By Jen Maldonado
For more than two decades, Six Flags Great Adventure has been undergoing a change for the final seven weeks of the season. Once the clock strikes 6 p.m., the zombies are unleashed and the park transforms into Fright Fest, the annual Halloween festival that is filled with plenty of excitement, but for a costly admission.
Located in Jackson, N.J., about a half-hour from Rider, Six Flags, known as the world’s largest scream theme park, has plenty of Halloween-related activities for everyone. Guests can enjoy walking around the park drinking hot chocolate that comes with a smiling ghost marshmallow, or dare to venture into any of the terror trails, mazes or haunted houses.
During the day, there are family-friendly events such as the Spooky Kooky Magic show featuring illusionist Doc Swan, a new corn maze filled with cartoon characters and plenty of Halloween-themed animal shows that are a favorite of young park-goers, all at no additional cost. This is a good time to get on some rides and enjoy some funnel cake before Fright Fest takes over.
When the sun goes down, the scare zones in the park fill with 200 actors dressed as scarecrows, western, colonial or clown zombies and other creepy creatures, who fully immerse themselves in their characters. These actors are there to scare attendees and they do just that with their intricate makeup and detailed costumes, which sometimes include dragging around chainsaws or shovels. For those who scare easily, be careful navigating around the highly populated areas of the park, such as the Bloody Fountain, but remember these actors are highly professional and won’t get too close to guests.
Along with the usual list of “Monstertainment” the park provides, including a freak show and Circus of Thrills that features heart-pounding circus acts, there are a few new activities. The Manor is a haunted house filled with plenty of zombies and gore, and Total Darkness provides guests with the chance to walk through utter and complete darkness, relying only on their senses to make it out alive. These spellbinding activities come with an additional fee, which might not be worth it, since the general admission of $65.99 is already steep.
The most exciting part about Six Flags Great Adventure is the fact that it is home to some of the best thrill rides in the country. It houses Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster in the world and the fastest in North America, and El Toro, a wooden coaster with a 76-degree drop that feels even more intense when ridden at night, with the crisp fall air and spooky Halloween vibe throughout the park. The only downside to having these great roller coasters is that they are the main attractions of the park, so be prepared to wait anywhere from a half-hour to 45 minutes to get a seat on these heart-stopping rides. Overall, they never disappoint and the rides are worth the wait.
Six Flags Great Adventure is known for its Fright Fest festivities and if students have the extra cash lying around, they should go and spend the day enjoying the rides, food and shows the park has to offer. Although it is a pricey fall activity, it is one that is memorable, and with a group of friends, it can serve as the ideal Halloween trip for Rider students.
Printed in the 10/23/13 edition.