HalloWeekends is an annual Halloween event at Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. It was introduced in 1997, and takes place during the Halloween season, usually from the second Friday after Labor Day until the Sunday before Halloween, or sometimes into early November. The event is open on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays. It is included free with park admission. As of 2014, HalloWeekends features 11 haunted houses and nighttime scare zones, and there are several children's attractions including a parade that takes place on the main midway. It is advised that children under 13 years old be accompanied by an adult. HalloWeekend's yearly slogan is "All You Fear is Here!". Other Cedar Fair parks including Dorney Park, Valley Fair, and Worlds of Fun all have formerly used the HalloWeekends name. The name has changed to Halloween Haunt at all 3 parks. Cedar Point is the only Cedar Fair park that still uses the HalloWeekends name.
HalloWeekends debuted in 1997 and was only open for three weekends. It has since grown to be held on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays during seven weekends in September and October. However, not all of the rides and attractions are open on Friday nights. Attractions include Haunted Houses and Scare Zones. The park is decorated with 1,735 bales of hay, 28,800 cornstalks, 23,000 pounds of pumpkins and other Halloween related items. Located underneath the Sky Ride on the Main Midway in front of Raptor is the Cedar Point Graveyard, also known as "The Land of the Lost Thrills", which was added to HalloWeekends in 2004 and features tombstones of the park's rides that have been retired from the 1960s onwards. Cars from retired rides are placed around the park. For example, cars from Frontier Lift and Mantis lie in the Cedar Point Graveyard, one from WildCat lies near Gemini and a car from Disaster Transport lies near Power Tower.
During HalloWeekends, the park offers an express ticketing system called Fright Lane for the haunt attractions, similar to Fast Lane. It offers front-of-the-line access for one visit to Deprivation, CornStalkers, Fearground Freakshow, Eerie Estate, Hexed, Slaughter House, and Zombie High School, and unlimited visits through Harvest Fear, Blood on the Bayou, Screamworks and Cut Throat Cove.
HalloWeekends has been ranked as one of the best Halloween events in the US. It was ranked fifth for "Best Halloween Event" in the Golden Ticket Awards between 2005 and 2008. In addition, it was ranked fifth again in 2013 and 2014.
Cedar Fair, the park's owner, acquired Knott's Berry Farm—the first park with a Halloween Haunt—in 1997, and implemented the event throughout the chain, starting with Cedar Point. At its debut, there were only two haunt attractions, Eerie Manor and Cedar Point Cemetery. Guests could travel on the Cedar Point Spooky Express through haunted lagoons and graveyards. The first new attraction, Toxic Tunnel of Terror, was introduced in 1998. Camp Spooky debuted a year later with children's activities in Camp Snoopy. In 2000, Cedar Point Cemetery was re-themed into Pharaoh's Secret. The park added three attractions in 2001, Eerie Manor was re-themed into Undertaker U., and Fright Zone and Magical House on Boo Hill were added.
Werewolf Canyon debuted in 2003 in Thunder Canyon. 2004 saw the addition of CarnEvil and Lair of the Vampire. Werewolf Canyon was also expanded that year. Fear Faire, with a medieval theme, was added in 2006. In 2007, the park added the Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade which goes from Gemini to the main midway. In 2008, HalloWeekends received a major expansion. CornStalkers replaced Werewolf Canyon, Club Blood replaced Lair of the Vampire, CarnEvil was relocated to Camp Snoopy and Terror Island was added under Millennium Force. The area near Blue Streak was turned into a children's area, Magical House on Boo Hill was relocated and a haybale maze was added. HalloWeekends was extended to eight weekends for the first time.
In 2009, the park replaced Pharaoh's Secret with Happy Jack's Toy Factory and G.A. Boeckling's Eerie Estate opened. Dr. D. Mented's Asylum for the Criminally Insane was added in 2010. For the 2011 HalloWeekends, Cedar Point renamed two attractions due to protests. Dr. D Mented's Asylum for the Crimally Insane was renamed Eternity Infirmary and The Edge of Madness show became The Edge of Madness -- Six Feet Under. Screamworks replaced Fright Zone and Blood on the Bayou was added along the lagoons under Iron Dragon. When Disaster Transport closed in 2012, so did Happy Jack's Toy Factory. Terror Island was relocated under Maverick because the Dinosaurs Alive! attraction was using the path for Terror Island. Its name was changed to Cut Throat Cove. A new haunted house called Eden Musee was built inside Mean Streak's infield. For the 2013 event, Cedar Point introduced Zombie High School, which replaced Club Blood at the front of the park. Trick-or-Treat with the Dinosaurs, which takes place on Adventure Island, was also introduced for kids to collect candy from the dinosaurs.
