Attraction Review: Liseberg Halloween

Yeah I know it's the 6th of November BUT I'm super bummed out that Halloween is over and this final week of Halloween related content is all that's getting me through right now. Anyway, this weekend I jetted off to sunny Gothenburg for the weekend to see out the Halloween season at my final event of the year at the always excellent Liseberg!

I'll be honest, in the line-up of 'must-do' Halloween events, Liseberg has never really been on my radar. Not for any reason, more I guess just because nobody really ever spoke about the event? Not in the way you hear about the likes of Walibi Fright Nights and Movie Park Germany's Halloween Horror Fest. But, I wanted to pop over to ride Valkyria anyway, the flights were pretty cheap and it was the chance to sample another European Halloween event, so it seemed like the stars were aligned and in no time at all we were leaving my flat at the ungodly hour of 3AM for a little jaunt to Scandinavia.

If you've been to Liseberg you'll be aware of its awesomeness, but as is the case with many a theme park, it truly comes alive at Halloween. Firstly it's absolutely STUNNING with the autumnal trees and pumpkins and scarecrows. Y'all know autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and it never ceases to amaze me just how much a backdrop of burnt orange foliage can bring out the beauty of a park. Gorgeous.

And then there's the coasters - nothing puts me firmly in my happy place like whipping around on a world class ride with the crisp autumn air slapping me in the face, and this trip was absolutely stacked with those moments. Balder, Helix, Lisebergbanan, Loke - all fantastic attractions in their own right heightened by riding with a group where we did not stop laughing (so much so that my stomach actually hurt and I lost my voice!) Helix at night has to be experienced to be believed, Balder is just hilarious because of how much it brings the airtime and Valkyria is a wonderful addition to the park with its fantastic combination of airtime, forces and theme. Just brilliant.

But of course, we were here mostly for the spooky stuff! Don't ask my why but I kind of had it in my head that mazes at Liseberg would be kind of tame (I think I still had Toverland on the brain!) and that this would overall be a chill event more on the spooky side rather than intense. Well...I was categorically wrong about that in every way, which I'll get to in a minute when I go through each maze one by one. The theming of the park looked stunning at night, with everything uplit in a gorgeous orange glow to really bring the harvest-vibes.

The park also had two scare zone areas - District Z over by Valkyria and Balder which featured a bunch of abandoned piled-up vehicle sets and gruesome zombies hanging out and scaring people and Circus Bizarre, a spooky clown themed area in and around Gasten Ghost Hotel but with more of a Victorian freak show vibe with the area covered in washed out Victorian style attraction posters and creepy set pieces. They even used the ride vehicles from the old fairytale dark ride to add an extra layer of creepiness. Very cool and fab for a little Instagram photoshoot. Sadly it was extremely busy on the Saturday night we were there so I don't feel we got to experience the interaction with the actors in these zones as much as we would have liked, but there's no denying they were fantastically themed!

So, we went into all of these mazes knowing absolutely nothing about what was about to come, which in my opinion is the best way to do these things anyway. We didn't even know what 'Vinden' meant and a quick Google Translate whilst we were in the queue told us it meant 'attic', so of course having done a few scare mazes in my time my mind began to conjure up images of what was to come. That said, of all the things I imagined might be waiting for us, an industrial workman's scaffolding elevator was at the very bottom of my list. Yep, to start this maze you climb on board a working external elevator that transports you to the top of the old building to its attic space. Wow.

When we started off in what was basically just an actual industrial roof space of the building with a few infected looking dudes hanging out I was a little disappointed. Like, it's cool to actually be in the roof of a proper building, but the space wasn't really themed and it was too open and bright. Then the squeeze cushion/descent into pure evil happened and oh god from then on out it was all just fucking excellent. 

Themed to a Victorian style creepy attic, the detail is absolutely stunning. Everywhere you look are piles of junk covered in dust and cobwebs and it's all just ridiculously creepy and eerie. The whole place is filled with vile creepy children who you keep catching glimpses of as they continue to run ahead and play a horrifying game of hide and seek with you, jumping out at you as you anxiously turn every corner. Oh, and the whole thing ends with a walk through a bunch of terrifying doll mannequins - only they're not mannequins, they're sensor activated animatronics so the maze actually concludes with you screaming and recoiling in horror as they horrifyingly gyrate at you. Fucking wow!

I've done Gasten Ghost Hotel on the two visits I've had to Liseberg previously so it's a little weird to review this attraction, especially in the context of the Halloween event. Gasten Ghost Hotel is one of the most stunning horror attractions I've ever experienced. I thought it the first time I did it and I still think it now. It's essentially a standard creepy hotel where you go from room to room, from reception to the kitchen to the boiler room and every terrifying nook and cranny in between. It's Disney levels of detail and theming, like if you were able to walk around the Haunted Mansion. It's that beautiful.

And there are some fantastic scare moments - hotel staff jumping out at you from behind trick walls, having to carefully navigate your way across the treacherously flooded ballroom and trying not to get burned on the searingly hot pipes of the boiler room. The use of optical illusion and special effects to create scary moments is excellent throughout the attraction and it's just wonderful to wander through slowly and soak in all of the creepy details.

