Marlee Macabre

I fell in love with Halloween in kindergarten. I mean how could I not love a holiday where I get to be anyone or thing I want. My love of halloween is genetic. On Halloween my mom would stand in a dark corner and scare everyone that walked up to the door. This is still one of my favorite all time memories of Mom. Then when I discovered haunted attractions my true addiction/obsession was born. If you are like me you watch horror movies in the dark alone. When you think makeup tutorial you think scars not cat eyes. If when the Halloween season ends you fall in to a deep depression. Cheer up! At Halloween lasts all year long and it's a boo-tiful thing.

I loved Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor more last year. Is it still worth it? Yes. Is there anything new this year? Yep.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is unique because many of the mazes here are based on stories about the Ship. The storylines make the mazes much more interesting, in my opinion. One of my favorite scenes this year is in the Lullaby maze, “inside the pool” where you see Scary Mary floating above you.

New this year is Rogue. The story here is that a wave has capsized the ship. There are some fun FX here where you see the waves coming at you as you walk through the off-kilter and upside-down halls. You see the bodies floating around you and there are even some bubbles involved. It’s a unique theme and a fun experience. This maze has one of the only two hidden bars.

Lots of bars and drinks for all!

There are plenty of bars this year but we certainly wished there were more hidden ones. (The hidden bars are SO much fun!All of the bartenders were fantastic and the drinks are great, but they do lack the theme-matching whimsical character of last year’s drinks. At this year’s event, I watched circus performers, rode the famous swings, hung out at the hookah bar, along with eating and drinking more than I needed. All of these experiences were great!

Top-notch performances!

I want to especially commend the performers; they are truly amazing… all of them. The maze performers, the circus entertainment, ALL OF THEM are great! I also enjoyed the swings from Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Their creepy green glow adds such an amazing atmosphere to the event. The hookah bar has a nice Moroccan style and the menu has plenty to choose from.

Dark Harbor drowned a little with their logistics

Although it didn’t ruin my great time at the event, I was confronted with a barrage of issues that I really shouldn’t have had to deal with. There were several technical difficulties that prevented me from getting a VIP lounge pass which is a great add-on if you can get it… which I couldn’t. When I went to buy a drink from one of the various food vendors there, their soda fountain only had Sprite. I was handed a cup with Sprite and a bug floating on top! (Gross.) When I asked for another one, they couldn’t give me another because their soda fountain just broke. I tried to order chicken & waffles but they were out of that too, even though a giant sign said they sold them, and this was at the beginning of the night. Luckily, after things were sorted out, the food I got was quite delicious!

Towards the end of the night, the handwashing stations by the porta-potties near the exit (and entrance) were out of water. This led me on an adventure to rinse the soap off my hands. Trying to find a place to remove the dried soapy film from my hands, I asked a nearby bar attendant who couldn’t help because the bars DO NOT have running water and apparently NO hand sanitizer! This led me to realize that the bartenders are not able to wash or sanitize their hands after handling money.

I had a ‘beef’ with this one…

I found a beef stick laying on top of a button switch box that is for the patrons of the hidden bar. You can push this button to activate a scare for the others, going through the maze (which is really fun, by the way). How do I know the stick was from last year? Because the drinks we got in this exact same hidden bar, which was also in the exact same place on the ship, had a drink last year that included a beef stick in the drink. (Ewww!)

Suffice it to say, I have some communal health concerns. I suggest you bring your own hand sanitizer, take your vitamins, and brave the mazes! It’s definitely worthwhile!

So we did a not-so-frightening Halloween event called Nights of the Jack, located in Calabassas at the King Gillette Ranch national park. This one is for the whole family. It is a “Jack-o-Lantern Experience” but what the heck does that mean? It means you are going to be looking at a lot of jack-o-lanterns! I would say it’s an art installation and the art is made out of pumpkins. Motorcycles, celebrities, monsters and more that line the paths as you stroll. Each section uses elaborate music and lighting to help bring it to life.

Don’t be late!

Get there early, the traffic slows WAY down as you are getting closer and the parking is slightly unorganized (I’m sure they will get better at it).

For our visit, we were ready to line up for our time slot, about 15 minutes early and we were quickly checked in and walked into a wonderfully festive courtyard.

What a fun place!

The courtyard is full of food trucks, vendors, tables, heaters, and old-time carnival games & photo panels.

There are also some really quick, single-room, but fun walk-through attractions, “Are you afraid of the dark”  and an “Infinity Box”, that can be just a tad scary but are perfect for your little monsters.

After going through the walk-throughs, we went over and grabbed our hot chocolate and cider (they have special cider and hot chocolate for adults, too) and hit the trail. They say it takes about an hour; this seems right depending on the speed of your stroll.

