Knott's Scary Farm is back for 2021, and it came back with a vengeance. There are so many scare actors and toadally cool special effects. Maybe it's just us emerging from the fog and appreciating Halloween events after missing 2020, but Knott's Scary Farm 2021 feels like one of the best Scary Farm events yet!
Knott's Scary Farm has scared Southern Californians long before Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. Its Orange County counterpart — Disneyland — has only recently started the much gentler Mickey’s Halloween Party (now the Oogie Boogie Bash, as of 2019) and Halloween Time at Disneyland. Knott’s Berry Farm put on the world’s first theme park Halloween Haunt event in 1973. Its popularity rose like cemetery fog at night, making it the industry standard and largest Halloween event in Southern California. In 2021, Knott’s Scary Farm celebrates its 48th year of bringing nightmares to life.
Knott's Scary Farm 2021 runs on select nights from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31. There's a new scare zone and a new maze, plus several new shows have crept in this year. We also have returning mazes to enjoy, some with new scenes. The scare zones take over the entire park! You can try but you can't hide at Knott's Scary Farm. What sets this park apart from all of the competition is that you'll find no escape. Terror creeps into every corner for a fully immersive, heart-pounding experience. There is nothing like the Knott's Scary Farm Ghost Town scare zone with monsters emerging from the fog, creeping up on you and scuttling on the ground.
The scare zones are loosely defined and spread throughout the streets. This keeps you disoriented as you never know when a creature will sneak up on you — or rather — slide out at you with shrieks, scrapes and sparks. You may be eyeing the monster in front of you while another is sneaking up from behind and snorting in your ear to send you jumping in the air!
While Knott's could change its face-covering policy, masks are currently not required outdoors but are required indoors for unvaccinated guests. During our visit, we'd say 95 percent of guests chose to cover their mouth and nose indoors and many were masked outdoors, as well.
Want to get a sense of what Knott's Scary Farm is like? Our 2021 compilation video can help you decide if your heart or young teen can handle it.
When to Visit Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
Knott’s Scary Farm is a separately ticketed event that runs on select nights. In 2021, it runs from Sept. 16 to Nov. 2. It operates from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on select Thursdays and Sundays, and from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on select Fridays and Saturdays.
Knott's Scary Farm 2021 dates:
- Sept. 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 26, 30
- Oct. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, 31
Generally, crowds are lower earlier in the season and on Thursday and Sunday nights. Grab a map by the entrance for all of the showtimes, scare zones, restaurants and maze locations.
Knott's Scary Farm 2021 Tickets
Tickets for Knott's Scary Farm 2021 tickets went on sale Aug. 16, 2021. You'll find a variety of ticket options, plus hotel packages that include admission. The prices vary based on the date and have additional taxes and fees. You want to purchase online at least 24 hours in advance to save off the front gate price. There is also a processing fee of $6.99. There are discounts for annual passholders as well as for active, inactive and retired military members with ID.
If you can arrive early, treat yourself to the Boo-fet dinner. Fill up with endless portions of signature Knott’s entrees and desserts with a souvenir bottle. The menu includes Knott’s classics such as Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken, a chef carving station, boysenberry pie and more. Diners get one digital photo download with a monster at the Boo-fet. Boo-fet diners receive early entry to select mazes and attractions (at 6:30 p.m.). Boo-fet guests will also have exclusive monster photo opportunities before the park opens to the general public. Check-in can be scary long, so you'll want to book an early time and arrive early. Other guests have recommended eating at the Knott's Hotel location.
Here's a look at 2021 tickets and add-on options (offerings and availability may change as the season progresses):
- Single night (from $50 to $72 at least 24 hours in advance). You can add on some of the below items before checkout.
- Fright Lane & Fast Lane ($99 to $125, but does not include admission). Includes unlimited priority access to all mazes and Fast Lane rides.
- Boo-fet dinner ($45 plus taxes and fees add-on to your Scary Farm ticket)
- 2021 souvenir bottle (online price $13.99 add-on versus gate price of $16)
- 2021 Single Day Funpix valid through Dec. 21, 2021 ($29.99)
- Online pre-paid parking is $25 (not valid before 4 p.m.)
- If you have season parking on a season pass, you can use the pass to park.
We recommend adding Fright Lane & Fast Lane if it is within your budget. There are a lot of mazes, so it helps to skip the lines. However, the lines are not as horrific as Universal Horror Nights, so a Fright Lane pass is not absolutely necessary. If you want to do it all and also want to ride the roller coasters, then add the Fright Lane & Fast Lane. On our visit, we were able to get through every maze and ride several roller coasters with the Fright Lane & Fast Lane pass. Generally, all thrill rides are open during Knott's Scary Farm except for scheduled ride closures.
