October and Halloween Make Seattle Something Something

2 Nov

Go crazy?

Don’t mind if I doooooooo!

So we’ve just finished October which is the month I found out that Americans go nuts for Halloween. Like seriously it’s a bigger deal than Christmas is back in Australia. Houses are pimped out, restaurants come out with limited edition pumpkin flavours, stores have Halloween-themed decorations, supermarkets have pumpkins and lolly displays everywhere, and even the local sex shop busted out some pumpkin decor.

Sorry about the random composition. I felt kind of pervy taking a photo of a sex shop so it was a pretty hastily-taken photo. I actually had to crop out my blurry finger in the top left.

On the actual night of Halloween we went to Luke’s to watch scary movies. Unfortunately we didn’t see any trick or treaters but apparently all the liveliness was at Capitol Hill (the Seattle Times called it “Hilloween”). I saw some Amazonians dressed up during the day and one of James’ coworkers brought in his dog dressed as a pirate.

James said that Dewey had a dinosaur costume but it didn’t work out for him because the legs were too long for his stubby Corgi self and they dragged along the ground. Aww Dewey!

The big Halloween thing we did was the Sunday before when we went to a pumpkin patch and a haunted corn maze at Maris Farms.

It had been raining for a couple of weeks so the ground was super muddy – good thing I wore my boots! There were daytime activities (some of which we arrived too late for – like the pig races!) and we did a couple of them while we waited for the haunted stuff to begin.

James went on the zipline ($7)

I got to shoot a mini pumpkin (maybe $1-2? I can’t remember). Although it is mini you can see that I am no less delighted by it than I was the big pumpkin in the first photo:

There was a barrel to aim for, which isn’t pictured because we couldn’t fit it alongside this ENORMOUS FREAKING CANNON.

I only paid for one shot so I had to make it count. And even though it was my first time shooting anything I totally hit that barrel. James got to shoot corn pellets at a barrel with a far less impressive gun. He had 3 shots and didn’t hit it with any of them but I guess not all of us can be natural marksmen.

Maris Farms also had a corn maze (which unfortunately had closed by the time we got there) and a monster truck. But we just kind of meandered around until the Harvest of Terror began, and made sure we were in position to get in line early. The farm was pretty empty but about half an hour before the Harvest began it started filling up with people.

Based on Yelp reviews we’d made sure to get fast passes and it was a great call because it got super busy towards the end. The fast passes had priority access (so there were two lines for each attraction – one regular and one fast pass) but James and I disagreed on how they worked – I thought that if there were 100 regular and 100 fast pass holders in line all 100 fast pass people would get to go before the regulars did, but James thought they would let a higher percentage of fast pass holders in, so maybe the first batch would be 15 fast passers and 5 regulars.

But anyway, as a quick run down, there were three activities – The Reaping (a haunted corn maze), The Dark Hollow (a haunted forest) and a Zombie Safari (shooting paintballs at zombies from a bus). The Reaping and The Dark Hollow were essentially the same attraction, and from Yelp reviews it seems that they used to be one long attraction that Maris Farms had split in half this year.

I found them nicely frightening – not terrifying but I definitely screamed 5-10 times. I found that the trick was to not be too close to the group in front of you because otherwise all the scares were telegraphed. Also in The Reaping it was better to just look forward because a lot of the time the actors were hiding in the corn, so that way it was better when they jumped out.

I definitely got picked on more than the guys did, I think because I was quite clearly the most freaked out. I startle pretty easily (I’m that annoying person at the cinema who actually screams at the Boo! moments in scary movies) and the atmospheric fog and strobe lighting didn’t help.

The Dark Hollow went through a forest and I thought it was slightly scarier than The Reaping, but that could have been because I’d worked out how to maximise my own fright. The lines for both of them were non-existent, possibly because we did them earlier but I think mainly because there wasn’t a bottleneck like there was with the Zombie Safari. Mike thought that maybe we should have done the Safari first to minimise the wait but James thought that might have meant The Reaping and The Dark Hollow were busier and thus less scary.

The Zombie Safari had been the activity we were looking forward to the most but I think it was the weakest of the three (though I still had a great time). It was partially because of the wait to attraction-length ratio. Even with the fast pass it had by far the longest wait. There was one bus that took like … 20 people but there were hundreds of people in line. Our initial line was comparatively short, maybe 5 minutes, but then we were moved to one of several holding pens where we waited for 20 minutes or so.

It was funny because every time the bus got back there would be this loud cheer, and we were like “ooh it must be awesome” and then we realised that the cheers were coming from the other pens when it was their turn to get on the bus! (And sure enough, we all celebrated when our pen was released). But in the end it turned out that both guesses were correct, because at the end of our turn the announcer told us to give a big cheer to let everyone know we were back.

Here was our bus (photo taken earlier in the day). There were guns on both sides of the bus.

And here were our paintballs:

You could buy extra paintballs for $5 but neither James nor I used up our default paintballs so I don’t think they were necessary.

The other reason I think it was a bit lame was because a lot of the zombies weren’t actors – they were just moving dummies that you could shoot. And whenever our bus saw an actual person (covered in some pretty hardcore armour) they’d be like “there’s a real one!!” and everyone would unload their guns into them. We were a bunch of bastards.

Towards the end the bus stopped and the announcer was talking so I was looking at him. Then Mike was like “er, Kaye?” and I looked, and a zombie who was on top of the bus was reaching down and fondling my paintball gun! Which made me scream again and wildly flail my gun from side to side. I think James was jealous at how much I was picked on by the zombies that night.

And when we finished, the line (not even the 20 minute wait in the pen – the line to get in the pens) was like .. 20 times as long as when we’d gotten in. People had overflowed out of the designated zig-zag shaped waiting area and the line was going all the way down the hill. And it was a long hill! I reckon the people at the back of the line must have had like a 2 hour wait ahead of them. As we walked past, one guy at the back asked us how long the line ahead of him was and we were like “it is massive“. He was pretty cut and told all of his friends to leave even though they’d already paid for their tickets. So yeah, if you don’t want to wait I’d recommend getting to the Zombie Safari early and getting the fast pass. $15 is a small price to pay to not have to wait for hours when it is cold, dark and raining.

And that was our Halloween!

I’m pretty excited to see how Seattle celebrates Christmas. I am going to be so disappointed if it’s not huge!

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