Knott’s gets scary after dark

Two attendees and an employee of Knott’s share their spooky experiences.


Julianna Hernandez/THE CHIMES

Jessica Goddard, Writer

Looming, eery fog, so thick one can barely see. A rattling sound, sparks fly across the floor. A jump, a scream and a mask in the face of a scared individual shaking in his or her boots.

It is Halloween season at Knott’s Berry Farm, which means after dark things get a little spooky, and of course, the name changes. Knott’s Scary Farm welcomes thrill-seekers and Biola students from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31. This nightmare-come-to-life offers nine mazes, thrill rides and over 1,000 monsters lurking around the entire park.

Frightening experiences

Some Knott’s Scary Farm goers are frightened by just going into the park with the actors creeping around. Others, usually seasoned goers, do not scare easily at all. Nevertheless, going to Knott’s is a fun yet terrifying experience all at the same time. Junior music and worship major Laney Ribota stated that walking through the clown section of the park was the scariest part of the whole night, because clowns are her greatest fear.

“Whenever they saw [us] freak out, they would run from everywhere and try to scare us. They’d squeak their noses. They’re like, ‘Look at us! Look at us!’ Breathing on my neck and doing really mean stuff that weren’t touching us. Everything but touching us, and we were in the fetal position. We were crying. I was hyperventilating,” Ribota said.

While walking the streets can be scary at night, the maze intensifies the Knott’s experience. Freshman psychology major Brendyn Carpenter stayed straight faced until the Pumpkin Eater maze.

“I jumped a couple times in this [maze] called the ‘Pumpkin Eater’ just because I couldn’t see anything, and there would be a person right in front of me like, ‘Oh, okay. Hi, how are you?’ That one scared me a decent amount just because I couldn’t see anything,” Carpenter said.

Scaring others

On the other side of the spooky experience, senior English major Max Christensen enjoys the thrill and thoughtful method of scaring people, each scare taking deliberation. The actors actually have methods in which they scare people, whether it be by lurking around corners or crouching behind a bench.

“It’s not an experience that is overly aggressive or evil. It’s an experience where people come in to have fun, and experience where someone jumps out at them and makes a loud sound and they get scared,” Christensen said. “It’s something where if you scare someone right, they’ll probably scream, but they’ll also probably laugh because it’s entertainment, and you’re an actor.”

Christensen works as a scare talent within one of the mazes. In the day, he plays the role of a college student, but at night, he transforms into a creature clothed in black hidden by a massive mask, lurking within the walls of a maze themed as a psychiatric ward.

“If I need to get some homework done before that that doesn’t require a laptop, I’ll do it. I’ll go sit there in my monster costume, writing down notes for chemistry or something like that,” Christensen said. “And it’s a weird thing because there are other students there, and they’ll say like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got a quiz tomorrow. You know, gotta get up too,’ and we’ll just bond a little bit.”

Methodical spooks

A typical night at work for Christensen looks like arriving at the park at six in the evening, changing into his dark, skin-tight costume and waiting until “places.” Then he and his fellow scarers put on their masks and venture into the dimly lit maze to await their innocent guests.

“It’s a fun job. It’s an exhausting job, but it’s one of those things where when people are coming through it’s exciting. It’s engaging. There are all these new ways to get to people, to scare them, to shock them, to surprise them. And there’s always a different way of looking at it,” Christensen said.

They try to make each scare unique, and each passerby presents a new challenge. The employees even rate their different scares, counting someone falling over from fear as the best.

“Two guys jumped out at us and scared us, and we tripped and fell on our backs,” Ribota said. “We fell on our backs and were trying to whack their hands away from us, and we were so scared that we have no recollection of how we got up.”

For those who enjoy the thrill surrounding Halloween, Knott’s Scary Farm presents the perfect night out to get into the season of spooks and scares.

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