Why is Cedar Fair dropping Haunt??

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

Just wondering what the reasoning may be... CF is dropping the Halloween Haunt events at CGA and ValleyFair parks this year. CGA is my home park, and Halloween Haunt is so popular that it's most definitely the busiest days of the entire year at the park. Although there has been frequent issues of rowdiness, and a few scares over the years (the park had to be evacuated once for a shooting threat), it does seem to be an extremely successful event. I know VF wouldn't have any of the security issues that CGA had, so I'm wondering why the decision to cancel Haunts was made. Especially after all the $$ put into the set props, building designs, etc. I'm sure it has to come down to money, but I'm still not really getting it

How do you know VF wouldn’t have security issues?

Tommytheduck's avatar

As of today, the last date shown open on Cedar Points calendar is September 5th. I don't know if that's an error, or if they're still in the deciding stage of what they're going to do, but it's not filling me with confidence to want to renew my pass.

eightdotthree's avatar

Cant speak to the other parks but there’s no way in hell Cedar Point is not having their Halloween event. They expanded it last year and it was still packed, and they booked the resort for 4 nights rather than 2. If anything they are trying to determine if they can staff up to grow it even more.

OhioStater's avatar

CGA and Valleyfair aren't doing nothing, though, they're just making the entire event 100% family-friendly.


And Cedar Point having no dates at this point beyond Sept. 5th just means they don't have all the exact dates worked out yet, because it's February.

Promoter of fog.

Too bad about VF it’s been a few years but it was a very well done event, far beyond what I thought such a tiny park could pull off. While the budget was clearly low the employees were outstanding.

My favorite thing there was the unannounced Thiller show that occurred on the midway. A very good MJ impersonator would just randomly arrive on the midway and Thriller would start playing as he did all the moves. As the song continued one monster from every maze would join in so by the finale you had 6-8 monsters backing up MJ. At the end of the song the monsters would all run at the crowd while MJ snuck away.

It was so unexpected, but so incredibly fun to come across.

2022 Trips: WDW, Sea World San Diego & Orlando, CP, KI, BGW, Bay Beach, Canobie Lake, Universal Orlando

Yeah, it's hard for me to think a park cancelling or majorly modifying/shortening what has easily become the busiest and most popular event for nearly all seasonal parks is a good idea.

If cuts need to be made at seasonal parks, I would think cutting things in the early part of the season when crowds are low and staffing is already such a challenge would be easy. I still think Cedar Point should wait to open until the third weekend of May.

Isn't this what Cedar Point and Kings Island did with their Halloween events in 2020? I don't know; I just think as long as the park is still going to be *open* late in the season I don't really care what kind of Halloween event they are doing. I realize I may be the exception to that rule; I find the haunt stuff to be more irritating than anything else.

As for scheduling, last time I checked, the Knott's Berry Farm operating calendar ended on Labor Day. Assuming no local restrictions (which, I realize, in that part of the world is a terrible assumption) that park would be expected to be open all the way to December 24, and I expect that is their plan, but they might not have decided on *hours* yet.

Speaking of hours, I still think if parks want to shorten their operating days they should open later in the day and stay open late. This business of opening at 10am and closing at 6pm is ridiculous...go 12-9 instead...some people would like to stop by after work!

--Dave Althof, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Raven-Phile's avatar

The Ohio parks did family friendly during the day, and Haunt at night. I don't see that changing, but I could be wrong.

When the full fledged Haunt was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID, Cedar Point and Kings Island rebranded the family friendly daytime activities from Great Pumpkin Fest to Tricks or Treats to make it known the year was going to be different. In 2021 when Haunts could resume, the family friendly daytime part of the day stayed branded as Tricks or Treats.

What Valleyfair and Great America seem to be doing is essentially what the Ohio Cedar Fair parks did for fall operations in 2020. Open 12-8 or 12-9, only do the family friendly stuff, no big scary haunted houses or trails stuffed with people, and get people out before the late night crowds would take over. The difference is that in 2020 the Ohio parks were doing it because of COVID limitations, both in terms of park capacity and staffing. I'm not sure what the motivation is this year for the parks that are moving away from their most attended event of the year.

Fun's avatar

I think the fact that Cedar Point and KI actually tested this change in 2020 says CF knows the numbers and thinks this program will be more lucrative in some markets. No, I don't see Haunt disappearing from Knott's.

OhioStater's avatar

The motivation is what is always is: money.

