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Knott's Scary Farm

Knott's Scary Farm or Knott's Halloween Haunt is a seasonal Halloween event at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. It is an event in which the theme park is transformed into "160 acres of horror", via a series of roaming monsters, terrifying mazes[1] and 'scare zones'.[2] As of 2010, it was said to be the first, largest and longest-running Halloween event to be held at a theme park.[3]

Knott's Scary Farm
Knotts Halloween Haunt Logo.jpg
Genre Halloween
Frequency Annual
Location(s) Knotts Berry Farm
33°50′39″N 118°00′01″W / 33.844178°N 118.000267°W / 33.844178; -118.000267Coordinates: 33°50′39″N 118°00′01″W / 33.844178°N 118.000267°W / 33.844178; -118.000267
Inaugurated 1973
Official website



Two street monsters posing by the Ghost Town Coffin.

Originally a three-night affair, beginning on October 26, 1973, the annual, month-long event celebrates its 45th year in 2018.[4] It has become the largest event of any theme park.[5] The concept was introduced to the park's operations committee in a meeting in September 1973 by George Condos and Martha Boyd of the marketing department, and Bill Hollingshead and Gary Salisbury of the entertainment office. Bud Hurlbut, who built and operated (as a concessionaire) the Mine Ride, Log Ride and other rides, decided that having static props wasn't enough, so he put on a gorilla suit and scared guests as they rode on the Mine Ride. Halloween Haunt was an instant hit, and by the next year, the event sold out nightly.[6] Knott's Berry Farm was originally modeled after Calico, California, a ghost town that was a result of the California silver rush. Already having a dedicated Ghost Town section in the theme park,[7] this area would become the designed area for the original Halloween Haunt, eventually expanding to the entire park.[8] The 1980s would continue to be a success for the theme park, and popular culture icons were employed to represent the event. In 1981, actor and parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic joined the cast, as did Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson in the following year.[9] Elvira was prominently featured in many Halloween Haunt events until 2001. According to postings on her Myspace page, Cassandra was released from her contract by the park's new owners due to their wanting a more family friendly appeal.[10] The 1990s would show a different approach to Halloween. Humor was added to many facets in the theme park and Knott's turned from the explicit horror to black comedy.[11] This continuing balance of horror and humor has been a key to the continuing success of Knott's Halloween Haunt.[12]

Park transformationEdit

While Knott's Berry Farm is a year-round theme park, the entire acreage is modified to fit the Halloween motif. Rides and other attractions are converted into macabre themes. Seasonal workers are cast as a variety of monsters, roaming the 160-acre (0.65 km2) park in terrifying scare zones, amidst haze produced by giant fog machines. Some characters have developed a special appeal, such as the legendary and infamous Sarah Rebecca "The Green Witch" Morgan-Marshall. Back in 1973 Diana Kelly was chosen to don the role of the first Green Witch under the name Spooky when Haunt began. After Diana left the Haunt she passed her role to Charlene Parker in 1982, and still to this day Parker is the longest serving of all the monsters who scare the guests at this event. The controversial "Hanging" live show is a staple of the Haunt that lampoons celebrities and persons in the news through a series of staged hangings. The Hanging has been an annual event since the 1979 Halloween Haunt. As of 2017, the park has constructed 9 haunted houses, 4 scare zones, and 2 live shows.

Commercials, Media & AwardsEdit

Knott's Scary Farm has won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Best Halloween Event twice, in 2005 and 2007.[13]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ MacDonald, Brady. "Knott's Berry Farm unveils Halloween Haunt 2008 mazes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  2. ^ Pak, Ellyn (2007-09-25). "Knott's prepares for Halloween Haunt". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  3. ^ Jost, Domenik (September 11, 2010). "Halloween update: A look at the world's first, largest and longest-running theme park halloween event". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt- "Walk In, Freak Out"". Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  5. ^ "Knott's Halloween Haunt FAQs". Knott's Berry Farm. Retrieved 2008-10-22. 
  6. ^ Merritt, Christopher, and Lynxwiler, J. Eric. Knott's Preserved: From Boysenberry to Theme Park, the History of Knott's Berry Farm, pp. 126-9, Angel City Press, Santa Monica, CA, 2010. ISBN 978-1-883318-97-0.
  7. ^ "Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt". Hollywood. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  8. ^ Ultimate Haunt. "Ghost Town – Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt". Ultimate Haunt. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  9. ^ "COURSE 2: the 1980s". Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  10. ^ Cassandra Peterson's MySpace page
  11. ^ "COURSE 3: THE 1990'S". Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  12. ^ Mills, Thomas (2006-10-12). "Getting into their costumes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-10-23. 
  13. ^ "All-time Winners By Category – The Golden Ticket Awards - Presented by Amusement Today". 

Knott's Scary Farm 2011: Here's A Cheer For 38 Years Of Fears, Leo Buck Buck-ing Trends 11/30/2011


External linksEdit