Top 5 Halloween Theme Park Events In The World

I cannot begin to describe the comfort and joy that entering the month of October brings me. It feels like coming home, where my power is strongest against the backdrop of cold, spooky, bonfire scented nights laced with the distant sounds of screams and chainsaws. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I hate having to include these caveats in what seems like every blog post I write lately, but sadly 2020 is going to be quite the different beast when it comes to spooky season. With the majority of independently operated haunts and scream parks opting not to operate this year, what is usually a buffet of twisted creativity for us to enjoy throughout the month of October, this year we seem to be relying rather heavily on our theme park friends to dish out the terror this spooky season. And in that vain I thought it was a great opportunity to sit down and count down my favourite Halloween events that take place in theme parks. 

Disclaimer as always, this list is based on my own opinion. Don't worry if I don't mention your favourite Halloween theme park event in this list or if you disagree with my list, I promise nothing bad will happen and it's OK for us to disagree. Also worth mentioning that just because I don't mention a particular event on this list doesn't mean I think it sucks, it's not maybe not to my taste or not my personal favourite. With that said, let's crack on!

Kicking off with a park I know I've gushed about time and time again on this blog but damn it, Liseberg put on a HELL of a show for Halloween. Having visited during non-spooky season before and experienced their year-round haunt Gasten Ghost Hotel, I was intrigued to see whether this incredible level of theming and detail would be consistent through the rest of their mazes. Turns out yes, yes they do. Liseberg's mazes are some of the most beautiful and intricately themed I've ever experience and you can clearly tell that a lot of care and attention has gone into creating every scene. On top of looking absolutely exquisite, they're scary as fuck too! We know how much I enjoy being scared anyway and always look to submit to the fear when I do these attractions, but every single one of the mazes at Liseberg Halloween is high-octane terror from start to finish - they do not let you BREATHE between scenes so you exist each attraction terrified and breathless. 

And what's more, the general park decor is beautiful too. When it comes to parkwide theming to me there's nothing better than a good ol' pile of pumpkins and Liseberg does these in buttloads. I love that creepy cottage/autumnal harvest farm aesthetic with scarecrows and wheelbarrows and things and these pieces complemented by Liseberg's naturally gorgeous foliage in autumnal colours around the park brings a very sophisticated and classic Halloween decor style to compliment the terrifying horror mazes. 

I've said it a few times but the Central Florida area really is the golden trio when it comes to Halloween - Disney with the family fun at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party, Universal with the highly themed 'classic' horror aesthetic at Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Gardens with the more typical theme park Halloween event you'd find in regional parks across the country. And for me, controversial though this might be, Howl-O-Scream was my favourite of the three. The houses were innovative and went out of their way to deliver narratives and worlds I'd never seen before whilst somehow maintaining that classic box ticking of any self-respecting haunt event (chainsaws, check! Creepy motel, check! Evil clowns, check!) A trap I feel a lot of these events can fall into is that their mazes can feel quite similar but Howl-O-Scream goes out of its way to ensure there is a clear thematic definition between each of its attractions, and the creativity is mind-blowing. When we visited in 2018 Insomnia was probably my most memorable attraction - a maze themed to a sleep clinic and scenes of all different nightmares and sleep related horrors culminating in a jaw-dropping 'dream' sequence with ways literally swaying as we made our exit. 

And of course I can't mention this event without mentioning the Howl-O-Scream street teams. If you've been to Busch Gardens then you KNOW how huge this park is, so you'll likely be as impressed as I was to hear that pretty much every nook and cranny of the entire park is stacked with actors waiting to jump out and scare you - there is quite literally nowhere to hide. There were guys dressed as trees hiding in bushes, creepy clowns overrunning Pantopia and a terrifying toybox come to life outside Sesame Street - they have every inch of the park covered so the awesome Halloween atmosphere spreads to every corner. 

