It is not that it was hot, but that the sun beat down so strongly that we took refuge in Grogan's where Kitty had a sangria in a collectible tumbler that lights up like a rave. I had a cider because I like cider.
She's purposely vamping it up in this picture. Blood lite, bwa ha ha.
Afterwards we exited into the still-not-dark 6 PM Howl O Scream and began to work our way through the now "frightening" TERROR-Tories. I quoted that because they are not frightening. Again.
This kid-friendly bullshit really gets on my nerves.
See the giant fake pumpkin? The fellow standing in the foreground is a park employee. He will take your picture with his spiffy park camera and then later you can purchase said picture from a shop in Ripper Row. Does BG not realize that people have phones with cameras in them now and don't give a whit about quality of the shot? We've come to see the world at that odd 45 degree selfie-angle, we frankly find a well framed shot to be less than aesthetically pleasing.
I get it. The park needs the dosh. BG has raised the price on parking, raised the price on refreshments and added smoked turkey legs and churros, two things you would not expect to find together, in every snack bar. They worked up a card game to sell for the Unearthed event and advertise it with giant tarotesque cards in the Unearthed haunted house and across the park. They are really trying to get every last cent they can. All so that they can bring you...
A few years back they did a whole scary carnival evil clown thing in Italy for Howl O Scream. They weren't scary then either. Nothing is scary about a scary clown. What is scary is a normal clown in a place where he has no business being. Like working at Victoria's Secret. Or running for public office...yeah, I know, that was too easy.
Still not dark, but 6 PM had hit so...
Grrr, pirate! This was one of the pirates in Ports of Skull (why is ports plural?) that wandered about saying pirate things and scaring passersby. This reminds me of a bad pirate Halloween costume, to be honest. They said things like, "Yar" and "We be wanting brains" or something. I wasn't listening.
Which is bad since you are all counting on me to have been listening to bring you this report.
As the twilight slowly came upon the park we headed to Cut Throat Cove, a pirate theme haunted house. Kitty then asks the obvious question: "How are pirates supposed to be scary? We like pirates."
I asked the next obvious question: "Then why are we going to queue up for the haunted house?"
To which she sagely replied: "Because I want to see it."
We like pirates.
So here is how it was executed, this story. The crew shipwrecked waaaaayyyy inland, built a town out of the bits of ship, decorated it with eviscerated bodies, guts everywhere, some headless, limbless torsos and then they hang out in the pirate shanty town saying "Arrgghhh" and threatening to make you walk the plank to...the empty Roman Rapids channel?
It was the sort of place I'd quite like to hang out, actually.
Of the two haunted houses we did, this and Unearthed, much of the decor was accomplished with hanging strands of jute and what I think was supposed to be the pirates intimate apparel hanging on clotheslines to dry.
Now fully dark we went to Demon Street and there be the dragon!
Red lighting and faux flames gives Demon Street the look of Hell.
I did not know devils spoke Ebonics. Learn something new every day.
Unlike the Lady Gaga laden music of Jack in Ireland in years past, this is a more leather jacket, devil music crowd. I suppose I can appreciate that.
And here is our friendly giant pumpkin at night, now fully Jack-o-ed. A noble guardian against the horrors that might seek to escape from the park.
Bonus shot: Turkish Delight, which is oddly a teapot and cups. This is your basic vomit-inducing spinning ride found in Italy. We decided to give it a whirl (puns are free at the Pumpkin, folks) after leaving Cut Throat Cove. I love a spinning ride, but the sun beating down on my head and my horrible allergies usually combine to make me miserable after riding. The cool night air, however, made me immune to such and it was most enjoyable.
We also rod Curse of Darkastle because you have to ride that. To not do so would be like going to Disney World and not riding POTC or HM.
That's this year's Howl O Scream, folks. Not as good as previous years, I'm afraid. I've seen many changes to the park since InBev bought AB creating AB-InBev, and I am not saying that the one is the cause for the other. I am saying that my first trip to Howl O Scream was during the Scare Is Everywhere days and it truly was. Plus the choices of decorating the zones seemed a more logical fit. Things have to change, I get that, but all-in-all I found Ripper Row and Wendigo Woods to be a disappointment. Demon Street was a Hell of a party atmosphere (again, puns are free) but not so Halloween to me personally. Ports of Skull was more like the sort of place I'd just hang out, but it could stand to be a bit more beachy.
Still not scary, and I really wish they'd do something with the train. I maintain that they are missing out on a great opportunity with the train. All that back lot real estate, moving through the woods and such, makes a great opportunity to put things. Even static monster, the likes of which they plaster all over the rest of the park, would be an improvement over nothing. Heck, through a spooky soundtrack over the speakers that the conductor uses to tell you your next stop. Anything. A ghost train. Something. Instead it is just a wasted opportunity year after year when they could be upselling the park, which is clearly what they want given all the other junk they pimp in the shops.
That's my review, done in 3 parts. Happy Halloween and keep your pumpkins lit.