Knott’s Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
Happy Labor Day weekend, folks! Halloween season is just about upon us, and if you’re like me, it already officially started last night with the Knott’s Scary Farm Announcement Event! Once again, the Granddaddy of them all unwrapped every thing to know about this year’s event, which begins Thursday, September 19, and runs 26 nights this season through Saturday, November 2! Last night’s event showcased how progressively more elaborate and theatrical these productions have become over the years, featuring song and dance routines and dramatic skits to up the entertainment factor above just something that brings news and shows graphics.
So what’s new at Scary Farm this year? Keep reading to find out!
In contrast to prior years, there were no monsters roaming the Charles M. Schulz Theater before the show. Guests filed in starting about half an hour before the 8pm event, and once it was showtime, things went right into a bedtime scene, with a young girl reading scary stories to herself and proclaiming her lack of fear.
Don’t worry, a creepy rendition of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” changed the mood, as dancers creeped out of the shadows to summon the veil and bring forth the Scary Farm monsters! In the climactic moment, the young girl herself was changed into one of the dancers, kicking off the event on an emphatic note.
Onto the stage waltzed eternal Scary Farm emcee, Jeff Tucker. No fancy entrance this time around. They must have decided they couldn’t top last year’s intro. Instead, after a quick salutations and razzle to hype the crowd up, Tucker went straight to business to cover notes on this year’s Knott’s Scary Farm operations.
As mentioned already, Scary Farm will be open from September 19 - November 2. Tickets are on sale now, including the Scary Farm Season Pass, which is $90 for Berry Farm Season Passholders and $100 for non-passholders. Buy yours today! These prices are only until September 15. Single-night tickets can also be purchased for up to $41 off the regular gate pice of $84.
Fright Lane will also be offered this year, bringing front-of-line access to rides and roller coasters with the feature as well as all nine mazes this year. Those start at $90 as an add-on or $124 with admission included.
The Into the Fog art gallery will be back at the Bizarre Bazaar just outside the Charles M. Schulz Theater. The exhibition was a huge success last year, and the pieces are even more spectacular this year. But more on that later.
Knott’s also played a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel of all the hard work that goes into designing and building Haunt. It’s the labor of dozens of talented creatives, carpenters, painters, electricians, programmers, costumers, and more. And at the end of it, Tucker gave a shout-out to the Scary Farm construction crew for all of their passion and hard work.
New Maze #1: Wax Works
Deviating from the formula of previous years, the first announcement launched right into something new for 2019. Devil’s Den—I mean Wax Works will be taking over the location previously occupied by Trick or Treat the previous seven years. Designed by Daniel Miller, this maze takes guests into the gruesome and horrific world of Dr. Augustus Scratch, a plastic surgeon who was hideously disfigured by a freak accident that left him mentally unhinged. Now, he spends his days creating his own masterpieces with horrific aplomb.
Wax Works features disturbing art pieces created only from the mind of Miller and brought to life in the maze. There will be plenty of prosthetics work for the monsters to simulate the texture and flow of wax candles, and of course, a severe amount of blood and gore. It is a Daniel Miller maze, of course. It could only be disgusting and appalling.
The announcement was followed by another dance segment—this one featuring a seemingly not-scarred-at-all Dr. Scratch, crooning about all his monster-making. The while, innocent victims were turned into decrepit works of wax art by the dancers serving as the doctor’s loyal assistants.
Returning Mazes, Scare Zones, and Shows
Next came everything returning this year. Understanding that this was the less interesting part of the night’s events, Knott’s pretty much sped through them this year. Given that they had already been announced on social media and discussed at Midsummer Scream, this made sense. But for those who didn’t see the news…
Returning Scare Zones:
Ghost Town Streets
Forsaken Lake—with an expanded footprint and additional set pieces this year
The Depths—with a new mine shaft elevator show scene this year
Dark Entities—with new lighting and show effects
Special Ops: Infected—with new general store and meat packing room scenes
Dark Ride—with a new security room and gift shop scenes
Special Ops: Infected and Shadowlands were confirmed to be appearing for the final year ever, and as such, they are part of the first-ever Scary Farm Legends Series pin collection, a new commemorative line celebrating Haunt’s prominent mazes when they retire.
