During the second half of October, the dark transformation of Alton Towers for its Halloween Scarefest is truly remarkable.
A ruined gothic mansion, illuminated by eerie green and blue lighting greets guests as they enter the park.
Various items of theming are present around the park’s entrance, including a hearse and numerous pumpkins.
Terror of the Towers
The atmospheric towers ruins are home to one of three scare mazes – the Terror of the Towers.
We arrive to find a lengthy queue, we are told “about an hour” by an employee who sells Fastrack tickets for £5 per person.
The queue jumpers aren’t pushed or even mentioned until you ask, and I make the rare decision to indulge in the necessary evil (we are short on time having arrived at 1730).
We’re in within no more than fifteen minutes, so shoulder to shoulder, our group of around ten enter the ruins – ducking, snaking around objects and constantly being harassed by pale-faced actors.
This is the longest of all of the mazes, you feel as if you’ve been inside for a very long time, but in reality it’s no more than five or ten minutes.
Lighting, smells, sound and the appearances of the actors are all used to great effect.
The Terror of the Towers is included for free after you’ve paid park admission and it is probably our favourite of the mazes.
TH13TEEN After Dark
According to the marketing garble, “demons haunt the queue line” to the ride, but we were very disappointed in that there were no actors roaming through the woodland as we waited.
The queue was advertised as being 60 minutes, but in reality it was closer to 90 minutes.
Thirteen is a great rollercoaster in the dark as its black track is totally cloaked by the dark of night, making the hills and numerous twists all the more exciting.
As we exited and headed towards the compulsory shop pass-through, we were startled by a hooded wraith and also an actor mad eup to be the spooky little girl from last year’s promotional adverts for the ride.
This made up for a little of the earlier disappointment, but this should not warrant the park to be advertising it as a special attraction.
Carnival of Screams and the Boiler House
These two mazes incur an additional charge, it costs £12 for admission to both and you have to pick a time slot – the latest one we could get was 2030.
A violent cage gorilla greets us at the Carnival of Screams, followed by a number of deranged clowns stalking you throughout.
Among the many obstacles, there is a strange claustrophobic inflatable passageway that you have to push your way through – I’m sure a number of people will have suffered panic attacks during this.
As our group shuffles towards the exit (I am in front), I’m harassed by a clown that seems to know my name – quite freaky I thought but I later find out it’s someone I know but didn’t recognise in makeup.
The Boiler House features two serial killers – the Hamble Twins – who like to wear ventriloquist dummy masks and chas etheir victims before they make the kill.
The masks are slightly unnerving and the actors stalk, and intimidate throughout the industrial environment.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to try the Zombies! Scare Zone and any of the other rides in the dark, but we had a great time enjoying Alton Towers at scare season for the first time.