from behind or in front of guests. Another new scare zone was Feary Tales, where grimly styled characters such as the Big Bad Wolf and Humpty Dumpty crawled out from tales with no happily ever after.
Guests had eight haunted mazes to escape from. In the new maze Chaos House, tall mirrors, blinking lights, spooky mists, and lurking demons marked the eerie space. Another new maze was Backwoods, where the undead roamed the Backwoods Resort and Spa that was being overtaken by werewolves.
“This year we wanted to bring werewolves back as a nod to our 10th anniversary,” said Clayton Lawrence, Corporate Manager of Live Show Development for Cedar Fair Entertainment Company. “We had Werewolf Canyon back in the day…Werewolf Canyon was my favorite maze to design back in 2008.”
Five skeleton key rooms dropped visitors into suspenseful situations. A room called Aftershock enabled guests to play survivors of an earthquake. Prompted by a frantic technician, the survivors must flip on switches simultaneously to bring electricity back to the city. But upon doing so, the survivors might be in for a shock.
Of the four live shows, a new production at this year’s Halloween Haunt is Ed Alonzo’s Psycho Circus of Magic & Mayhem. (Alonzo is also known for acting in the hit TV series “Saved by the Bell.”) At the opening night Alonzo shared his extraordinary magical talent for making himself and his dancers appear and disappear in a series of astonishing tricks. With the wave of a sheet, Alonzo made a dancer appear out of thin air on a chair. After Alonzo’s dancers stepped one by one into a snug little ticket booth in the center of the stage, Alonzo revealed that the booth had mysteriously emptied out.
Alonzo also unleashed an uninhibited sense of humor during his act.
“[It’s a] a shih tzu,” he said while handing a brown balloon sculpted to the shape of a dog to an audience member. Seconds earlier, he had seemingly pulled the long balloon out of his rear area.
A press release from Great America stated that Halloween Haunt scares “take place Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through Oct. 29, and all guests 13 and older are invited to face their fears.” Visit www.cagreatamerica.com/play/haunt for more information about Halloween Haunt, including confirmation of Halloween Haunt’s open dates and times on the web site’s calendar.