What are the Fast Lane rides? All thrill rides that are not currently closed for refurbishment are open. These rides offer Fast Lane during Knott's Scary Farm:
- Coast Rider
- Montezooma’s Revenge
- Silver Bullet
- Pony Express
- Supreme Scream
- Sierra Sidewinder
- Knott's Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair
- Calico Mine Ride
- Calico River Rapids
- La Revolucion
- Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny — This classic log ride gets a Scary Farm layover each year. Guests venture past the Calico Coffin Creeper Band, the town’s Green Witch and splash down Skull Mountain through a labyrinth of jack-o-lanterns. It's all set around an original song performed by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies.
Rides without Fast Lane are:
- Sol Spin
- Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars
Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Scare Zones
There is no scare zone like a Knott's Scary Farm scare zone. With creatures emerging from the fog and shadows, you can feel your heart thumping as you try to make it through.
Expect to encounter varying creatures in many dreadful ways. Some sneak up on you quietly, while others slide out at you or have noisemaking devices to startle you out of your skin. If you fear the monsters, it's as if they can smell your fear and they will target you. There are five total scare zones for 2021. All four scare zones from Knott's Scary Farm 2019 are re-emerging from the grave in 2021, plus a new one arrives.
- Forsaken Lake — This sinister scare zone oozes into the park this year. Forsaken Lake unleashes gothic creatures to prey on victims to drag back to their watery graves. Somber music adds extra creepiness to this scare zone. Think 1800s funeral songs from New Orleans mashed with modern heavy metal.
- Ghost Town Streets — This is where it all began, with half-human, half-animal monsters emerging from the fog. The number of monsters in this area is terrifying — we love it!
- CarnEVIL — The freak show is the main event of this demented circus. No clowning around here.
- The Hollow — Beware the Pumpkin Eater who prowls this dark scare zone. From within the fog, the witches of the Hollow and their army of the undead unleash a reign of terror as they gear up for battle with the witch hunter.
- Gore-ing 20s (new!) — Take a fog-filled trip down memory lane to the Gore-ing 20s. This dark time has otherworldly musicians playing the music of the damned and gangsters running illicit hooch for ghostly revelers. Can you reject the devil's elixir? This themed zone was fun and maybe less scary with a lot of personality.
If you get Early Entry with a Boo-fet dinner, you can see all the monsters as they are released into the park near the Gold Trails Hotel at 7 p.m. If you like to ease your way into the terror, this is a good way to gently go forward into that ghoulish night while it is still light outside. If you do not have early entry access but want to see the monsters released, get to the park front gates by 5:30 p.m. and make your way to the roped area once you get in the park.
Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Mazes
One new mesmerizing maze debuted:
Mesmer: Sideshow of the Mind
The hypnotist Mesmer and his sinister sideshow take control of your mind in his canvas tent. You heed every word of his command. He pries into your thoughts to uncover your secret fears. You'll descend into madness, torture and eerie enlightenment. It is there that you discover grotesque secrets hidden as you brave your way through the terrifying show.
Mesmer can hypnotize someone at the moment of their death and control their mind as if they were a zombie. His hoard of circus freaks is roaming the maze in search of new victims. Watch in the first scene as Mesmer demonstrates his hypnotic skills. Then each room will show a different hypnotic technique. The victims? Other sideshow acts. Listen for Mesmer's voice throughout the maze, but do not succumb to his wicked powers.
So let me say, WOW! This maze is mesmerizing. There was a moving walkway and moving set pieces. The scare actors were great. Being the only new maze, a line does form, but this maze is toadally worth it. If you arrive by the event's opening time, head here first. It's located in the back corner of the park In the CarnEVIL scare zone by Xcelerator.
Seven Returning Mazes
Seven mazes carried over from 2019 (kind of like that recurring nightmare you can't escape), along with a few new horrors and effects.
The returning mazes for 2021 are:
Origins — The Curse of Calico
Find out what happens when classic Knott's Scary Farm elements are combined, such as the Ghost Town Streets and The Hanging, into a maze. The witch has been hunted and sentenced to be hanged. As they put the noose around her neck, she spits out a curse upon the town before she disappears. And this is where we stepped into the story, as the curse unleashes the hidden demons and monsters of the Calico citizens. The special effects (from water to fog, to electrics, to flying effects) left us spellbound once again. It's a great and popular maze. Visit early or late. The regular line starts in the Ghost Town cemetery.
