It’s really, really big. As in the biggest haunt you’ll visit this season or, likely, any other.
There are eight indoor mazes, four outdoor mazes, two live shows and a ton of twisted October ambiance to soak up. There’s something particularly creepy about an amusement park at night. Generous volumes of fog and a horde of costumed ghouls and freaks make a simple stroll among the coasters scary for many folks. The kid’s area, Planet Snoopy, gets a makeover at dusk and becomes the all-new Nightmare Alley, a rogues gallery of sideshow freaks that looks as I imagine Jack the Ripper’s London.
The Haunt is light-on animatronics (which I prefer) and strong on the number of prowling ghouls (it really is a legion), makeup and set design. There’s a lot to be said for a big operating budget.
The scariest attractions are Wolf Pack, Club Blood and Massacre Manor.
THE WAIT: Fridays have the
lightest crowds, but there’s always of lot of folks here waiting for a
scare. Lines can be very long during the thick of the evening (we waited
an hour to get into one haunt), so go early and plan to stay late: You
won’t make it through all of the attractions in one night. Individual
attractions take 10-20 minutes to explore.
DETAILS: The park opens at 7 p.m. Fridays and 11 a.m. Saturdays through Oct. 29, with the Haunt running 7 p.m.-1 a.m. (all 8 indoor mazes open at 5 p.m.) Fridays and Saturdays. Kings Island, Exit 24 off I-71, Mason, 513-754-5700, haunt.visitkingsisland.com.
THE DAMAGE: Free admission for KI season pass holders. Saturdays are $52.99 at the gate or $29.99 online in advance; Fridays are $36.99 at the gate, $24.99 online in advance or at the gate with a college ID. Fright Lane line jumping passes are available for $30 a person.
CITYBEAT RATING: PG-13