I don't think Dave (above) is as much of an exception to that rule as he thinks. I love Halloweekends at Cedar Point, but we rarely, if ever, actually go through the haunts themselves. I just love being at the park on fall days and nights (which are my favorite in Ohio) mainly because it gets dark so early which means you get to spend a lot of time in the park with all the lights on. I love the decor, the theming, the unique foods, etc...but whether or not there is a "Haunt" would not impact my desire to go one way or the other.

Yes, these days are wildly popular, but they also have to be wildly expensive to implement. And what FUN said above.

A full financial recovery from the ****-storm that hit the chain as a whole is going to take time, and Cedar Fair is probably taking a very close look at each park and making (sometimes not fun) adjustments at each to make them as financially successful as possible. This apparently makes cents. Pun intended.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Promoter of fog.

Dave/RideMan said “Speaking of hours, I still think if parks want to shorten their operating days they should open later in the day and stay open late. This business of opening at 10am and closing at 6pm is ridiculous...go 12-9 instead...some people would like to stop by after work!”

1,000% this… I absolutely LOVE being at the parks at night. The lights, the cooler temps without the sun beating down on you, and of course the night rides are where it’s at. Plus this gives you more time in the morning to do repairs and maintenance before park opening. And I have to think your staff might be able to recover from the party the night before a little better if they have to report to work at 11am instead of 9am.

But then again, what do I know?

Jeff's avatar

That's one of the reasons I didn't re-up for Universal. They're never open during the week long enough to go after work.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

Brent Sullivan's avatar

Tommytheduck said:

As of today, the last date shown open on Cedar Points calendar is September 5th.

None of the Cedar Fair parks has anything after Sept. 5th on their calendars, probably too early to know exact operating hours for the Fall events this far out.

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

RCMAC said:

How do you know VF wouldn’t have security issues?

I went to VF this last summer, and it is a night-and-day difference of crowd. Valley Fair is very family-oriented, the guests are more respectful to a crazy-high degree, and there's never been any reported incidents at the Haunts there (if you search CGA you can find news reports of several. Nothing for VF). I live here right by CGA and in general we are a tough disrespectful bay area crowd haha literally; it's pretty bad.

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

OhioStater said:

The motivation is what is always is: money.

Yeah that has to be true. It's just hard for me to imagine that the revenue from the ridiculously high attendance doesn't outweigh the costs to put it on. But I guess you also have to consider cost of interviewing/recruiting/managing of all the seasonal hires, etc. When I went to CGA Haunt on a Saturday on the final pre-pandemic year, every maze had almost an hour wait to get in, and the lines for the major attractions were longer than I had ever seen before. Maybe a large percentage of attendees are pass holders so they're not providing additional revenue? That's the only scenario that would make sense to me

Last edited by GooDFeLLoW,

For what it's worth the official Haunt pages for Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Kings Island, Worlds of Fun, Dorney Park and Canada's Wonderland show event dates for 2022. The Haunt page for Cedar Point still lists 2021 dates.

"Thank the Phoneticians!"

GooDFeLLoW, they call it Minnesota Nice for a reason.
Oh However, there’s plenty of trouble at Valleyfair. My Google search brought up an incident in 2018 where violent groups ran through the park on opening night of Scare resulting in Shakopee police having to shut down and evacuate the park. And I’ve read comments and reports from visitors that the event as a rule is marred by an overall unruly atmosphere.
A number of years ago a father was severely beaten after confronting a group of men who had assaulted his daughter. She and her mom watched helpless as the man was beaten into a coma. Eh- it was a long time ago and it was on the 4th of July, another busy day at the park.
I can’t say that trouble is the reason for keeping the fall event family friendly, and maybe Valleyfair’s security concerns are no more than anywhere else, but to say that things never happen there is just not true. Perhaps difficulty in staffing combined with security concerns has prompted the change.
We all recognize that the Halloween season brings the biggest and busiest of all special events, and I can’t imagine a park deciding to cancel the haunts simply as a way to save money. It has to be something else, and probably convenience more than anything.

GooDFeLLoW's avatar

RCMAC said:

A number of years ago a father was severely beaten after confronting a group of men who had assaulted his daughter. She and her mom watched helpless as the man was beaten into a coma.

Oh wow I stand corrected! I guess even heavenly VF has had its security problems.

Yeah I'm thinking staffing might be an issue as well. At my job, it has never been more difficult to hire as it is right now... and that includes both highly compensated positions (like pharmacists) and minimum compensated positions like pharmacy cashiers. Even during the height of the pandemic it was not this difficult. Maybe CF has noticed how hard it is to find part-time/seasonal staffing in the tech-focused Bay Area and predicting a tough fall. And also VF is kind of out in the rural areas.... pretty far from big cities... so if staffing is a problem there I wouldn't be surprised also.

Last edited by GooDFeLLoW,

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