As Halloween Horror Nights and HowlOScream wind down for the 2011 season, you might be wondering why so many people flock to theme park horror events. Why do people pay to have scareactors jump out and terrorize them and to be herded through narrow hallways in “haunted” houses? The appeal varies among different horror fans, but here are some of the reasons that so many people go to Universal and Busch Gardens around Halloween:
1) They’re horror fans. What’s better than immersing yourself in horror movies, reading books and graphic novels, and even playing video games? Putting yourself right in the middle of it in real life. Yes, these fans know that it’s not actually “real,” and that there’s no danger involved, but it’s like watching a movie in the ultimate 3-D. Just as we suspend disbelief for the big screen, we can do it at Halloween events. I personally fit in this category, since I’m from a family of horror lovers and was taken to scary movies from the age of three.
2) They like the simulated “danger.” This is similar to the thrill of riding a roller coaster or other scary-seeming ride. I fit into this category a bit, too. I love thrill rides, and I know just how much care goes into their safety systems, but it’s still easy to image that I’m teetering on the edge. In the same way, Halloween Horror Nights and HowlOScream both seem a bit scary even when you know the scareactors cannot touch you and that it’s all just pretend. Sometimes you even get a genuine scare if they catch you off guard. While I might get startled in the houses, my best real scares have all come from being distracted and having a scareactor take advantage of that fact.
3) They like the chance to “let go.” There’s no denying that the atmosphere are Universal and Busch Gardens is like one big party. It’s looser than during the day, and if you like to drink, there are bars literally every few steps where you can indulge. Yes, you’re still in a theme park, but the ambiance is completely different. It’s all the more desirable because it only comes around for a few weekends each year.
4) They appreciate the detail that goes into this event. I used to just be someone who enjoyed the scares when I lived in Chicago and visited various haunted houses around the suburbs. When I moved to Orlando, I discovered a whole community of horror geeks centered around the theme park events. I, too, have come to appreciate the amazing amount of thought and detail both houses put into their Halloween happenings. You can easily enjoy Halloween Horror Nights and HowlOScream without ever delving into this aspect, but the backstories, house design, make-up, and other details are totally fascinating.
Every possible year I take the lights-on house tours at Halloween Horror Nights to see the detail up close. Click here for a lights-on tour of Winter’s Night. Click here for the backstories to the scare zones and click here for the houses. Click here to read more of my articles, and click here to follow me on Twitter. Click here to sign up for my pets newsletter if you love animals, and click here for my Pet Supplies & Product Reviews site on About.com. I’ve taken over 80 Disney cruises and can book yours and give you a special stateroom credit. Visit www.dclexpert.com.