Kings Island goes Halloween haunting

The coaster experience takes a spooky turn.Skeleton Crew show and Skeleton Key rooms added.

Contact this contributing writer at alexis.e.larsen@hotmail.com.

How to go

What: Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt

When: Every Friday and Saturday night through Nov. 1. Hours are 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Friday and Saturday night. On Saturdays, Kings Island opens at 11 a.m. with the transformation into Halloween Haunt beginning at 5 p.m. except for Sept. 20, when the gates open at 7 p.m.

Where: 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason

Cost: Tickets for Halloween Haunt are as low as $29.99 when purchased in advance online. Fright Lane with Skeleton Key is an additional cost. It can be purchased for as low as $40 and is a premium item.

More info: (513) 754-5700 or visitkingsisland.com/haunt

Please note: Halloween Haunt is intended for mature audiences; not recommended for children.It includes graphic scenes, suggestive themes and intense imagery and is intended for mature audiences; not recommended for children.

Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt begins each year in earnest — 12 months in advance of opening night.

As the time grows near construction of the new haunted mazes that have been dreamed as the thing of nightmares kicks in at least three months prior to opening night at the very latest.

Work begins inside existing mazes about 75 days prior to the start of Halloween Haunt with set up around the park taking place the week before Labor Day.

The process of hiring more than 600 employees that will evoke blood curdling screams from guests starts in July.

It’s a huge undertaking that the park takes very seriously and is a huge selling point to the hundreds of thousands of people who are season pass holders.

“Our Halloween event began as FearFest in 2000. In 2007, a bigger and more intense event was introduced with Halloween Haunt,” said Don Helbig, public relations area manager for the park. Entering its eighth season, Halloween Haunt has grown to feature more than 600 monsters, 11 haunted mazes, four scare zones, three live shows and 20 rides including the Banshee, Beast and Diamondback roller coasters. It’s a seven-hour experience – unmatched for a Halloween event in the region.

New this year are the Skeleton Crew Show and Skeleton Key rooms.

Skeleton Crew is similar to the Cirque Imagine show that had its debut at the park this summer, showcasing strength, balance and athleticism. It will be held outdoors in the Showplace Theatre.

Skeleton Key has been added to the Fright Lane pass, which allows front of the line access to all 11 haunted mazes and can be added for as low as $40 per person. It also gets guests access to additional rooms in the Kill Mart, Slaughter House, Delta Delta Die, Madame Fatale’s Cavern of Terror and Urgent Scare haunted mazes.

“Because of the atmosphere with the fog and overall spookiness feel of the park, the night ride experience on the Banshee, Beast and Diamondback roller coasters goes to an all-new level. And it’s not just those rides. Every ride feels like a different experience on a Haunt night,” said Helbig. “Friday nights are the best night to experience Halloween Haunt. There are less bodies in the way. On Saturdays, the park opens at 11 a.m. with the transformation into Halloween Haunt beginning at 5 p.m.”

Friday nights feature the “Wall of Monsters” when gates to the underworld open at 6 p.m. Only the bravest souls will make it past the vast array of vampires, werewolves, mummies, zombies, undertakers, clowns and assorted ghouls and monsters they’ll encounter as they enter the park.

“What separates us from other haunted attractions is the breadth of what we offer and the atmosphere,” said Helbig. “Embrace the terror. The haunted mazes, scare zones, and thrill rides will leave you screaming. A night at Halloween Haunt is something you’ll remember for a long time. No other Halloween event around compares.”

Snoopy’s Halloween party

Kings Island will unveil Snoopy’s Halloween Party on Sunday, Sept. 21, for kids a little too young for the adult scares.

Kids can dress up in their favorite costume and trick-or-treat at this family-friendly Halloween event happening on Saturdays and Sundays from Noon to 6 p.m., starting September 21 through October 26.

Snoopy’s Halloween Party features 14 Peanuts-themed attractions including a petting zoo with more than 70 animals for children to learn about and interact with like a kangaroo, camel, alpacas, hedgehog, sheep, goats, miniature horses, ducks and chickens, a live stage show, “Charlie Brown’s Spooktacular,” meet-and-greet opportunities with the Peanuts gang and a kids costume contest with prizes awarded for the most original, cutest and scariest costumes.

The event is included free with park admission to Kings Island and takes place in the Soak City Waterpark location of the park (waterpark attractions are closed).

Snoopy’s Halloween Party will also feature “Dog Days” every Sunday in October when canine companions are invited to join their human family members for a fun-filled day and receive pet-friendly treats and giveaway items.

A dog costume contest will highlight Dog days with prizes awarded. The Dog Zone will feature attractions and retailers from local businesses providing information on products and services for the guest’s pets.