Top 5 FRIGHT NIGHTS 2020 Favourites

At this point I'd consider myself a bit of a Thorpe Park FRIGHT NIGHTS veteran. I've visited pretty much every year since 2006 and over those past 13 (wow, 13, god I'm old) it's been fantastic to watch the event adapt, change and grow with the different horror trends and technology. In the UK, Thorpe Park FRIGHT NIGHTS is an iconic Halloween event and easily the best known Halloween event across the country. I'm excited every spooky season to see what changes will come to FRIGHT NIGHTS, probably none moreso than this year. With the impact of COVID-19 and many other scream parks having to cease operation for the year, I was very interested to see what affect this would have on the UK's premier Halloween event and what changes we'd see as a result. This is my top five most favourite things about FRIGHT NIGHTS 2020!

FRIGHT NIGHTS has always been infamous for its vile roaming scare teams, hounding and harassing unsuspecting passers by foolishly lulled into a false sense of security as they'd chosen not to enter a scare maze. This year FRIGHT NIGHTS introduced The Crows to their infamous line-up of roamers who I'm sure will instantly go down in history as cult fan favourites and will join the ranks of the likes of the You're Next team from 2013 and the Big Top Showtime from more recent years. 

To put it bluntly, they're appalling. The horrific scarecrow masks with the sullen eye sockets but just a glimpse of human eye contact insistent on tormenting you with an unblinking stare, combined with the gloved hands moulting straw as they creepily twist their fingers towards you. It's just a grotesque image all around and obviously the stuff of classic Halloween tropes when it comes to scare events - I'm actually kind of surprised there's not a famous horror movie scarecrow character because for me the possessed scarecrow is a quintessential Halloween ghoul but there we go. 

Obviously the best bit about The Crows is where they go...well, nobody knows, didn't you listen to the rhyme? The fact that they can (and indeed do) appear anywhere and everywhere when you're at the park just adds to their menace, and during my visits to FRIGHT NIGHTS this year there were multiple times where Crows appeared literally out of the bushes to give us a fright, and seemingly out of thin air in the blink of an eye, unnervingly hovering in the background like the ghosts in Bly Manor. Extremely creepy stuff. 

More specifically the All Mallow's Eve fries, which I had on both visits. It's essentially sweet potato fries topped with marshmallows, cinnamon and chocolate sauce and is right up my alley when it comes to spooky snacks! Something I've always envied the American Halloween events for is the variety of iconic Halloween treats on offer. From Halloween Horror Nights' iconic pizza fries to Mickey pumpkin candy apples, the American event treats are as much a reason for visiting as the spooks themselves and it's something I've always felt the UK events missed out on. Don't get me wrong, I adore the British autumnal tradition of wolfing down a sausage in a bun smothered in fried onions whilst standing around a bonfire, but it's not something I'm willing to travel out of my way to experience. 

It's something Thorpe Park have really gotten stuck into this year with their events - firstly with the Bavarian treats at Oktoberfest and now with the likes of the All Mallow's Eve fries and the Grave Digger Donut Sundae at FRIGHT NIGHTS. Event-exclusive treats are just another way the park are reinventing and updating what FRIGHT NIGHTS is all about and I'm already looking forward to FRIGHT NIGHTS 2021 when I get indulge my ridiculous palate again with sweet potato fries smothered in various sweet things. 

Now being the veteran scare maze at FRIGHT NIGHTS, I was very intrigued to see what differences would come to this spooky fan favourite in its fifth year at the event. I'll be honest, although aesthetically I adore Platform 15 it's never really been up there as a favourite for me as personally I like my scares a little more hardcore and intense, but in its 2020 iteration Platform 15 has certainly upped itself in my estimation! In order to help maintain social distancing, the maze now begins with a creepy walk through the long, dark, eerie tunnel before sending us off into the ghost story proper, fittingly departing from Platform 15 itself. Even just this one difference completely changed the setup of the attraction and instantly I was more immersed and invested in the narrative than I've ever been in previous years. This way around, everything just seems to make so much more sense and is therefore much more effective. 