The Hanging at the Calico Stage
Conjurers: Magic and Mirth at the Bird Cage Theatre
Awake the Dead dance part at the Fiesta Village Stage
Puppet Up: Uncensored Comes to Knott’s Scary Farm
And that’s when things went dark. And when the lights came back on again, half a puppet with someone’s arm stuff up its rear was standing on stage and in front of a camera. It was Grant Baciocco, part of the Jim Henson Company, and he was part of a huge announcement that Puppet Up was coming to Knott’s Scary Farm, doing three shows a night in the Charles Schulz Theater. If you’ve never heard of Puppet Up, it’s basically naughty Muppet improv. An offshoot of the clowning around that Muppeteers would do in between takes on set, Muppet Up has been performed all around the world.
To give the audience a taste of what to expect, the crew was joined by host and co-creator Patrick Bristow to perform a game of “New Choice,” where a couple was given the scene of a romantic date situated in a hospital ER. Although many in the audience didn’t seem to know what to make up Muppets at Scary Farm at first, by the time the scene was done, people were rolling with laughter. And consider that the Announcement Event skit was toned down for family audiences, and the Scary Farm show promises to be fully uncensored and more mature, and you have what should be an excellent time. Trust me, if you’ve never seen the show, you will definitely need to check it out. It’s amazing.
New Maze #2: Origins: The Curse of Calico
Rounding out the new announcements was Origins: The Curse of Calico. Taking over for The Red Barn, in the Wilderness Dance Hall, Origins is a love letter to Ghost Town Streets. Drawing back into Scary Farm lore, this John Cooke-designed maze references the mythology of the original Hanging, where Sarah Marshall was dragged to town square and put on trial over accusations of witchcraft. Protesting her innocence, she finally reveals herself as the Green Witch at the midnight hour, just before her execution.
In this maze, guests will uncover the backstory of Ghost Town Streets and see how the Green Witch transformed the townsfolk of Calico into the horrid, terrifying beasts that lurk the fog during the fall. Using physical sets, video technology, and a host of other innovations, guests will wind their way through a recreation of Haunt past, including a “mini-Ghost Town,” and really immerse themselves into Scary Farm history. For the first time ever, a scare zone, a maze, and a show will share the same mythology, as Origins combines with Ghost Town Streets and The Hanging to share an integrated storyline.
To further the story, the curtain drew to unveil a selection of Calico’s historic citizens, each drawing testimony to their witness of how the town has changed and devolved. The Undertaker, his wife, another citizen, the mayor, and the judge each provided their commentary, leading to the declaration that Sarah Marshall would not be able to terrorize Calico again. Little did they know that as the Green Witch, she would curse the town and all of its inhabitants. The segment ended with the Green Witch returning (you didn’t think she’d just fly away with Trick or Treat leaving, did you?) and cackling her demonic cry.
Scary Farm Merch
As we mentioned earier, the Bizarre Bazaar is the one-stop shop for all Knott’s Scary Farm related merchandise. There’s a great new line-up of T-shirts, wardrobe, shot glasses, candles, and other accessories. They’re on sale now in the park for fans to purchase!
Into the Fog Art Exhibit
Also back is the Into the Fog gallery, featuring some amazing art works that are in tribute to Knott’s Scary Farm. The range of artists is diverse and impressive, from actress and haunt fan Chloe Noelle Schweikert to professional artist Jeff Granito to a medley of Knott’s employees and actors who are so artistically talented in their own rights. The quality was certainly appreciated, as many of the original works were sold practically immediately upon the opening of the Bizarre Bazaar. Not to fear; prints of most of the paintings on display can be purchased in store.
That wraps up our look at the preview of Knott’s Scary Farm 2019. It is time to get spoopy, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Halloween season really starts in earnest next week, and if you want to keep track of the major haunts opening up soon…
Halloween Time descends upon the Disneyland Resort next Friday, September 6th.
Halloween Horror Nights kicks off the scary Halloween side of things with a media night/fan preview night on Thursday, September 12 and official opening night Friday the 13th.
Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Fright Fest has its first night on Saturday, September 14th.
Knott’s Scary Farm opens Thursday, September 19th.
The 17th Door opens Friday, September 20th.
Dark Harbor opens Thursday, September 26th.
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride welcomes guests to Midnight Falls starting Saturday, September 28th.
Sinister Pointe’s Mist debuts on Friday, October 4th.
There are tons more too, include Haus of Creep, Delusion’s Alt Delete mini-Delusion, Coffin Creek, and all the home haunts around town. Yes, it’s the spookiest time of the year, and we’ll see all of you in the fog!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.