There’s plenty of scary stuff to do for Halloween in Vancouver. But only one activity can boast a disclaimer like this:
Warning: Not recommended for ages 12 and under, seniors 65+, people with sensitivity to strobe lighting, people with high blood pressure, pregnant women or scaredy cats.
Fright Nights is back. Once again, Playland – Vancouver’s otherwise family-friendly amusement park – has transformed itself into a demon-filled factory of fear. Among the chilling attractions are no fewer than four haunted houses, sinister rides including Hell’s Gate, the dreaded Corkscrew and Atmosfear and, best of all, a whole park full of professionally trained scarers (Yes, that is a real job).
The terror kicks off on Friday, Oct. 14, and continues through Halloween night. Having been to Fright Nights for the last two years, I can confirm that it’s a definite highlight of the Halloween season.
Part of the appeal is that the park is only open at night. There’s just something genuinely spooky about a haunted amusement park after dark. Usually, the weather is rainy and damp. You walk in to a soundtrack of blood-curdling screams and brooding organ music. Zombies, axe murderers and mutilated corpses jump out from behind buildings. If you’re into gore and horror, it’s hard to beat.
Plus, admission includes access to most of the Playland rides. Some of these, like the classic Wooden Roller Coaster, are scary enough in the light of day (Who hasn’t felt just a bit unsafe on that first drop?). But during Fright Nights, the Coaster operates in the pitch black, with no lights at all. You don’t even know when to hold on because you can’t see the drops and turns coming.
This year’s Fright Nights also features the Kinshara Fire Performers, who twirl flaming sticks, ropes and batons while zombies, phantoms and bogeymen cavort on stage.
Fright Nights runs nightly from Oct. 14-31, from 6 p.m. until late. Weekday tickets start at $25 online. For more information, check out the Fright Nights website.