If you like to be scared in dark mazes or seek a family-friendly trick-or-treating experience, then the 13th season of ValleySCARE might be for you.
Valleyfair began some of its preparations for ValleySCARE as early as May, when the amusement park opened for its latest season. Others happen closer to the Labor Day weekend, said spokeswoman Kelsey Bailey.
ValleySCARE offers two types of experiences at Valleyfair — The Great Pumpkin Fest and Halloween Haunt. The Great Pumpkin Fest runs Sept. 22 to Oct. 28 while Halloween Haunt will be open Sept. 22 to Oct. 27.
Bailey said the Pumpkin Fest is appropriate for families with pre-kindergarten through grade school aged children, while Halloween Haunt has a PG 13 rating. This rating is not enforced, but merely a recommendation for parents.
“The fall is such a fun time of the year,” she said. “We want to make sure everybody can be involved, which is why we do both events.”
Valleyfair hires around 300 people for the ValleySCARE events from all over the Twin Cities. The man who plays the butler in The Chateau attraction, Todd Reutter, is the longest running actor. He’s been working at ValleySCARE since it started, Bailey said.
“We have so many people who come back year to year,” she said.
The event has continued to grow and evolve each season. This year, there will be new things to see and popular crowd favorites returning.
The Peanuts-themed Van Pelt Derby is making its debut this year. It’s a kids’ hay bale maze that allows children to drive through it with miniature pedal tractors. At Spooktacular, Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy will perform family-friendly songs.
Other activities at Pumpkin Fest include the Great Pumpkin Parade where “smaller ghouls and goblins” are invited to display their costume creations; a pirate party where visitors can show off their dance moves; trick-or-treat street where visitors can get Halloween goodies and Pig Pen’s People Washer which allows kids to go through a foam machine.
Bailey said a new maze called Undertakers has been added. The maze takes visitors through different stages of death and each of the sites are themed. The journey begins at a funeral parlor with caskets and a funeral service. The walk proceeds onto a mausoleum and crematorium before ending at a caretaker’s shed.
“I think one of the fear factors we like about this maze is journeying from outside to inside, outside to inside,” she said. “The whole area is going to be cemetery themed. This maze will have those scare moments.”
MaSCAREade is a new scare zone themed around a ball during the French Revolution. There will be oversized puppetry with actors and over-the-top decor and lighting.
“This is the ball where everyone has something to hide. The characters may not be as friendly as they appear,” Bailey said.
One of the longstanding mazes, Zombie High, has been revamped, according to Bailey. It’s now called Zombie High: In The Dark.
“We’re making it a blackout maze. There will be no lights on in the maze,” she said. “All guests will only have a flashlight. That will really intensify the scare this year.”
New entertainment this year will be Blood Drums. The musical group plays percussion using heavy, junkyard type of materials with scrap metal. The Sinister Circus acrobatics act is returning again.
Other popular returning attractions are The Cheateau, a vampire lair-themed maze, Dark Harvest, a corn-themed maze, and Mr. Cleaver’s Bloodshed, a butcher-themed maze. The Chateau is the only original attraction that remains from the first season of ValleySCARE, Bailey said.