Pandemic affects lucrative Halloween season at theme parks

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

With caps on attendance and new coronavirus safety guidelines, including mandatory mask wearing and social distancing, theme parks have had to reimagine their Halloween festivities this year.

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I remember when Geauga Lake and Cedar Point first started staying open past mid September in the second half of the 1990s. Those first few years were an absolute treasure of walk on coaster rides on brisk fall days before most people realized the parks were even still open.

Jeff's avatar

Same. Some of my favorite times at CP were late season weekends around the turn of the century. I remember being able to book a Lighthouse Point cottage pretty late in the season with no issue.

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Some of my best memories of Geauga Lake as an employee were the Oktoberfest weekends. I can almost smell the midway when they allowed outside vendors to come in and set up shop. I guess it was a "Food and Wine", before those events existed...though it was more like Food and Beer.

Good times.

Geauga Lake Oktoberfest had two distinct smells. By day and early evening it was the smell of delicious food cooking mixed with that fall foliage smell. Later into the evening it was the distinct smell of spilled, stale beer from the beer slides.

We went to BGW's Halloween Harvest this past weekend. It rained all weekend, but Friday was dry. It was a mini Halloween event with scare actors on the midway. It's not the same, but they did the best they could. We had a great time and it would have been better if it didn't rain.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I never actively associated fall and halloween with amusement parks, but I am definitely missing it this year. When I lived on the east coast, PPP was a huge part of my fall but even now, just the smells, the crisp air, and earlier evenings make those quick Sunday afternoon trips special. F' 2020.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Even though closing days/closing weekends at seasonal parks was always a melancholy feeling, some of my best memories of Geauga Lake/Worlds of Adventure and Cedar Point are from closing day/closing weekend trips. Other than the new normal insane crowds, if I could only go once a year, I'd absolutely pick fall.

Kings Islands Fall Fest is great this year. It’s really nice to be able to enjoy the park in fall colors without all the gory images.

kpjb's avatar

The one thing I remember about Geauga's Halloween thing is that they played "Everyday is Halloween" by Ministry about every 1/2 hour. They must've only had like 5 songs on that loop.


Which era? Geauga Lake 1.0, Six Flags, or Geauga Lake 2.0?

OhioStater's avatar

So with you, Brett. Some of my fondest memories at Cedar Point (in the fall) are for those early years of fall weekends before it became the Halloweekends we know today. The random cider stations, casual fall theming, the atmosphere is/was untouchable. For different reasons it still remains my favorite time of the year to be at Cedar Point....but that was lost this year.

Fall in Ohio will always be my favorite climate of any kind, and the perfect weather for visiting a park for me.

Then again, my wife was born on Halloween, so there might be some kind of theme here...

Promoter of fog.

I'm sorry for that loss, OhioStater. At least Cedar Point and Kings Island wasn't completely ditching Halloween stuff this year, despite this junky, uncertain time.

kpjb's avatar

BrettV said:

Which era? Geauga Lake 1.0, Six Flags, or Geauga Lake 2.0?

I think that was 2.0, but I'm not 100% sure.


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