|Former attraction||Opened||Closed||Replaced by|
|Cedar Point Cemetery||1997||1999||Pharaoh's Secret|
|Club Blood||2008||2012||Zombie High School|
|Eerie Manor||1997||2000||Undertaker U.|
|Eternity Infirmary||2010||2016||Fearground Freakshow|
|Screamworks||2010||2017||Trail of the Forsaken|
|Happy Jack's Toy Factory||2009||2011||N/A|
|Lair of the Vampire||2004||2007||Club Blood|
|Pharaoh's Secret||2000||2008||Happy Jack's Toy Factory|
|Toxic Tunnel of Terror||1998||2003||Lair of the Vampire|
|Undertaker U.||2001||2009||Eternity Infirmary|
The outdoor attractions are run by the HalloWeekends' Screamsters, a group of Cedar Point staff members who are commanded to scare visitors by The Overlord when night falls. The Overlord debuted in 2009 and he commands all the Screamsters to scare people at every opportunity. However, he did not appear for the 2013 season, Knott's Scary Farm's very own Sarah "The Green Witch" Morgan-Marshall took over HalloWeekends as their new and 1st female leader of the Screamsters in 2014. The Screamsters were introduced in 2005, with 70 staff. As of 2013[update], there are about 400 Screamsters, and 25 make-up artists who provide their masks. Each Screamster has an individual character.
As of 2018[update], HalloWeekends features 12 attractions, including six scare zones and six haunted houses. The outdoor attractions are Blood on the Bayou, Cut Throat Cove, Trail of the Forsaken, Tombstone Terror-tory, Harvest Fear, and CornStalkers. The indoor attractions are G.A. Boeckling's Eerie Estate, Zombie High School, Deprivation, Hexed Lights Out, Slaughter House and Fearground Freakshow.
In March 2014, the Halloween horror music duo, Midnight Syndicate, announced plans for a series of live multimedia concerts entitled Midnight Syndicate Live! Legacy of Shadows that would run throughout the 2014 HalloWeekends event. They also announced that they would be teaming up with special effects artist, Robert Kurtzman (From Dusk Till Dawn) as well as director Gary Jones (Axe Giant) and Face Off contestants, Beki Ingram and David Greathouse. The show opened on September 12 to very positive reviews. The Akron Beacon Journal described it as "Part concert, part movie, part theater, part just plain creepy," going on to call it "top-notch and ambitious." This production would be the final show to run in the Goodtime Theater which was torn down shortly after to make way for park expansion. In March 2017, it was announced that Midnight Syndicate would be returning once again to perform their Midnight Syndicate Live! show at HalloWeekends and that the show would be held in the Jack Aldrich Theater.
|Blood on the Bayou||Scare Zone||2011||Near Power Tower|
|CornStalkers||Scare Zone||2008||Thunder Canyon|
|Cut Throat Cove||Scare Zone||2012||Near Maverick|
|G.A. Boeckling's Eerie Estate||Haunted House||2009||Near Scrambler|
|Hexed Lights Out||Haunted House||2014||Next to GateKeeper|
|Trail of the Forsaken||Scare Zone||2018||Frontier Trail|
|Slaughter House||Haunted House||2015||Frontier Trail|
|Zombie High School||Haunted House||2013||Pavilions near front gate|
|Fearground Freakshow||Haunted House||2017||Near Wave Swinger|
|Depriviation: No Way Out||Haunted House||2017||Steel Vengeance's infield|
The park features several attractions for children. Several live shows, including the Skeleton Crew acrobatics show that takes place in Celebration Plaza, are performed each day. The Monster Midway Invasion Celebration Parade, which travels along the Main Midway from Gemini to Pink's on Saturdays, and travels the reverse route on Sundays, takes place at 4 pm. In 2013, the park introduced Howl-O-Palooza in the Blue Streak plaza. It includes several Halloween attractions for children, including a haunted house named Magical House on Boo Hill, a haybale maze and a Kids' Costume Contest. The Planet Snoopy children's area is transformed into Planet Spooky.
- Halloween Haunt (disambiguation), Halloween events at other Cedar Fair parks
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- Midnight Syndicate Transforms the Goodtime Theater into the Ghoultime Theater Akron Beacon Journal, Craig Webb, Sept 25, 2014
- Cedar Point To Remove Goodtime Theatre The Plain Dealer, Susan Glaser, November 25, 2014
- Midnight Syndicate Returns To Rock Your Halloween Live! Dread Central, Steve Barton, March 15, 2017
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