On to the trail!

The footpaths on the trail are wide and easy to walk but beware of the occasional uneven ground. I saw strollers, wagon strollers, and walkers and everyone was navigating just fine. Halfway through the trail, there are porta-potties, more drinks and things that light up for sale.

The artwork on display is breathtaking and amazing! We took so many photos to capture the moment but you absolutely can not take in the real magic that’s there without seeing it for yourself!

Nights of the Jack was just a bit underprepared

Unfortunately, there were a few shortcomings… At the end of the night, the food vendors were running out of food and those who weren’t had lines that were ridiculously long. Also by the end, some of the porta-potties were out of toilet paper and all the hand washing stations (near the exit) were out of water. I used a lot of hand sanitizer and tried to move on with my life.

Would I go again?

Yep, but not every year.

Is it worth the cost?

If you can find a discount code.

Is it safe for the kids?

Absolutely! Kids of all ages!

I was ready for an adventure!

I got there right when they opened. The doorway is small, Gothic, and perfectly fitting. Once you are inside the lighting is dark and the mood changes. I knew I was in for an adventure and I was ready for it. Going up the stairs I was bursting with anticipation and I wasn’t disappointed when I reached the top. It wasn’t crowded at all but we did get there right when the doors opened. We were early for dinner so I was able to look around and take in all the amazing atmosphere. Believe me, Oogie Boogie and the chalk door are just the tip of the iceberg. The artwork is really impressive.

Drinks, drinks, drinks

At the bar, I ordered the drink named Alice’s Cup of Tea. Alice’s Cup of Tea was peach flavored, good, and strong. I spent $50 for 3 drinks so, though I could hang out here all night, I could not afford to drink here all night. They have several, really great, themed drinks so save up so you can try them all.

Food, please!

I made dinner reservations at Beetlehouse LA. The bar is open to anyone but you want reservations for the restaurant. Our dinner party included a vegetarian, a vegan, and a meat eater; the set menu had something for everyone. The meal price ranges from $40-50 depending on your choice. Everything I ate was delicious and the food is served with props.

We had Jack Skellington on the floor which is a large puppet and watching it make its way around the room was magical. The floor performers vary so you may get someone else. The best part was the freak show performers. Want to see a beautiful balloon swallower? Yes, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Want to see an adorable bearded lady who doesn’t feel pain? Again, the answer is yes.

This place had all the things I love. It’s a bar, it’s a restaurant, it’s a show, and it’s burton-esque. Yes, it’s a little pricey but it’s themed dinner theater. I will go back many many times!

Was I impressed?

I was absolutely impressed! This was my first year and I had heard a lot about this event. As a result, I didn’t expect Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor to live up to the hype, but it did. I would even go as far to say it surpassed my expectations!

Everything wrong is just so right!

It feels like a fair that has gone terribly wrong. Maybe it’s the swings (from Neverland Ranch), the twisted carnival performers, or just the smell of food in the air. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor has enough frightening fun for all ages (well some ages, you know your kid, not me) but it stands out as the attraction to hit if you are over 21.

Why? There are bars everywhere. There are bars INSIDE select mazes some are hidden, some are not. It is fun to try to find the hidden ones. Inside these bars are buttons that allow you to interact with the mazes. For example you can blast people with air or water in one particular bar.  I swear it’s way more fun than it sounds.

The mazes are a-maze-ing!

From the opening of the gates, where The Captain and the Ring Master come out for introductions and to set the monsters loose, I knew I was going to experience something unique, and I did. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor had three of their mazes this year based on stories from the Queen Mary ghosts. These mazes take you throughout parts of the ship that on their own are creepy. Throw in some monsters and some total blackout areas and you are going to scream. Or at least I certainly did, a few times.

Yeah, but was it scary?

There are some good scares at Dark Harbor. As I mentioned I screamed, more than once. It’s my new, must do attraction. Everyone should go for the Halloween but stay for the Queen Mary because the ship is a story, all her own, as well.

Knott’s Scary Farm was better than ever this year!

What made Knott’s Scary Farm better you ask? Well, I always say the park just has a special feel the other parks don’t have and that makes it perfect for a Halloween event. The way they work with the themes that exist in the park makes a huge difference in blending your experience together. The differences this year are subtle. There is an extra scare zone, more lighting effects, photo ops, more interactive actors mixed in with the scare actors, and could it really be possible there was even more fog this year?

Is it really worth it?

