Halloween’s dark harvest comes to life with AMERICA HAUNTS Halloween Countdown #1!
It is historically believed that the celebration of Halloween originated from the Celtic festival called Samhain, held at the end of each harvest season. Legend indicates that on October 31st, the barrier that separates the worlds of the living and the dead opens up, making crops susceptible to damage by returning spirits. To pacify these ghostly visitors, great bonfires were raised, and masks and costumes were worn with which to entertain them. Participants would walk between the fires as a cleansing ritual, casting the bones of slaughtered livestock onto the flames. A festive Halloween meant a successful harvest.
This connection to autumn’s crop offerings still lives on today, with much of the iconography and color scheme of the holiday based in this origin. Cornstalks, gourds, wreaths of dead vine or fall leaves, and – of course – pumpkins, have all become a traditional staple of Halloween decoration and celebration. It is difficult to conjure images of All Hallow’s Eve without picturing jack-o-lanterns or decor comprised of these recognizable fixtures.
Nowhere is this theme more prevalent than within America’s haunted attractions. Across the country every Halloween, the nation’s top creators deliver a senses-shattering array of frightening fare to visitors hungry for seasonal scares, tapping into a wide variety of chills and thrills. Touching upon both familiar and unexpected archetypes, they are able to invoke the true essence of the holiday.
Ulster Park, New York’s “Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses”, part of the Historic Haunted Hudson Valley, delves deeply into the spirit of the harvest season. Having been voted “World’s Best Haunted Hayride” by AOL News, it boasts a one mile hayride, a labyrinth-style corn maze, six professionally created haunted houses, and much more. From the army of hollow men hidden deep within The Root Cellar, to the mutated reptilian plant creatures who populate Nightshade Greenhouse and Nursery, the fall crop has taken on horrific proportions. A vengeful scarecrow – reanimated with the evil spirit of an abusive husband – stalks the Evil Reaping Dark Harvest corn maze, and the diabolical cult of the Headless Horseman roams the same grounds once traveled by the legendary Ichabod Crane. The very trees around you come alive as Halloween’s dark roots unleash their earthly terror.
“Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride” is Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s premier haunted attraction, which Fangoria Magazine calls “a pure cornucopia of terror”. Featuring a 25-minute heart-pounding ride through the dark forest of Arasapha Farm, the Haunted Hayride takes visitors on a mind-bending journey over the rural terrain of its 82-acre farmland spread. The Haunted Corn Maze sends brave souls walking through a tall corn field where danger and unimaginable horrors lie around every twist and turn – such as the dead fisherman who stand silent vigil in a murky swamp populated by hungry alligators. If nature’s wrath becomes too overwhelming, hapless mortals can seek refuge by checking into the Bates Motel, where the only thing being harvested is more lost souls to wander the halls of this startling ‘resting’ place. Autumn’s cool breezes and color changes mark the passing of much more than just summer’s crop offerings on this unhallowed ground…
Further south, at High Point, North Carolina’s “Spookywoods”, the fear of being in the forest at night has never been so powerful as when visitors submit to Nyctohylophobia. The Dark Harvest plunges unsuspecting humans into a field of 10-foot high corn, overrun with the most frightening of creatures. Located on over 50 acres of farmland, the earth beneath your feet is rich with history and legend, as generations of harvest have unearthed nature’s dark wrath. And while the still of night offers spine-tingling chills, the days are also very much alive with fall festivities, including the Kersey Valley Pumpkin Patch, filled with thousands of pumpkins of every shape and size for perfect fall decorating. There is gem mining, fossil digging, and a dinosaur discovery (the first true monsters!) To top it off they have developed one of the largest zip line tours in the world, featuring over a dozen zip lines connected by giant 60-foot sky towers. Running the gamut of autumn’s fare, Spookywoods is certain to provide plenty of Halloween memories for holiday fans of every age and interest.
Humans are what is being harvested at “Creepyworld”, in St. Louis, as living dead scarecrows seek victims alongside zombie pigs, rabid chickens and crazed farmers. Delivering the world’s largest famous faces pumpkin display, this massive haunt is always finding new ways to breathe (after)life into the fall harvest. A typical hayride becomes anything but, as you defend humanity against hordes of the undead on the Zombie Town Paintball Haunted Hayride, and who can say what terror has been reaped and sown in the grisly Silo-X? Featuring NINE different horrifying attractions at one location for one price, Creepyworld offers the longest haunted house experience in St. Louis.
“The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park” reveals what occurs when nature runs amok. San Diego’s only all-outdoor haunted attraction sends the brave (and foolish) on a mile-long journey through twisted, sinister woods while unseen evil awaits. An eerie reminder of why we should not take Mother Nature for granted, visitors are assaulted from every angle as the change in seasons harkens a change in the natural order of things. The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park is no mere stroll in the park – it will leave you begging for shelter from the great outdoors.