The biggest change for this year is of course the finale. Again, not the most intense of endings but absolutely oozing with atmosphere and aesthetically it's just *Italian chef kiss*. It's the kind of visual that really makes you want to reach for your camera because it's just so eerily beautiful, I wanted to hang out watching those shadows writhe bathed in the glaring light of the oncoming locomotive all night, but alas our journey needed to end. In my opinion it's the most impactful change the maze has ever gone through and I hope we get at least a few more years of it in this iteration for more to enjoy. 

Of course, one of the most excellent things about theme parks during spooky season is getting to enjoy all of our favourite coasters in the dark, and this year I've had more than my share. I seem to have a renewed passion for night riding - in fact one of my visits to FRIGHT NIGHTS this year was spent hauling ass around the Island riding the big five front row in the dark, and it was absolutely exhilarating. It actually made me a little nostalgic - when we used to do the Ghosterforce Halloween meet ups at Thorpe and Chessington all those years ago it was always coasters first, spooks second and that recent visit to Thorpe Park reminded me a lot of those days. It's probably why I enjoyed them so much. 

I also want to take a moment to discuss Stealth, front row, at night. I've always been a vehement advocate for Stealth's back row being the best seat because in my opinion it provides the most intense launch, however there is nothing quite like the incredible airtime moments you get when riding the front row, firstly over the top hat and secondly as you hurtle into the brake run. Absolutely incredible and can't believe it's something I've denied myself in recent years having opted for back row instead. 

As any long-term reader of this blog will well know at this point, as much as I adore a good pant-wetting scare maze, my true love of Halloween events lies in a well executed scare zone. For me the overall atmosphere and ambience of a theme park Halloween event does not reside behind the closed doors of a scare maze but instead emanates from the shrieks and screams of fear of a scare zone. Scare zones are something I've wanted to see at FRIGHT NIGHTS for years, and are something I've never really been sure why they didn't do. I guess every cloud has a silver lining because this year the aforementioned COVID-19 implications gave the park the perfect excuse to dive into the gloriously terrifying pool of scare zonery and here's hoping they never look back because they absolutely nailed it first time round. 

FEARSTIVAL and Creek Freaks Unchained are the two absolute stand out attractions at Thorpe Park FRIGHT NIGHTS 2020 for me. FEARSTIVAL with its macabre cabaret of fiends and freaks, bathed in an eerie bluish purple light occasionally lit up with the odd burst of flame. The accompanying eerie soundtrack sets it off perfectly and the atmosphere is brilliantly morose - the actor interactions in this zone are excellent, the fire show is a really nice touch to give it a little extra spice and the scares come thick and fast. 

My number one favourite addition to FRIGHT NIGHTS 2020 is of course Creek Freaks Unchained. We know I love a good chainsaw scare at the best of times, but a chainsaw filled scare zone that's literally crawling with gasoline-drunk lumberjacks with an unquenchable desire to chop is pretty much perfection in my books. Of course again, the Creek Freak Massacre soundtrack returns with its dread-inducing notes and the night is alive with red-tinted fog, the omnipresent rev of a bloodthirsty chainsaw and the terrified screams of us poor suckers who are brave enough to endure a walk through Old Town on these cold October nights. I really, really love this zone, not only did it do the infamous Creek Freak Massacre justice but it carved out a place in FRIGHT NIGHTS history all its own and for that I am so grateful. 


FRIGHT NIGHTS 2020 has legitimately been one of my all time favourite iterations of the event and I can't wait to see Thorpe Park build on it next year. Hopefully things are a bit less tricky next year and we can see the reintroduction of some more scare mazes alongside the development of the existing awesome scare zones. Although I can't believe we're approaching the final weekend of the event already as I write this, it's bittersweet as I'm already so excited to see what 2021 brings for this most iconic of UK Halloween events. 

Did you visit FRIGHT NIGHTS this year? What was your favourite attraction? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,