6 Reasons I Go To Tulleys Shocktoberfest Every Year

Every spooky season I make a list of attractions I want to visit. There are staples on that list, the likes of FRIGHT NIGHTS and Scarefest for example, but I always try to mix it up and visit places I haven't been before to try out new events to keep both my content and experiences varied. There's definitely a way of immunising yourself against the scares if you're not too careful, and I find keeping your events varied is a good way to prevent that happening. So why then, after five years of visiting, do I still not only have Tulleys Shocktoberfest at the top of my places to visit during Halloween season, but am I also still so excited to visit after all this time?

The street team at Tulleys are kind of legendary, with the same actors coming back year after year to reprise their roles. They've made these characters so iconic that you even get people travelling to the event just to meet them and as such have become synonymous with the event itself. And there's good reason for it - the street team are incredible. There's no real rhyme or reason or theme for the street team like you'd find at the Merlin parks - it's more just a rag tag group of ghouls whose soul purpose is to terrorise and entertain you whilst you're between scares.

The range is fantastic - you can go from the very Carry On zombie nurses and their naughty seaside postcard style of saucy humour to the chilling soldiers-with-chainsaws-wearing-gasmasks who say nothing and still manage to set your hairs on end by just standing there staring at you. It's a real mixed bag of scary fun from the extremely terrifying to delightfully kitsch and spooky resulting in there never being a dull moment whilst on park.

Y'all know me, I love an Instagram moment and Tulley's has been loyally serving my Halloween aesthetic needs for years now. It's incredible what some fencing, smoke machines, creepy lighting and pumpkin scarecrows can achiever but honestly it's just so satisfying to photograph. Every time I go I end up with a reel of about 100 of the same photo, and every year I delight in spending hours trawling through and editing them all - deciding which to upload and which to save for the blog post.

 They also leave their fabulous step and repeat up for more shameless snapping which is always a plus in my books! This year they've also introduced a brand new sign as you enter the park - a fab contraption combining an old tractor, twisted shrapnel and loads of fire to bring the park's logo to life, creating yet another Instagram moment. The sign was never empty of group of people grabbing selfies underneath it and it's easy to see why, the thing is awesome! I want one of my own to be honest.

I know that's a weird thing to say, but let me explain. For me, Halloween and autumn in general have a certain vibe, and that is as follows: orange leaves, forest setting, log fires, pumpkins and spooky shit. Tulleys delivers all of that and then some. Something that screams Halloween to me is driving home down those dark roads having my hair reek of bonfire smoke. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (I'm guessing that's the same feeling as that 'Christmas magic' you hear people talking about?) There's nothing I love doing more at Tulleys than sitting around one of the firepits with a drink and just soaking it all in. Literal happy place.

Tulleys for me was the first non-theme park based Halloween event I ever went to, so before that the only type of scares I'd ever experienced were all of a similar style and calibre. It was the first event I'd ever been to created by people whose whole careers revolved around being in the scare industry, and as such it's the place where I've been lucky enough to experience my 'first' of many scares that are now commonplace across the industry: my first bag on head maze, my first squeeze cushion, first maze done in 3D, first bungee scare, I could go on and on.

You can clearly see the impact of Shocktoberfest as a world leader in this kind of thing by the ripple effect that happens when they introduce something new - you'll experience it one year at Tulleys and the following Halloween season ten more attractions have adapted it into their attractions. And that's by no means a dig - Tulleys must be proud to have pioneered so many scare 'firsts', at least here in the UK anyway, and I for one am glad of their influence on other attractions here in the UK because it promotes healthy competition and development to keep things new and fresh - meaning more fab scares for us!

I count myself lucky every Halloween season that Tulleys is so close to me - I shudder to think of the petrol bill if it were further away and I had to traipse across the country every October to get my fix. I'm so lucky to live practically on the doorstep of what is truly a unique Halloween event here in the UK. I've sampled a fair few across these past five years up and down the country and there's none that quite capture the spark that Shocktoberfest somehow manages to. I'm a big Americophile, especially when it comes to spooky stuff, and for me Tulleys is essentially a manifestation of what I imagine Halloween to feel like in the states. Everything about it feels like it should be taking place across the Atlantic, I guess because it takes the season seriously?

One thing I loathe every year is the anticipation of what plastic shite our supermarkets unashamedly wheel out every October in an attempt at a Halloween range. I cringe at how poor and half-arsed it all is, and moan about what a shame it is that we can't have nice things like they do over there (a feeling intensified this year after my recent trip to Orlando and seeing it all for myself, humph). Don't get me wrong, I can appreciate a cheap and cheerful UK Halloween event as much as the next person, but there's definitely something about an event like Tulleys where you can see and appreciate first hand the money and passion poured into it year after year.

Lastly - it's just so much fun. Of course, Shocktoberfest is first and foremost about the scares, which it undeniably delivers, but there's a real sense of fun at this event and a sense of humour that is unrivalled here in the UK. As mentioned before, it's got that edge of smutty, Carry On style humour that is often lost in Halloween events that try so hard to be scary that they forget it's about having a good time too. Tulleys is proof that you can successfully have a balance of both and people will absolutely lap it up.

It's about finding that perfect balance - look at the infamous Horrorwood Hayride. A scare attraction through and through, of course, but what do we all talk about when we discuss that ride? The tongue in cheek ridiculousness of the ending of course! What better pay off for a ride that spends its entire narrative building tension and terror than hearty belly laughter? When all the other attractions are as scary it's nice to be have the balls to have an attraction that doesn't take itself as seriously and the payoff speaks for itself. 

So yes, this was my fifth season visiting Tulleys. Yes, I took the same damn photos I always take after once again telling myself I wasn't going to bother this year. But I can't keep away! And honestly, after writing the above, can you honestly blame me? If I had Disneyland on my doorstep I'd absolutely visit every year and for me Tulleys at Halloween is no different. We have one of the world's best scream parks right here in the UK and I'm so glad I get the opportunity to visit it year after year.

Talk later xoxo,