Personally speaking, Halloween has always been more about the chance to dress up and eat a whole lot of pumpkin-themed baked goods more than developing my tolerance to jump scares and a horrifying atmosphere. That’s what reading the news is for.

Yeah, I think I’m funny sometimes, thanks for asking.

But if you happen to be a fan of my vanilla Halloween aesthetic and also love thinking about what you’d do if you ended up in a horror movie, Elitch Gardens has got you covered on both fronts. Starting tomorrow, Elitches will be opening their annual Fright Fest, which runs from this weekend until November 2. This includes Halloween night, so if you want to feel both physically and emotionally afraid on All Hallows Eve, you can visit all their spooky attractions and ride the Tower of Doom 3 times in a row.

Over the course of the 6 weekends, the park will feature all their regularly popular rides and include additional attractions, which are divided into two phases: “Family by Day” and “Fright by Night.”

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“Family by Day” activities will run from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, none of which come with an extra cost besides the entrance fee. During daylight hours, kids are encouraged to dress up and visit the Halloween-themed Kiddieland, which will host a coloring station, ‘Scary-oke,’ and a Trick or Treat Trail (with candy bags and maps available at the park entrance) for kids to wander. Additionally, a ‘Scream it Out’ contest will be held daily at 3:30 p.m. if you want your kid to finally put their abilities to good use, and a costume contest will be featured at 4:30. But keep in mind, “Family by Day” closes at 5 p.m., with Kiddieland officially shuttering its doors at 6 p.m..

After that, it’s up to you to survive the night.

“Fright by Night” will be open from 6-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 6-9 p.m. on Sundays. And in case you were wondering how hard-core the haunts will be, Elitches recommends that kids be aged 12 or older. You’ve been warned. Some of the extra haunted attractions also incur extra charges, so maybe bring your wallet along with your bravest face.




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The evening begins at 6:16 p.m. with The Enigma, the puzzle-tattooed comedian and stunt artist whose show welcomes you to the ‘upside-down’ Elitch Gardens. His show runs several times throughout the evening, and is free with the cost of admission. After that, you are essentially let loose into the haunted wastelands, within which you can find two separate haunted houses (each of which cost $15 to enter). One will be themed after a hotel ghostly enough to rival the Stanley, and the other after a circus filled with nightmare clowns. I mean, thanks Elitches, I skipped It for a reason, but sure, why don’t you just go fill a theme park with psychopathic, red-nosed horror-machines.

The Fear Fest will also feature an interactive performance called Séance, which you can go see for $8 and a portion of your sanity, and sections of the park deemed ‘Terrortories,’ where you’ll find your chances of running into eldritch creatures and killers goes up by 99%. You can also by combo packs of tickets to the paid attractions, as well as a VIP experience package if you want to be scared in style.

So, there you have it. I and my ghost-shaped cookies will be hanging out at the coloring table until 5 p.m., after which you’re on your own. Happy early Halloween!

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