For the price you get a big bang for your buck. With the Fright Fast Lane pass you get front of the line access to mazes AND rides. I am not brave enough for all the rides but I always like to throw a ride in if I can. The bonus of being able to add on the Boo-fet dinner, for me, really pushes this event over the top. Knott’s Scary Farm was my favorite theme park event this year as well as previous years. I admit I missed Elvira, though.There IS entertainment! I didn’t catch much of it but you should check out the shows. I heard good things.

Tell me about the scares you say?

As I mentioned before there is a nice blending of park and zone and sometimes maze that is always happening at Knott’s Scary Farm; that doesn’t happen anyplace else.

Dark Ride

The CarnEVIL area has the boardwalk type rides and games and it is filled with clowns and other carnival-esque scarers. If you happen to be afraid of clowns or carnies, this is terrifying! This is also where the Dark Ride walk through is located. Dark Ride replaced a maze that was not complementary to the area. In my opinion, Dark Ride is a perfect fit. I will admit this is not my favorite walk thru but it was better this year! So I don’t recommend skipping it as I have in the past. Not the best scares though.

Trick or Treat: Lights Out

They still have Trick or Treat, a Knott’s Scary Farm classic walk thru, but with a newer “Lights Out” twist. You are given a flashlight as you enter. Other than that light, it is completely dark, which makes for some good scares here! There are also some neat effects in this maze and the flashlight. 

Special Ops: Infected

You get to shoot zombies; well shoot them with lasers, anyway. It’s not really scary but it is an enormous amount of fun! This one is totally worth it so put it on your list!

Paranormal Inc.

It hasn’t changed much. If you’ve never done this maze, it’s neat to experience but not super scary. I heard some people scream so there are a few good scares for some. There’s some really great effects and monsters at the end! Watch out!

The Depths

A new one this year, The Depths was a completely new walk through. I was confused by the mine entrance and the nautical interior and never did figure out what the story was. That said, I didn’t care, I loved this walk through. It replaced an old walk through, Voodoo which I was very fond of but I didn’t even care about that. That’s how good it was. I don’t want to give it away but there are some very fun effects in this maze. Yeah, they got me! They will get you too, so don’t miss this one.

The Red Barn

It’s not new to Knott’s Scary Farm. Skip it if you’ve done it before and are low on time. If you haven’t been to this one it has some okay scares. Definitely a few disturbing scenes to walk through.

Pumpkin Eater

Imagine you were Peter Pumpkin Eater’s wife and you were locked in a pumpkin shell; that’s this maze. It smells like pumpkin, it has gooey insides and I enjoy it a lot. The scares are decent.

Dark Entities

Another new one is Dark Entities it had some good potential. It was interesting, some stuff is gross, again not that scary. If it is busy and you have to choose maybe skip it unless you are really into space ships and aliens.

Shadow Lands

This maze has a unique samurai theme and the landscaping leading up to to entrance matches. The walk out is loooong. It has some good scares, I was scared a few times. Don’t miss this one. Side note: there are some very sexy costumes if you’re into that sort of thing. 

Fantastic Scare Zones!

Have fun in the scare zones ghost town streets and the hallow the same as past years. They are both a scary good time. I have to say I absolutely loved this years new scare zone Forsaken Lake. Mostly because the costumes were amazing. It’s near the water and it’s to die for.

Museum of Death cost:
Was it worth it?:
Yeah, but only if you’re into that kind of thing. Which I am.


What Do They Have?

They have a lot of stuff, so much stuff you can’t take it all in. Or at least when we went it was too hot, stuffy, and crowded to want (or be able to) take it all in. They had a lot of fans going but it wasn’t great. I do not suggest going on a very hot day.

People Do Pass Out!

We’ve heard the stories that people puke or pass out at the Museum of Death. It’s true they do; we saw two different people being assisted while we were waiting to get in. Due to this, my expectations were high. After my walk through I wondered if it was from the heat. Even though I was hot and bothered it was still worth my time and money because, as I said, I’m into this kind of thing. If you aren’t fascinated with serial killers, murder, morgues, funerals, car accidents, taxidermy, poison, a mummified head, or just death then it’s not for you.

Creepy Stuff Galore!

The 1st room is full of the art of serial killers and was maybe the most interesting of all the rooms in my opinion. Some of it was disturbing, some not great, some really good. I would have loved to get pictures for you, however, no phones are allowed so you will need to go check it out for yourself if you want to see it. Also, no backpacks are allowed they make you check them in the front. I was able to take in my purse though.

There Is Something For Every “Body”

The set up is a lot like a museum so “don’t touch”. There are literally odd and curious things everywhere. Some of it you have seen, like crime scene pictures of the Black Dahlia Murder. Some of it you haven’t but I don’t know the depths of your obsession so you’ll have to check it out for yourself.