It’s that magical time of year. People prepping for hordes of candy hungry kids to be walking up and down their streets. Halloween parties and gatherings galore. And of course, haunted parks and mazes to transport you into the worlds of horror! A personal favorite of mine being Knott’s Berry Farm’s annual transformation into Knott’s Scary Farm, and more than delivering on the scares. With nine mazes new and old, here’s a recap on what to expect!

DARK RIDE

A recurrent maze form the past couple of years, Dark Ride is a carnival attraction gone horribly wrong. You enter what appears at first to be a cheesy carnival ride, only to enter deeper and deeper into the greasy bowels of gears and fears. Encountering a carnivorous clan of psycho clowns and costumed monsters come to life, this is still a personal frightening favorite.

SHADOWLANDS

Based on Japanese folklore, Shadowlands transports you through cursed bamboo forests and straight to the underworld. Encountering all sorts of yokai and spirits all along the way. A unique theme and some fun effects like closing walls and demon samurai on bungee chords make this a memorable walk through. Especially considering this will be the final year to experience Shadowlands.

PUMPKIN EATER

A fractured fairytale and some twisted farmland makes for a fun and frightening experience. Especially walking through the disgusting giant gourd and running into giant spiders, killer scarecrows, and all sorts of malicious nursery rhyme characters in the rotting flesh.

ORIGINS: THE CURSE OF CALICO

Another genre hybrid creating a unique haunted maze: a horror western! Tied to an earlier scare zone, the maze concerns Sarah Marshall, a woman who was falsely accused of being a witch and executed rises from the grave and curses the town of Calico into a hellish prairie nightmare. One of two new mazes, it has a fun hook, an interesting theme, and some cool fx as you go through the literal ghost town and into the dark underbelly of rot and wood underneath.

SPECIAL OPS: INFECTED

A zombie apocalypse maze that puts you right into the action, complete with laser rifles. You start off being armed and trained to encounter the infected mobs and go through an urban hellhole under quarantine. A fun and adrenalized setting that allows you to fight back and rack up some points. Another maze in its final year and worth checking out.

WAX WORKS

One of the new mazes and a new twist on an old classic. Journey inside a formerly glamorous Hollywood Wax Work now seriously decayed. Creep inside and encounter the half melted masterpieces of an artisan gone mad. Loved this addition, especially the wax presidents, the freaky boiler room, and a wax monstrosity that has to be seen to be believed.

THE DEPTHS

Perhaps my favorite maze of last year and still a favorite this year. The Depths takes you into the mines of a coastal town… and into an ancient realm beneath. Lovecraftian themed with all sorts of human-fish hybrids and giant sea beasts to encounter. Also features a new elevator sequence that really adds to the aesthetic and sets up some good scares.

DARK ENTITIES

A returning maze of sci-fi horror space madness. Take a dimensional trip to a space ship where a science experiment has gone terribly wrong. Still pretty enjoyable, though not the most scary maze. It does feature some neat aliens and encounters along the way to the airlock.

PARANORMAL INC.

Another returning favorite and definitely filled with scares to make you jump. Follow a team of paranormal investigators as they bite off way more than they can chew at an abandoned insane asylum… and also a portal to hell. An effective FX heavy haunt with all sorts of demons and ghosts bursting from the walls. All leading to an eventful encounter through ‘the bad place’ and encountering some unholy terror.