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In the weeks before Halloween, Knott’s Berry Farm transforms at night into “Knott’s Scary Farm,” the largest and scariest Halloween event in southern California. It launched the Halloween theme park craze in 1973, and many say it is still the best. It’s so scary that it’s not recommended for kids under 13. Fortunately, there is a less scary version for the under 13 set that happens before sundown, and it’s called “Knott’s Spooky Farm.” Let’s take a look at both to see what to expect from Halloween at Knott's Berry Farm.  

Knott's Scary Farm at Knott's Berry Farm
From late September through late October, Knott's Berry Farm transforms into the hauntingly festive Knott's SCARY Farm!

Knott’s Spooky Farm

During the day starting Sept. 29, Knott’s Berry Farm gets dressed up for Halloween with kid-friendly decor and activities. Children can dress up in their own costumes and get their pictures taken with Peanuts characters that are in Halloween costumes as well. Little monsters will encounter spooky skeletons, giant spiderwebs, and friendly scarecrows as they collect candy at the trick-or-treat stations in Ghost Town (a regular section of the park) and on Schoolhouse Road. Kids 12 and under receive their own orange treat bag upon entering the park, too. 

Little kids will have a blast with all the Halloween-themed shows happening throughout the park, many involving their favorite Peanuts characters. They’ll be clapping along with Snoopy, Lucy, and Linus at their musical act, the Great Pumpkin Palooza. There’s also a colorful dance show celebrating the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and kids can decorate their own cookies at the Ghost Town Pumpkin Patch. Braver kids will get creeped out by the spiders, bugs, snakes, and albino scorpions at the Creepy Critters of Calico. Everyone can take a Halloween-themed train ride to Camp Snoopy–er, Spooky–or ride through tunnels of candy on the Calico Candy Mine ride.

When the candy wears off, your little goblins will squeal over the special Halloween treats waiting for them throughout the park. Mummy dogs, candy corn parfait, Bobbing for Apple macarons, and Witch’s Finger matcha shakes will only add to their thrills. Knott’s Spooky Farm wraps up at 5 pm in order for the park to prepare for Knott’s Scary Farm.           

Knott’s Scary Farm

The scariest Halloween event in southern California starts when the sun goes down. Knott's Scary Farm kicks off at 7 p.m. and requires a separate ticket. Entry lines can be scary long, so to beat the crowd, come early for the Boo-fet dinner that serves Knott’s classics like fried chicken, a chef carving station, and boysenberry pie. This will also give your ghouls early entry to the park and a chance to get photos with some of the costumed creatures that come out as darkness descends. (Photos with them are not allowed after 7 p.m.).

As the 7 o’clock hour arrives, a creepy fog begins to envelop the park and 1,000-plus monsters are unleashed all at once. You’ll get chills as blood-curdling screams can be heard in the distance. You’ll quickly lose your bearings in the thickening fog that zombies, witches, fiendish clowns, and ax murderers use as cover to leap out at you and scare you half to death. You will soon stumble into the eight mazes that are spread throughout five scare zones covering all of Knott’s. One maze is Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind, where an evil hypnotist turns unsuspecting guests into brain-eating zombies. In Wax Works, you’ll be horrified to watch victims get submerged into boiling hot wax and turned into the latest disfigured creation of Dr. Augustus Scratch. In Dark Entities, you’ll run for your life in total darkness as alien creatures search for their next human meal. The frights in these mazes will leave your heart pounding!

For another kind of adrenaline rush, head to the Timber Mountain Log Ride, which turns into the Halloween Hootenanny. It’s completely immersed in darkness with lit-up creepy creatures around every turn. Other thrill rides are open, too, and are even more thrilling in the dark. When you’re ready to sit down for some comic relief, each of the scare zones has a show; they range from zany to bizarre. Brian Henson’s Puppet Up! – Uncensored show will get everybody laughing while Invitation to Terror features 1980s-era digital illusions and special effects. The Carnaval du Grotesque cover band will get your toes tapping to some Halloween-themed rock music.

The scares will follow you to the food vendors as well. Try the Midnight Murderous funnel cake topped with bloody berries and gummy body parts. The Freaky Frog Legs on a stick are not for the squeamish, either. Knott’s Scary Farm certainly earns its moniker “Where Nightmares Never End!”   

Times & Tickets

Knott’s Scary Farm generally runs Thursday through Sunday nights from late September to late October. It’s also open on a handful of additional nights and, of course, Halloween night. It’s open 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursdays and Sundays, and 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. See the park’s calendar for complete details.

Knott’s Spooky Farm, for kids 12 and under, is included with general admission tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm from late September through late October. Those are $75 online for everyone 3 and older; the gate price is $99. Tickets for Knott’s Scary Farm are issued separately and sales begin in mid-August. As of this writing, prices have not been released, but in 2021 the prices ranged from $50 to $72. Prices are lowest at the beginning of the Scary Farm season and increase as Halloween approaches. You’ll save considerably by going in September or early October versus late October. See the park’s ticket webpage for details and purchasing.  

Find more amazing travel destinations in our “Family Travel” section!