The Halloween Haunt

Kings Island, Mason

Greater Cincinnati’s largest amusement park opens its gates for this hit-and-miss nocturnal event that features 11 haunted attractions and two live stage shows. Some of the attractions miss their mark and aren’t worth waiting in the long lines for, but the ones that work do very well indeed. Those include the new “Urgent Scare,” which takes its cue from films like 28 Days Later and is set in a hospital overwhelmed with hysterical patients suffering from an unknown virus outbreak. Also worthwhile is the “Trail of Terror,” a guided walk through a darkened path in the woods populated by bizarre creatures like mutated rednecks.

Stay alert for the zombies, monsters and other ghouls who prowl the park trying to catch people unaware. The live stage show “Dead Awakening” bills itself as a terrifying adult-oriented production. While the plucky young singers give it their all, the show is a misguided attempt to string Pop and Rock songs into some sort of jumbled story about a girl having nightmares following a traffic accident.

Several rides like The Beast, Drop Tower and the Racer also remain open, and there’s something fun about trekking through International Street at night while it’s filled with clouds of fog created by dry ice. 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday-Saturday through Nov.1.

Kings Island, Exit 24 off I-71, Mason, 800-288-0808,

What to Expect: You will be chased. It's also a kid-friendly experience and features a maze

What’s Unique: “CarnEvil,” a stroll through a demented, psychedelic circus populated by grotesque clowns that would give the Joker a run for his wicked money. Special glasses are handed out that distort the surroundings to enhance the trippy experience.

The Damage: $34.99 for Friday and Saturday after 5 p.m. and $47.99 for full-day admission on Saturday, along with the Haunt. If tickets are bought online, they’re $19.99 for Friday night and $25.99 for Saturday night. Free admission for 2008 season pass holders.

CityBeat Rating: PG, although the Haunt amps up the attitude and gets scarier after 5 p.m., and park officials recommend taking young children home before that time.

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