This returning 2019 maze is still a big favorite with our frog squad. The entertainment with actors outside of the maze immerses you into the story and the scares inside the maze are legit. There's even a moment in which the witch defies gravity.
Step into the creepy wax museum, but beware of the back room, where patrons just might become part of the masterpiece. It's rumored that blood-curdling screams can be heard echoing through the halls as victims are submerged into a scalding cauldron of bubbling wax. Nothing can hold a candle to Wax Works. The looming façade was huge and the artwork spectacular. We encountered the horribly disfigured artist, Dr. Augustus Scratch, looking for fresh materials to make his next creation. We liked this maze much better in 2021 than we did in 2019, with new scenes and improved set pieces. This maze had a short wait around 11 p.m. and it is also available during early entry.
This 2018 and 2019 maze is resurfacing, transporting you to an abandoned port village, where ancient creatures lurk inside underground caves. A mining crew has mysteriously disappeared into the eerie tunnels under the town. Did the crew meet their demise at the hand of vicious cave-dwellers? Are you willing to journey into the dark, wet caverns to follow the crew’s path into The Depths? Be warned! Nobody who has entered has ever resurfaced. Wait for it … this maze incorporates some mesmerizing water effects. We still loved this maze during its third year, and it had a very short line around 10:45 p.m. It is also open during early entry.
Enter the third year of this maze for an extraterrestrial experience, a realm of absolute darkness. A lone space station faces unimaginable dark entities looking for new hosts to invade. Its force increases as it feeds on its victims. Can you escape the dark entities before their deadly force eliminates you and all other life forms aboard the station? Time is running out! This maze has cool lighting and other elements we found fun. Too bad it's a one-way trip. There was a short line later in the night, and this maze is open during early entry.
Dark Ride: Castle of Chaos
Step into an abandoned carnival ride that has become a refuge for sideshow freaks and shunned performers. They hide in the shadows, waiting to terrorize those who dare enter the once pleasant ride. There are plenty of scary circus freaks to freak you out in this maze with some new actors joining the drama that plays out.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.
This creepy nursery rhyme stems from a legend of the man who killed his unfaithful wife and hid her body parts in a pumpkin. The notorious 7-foot-tall pumpkin-eater is on the prowl, lurking in the dark shadows of this maze. To escape his wrath and hunger to kill, you’ll pass through a silent town of victims, enter the bowels of a giant pumpkin, make your way through the gooey, wet pumpkin guts and solve a labyrinth of thorns that block your escape.
Pumpkin Eater was our favorite maze of 2017, and it still ranks really high. You'll want to visit later in the night for the shortest wait. It is located in The Hollow scare zone just inside the entrance to the park. We found this maze with a short wait around 11 p.m., so most guests have moved away from the park entrance by this point, making a great later visit when other mazes have long waits. Just like pumpkin pie is a great way to end a meal, Pumpkin Eater makes a perfect ending maze to hit before you exit.
Featuring high-flying aerial stunts and scares, Paranormal, Inc. sends guests into an investigation of a haunted hospital where the patients were tortured for decades by deranged doctors and nurses. Demonic spirits of the murdered victims have been detected throughout the mysterious halls, while evil medical staff prowl for new patients to torture.
There were some interesting bungee moves in this maze for a fun surprise. Also, things seem to be moving. Are the walls closing in on you? Brace yourself for an all-new ending that's guaranteed to send you screaming out the door. Even though we’ve been through the past Paranormal mazes, it has a lot of really fun elements (with scare actors dropping in from above) and special effects that make it a can’t miss. This maze had a longer line this year than its surrounding mazes, but it's worth it. It and the surrounding mazes open at 6:30 p.m. for guests with early entry. This maze has been around a few years, but it's still toadally worth going through. We were told this is its final season, so go through for one last trip.
Knott's Scary Farm Must-See Shows and Entertainment
When you need a break from the mazes and terrifying scare zones, shows can offer some comic relief. There are several new shows, as well as some returning entertainment.
Puppet Up! — Uncensored
The improvisational adult puppet show, Brian Henson's Puppet Up! — Uncensored returns for 2021. Audience members can offer suggestions that the puppeteers must act out with puppets onstage for zany and unpredictable fun. The side screens show the actual puppet show, but the audience can also see the puppeteers on stage working their magic and comedy for an uncensored view of what really goes on. Showtimes are at 8:30 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.
Into the Fog: A Scary Farm Tribute Art Show
The art show for diehard Scary Farm fans returns with one-of-a-kind art from various artists from across the country. You can find it at Cordy's Corner, to the left of the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. It’s also a great place to pick up Knott’s Scary Farm apparel and other fun souvenirs.
Invitation to Terror (New!)
