Fear comes to americana

The artificial fog, throngs of teenagers and horrifically haunted houses were in full swing Friday night at Kings Island’s annual Halloween Haunt. Every year Halloween Haunt, held at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, offers the tri-state a wicked park featuring 12 haunted houses, mazes and trails, along with the thrill rides Kings Island is known for.

Centerville, Ohio resident and Wright State University sophomore Ben Shaw loves all things Halloween. “Kings Island’s your place if you don’t mind somewhat large crowds and mildly scary haunted houses plus the option of riding roller coasters at night,” he said. “I had fun, but I was scared little to none.”

The park features 12 different haunted houses designed to frighten even the bravest visitor. Indoor houses include: CarnEvil, Club Blood, Death Row, Massacre Manor, Slaughterhouse, Urgent Scare and Wolf Pack. The outdoor houses include: Cemetery Drive, Corn Stalkers, Cut Throat Cove, Tombstone Terror-tory and Trail of Terror.

Wait times vary according to the number of people in the park and the popularity of the particular attraction, but this particular Friday, the overall average wait time lasted approximately 15 minutes. Lines will likely become longer as the night goes on and as Halloween approaches.

It may be hard to get around to all 12 in one night, but three of the houses stood out.

Slaughterhouse, located near Drop Tower, spooked visitors with blood-spattered walls and realistic, slaughtered livestock hanging in body bags. The farmers and butchers of Slaughterhouse scattered among the different rooms likely to silently follow those at the end of the single-file line for added fright — it works.

Death Row, located next to Flight of Fear, displayed a prime example of one of Halloween Haunt’s milder mazes with its caged, yet quiet, deranged inmates awaiting punishment. The constant strobe light, siren and mirrors were very disorienting and made the maze more difficult. But it was definitely less character-filled and less in-your-face scary than Slaughterhouse.

CarnEvil, located near the Eiffel Tower, deserved note not only for housing the creepiest of creepy clowns, but also for its 3-D effects. Visitors are to put on 3-D glasses provided by the park before entering the maze; the glasses take clowns to a new level. The ability to decipher real clowns from fake disappears as you stumble through the black-lit rooms.

Parking costs $10 and goes smoothly, but be sure to remember the row in which you parked. The fog and post-haunted house jitters can make it hard to locate.

Be careful walking around when the fog is thick, as it hides the scary characters roaming the streets just waiting for the next unsuspecting passerby — some also come equipped with knee-pads, watch out for these guys.

Buy tickets online. Visitkingsisland.com offers discounted tickets for $21.99 ($34.99 at the gate) for Fridays and $27.99 ($49.99 at the gate) on Saturday nights.

Head out to Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt for a fun night filled with just the right amount of fright for the first haunted excursion of the season or for the more timid seeking adventure. The option of roller coasters is a bonus and creates a well-rounded experience for the thrill seeker.

Halloween Haunt runs through October and is open on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Visit haunt.visitkingsisland.com for more ghoulish details and to purchase tickets.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. B-

Story by Claire Higgins