Billed as Europe's biggest Halloween event, Halloween Horror Fest at Movie Park Germany has been one of my all time favourite Halloween events since I first visited back in 2017. It's always been strange to me that I don't hear more people raving about this event like we do for the likes of Traumatica or Walibi Halloween Fright Nights because in my opinion it's not only up there with them, it's better! Something I absolutely love about Halloween Horror Fest is the way they us IP and existing spaces and structures around the park to create the haunts. Stand outs for me when we visited last year were The Walking Dead: Breakout, featuring best of scenes from the horror franchise and where an actor made me jump so hard I fell into an actor corridor, and Wrong Turn, an interactive haunted lantern lit attraction set in the trough of the old Ice Age family boat ride themed to the early noughties horror movie. The detail and quality of theming does vary from attraction to attraction with some being better than others - particularly the big IP mazes built within sound stages, but they all do an excellent job at conveying exactly what needs to get across in setting up excellent worlds for scares to take place. 

And then of course the crowning jewel of this event for me - the scare zones. I was very interested to discover that all of the actors in the scare zones are volunteers who create their own characters including costumes and make-up - absolutely amazing! I could spend hours hanging out in the scare zones and looking at all the different creatures and there always seems to be one more you didn't see before if you hang out for long enough. 

For me Thorpe Park is the OG Halloween event. It was the first scare maze related event I ever went to as as a tiny baby sixteen year old and I actually chickened out of doing Asylum that very first time round! So funny to think considering what I'm like now. But yes, to me Fright Nights is the staple Halloween theme park event and easily the one I've visited most often. For me it's not truly Halloween until I've heard the buzz of a chainsaw following a few night rides on Stealth. I just love Thorpe's legacy of scare mazes - from all time favourites like Experiment 10 and Cabin in the Woods to IPs behemoths like The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare and Saw Alive, in my opinion Fright Nights has always been at the forefront of developing scare mazes trends and truly impactful scares. I experienced many horror maze 'firsts' for me at Fright Nights - the first time I was split from my group and had to do a portion of a maze alone, the first time I experience a multi-route attraction, the first time I had to crawl through a tunnel. It's part of what makes me hold Fright Nights so dear to my heart and I think I'll always love it for that. 

I'm so glad the event can go ahead this year and am super stoked to see what comes of these scare zones. Sadly over the past few years we've seen what little Halloween decoration and theming Thorpe Park once had for Fright Nights all but disappear so it'll be fantastic to have some of that atmosphere brought back into the park proper outside of the mazes themselves. 

For me Halloween Fright Nights at Walibi Holland is the grand daddy of European theme park Halloween events. It's the creme de la creme. For all the faults and nitpicking I could point out about the other attractions on this list, for me Halloween Fright Nights is faultless and as close to perfect as a Halloween event can be. Let's start with the mazes then - and for me these split into two sections. You have your more 'classic' horror maze setups like The Villa and the incredible grey-scale haunted house attraction Jefferson Manor, which tick every scare maze box and do it all exceptionally. You then have what I would call your 'alternative' experiences - I'm talking things like The Clinic and Below - horror mazes certainly but each with a particularly unusual twist that make them stand out as truly unique in the world of haunts and not something I've experienced anywhere else in the world. I won't go into too much detail of what either of these attractions contain as in my experience they were best enjoyed going in blind, but I will say they're both truly world class and terrifying. 

And of course, similarly to Halloween Horror Fest at Movie Park Germany, the park is brimming with scare zones, each with it's own unique theme, characters and storylines. I believe in 2019 there were seven different scare zones across the park, which again is an absolute ton considering Walibi Holland is not very big. With large themed set pieces, special effects and incredible costuming and make-up, I would definitely argue that Walibi Holland's scare zones are good enough to rival even that of Universal Studios when it comes to quality, truly world class stuff. 


Of course there are a TON of incredible theme park Halloween events all over the world that I haven't even visited myself yet, and sadly due to the pandemic am unable to get to this year. That said I am so grateful for those I have been able to visit and having the freedom to travel to these things taken away has really made me appreciate those I've been able to visit in the past. 

What is your favourite theme park Halloween event in the world? What's top of your Halloween theme park bucket list? Let me know in the comments and let's have a chat!

Talk later xoxo,