I guess I should have seen this coming.
Shortly after launching this year’s haunted house awards voting, I started getting feedback questioning including Adventureland Phantom Fall Fest in with the small single haunted houses. I honestly thought of them no differently than Sleepy Hollow, which I believe has more haunted houses than Adventureland.
I genuinely expected the voting to be similar to previous years, with the huge multi-generational fanbase of Linn’s Haunted House and the nationally-known Slaughterhouse dominating most categories. But, shortly after the voting went live, it became clear that Adventureland – with its 151K+ Facebook followers – was going to wipe out all the other haunts.
I think we can all agree that if their haunts are better than all the others, they should win.
As a lifelong theme park nerd (see my Photos – Park Hopping site over 150,000 theme park photos going back to 1996), this reminds me of the Disney fans trying to compare Disneyland in California (back when it was just one theme park with one hotel) to Walt Disney World (which was four theme parks, tons of resorts, golf courses, waterparks, etc.). You could easily compare which version of Haunted Mansion you thought was better, but comparing “Disneyland to Walt Disney World” just never made any sense to me.
I have heard from several other haunt operators, folks who have worked for various haunts, and some haunt fans, and they all have valid points and good suggestions. Since we have already started the voting, nothing will change in the voting for this year, but we may have to rethink the categories.
Since Sleepy Hollow and Adventureland are both events with multiple haunted houses, perhaps there should be a category for “SCARIEST Multi-Haunt EVENT”. In the past, I used to break out all the individual haunted houses at Sleepy Hollow and let folks vote on them individually, rather than the event as whole, specifically for this reason (just on a much smaller scale).
I may regret not doing that this year. Perhaps that could be a solution, but even if that was done, it may still not be appropriate to compare an amusement park that has generations of fans going back to 1974 with a single haunted house.
Please keep the comments, Facebook messages and e-mails coming in. I hope we get at least 1000 votes this year (we are already at about 10% of that, so maybe it will be much more). The voting will remain open in to November, but once Thanksgiving/Christmas season kicks in, folks tend to check out. Maybe Thanksgiving will be the cutoff, or the end of November.