By Lynn Blamires Content Writer for My Local Utah
Halloween is alive and well at Lagoon in Farmington. Adam Leishman of Lagoon’s media department was gracious enough to give me an insider’s tour of the frightening aspects of the spooky changes that come over Lagoon when the hauntings begin in September.
Lagoon changed 26 years ago when Frightmares began. Up until that time the park closed for the year after Labor Day weekend. Management saw that a lot of days full of the kind of amusement that Lagoon has to offer could occur after Labor Day. Hence, Frightmares was born and has grown right along with the popularity of Halloween.
What does Lagoon have to offer that is a little different from other spook alleys? I am glad you asked. Let me share some of the inside information I learned from Adam.
Lagoon has one of the largest kiddie lands in America and Spook-A-Boo is part of it. This attraction is designed to entertain children with the fun side of Halloween. In this venue there is a treat at the end, but there is a height and not an age restriction. You must be less than 15 pumpkins high as each child is measured at the entrance to this spooky place.
To allay any fears children might have in the park, there are three no-scare zones the entire family can enjoy. In addition, for a dollar, a glow-stick can be purchased at the park entrance. It is designed for the kiddies to keep the ghouls away.
Another attraction for children winds its way through Lagoona Beach. The magic of Frightmares brings Lagoon’s rides to life. In this fun, non-scary trick-or-treat trail children will meet the friendly spirits that live inside the rides.
Jumping Jacks Pumpkin Patch
Hundreds of jack-o-lanterns line the tunnel that comes out into Pioneer Village now. Each one is hand carved and lit to enhance the spirit of the season. Adam knows there a lot of them because he carved half of the Styrofoam pumpkins himself.
Scary and Crows Straw Maze
Extending the entire length of Main Street in Pioneer Village, the Straw Maze is a walk-through for kids filled with fun and friendly characters. All of the favorite food places are open for the whole family to enjoy.
Fun House of Fear
This disturbing house allows children, but with parental guidance. You are encouraged to step inside to a world where the strange, freakish and the odd collide.
This haunt has a Five Spider rating and is too scary for kids. Nightwalk is not for the faint of heart, contemplate your fate before you start.
Malevolent Mansion is also rated Five Spiders and is not suitable for kids. The malevolent spirits inside the mansion are prepared to scare.
Nightmare on Midway
This show is also considered too scary for children. Illusions can be too real to comprehend. As you watch your nightmares come alive, you may start to wonder if you will survive. In this house of illusion your eyes will deceive. Prepare for the fright you’ll undoubtedly receive.
Something sinister has taken ahold of this ghost town. Beware the lingering evil of Frisco, where the outlaws have taken control! Children are also cautioned to avoid this part of Pioneer Village.
Arrays of amusing characters roam the park at night. Most are friendly and some bring a bit of fright but all here to delight. While the actors avoid approaching little children, their very appearance could be discomforting so parental guidance is suggested.
This is the scariest of them all and children under 12 are not allowed. This fully immersive haunted experience blends chilling live performance, intense physical effects and unexpected audience participation. In this multi-sensory experience, guests are thrust into the action as a simple ghost story comes to life. There is an extra charge for this one – like I am going to pay extra to be scared to death?
Adam told me that he has watched full grown men come to tears. He said, “This one is genuinely scary and every performance sells out.”
The entertainment on the promenade switches to a Halloween theme in September. There is a Halloween Hootenanny for kids and a Hack and Slash chainsaw show for adults.
Adam told me that the switchover to Frightmares happens during the week after Labor Day weekend and that is a frantic time – a nightmare in and of itself because of all that has to be done to be spooky. During Frightmares, no costumes are allowed to be worn into the park. While face painting is offered, no outside paint jobs are welcome.
Lagoon is one of the last parks to allow people to bring in their own picnic lunches. People in other parks are required to buy food from concessions inside the park for consumption.
The summer employees vary considerably from the Frightmare employees in purpose and nature. That alone contributes to the Frightmare experience.
The Terror Ride and the Dracula’s Castle ride are regular rides at Lagoon. They are Dark Rides designed by Bill Tracy. Adam told me that there are only four left in the country and they feel lucky to have two of them.
Frightmares have become a huge success at Lagoon. Adam said that they sell a lot of season passes during September because of the popularity of Halloween and the extent that Lagoon Park goes to create a Halloween experience. Also, it only takes two visits to the park to pay for the pass.
There are a lot of people who won’t find Halloween complete without a visit to Lagoon. Are you one of them?