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Theme Parks Cancel Halloween 2020

The prospects for Halloween 2020 are rapidly evaporating like a vampire exposed to sunlight, with several Halloween Theme Parks announcing cancellations, including Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, Queen Mary Dark Harbor, and Disneyland Halloween Time.

First to halt their Halloween terror cruise was the Queen Mary, which dropped the anchor on Dark Harbor on June 30, citing concerns safety concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Disneyland cancelled the Oogie Boogie Bash at Disneyland Halloween Time on July 24. Perhaps the death knell was rung by Universal Studios shortly before Disney’s announcement, when the studio revealed it was shutting down production of Halloween Horror Nights:

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort have made the difficult decision to not hold Halloween Horror Nights events this year. Universal Studios Hollywood continues to face ongoing business restrictions and uncertainty around its opening timeframe. Universal Orlando Resort will be focusing exclusively on operating its theme parks for daytime guests, using the enhanced health and safety procedures already in place. We know this decision will disappoint our fans and guests. We are disappointed, too. But we look forward to creating an amazing event in 2021.

Among the Southland’s Halloween theme parks, this leaves the Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt and Six Flags Magic Mountain Fright Fest as open questions. Though no official announcement has been made, Magic Mountain is currently closed, so reopening in time for Halloween seems unlikely. Knott’s Berry Farm, now open for a “special outdoor food & merchandise event,” is reportedly considering possible options for its annual Knotts Scary Farm.

Also, Disneyland has yet to official terminate its park-wide Halloween Time festivities. Strictly speaking, it has cancelled only the Oogie Boogie Bash, which is a separately ticketed event set in the Disnleyland California Adventure. According to the OC Register, “details on the Halloween Time decor that typically fills Disneyland and Disney California Adventure during the Halloween season will be shared at a later time as the theme park resort continues to work toward reopening with guidance from state and federal authorities…”

These closures are not surprising; they are almost inevitable. Even if mitigation measures can flatten the Covid-19 in time for Halloween theme parks to open in September, preparation would need to be happening now. There may still be time to set up a few scare zones or install a Halloween overlay, but full-scale theme park event is almost out of the question at this point.

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.