Theme parks treat guests to tricks

Local theme parks transform to terrorize guests for the Halloween season.


Princess Belle gives her autograph to a guest at Disneyland. Sophomore Heather Jungkeit, friends with both Belle and Sleeping Beauty, shares the extra magic that happens during Halloween. | Courtesy of Heather Jungkeit

Jackie Grade and Emily Ballmaier

Some enjoy Halloween for the promise of candy. Others thrive on the tricks of the holiday and seek the ultimate thrills and the scariest amusement parks or haunted houses.

Amusement parks have catered to both of the public’s Halloween needs. Knott’s Berry Farm transforms into its alter ego, Knott’s Scary Farm, and creates a horror scene for adrenaline junkies to enjoy. Disneyland, on the other hand, invites the whole family to collect candy throughout the pumpkin-covered theme park.

Senior Kyle Quiroz works as a photographer at Knott's Berry Farm. During Halloween, this theme park transforms into "Knott's Scary Farm," which includes haunted houses throughout the park. | Kalli Thommen/THE CHIMES


Photographing the fear

Kyle Quiroz, a senior intercultural studies major and Knott’s photographer, thinks it a funny concept to scare someone as part of the job description.

While Quiroz is not one of the monsters — as he shoots photos in one of the many fright-filled mazes — he gets to capture the moments of pure terror on each of the customers’ faces.

“[Knott’s tries] to dig in deep to certain parts of you that might make you uncomfortable,” Quiroz said.

He also witnesses many of his coworkers preparing for the night. Quiroz stated that it takes at least an hour each time the hired actors apply their makeup and costumes.

Quiroz believes that this is what sets Knott’s apart from places such as Universal Studios, even though he does not particularly agree with this scare tactic.

“There’s no boundaries,” Quiroz said.

Most attractions don’t allow any sort of physical contact between staff member and park goer, Quiroz said. However, he described one maze, “Trapped,” in which customers must sign a waiver before proceeding, acknowledging that monsters can reach out to touch, tap or grab them. Quiroz said that “Trapper” is like a puzzle where people have to find their way out of certain obstacles.

“Sometimes people cry. I’ve seen people fall down and curl in a ball. Sometimes people hit me,” Quiroz stated.

Beginning with a boo

Cassandra Nicole, a sophomore music education major and sales clerk at Knott’s doesn’t find anything wrong with the idea of scaring people for their enjoyment — especially when the customers have volunteered to be scared.

Nicole works at one of the stores in the back of the park where people can escape from the mayhem and monsters.

“Stores are supposed to be a safe area where the guests can go and take a break,” Nicole said.

However her store is partially outside, making it vulnerable to monster attacks. Nicole recounted one experience when a group of middle school girls thought they could escape the scare tactics of one of the monsters. But since her store was exposed to monster invasion, their confidence did not remain long.

“[The monster] just looked at me and said, ‘May I?’ while pointing to the girls. I nodded my head and said ‘Sure!’ and the monster chased them off, and they soon lost their bravery,” Nicole said.

Princess Belle gives her autograph to a guest at Disneyland. Sophomore Heather Jungkeit, friends with both Belle and Sleeping Beauty, shares the extra magic that happens during Halloween.  | Courtesy of Heather Jungkeit


A friendlier Fall

For those who do not enjoy shelling out cash only to be frightened by actors in masks, Halloween lovers can visit the more tame and kid-friendly theme park, Disneyland.

Heather Jungkeit, a sophomore business major, moved down from Seattle a year ago after applying for and being offered the job as Princess Belle.

Jungkeit dons Belle’s 35-pound dress in order to bring the princess’ character to life. As of two weeks ago, Jungkeit has taken on the character of Sleeping Beauty as well.

“In technical terms, I’m supposed to say that I am ‘friends with Sleeping Beauty’ and ‘friends with Belle.’ Basically I get paid to play dress up and hug little kids. It’s so great,” she said.

During Halloween time, Jungkeit stated that gates close early and those who have purchased tickets to Mickey’s Halloween Party are ushered into the parade. Park goers walk past the giant Mickey Pumpkin and through the different candy stations while interacting with the Disney villains that only come out during the fall season.

Jungkeit added that some of the Disneyland attractions transform. The Haunted Mansion turns into the Nightmare Before Christmas and the cast members assume the physical roles of the movie’s main characters, Jack and Sally.

Space Mountain also becomes Ghost Galaxy where fiery demons appear to be chasing people throughout the ride.

Having visited both Mickey’s Halloween Party and being “dragged” to Knott’s Scary Farm, Jungkeit stated that while Knott’s goal is to completely terrorize, Disneyland gears the park toward a family-friendly fall atmosphere.

“At Disneyland, they have people with little glowing pumpkin gloves giving you candy. The goal is to have a fun time and celebrate the Halloween season,” Jungkeit said.

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