My gripe with this one is the insistence that you take the maze hands-on-shoulders style. I get it, the thing is bloody gorgeous and you wouldn't want to take the chance of letting guests free roam only for them to get scared and run into a set and damage it. But when you're short like I am and you have to reach up and put your hands of the shoulders of the person in front of you, you end up not being able to see very much which is really frustrating. You also either end up getting dragged backwards or shoved forwards because it's really hard to all keep the same pace. It's just really frustrating all round and made it really hard to be scared because I was so pre-occupied with trying to keep up/keep my hands on shoulders. 

Right, I'll start off by saying I've done my fair share of what I would lovingly label 'crappy funfair ghost trains'. I love these things - the ropier the better. Give me a dodgy skeleton screaming in my face or a dusty old animatronic stuttering back and forth. Love all that stuff. I...don't know what I expected from Shocker, because again I hadn't really paid attention to any of the attractions in the line up for this event. But the facade gave me hardcore 90s MTV psychedelic Rob Zombie vibes and I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I think I thought maybe this was a clever ghost train themed entrance facade leading into  maze or something behind, but I definitely didn't think it was literally a proper funfair ghost train. 

And good lord, it's the most fucked up terrifying ghost train I've ever been on in my life. Like, my heart actually hurt when we came off of it because I was so terrified and screaming the entire way around. It's one of those ghost trains where you sit in a cage and all the effects get reeeaaalllly close to you, which I even pointed out was the case as we got on so god knows why I was so horrified to discover THE THINGS GET REALLY FUCKING CLOSE TO YOU. 

I think what was most horrifying was the use of blackout lighting. Everything would go completely dark then when the lights flicked back on there'd be some giant grotesque Freddy Krueger thing leering in the cage at you or some actors dressed all in black coming at you in the dark. It was the most stressful and intense ghost train I've ever experienced and for that reason one of the best. 

Set in the queueline for AtmosFear, The Experiment is probably the most gruesome and violent of Liseberg's mazes. There didn't seem to be much narrative other than some disgusting cretins have decided they're going to do some experiments on you - like cutting you open in some twisted fashion and having a poke around with no anaesthetic for no good reason at all. It was...really twisted and old school, I absolutely loved it. The set itself was really industrial and 'sharp', and by that I mean there were lots of pointy nasty objects hanging around that looked like their sole purpose for existence was the cause pain. Also a lot of cages which meant tons of crashing, bashing and loud noises. 

Again, ridiculously intense. Bearing in mind we'd just come from Shocker when we joined the queue for this one so our nerves were already feeling slightly frayed. There were some disgustingly imaginative set pieces in this maze, including a giant pendulum saw cutting some poor sod in half as we walked past. And the sets were covered in blood, gore and gruesomeness. It all actually felt quite noughties in the overall vibe of the thing - kind of Dr.Satan meets Marilyn Manson music video. Can always count on Europe to be a little old school in that aspect of things. 

There's honestly not a stand out 'scare' moment for me from The Experiment - I just recall my nerves being on end from start to finish of this one and growing anxiety with each crash, bang or jump scare. Fabulous old school terror. 

I'll be honest - given how crowded the event was and how much re-riding/other mazes we wanted to do, we were all fully up for giving Zombies a miss if we had to. We've done zombie mazes a hundred times, what more could Liseberg possibly do with the theme? Well...a lot actually! This turned out to be my favourite maze of the trip and really caught me off guard. The whole thing is themed to a zombie outbreak taking place in one of Liseberg's office buildings, and essentially you have to make your way through the barricaded office cubicles and building to freedom as the undead snap at your heels.

Again, the theming is just bloody fantastic. I don't know if Liseberg used an existing out of use office space to create this attraction, but the sets are so realistic and fantastic. The stacked chair barricades as you wander down the office corridors, the overflowing toilets with real running water. Just detail after detail and it's all just absolutely stunning. For some reason the use of this 'real world' location really made this one extra scary for me - I guess because of the realism? It was really horrifying to walk through what really looked like an abandoned office reception and have a zombie come hurtling around the corner at you. 

And this maze was SO DARK in places. Like to the point where you couldn't see your hand in front of your face and basically just had to walk forwards blindly until you saw daylight again. And the use of levels and space was fantastic - zombies dropping from cages above you, infected creatures slamming from behind glass just inches from your face. One of the most intense and terrifying mazes I've ever done and I'm so thankful we ended up having time to experience it. 

Wow - what a bloody fantastic event! Not only do you get all the awesomeness of riding some of Europe's best rides in the dark, you also get that perfect combination of autumnal pumpkin goodness in the daytime and intense Halloween scares by night. Liseberg's Halloween event is one of the most well-rounded I've ever experienced and it's criminal that more people don't speak about it. You can be sure that I'll be screaming from the rooftops about this event for a long time to come and I'm already looking at ways to squeeze this event onto my itinerary again for next season.

Talk later xoxo,