Counting Down the Haunted Houses in Honolulu, Halloween 2012
We visited five haunted houses to find out which ones will scare the bejeezus out of you, and which ones are, well, better for the faint-hearted.
Terror at the Tower
Oct. 12 through 31
This brand new haunted house offers a variety of well-known and popular horrors, such as witches, the pig masked creature from Saw, the possessed and the living dead. But we felt that the rooms are not winding or dark enough and the scares are not as unpredictable as they should be, so a lot of the horror can be spotted before it actually happens. We were also disappointed that the costumes and make-up are rather simple and one of the actors didn’t wear any guise at all. Parking is available right in front of the attraction and the waiting line is reasonably short, but if you really want to raise your heartbeat, $13 is better invested somewhere else. $13, $20 Fast Pass, 6:30 p.m. until midnight, 1 Aloha Tower Drive, scarehawaii.com.
The Haunted Lagoon
Oct 5 through October 31
The fact that this attraction involves riding around a lagoon on a boat means that most of the scares come from ghouls popping out of the water. To get your money’s worth, pick a seat on the outside for the full effect. Otherwise, you’ll be laughing most of the time at your traveling companion sitting by the water, who keeps getting spooked. The ride was about 20 minutes long, so it made the 2-hour drive—with traffic, on a weekday—seem somewhat worth it, but expect to be in four lines in four different places for more than 45 minutes before getting to the canoes. The “haunted houses” don’t make up for it. $13.95 online special, $19.95 general, $14.95 children 5-11, $5 parking. hauntedlagoon.com
Night of the Living Dead: The Zombie Apocalypse
Oct. 19 through 31
The Zombie Apocalypse isn’t that much different than other haunted houses when it comes to setup and costumes, but they do have some creepy little surprises. There is a maze with zombie heads smashing you from the ceiling, which almost makes you forget the vivid ones that are coming after you. The back-to-back scares make you jump, but the zombies could have been a little more interactive with the visitors, rather than jumping out, and immediately disappearing. The line is huge, and it can take up to two hours to get in, but they show some zombie movies to keep you entertained while waiting. $13, $20 Fast Pass ($10/$15 pre-sale), 7 p.m. until closing (ranges from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.), 660 Ala Moana Blvd., Auahi Center, scream808.com. The attraction is surrounded by parking spots, look for the signs.
Nightmares Live: Nightmare Circus
Oct. 5, 6, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25-31
If you suffer from coulrophobia (fear of clowns), avoid the Nightmare Circus. There are countless of them, along with creepy dolls and monsters, hiding in the pitch-dark indoor maze at the Dole Cannery. This haunted house scores points with its spooky, insane circus atmosphere, unexpected scares, effects and creative costumes. The maze is a little short—about 8 minutes if you’re extra jumpy—so try not to rush through, if you can. Warning: Just because something isn’t moving, doesn’t mean it isn’t alive. $13, $20 Fast Pass, $10 limited presale tickets at UH Campus Center, 7 to 11:30 p.m., Dole Cannery 735 Iwilei Rd. (Costco side, next to Max’s of Manila and L&L drive in), hauntedhousehawaii.com. There is tons of free parking around the building.
Oct. 12, 13, 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 30, 31
The gloomy path leading to ten houses of terror at this Waipahu plantation sets the stage for the haunted house that made number one on our list. Once you walk through the dark tunnel, the horror that follows is unpredictable and will make you scream. Don’t bother guessing where Michael Myers, ghosts like Samara from The Ring or any of the other 48 incredibly realistic looking monsters, zombies and demons are waiting, because you will fail. And watch your back, because they don’t like leaving you alone that quickly. With its setting, special effects, intense audio, high-quality props and actors who play their role effectively, the plantation seems so real that you almost forget it’s an attraction. $15, $20 Fast Pass, $30 VIP Front Line Access, 7 to 11 p.m., Hawaii’s Plantation Village, 94-695 Waipahu St. (near the old sugar mill), 677-0110, hawaiihauntedplantation.com. Limited parking is available on the plantation and across from Waipahu Street. The line gets very long and a waiting time of 2 to 4 hours is common, so we actually recommend investing $20 for the fast pass.