Video Review: Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween

Sadly, there is no Halloween Haunt at Knott's Berry Farm this year; fortunately, Taste of Fall-O-Ween is a delightfully delectable daytime alternative. Essentially a variation on the kid-friendly Knott's Spooky Farm, with the addition of a taster's ticket, Taste of Fall-O-Ween affords guests five food or beverage items selected from the many eateries within the park. The result is not at all scary, but the combination of Halloween-themed food and décor will satisfy the trick-or-treat cravings of young and old alike.

Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween Review: Overview

Knott’s Berry Farm is of course taking precautions to protect their customers from Coronavirus. Though entry is not timed, the limited number of tickets sold prevents overcrowding, making social distancing less difficult.  Masks are required except when sitting down to eat. The entire park is open, but no rides or shows are operating.

Some venues, such as the Calico Salon, allow patrons to order inside, but seating is outside only. Eating is not permitted while walking around the work. It’s best to plan on consuming food within the seating area next to each eatery.

Halloween decorations are visible throughout the park, but particularly in the old western Ghost Town. The most densely decorated area is Camp Snoopy, which also features live actors and a monster or two (not too scary in daylight).

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Above: Halloween decor throughout Knott's Berry Farm

Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween Review: Tasting

Food and beverage are included with admission to Fall-O-Ween. Children’s tickets allow youngsters to collect treats in Camp Snoopy. Adult tickets offer a selection of five tastes from over two dozen food locations throughout Knott’s Berry Farm.

These tastes are limited to items listed on the Adult Tasting Card, worn as a lanyard. Selection varies from one venue to the next: some offer only one or two items; other feature over half a dozen. Customers can order off-menu (or rather “off-card”), but they have to pay for items not on the card.

Venues are alphabetized on the Tasting Card, with the lettering themed to indicate locations inside the Ghost Town, the Boardwalk, and Fiesta Village. Unfortunately, the canteens, grills, and snack stands are not laid out in clear alphabetical order; sometimes a little zig-zagging or backtracking is necessary to find a particular destination.

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Above: Knott's Fall-O-Ween Ghost Town

We started with a Mad Shirley Temple (grenadine, sprite, and cherry) at Pemmican Pickle (Letter B) in the Ghost Town – perfectly refreshing on a warm day – then quickly moved to Wagon Wheel Pizza (Letter A) for a vegan Cauliflower pizza slice with marinara, bell peppers, and veggie cheese. It was not the greatest pizza we have ever tasted, but to its credit, it had enough flavor to disguises its vegan origins.

Next we sidled up to the bar at the Calico Saloon (Letter M), where we did something we seldom do: ordered a beer – in this case, boysenberry beer. Boysenberry wine was also on the menu, but the bartender informed us that it was a sweet desert wine, and we simply were not in the mood for another sweet beverage after our Mad Shirley Temple. We have no expertise when it comes to beer, but we thoroughly enjoyed this particular brew. The boysenberry component did not stand out, but it was enough to disguise the typical beer flavor that we find off-putting.

We were planning to grab an iced coffee at the Gourmet Coffee Hut (Letter R), but two things stood in our way. First, coffee was not on the Tasting Card, only an Acai bowl and a boysenberry smoothie, and we already had consumed are daily required allotment of boysenberry courtesy of the Calico Saloon. Actually purchasing a coffee would not have been a deal-breaker except for the second problem: Gourmet Coffee Hut is really a front for Starbucks, and we just don’t see the point of going to Knott’s Berry Farm to get something available on every street corner.

Instead, we grabbed corn on the cob with butter, mayo, and Taki cheese at the Boardwalk Pier Booth. The pinkish color of the cheese topping suggested sweet confectionary, but the actual flavor was pleasantly spicy – good enough to eclipse our disappointment over not getting iced coffee.

We topped off our Taster’s Card with a Graveyard Funnel cake at the Log Ride Funnel Cake (Letter O). Loaded with chocolate and vanilla flavor,  this was a perfect desert especially on a warm Thursday afternoon. We especially enjoyed the texture of the funnel cake hidden beneath the layers of ice cream, cookie crumbles, drizzle, and gummie worms.

Overall, we enjoyed enough good food to easily justify the price of admission.

Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween Review: Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail

Enough about treats! What about tricks? Well, Knott's Fall-O-Ween offers plenty of both. Even if you have used up all your tastes, you definitely want to pass through Fiesta Village to enjoy the Day of the Dead decorations.

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Above: Knott's Fall-O-Ween Fiesta Village

Even more in the spirit of the Halloween season is the Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail. Though this is officially the place where children pick up items at trick-or-treat stations, even non-parents should take a tour through this area, which features some actors, monsters, and several set pieces recycled from Halloween Haunts of the past.

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Above: Knott's Fall-O-Ween Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat Trail

By daylight, none of this is intimidating enough to traumatize young trick-or-treaters, but it does provide the biggest dose of Halloween fun at Knott’s this year. You will encounter friendly scarecrows, a stilt-walker or two, and – the most impressive sight of all - the giant mechanical rock monster who has appeared in various Halloween mazes at Knott’s for many years.  There are many photos ops throughout the park, but this is the one you do not want to miss.

Knott’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween Review: Conclusion

In some ways, Taste of Fall-O-Ween feels a bit like a throwback to the early days of Knott’s Berry Farm, before it morphed into a theme park. Instead of riding roller-coasters, you go for the food and the chance to wander around a tourist attraction modeled after Calico Ghost Town. The Halloween overlay adds an extra layer of charm for haunt-seekers denied the chance to enjoy Knott’s Scary Farm (the first time in decades that the park has not offered its annual Halloween Haunt).

Make no mistake: Despite the overlay Taste of Fall-O-Ween is not a haunted attraction. It’s more of a drinking and dining experience, which is why have filed it in our Night/Life/Style department. Even so, Halloween fans will not be disappointed.

Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween Food Ratings
  • Mad Shirley Temple
  • Vegan Cauliflower pizza slice
  • Boysenberry Beer
  • Corn on the Cob with Butter, Mayo & Taki cheese
  • Graveyard Funnel Cake
4.4

Bottom Line

Taste of Fall-O-Ween is not a Halloween Haunt, but it is a supremely satisfying substitute, featuring great food and seasonal decor.

Note: If we were to give a rating to the event as a whole it would be a straight 5 out of 5 stars. The 4.4 rating represents an average based on our reactions to the different items we tasted. 

Taste of Fall-O-Ween runs Thursdays-through-Sundays until November 1 at Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Boulevard, Buena Park 90620. Unfortunately, all currently scheduled dates are sold out. To check for additional dates, visit: knotts.com/play/events/taste-of-fall-o-ween.

.Knott's Fall-O-Ween Review: Additional Photographs

 

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.

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