Halloween 2019 Most Anticipated

Photo of Tulleys Shocktoberfest Scarecrow
Ever feel like you blink and all of a sudden a year has flown by? That's what I feel like right now writing this. Halloween 2019 is here after what feels like no time at all and as is tradition for me I'm once again sitting down, the latest episode of American Horror Story playing in the background and penning my Most Anticipated list of all the Halloween scare attractions I'm planning to visit this spooky season! And as usual, I'm staring at my DEAD-ule for this October and wondering how the hell I'm going to cram it all in, but hell I'll give it my best shot. Here's my most anticipated attractions for Halloween 2019.

Well obviously right? And weirdly as I write this the event has actually already launched, with it's premier having taken place just last night. But for me, after over a decade visiting the event as a guest and half a decade now working to promote the damn thing it's hard for me not to find the terms 'Halloween' and 'FRIGHT NIGHTS' interchangeable. Having spent so many years with FRIGHT NIGHTS as the centrepiece of my Halloween schedule it'd feel weird and empty now to not include it on a list like this, but with the likes of Creek Freak Massacre, Terror at Amity High: High School Sucks and pretty much every other maze receiving some kind of improvement or upgrade for 2019 it's hard not to get over-excited about visiting, even if I have already done the event once this season. 

As with FRIGHT NIGHTS, Shocktoberfest is now a staple Halloween event for me and I can't foresee a year now where I'll skip the event. I'll be honest, the past few years have felt pretty same-y with little-to-no 'proper' new mazes (but that's not to say the event isn't still an excellent one), but this year with TWO new mazes I'm extremely pumped to see what Shocktoberfest has in store for us this year. Plus for me, nothing puts me in the spooky, autumnal Halloween spirit like setting foot into that event. The smell of bonfires and fog machines filling my nostrils, the crackling flicker of the bonfires and distant screams of those been brutalised with chainsaws down in the Chop Shop, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and ignites such a sense of joyous nostalgia that it'd be masochistic of me at this point to deny myself that pleasure. Basically I really, really love the event and can't wait to see what terrors the new mazes bring this season.

The first of the new-for-me Halloween attractions I'll be visiting in 2019 comes in the guise of Scaresville - The Haunted Village located in the ground of Kentwell Hall in Long Melford, Suffolk. As with every year, I use the Scar Awards to help determine which scare events are worth me travelling for. With the Halloween season being such a short period it's fundamental to prioritise to help optimise spook quality throughout my visits, and the Scar Awards really help to keep that in check. And as Scaresville - The Haunted Village was nominated for Best Multi Part Scream Event in 2019 I made it a priority to get there this year. There's not actually a ton of info out there about Scaresville, but from the looks of things it's a bit of a diet Shocktoberfest - that style of rustic scare event set on a farm just with a slightly lower budget. If Scaresville are able to deliver their haunts with half as much gusto and creativity as Shocktoberfest then I feel like we're on to a winner here!

I visited this event for the first time in 2016 and it blew my damn mind. Having visiting Universal's Halloween Horror Nights for the first time last year, I was expecting that to be the pinnacle of what a Halloween event should be, but turns out that actually Walibi Fright Nights is that. The scares are extreme and adult in nature, the theming is exemplary, the scare zones are detailed and original, some of the attractions are truly innovative and one of a kind and plus there's the option of riding some world class coasters in the dark to top that all off. When I last visited I prioritised coasters over haunts, this year it's going to be very much the opposite. Walibi Fright Nights offers some of the most unique scare attractions out there, including Below where guests must wear waders to endure the UNDER WATER portions of the attraction and The Clinic, where guests get a first person point of view of what it would be like to die. It's a revolutionary event and I cannot wait to experience it again and see what has changed in three years.

We hit up Halloween Horrorfest (as it was then known) at Movie Park Germany back in 2017 and I was blown away with how good it was. The park itself errs on the side of average so it's the kind of place I wouldn't visit outside of spooky season, but I guess that's a testament to how good this Halloween event really is! The roaming actors and scare zones are incredible - it's Halloween Horror Nights quality costume and make-up which is super impressive for a regional park like this. When we visited back in 2017 it was the Hostel IP maze we were gagging over, this year it's all about Wrong Turn, because hey, who doesn't love killer inbred hillbillies? Boasting 8 mazes, 4 scare zones, a show plus all the rides in the dark, this event has no business being as good as it is and I'm equal parts excited and terrified to see what horrors the 2019 event brings.

When I first visited this attraction back in 2016 I was so, so impressed. I don't quite know what I was expecting, but the level of originality, innovation and creativity on such a small budget from such a small team absolutely blew my mind. By no means the biggest or best Halloween event, what Dr. Frights does is pours its heart and soul into delivering mazes that just overflow with a love and adoration of the horror genre that any horror fan can sense from the second you step foot onto the property. It's not the kind of place I'd go out of my way to visit every year, but it's definitely one that made an impact on me and an event I've thought about every Halloween season since. So what better time to revisit than when the event is celebrating its ten year anniversary?

Over the past few years I've alternated between Xtreme Scream Park and Screamfest (because, y'know, I'm South and they're soooo far away!) so this year is a Screamfest year! Look, I'll be honest, I was pretty gutted to hear Soul Seekers had been binned last year as it was one of my favourite scare mazes ever, but from last year's reviews of Insomnia it sounds like a fair replacement which I'm very interested to try, especially since the key visual for the maze is giving me American Horror Story vibes. Plus, with the new for 2019 Hillbilly Joe's Zombee Zoo (interesting concept) plus the chance to experience my beloved Love Hurts again it's going to be very good to get back to this event this year and see how the place has changed since 2017.

And lastly, we'll be visiting Horror at Hinchingbrooke House this season to see what all the fuss is about. It seemed last year that everyone and their nan were visiting this event so I'm interested to see if it's as good as everybody makes out. From an outsider's perspective it seems like it's got a touch of Pasaje del Terror about it, focussing on infamous horror monsters to deliver the scares, which is actually something I haven't experienced since 2014 at Hotel Kruger at Tibidabo in Barcelona. It seems HAHH benefits from the naturally creepy setting of Hinchingbrooke House itself, which brings a kind of gothic The Haunting/Hammer House of Horror vibe to the whole event which I'm really looking forward to experiencing. A lot of the UK events use the rustic farm setting and only Alton Towers Scarefest pops to mind as something similar to this which is very cool!

That's not every event we'll be visiting this season but it's definitely the ones I'm most excited to do. I guess all that's left to do now is wait for the nights to grow shorter, the leaves to turn browner and for the air to slowly fill with that delicious spicy bonfirey scent that means Halloween season is well and truly here. How the hell is it still September?!

Talk later xoxo,

CONVERSATION

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