4 Reasons Why Chessington's Howl'o'ween Is Unmissable

I don't know about you guys, but for me there's always been something inherently spooky about Chessington World of Adventures, even outside of Halloween season. I grew up riding the Vampire in Transylvania, taking on zombie/mummy hybrids in Terror Tomb and battling goblins inside Hocus Pocus Hall. Before the Britain's Wildest Adventure rebrand, there was something about Chessington's attractions and themes steeped in the creepy and bewitching - I'd even go as far as to argue that my childhood spent visiting this park fed directly into my love of all things spooky as an adult today!

Which is why it's so strange to me that I've kind of neglected Howloween as an event. Last season I popped in after work for an evening just to experience Creepy Caves, but honestly it was never an event that I would go out of my way to add into my Halloween line up. After my brief visit in 2017 and being absolutely blown away by both Creepy Caves and the general atmosphere of the park for Howloween I made sure I had a dedicated day to spend at the event this time to fully soak up the spooky vibes. And I am so glad I did. Maybe it's the nostalgia getting the better of me, but Howloween this weekend was one of my favourite Halloween events of 2018 for me, and I'm here today to tell you why it's just so bloody good!

Look, it's utterly magical being in a theme park after dark on a crisp October night. The lighting and fog makes all the attractions look extra spooky and wonderful, the chill in the air gives me major nostalgia and everything just feels a little bit more enchanted. And if I were a tiger, I'd be more active at this time of day too. But I'm willing to hazard a guess that the animals don't just become more active after dark because they love a good spook and it's more to do with their natural instincts, but I'll carry on pretending it's because they all love Halloween as much as I do.

But yh, if you want to see some active animals be sure to check out their exhibits once the sun goes down! These guys come alive under cover of darkness and it's such a treat to see. Usually when you visit during the day they're just hanging out in a corner not doing much, but during out visit on Sunday it was the exact opposite. Especially over by Tiger Rock. Yes, obviously it's dark so it might be slightly harder to see some of what's going on but honestly the tigers were so active it wasn't an issue at all to spot them!

I'll admit it - it was morbid curiosity that drew me back to Howl'o'ween in 2017 and that's all because of the introduction of Creepy Caves - a scare maze with a most intriguing premise. This beastly adventure made use of the zoo's old Creepy Caves exhibit - a reptile and insect house. This alone had my attention and I was so excited to see how they'd used what was already a fairly creepy exhibit and turned it into something spooky for the Chessington audience. Turns out they pretty much threw caution to the wind and delivered a scare maze that wouldn't be out of place at FRIGHT NIGHTS. The way the park utilised the existing theming of the old animal enclosures and created a truly disturbing storyline and hardcore scares was just wonderful. 

I love that the park dared to go for something intense as opposed to sticking with something more family friendly as they had done in previous years with the likes of the Curse of the Lost Tomb (which, by the way, is also excellent and VERY Chessington in terms of its adventure-based themes). And once again in 2018 they just were not holding back - I would even say that this season there are more actors and more intensity (although the majority of the vile masks were gone which did make me sad). If your kids are easily spooked maybe avoid this once but if you're feeling brave and don't mind something a little on the more intense side then please don't miss this one this season - it's easily one of the best scare attractions in the UK - mostly in part due to the fact that nobody expected this from Chessington!

This one is definitely a big nostalgia thing for me and throws back to the old Ghosterforce days where we'd have our end of year CoasterForce meets at Thorpe and Chessington, ending the season covered in glowsticks and riding through the trees in pitch darkness on Vampire. Riding Vampire in the dark is the way this coaster should be experienced in my opinion, and is an absolute Halloween tradition for me. Swooping over the park and seeing all of the fog and lighting is for me what spooky season is all about, and is firmly a 'happy place' for me in terms of theme park stuff!

And then there's rides like Dragon's Fury and even Tiger Rock. All are beautifully lit once the sun goes down and nothing really says Halloween to me more than freezing my face off as I whip around the track. I think it's also a lot to do with the theming after dark. The creepy towering facades of the Wild Woods and the lurking mysterious dragons in the Land of the Dragons - all of it takes on a delightfully spooky persona after dark!

Honestly, aside from the Disney parks I'm not a big show guy when it comes to theme parks. But, I'd been told good things about the Haunted Howl'o'ween live show so we made sure we stopped by to check it out. And I'm so glad we did! The show is an adorable medley of creepy classics and covers from Thriller to Black Magic. There's no narrative as such - it's more presented as very much song+dance routine+different outfits and it doesn't need to do any more. The outfit changes were so much fun as they evoked the Halloween fun as much as the lyrics of the songs.

What made it even better for me was the variety crammed into what was realistically quite a short space of time. We had fifties bops with Monster Mash, classic pop hits and even some Prodigy in there! You really couldn't tell what was coming next and I loved not knowing who or what was going to head out onto stage next. Plus they played Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall aka the greatest piece of theme park music of all time whilst we were waiting for the show to begin so y'know, how could I not love it?

Maybe it's because I'm getting old and the nostalgia bug well and truly has me or maybe it's because it offers something so different from all the other Halloween things I did this year, but for me Howl'o'ween is not only the whole package when it comes to spooky events but it sits so far above everything else both in terms of range and quality. It's spooky and terrifying in perfectly complementing quantities and that is apparently the recipe for the perfect Halloween event. If you have time, please make sure you get down to the park to see for yourself just what I'm banging on about, it's fab!

Talk later xoxo,