Well, we saved the best for last! We found the 2009 Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt to be enjoyable, but the new mazes were not quite as full of new and exciting stuff as we had hoped. Lockdown The Asylum and Uncle Bobo’s Big Top of the Bizarre were fun, and we appreciated the old-fashioned Victorian atmosphere of Terror of London, but the real highlight was Dia de Los Muertos: Day of the Dead, which is the subject of our fourth and final video from this year’s Knott’s Scary Farm.
Although technically the Day of the Dead holiday falls on November 1 (All Souls Day), the traditional iconography of the celebration is a perfect fit with Halloween. Colorful 3-D mazes have become de rigeuer during the Halloween season, but usually they present some variation on the carnival-clown-funhouse theme, which has become tired and overused during the past decade. Fortunately, Dia de Los Muertos offers something different, using imagery based on the Mexican celebration of the Dead, along with the Chupacabra, La Llorona (e.g., “The Crying Woman,” a legendary ghost), Aztec Mummies, jungle dieities, and virgin sacrifices. The bright decor offers a change of pace from the gloomier mazes, yet the painted skulls and other decorations are more in keeping with the season than the usual fun-house hi-jinx. Thus, the maze pull off the neat trick of feeling new and familiar at the same time. We were impressed with the variety of elements and with the weird funhouse vibe that segues into a more ominous tone as you progress.