It might be September, but that’s already Halloween season at the nation’s theme parks. I just returned from Orlando, where Universal Studios Florida opened this year’s edition of the nation’s largest theme park Halloween event — Halloween Horror Nights. Soon, the nation’s original theme park Halloween event will return at Knott’s Scary Farm.
I love events like these because they bring theme parks back to their roots in live theater. Events such as Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm don’t rely on expensive, high-tech rides to thrill their fans. It’s all about what the parks call their scareactors — the people in the masks and makeup whose job is to make you scream.
“It’s the human aspect of what a theme park is able to offer,” Michael Aiello, Senior Director of Entertainment Creative Development at Universal Orlando, said to me before the event kicked off.
“There’s eye contact — a connection that I don’t think a ride attraction can do nearly as well. That human connection is really important and it’s why Horror Nights has done as well as it has.”