As night falls over Carowinds, the usual lighthearted laughter turns into a scream fest of epic proportions. This theme park transforms into a frightening Halloween Haunt designed to scare everyone who dares to come. Scare Zones, Mazes, and Live Shows are added to their already thrilling rides and roller coasters. Here’s the lowdown and why I took my 10 and 8-year-old daughters to get their scream on.
Carowinds has made it clear this event is geared for kids 13 and older. This message can be heard on their commercials, stated on their website, posted on signs prior to gaining entry, and repeatedly announced over loud speakers at the entrance gates. Carowinds advises not to bring anyone under the age of 13 and anyone who scares easily. “We do discourage bringing young kids,” says Julie Whitted, Carowinds Public Relations Manager. “Seeing crying kids in the park ruins everyone’s night including the over 500 actors who are hired to scare people.”
There are 5 Scare Zones within the park and it’s where monsters, vampires, and ghouls are stationed to scare you. Crossing the bridge at the park’s entrance, there are a few terrifying creatures waiting to make your acquaintance in a very frightening way. No area is completely off limits, you could pass an evil monster here or a blood thirsty vampire there. Important to know, Scarowinds’ actors are not allowed to touch guests, but have been known to get very close.
The most terrifying acts of Scarowinds occur in the 7 Mazes. Within these attractions, guests are terrorized to the extreme, so proceed with great caution. As a family, we decided not to partake in these dark and gruesome horror shows.
There are three live shows for guests to attend. Night Terrors and Eternal Jamination are two performance troupes made of female and male performers who sing and dance to rock music. The very entertaining Blood Drums is a trio of drummers who create music by banging on 55-gallon steel drums, garbage can lids, propane tanks, and anything they can get their hands on – including a clothes dryer. It’s completely instrumental, so no need to worry about inappropriate language content.
Not all rides are open during Scarowinds. Planet Snoopy is closed, the area where many rides for younger kids are located. The open rides have a minimum height requirement of 48” except the Ricochet ride which is a 44” height requirement.
The Great Pumpkin Fest
If Scarowinds’ nightly Halloween Haunt is too much for your kids, there is always The Great Pumpkin Fest created just for younger children. Kids can find their way through Hay Bale Maze, get entertained at the Fraidy Cat Puppet Show, and decorate a mini pumpkin in the Mumpkin Patch, plus there’s much more fun. These events are scheduled between 12:00 pm and 5:00 pm.
My Family’s Perspective
As I previously stated, Carowinds has made it clear this event is not for anyone under 13 years old. Why would a mother take her 10 and 8-year-old daughters, because they are fearless and don’t scare easily. When a scary scene appears in one of their age appropriate movies, my husband and I have always informed them, “they are just actors playing a role.” We have given them the foundation that these kind of scary creatures do not exist in the real world, but are just made up by creative people trying to have some fun by scaring people. For good measure, we eliminated the scariest parts of Scarowinds, by not going into any of the Mazes. We went through only two Scare Zones, attended Blood Drums concert, and hit their favorite rides.
Would my daughters go again next year? It’s a unanimous yes. They did get startled and scared a few times, but not enough to consider not going back. My daughters’ game plan was if they got too scared from someone, they were going to tell them to back off. Luckily, they didn’t have to put their plan into action.
Parents know their children best and how they would react to getting frightened by these costumed ghouls. It’s a judgment call on the parent’s part if their children should attend prior to the age of 13 or even wait until their children are well pass the age of 13.
Log onto www.carowinds.com.
Just so you know Saturday nights is the busiest while Sunday nights are the slowest.