The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Great America’s Halloween Haunt fails to leave attendees spooked

Urvi Kulkarni
A Great America actor follows visitors in attempt to scare them on Oct. 16. During the entirety of the Halloween Haunt’s open hours, actors wearing costumes and makeup pace sections of the park.

Great America opened its annual Haunt, filling the usually sunlit park with a black sky, flashy fires, and colorful smoke.

The amusement park attracted large crowds during its Halloween-themed nights with scare mazes, live music, roller coasters, and hired actors. From Sept. 24 to Oct. 31, the park opened from 7 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for Haunt.

Great America also had other Halloween events in the background, including a Pumpkin Fest and their regular rides until 5 p.m.

During Haunt, the park had 18 different open attractions, which included roller coasters, thrill rides, family and kid rides, as well as mazes. The attendees waited in long lines to get into these attractions during its five open hours. On the busiest days of the season, the average wait in line was 1.5 hours for one of the seven roller coasters.

“Few things can be done to avoid the long lines,” said Soniya Kamatkar, a Carlmont sophomore. Kamatkar has attended the Halloween Haunt for five years consecutively, skipping one year due to COVID-19.

“The only way to skip the long waits is to get a fast lane pass which is pretty expensive,” Kamatkar said. “The other thing I can recommend is to attend a couple of days before it closes, or go on a Sunday when there are fewer people.”

On Sundays, not only do the lines tend to be shorter, but the admission tickets go on sale. The prices to enter into the amusement park vary from day to day during Halloween. While buying tickets online garners a discount, the park discounts certain days more heavily, especially Fridays and Sundays. The price any day, before discounts and taxes, is $60.

Aimee Teyssier and Urvi Kulkarni

For Great America workers, Haunt is not drastically different from the off-season. The open hours are the main change, going from closing at sunset to closing at midnight. Apart from that, non-seasonal Great America workers must follow the same protocols and rules as their usual workdays.

A four-year worker at Great America, Oscar Guzman, brought up the impact of COVID-19 on his job at the park. Apart from the recent remodels and repairs that have taken place, Great America has put new safety procedures in place for both COVID-19 and to prevent shooting threats like in past years.

The new safety procedures include the prohibition of bringing bags into the park. The protocols involve recommending visitors wear masks and be vaccinated to combat the spread of COVID-19. The staff carries out any other procedures.

“Although every department is different, we have to sanitize everywhere, from the carriage rides to the stores and the restaurants,” Guzman said.

COVID-19 has impacted safety protocols for Great America workers, but it has also affected the attendance and experiences at Haunt. The park’s closure during quarantine caused a profit gap, which initiated some changes at Haunt.

“If you’ve never been before COVID-19, you could still have a good time,” Kamatkar said. “But if you’ve been before COVID-19, this year doesn’t compare to the past.”

The lowered budget for this year’s Haunt mostly changed the number of hired seasonal workers. The scare actors were all located in one designated section of the park, different from past years.

“Nobody was scary, and all the actors were placed in the Peanuts section, which was hard to find,” said Josh Lisi, Carlmont sophomore. “To me, it just felt very understaffed. For $60, I wouldn’t go again.”

The scare actors, dressed up in clown costumes and makeup, were not allowed to touch the visitors. Instead, they followed attendees around, screaming and jump-scaring them.

“Because the Haunt is so crowded and the lines are so long, if you are going to it just to ride rollercoasters, I wouldn’t recommend it,” Lisi said. “But if you are going to Haunt to spend time with your friends, then you can spend most of the night enjoying the music, lights, and the ambiance.”

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About the Contributors
Aimee Teyssier, Scot Scoop Managing Editor
Aimee Teyssier is currently a senior at Carlmont High School and a managing editor for Scot Scoop. She loves to interview others to understand points of view she never can predict and is passionate about creating an impact through her articles. In her free time, she enjoys dancing, spending time with her friends, and taking care of her plants! To check out her portfolio, click here.
Urvi Kulkarni, Scot Scoop Cartoons Managing Editor
Urvi Kulkarni is the Cartoon Managing Editor for Scot Scoop who finds an interest in local climate stories and visual arts. When she is not editing, cartooning, or writing, you can find her on the courts playing for the varsity tennis team, working on a painting, or spending time with her friends. Check out her portfolio here.

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    Shraddha KulkarniOct 29, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    Great Job!! wonderfully covered.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Great America’s Halloween Haunt fails to leave attendees spooked