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Theme parks need to review their Halloween festivities this year due to COVID-19 safety regulations, such as social distancing and necessary mask-wearing.
President of International Theme Parks Services, Dennis Speigel, stated that the fall occasion has changed into the single most essential event for theme parks.
“A down Halloween or a flat Halloween can make or break a park’s season. This season we are so broken, it’s just going to take our revenue and attendance levels to the lowest level we’ve ever seen.”Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Parks Services
For guests in the United States and abroad, Halloween events, such as scare zones, haunted houses, trick-or-treating booths, and child-friendly parades, have become extremely popular. These occasions often increase the profits for theme park operators like Disney, Six Flags, and Universal.
Initially, Halloween events were a method to prolong operations at regional parks during the autumn months effectively. Roller coasters became less engaging due to the colder weather, and families can’t go to parks during the weekdays because school starts in the fall.
After a while, it developed into profitable months-long celebrations. As early as August, theme parks over the U.S. start to bring the cobwebs, giant jack-o’-lanterns, and hay bales to begin the spooky season. Usually, Halloween events happen after regular park hours and need another ticket purchase. With this method, parks are gaining profit from day guests and those who come when the sun goes down.
Halloween is about scares, screams, and gores for several parks, such as Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm, and SeaWorld. Theme parks like these create mazes packed with creepy creatures.
In 1973, Knott’s Berry Farm started their Knott’s Scary Farm event, and they were the primary park to conceive a Halloween-themed occasion. However, due to the restrictions on reopening theme parks in California, Knott’s Berry Farm could not host its yearly event on Halloween.
“Being the original creators of the very first Halloween theme-park experience, our guests have come to expect a lot from our annual Knott’s Scary Farm event.”Knott’s Berry Farm
This year, they are rendering Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween, an outdoor retail and dining experience. Knott’s Berry Farm is now capping attendance in the middle of 10% and 15% of what is usual and has sold tickets out each day.
Also, in the previous year, SeaWorld had seen a 2.2% jump in attendance in the fourth quarter, although the weather was unfavorable. They mentioned that the Halloween event was a reason for the increase.
SeaWorld is the owner of Busch Gardens that has parks in Florida and Virginia. Last February, Busch Garden’s Tampa Bay in Florida started planning its yearly Howl-O-Scream event.
“Over the past 20 years, Howl-O-Scream has become a haunted staple among Halloween fans, drawing thrill-seekers from around the world to the Tampa Bay area. The event is highly anticipated each year, with many fans eagerly reaching out and making plans in the spring to attend in the fall.”Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
Their team needed to adjust swiftly to the new safety guidelines and consider social distancing. All of the scare actors put on their protective face coverings and stay further away from visitors than usual.
Universal Studios also sees a considerable spike in revenue and foot traffic in the fall months. This Comcast-owned company holds a yearly event known as Halloween Horror Nights that helped increase theme parks revenue at 3.2% or $1.6 billion during the previous year’s fourth quarter.
Unfortunately, Universal decided to cancel their Halloween Horror Nights event in July because of its California-based park’s continuous closure and the decreased capacity. This year should have been their 30th-anniversary celebration.