As the all-you-can-eat buffet of Halloween experiences, there are both advantages and drawbacks to the Halloween Haunt. In terms of overall value, especially for season pass holders (buy a 2011 season pass and you get one free admission to the Haunt), you can’t beat it. A dozen haunted attractions, free midget wrestling, a sexy vampire burlesque show and access to all of KI’s best rides is way more than you’ll find anywhere else. At the same time, there are a lot of folks feeding at that trough besides you, so the lines can be quite long.
In terms of individual haunts, the experiences can be a bit uneven. CarnEvil was terrific this year. 3-D glasses, kooky clowns and uniquely camouflaged characters make it a lot of fun. The carnie host, Big Daddy, is a gruff, hilarious standout. The Trail of Terror seemed milder than it should have been and (as is too often the case with KI’s outdoor mazes) you can see the ghouls jumping out at the group in front of you, which fizzles your own experience. Urgent Scare and Club Blood were delightfully creepy. Wolf Pack, the new werewolf haunt, was also a great fright.
The Haunt will satisfy the curious occasional hauntgoer but won’t slake a veteran horror freak’s thirst for chills.
THE WAIT: 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.
CITYBEAT RATING : PG-13