This new digital illusion horror show is set in Calico in 1986. Millionaire Tom Shackleford is set to unveil a secret project that will change the world. This killer party is filled with terrifying surprises you will not see coming. We loved the 1986 humorous look at the future and special effects of this show. The seat to rest our tired legs and air conditioning were a purely blissful bonus. The show runs about every 20 minutes.
Wicked Drums (New!)
An evil hag from the Hollows hosts a percussion ritual to awaken the dead. It's sure to raise your spirits.
Doce de la Noche (New!)
At the stroke of midnight, head to the Fiesta Village stage to dance your feet off to high-energy music and electric dancers.
Carnaval Du Grotesque (New!)
Live bands set the sound to the creepiest company of performers to ever disgrace the stage. A cover band plays on the site of the former Hanging show. A little "Enter Sandman" fits the Scary Farm mood perfectly, IMO.
The Hanging is officially dead (but may return to its wicked roots as more of a show moment rather than a full show in future years).
For many years, Knott’s fans have looked forward to The Hanging show in Calico Square. Since the late 1980s, it's been a killer comedy and stunt show that is rife with pop culture references and ends in slaughtering and hanging celebrity offenders of the worst kind. But before that, the show featured a woman who was hanged for being a witch. As her story developed, Calico resident Sarah Marshall transformed into the Green Witch on the gallows. She cursed her neighbors, turning them into monsters, and vanished in a puff of smoke.
The Green Witch reappeared in mazes over the past few years, and her prequel backstory was featured in a new maze in 2019: Origins — The Curse of Calico. She also appeared in the 2019 version of The Hanging. We will see if a show moment hoppens in 2022.
Terrifying Tips for Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
If you want to see and do it all and make it through the night, here are our top tips:
- Buy the Fright Lane pass so you can skip the lines for mazes and rides with unlimited access (we were able to visit all mazes and several roller coasters with Fright Lane).
- Buy online early to save off front gate prices (online may be the only ticket option) and guarantee they don’t sell out the night you want to visit. People are ready for Knott's Scary Farm's return, so tickets for popular nights may sell out early.
- Leave kids under age 13 at home unless they absolutely love horror.
- Check the weather and dress in layers.
- Arrive early.
- If you have Early Entry with the Boo-fet, you can enjoy the unleashing of the monsters as you enter. You can access four mazes: Wax Works, The Depths, Paranormal, Inc. and Dark Entities 30 minutes before the crowds can enter.
- Arrive early for the Boo-fet. Check-in can be a long process.
- There are no more physical maps. Scan the QR code for the map and the Knott's Berry Farm app.
- If you cannot get Early Entry, start your journey far from the Ghost Town mazes, which were most crowded upon opening but got shorter as the night wore on. We recommend hitting Mesmer or Origins early.
- Stay hydrated! All of the screaming and walking can dry you out.
- Spend time in the Ghost Town Streets scare zone.
- Timber Mountain Log Ride Halloween Hootenanny is a family-friendly layover for both daytime and night. We did not see scare actors this year.
Frighteningly Delicious Food at Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
There are some fun and freaky foods available throughout the park during Knott’s Scary Farm. Keep your eyes peeled for special menu items, such as Mummy Dogs at Fiesta Dogs and the ever-so-terrifying Freaky Frog Legs at Strictly on a Stick (no, we NOT partake). We did, however, enjoy a Bobbing for Apple Macaron that had caramel inside (so good!) and candy corn trifle (both from Charleston Circle Coffe), and Murderous Midnight funnel cake with blueberry topping and gummy body parts.
Rules for Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
While there is no hard list of rules, masks are recommended indoors for all guests. It's good to practice some good conduct and common sense. Arrive early because parking traffic can be a living nightmare. Leave costume masks at home and leave the scare tactics to the scare actors. No touching! Scare actors are not allowed to touch you, and you are not allowed to touch or mistreat them. However, some creatures may get pretty close and snort or blow in your ear for extra creeps. Avoid flash photography. No line jumping is allowed. Enter Knott’s Scary Farm at your own risk — there are no refunds or re-entry. Most of all, enjoy yourself at the original Halloween theme park event that started them all!
Can Children Attend?
Even though Knott’s Scary Farm is a lot of fun, it’s not for everyone. It is recommended only for brave guests 13 and up (although we did encounter some young children who LOVE monsters and enjoyed it ... they are the exception to the rule). If you have little ones, we recommend you bring them instead to the kid-friendly Halloween festivities at Knott's Spooky Farm on weekends beginning Sept. 25 and through Halloween day. You can buy discounted daytime Knott’s Berry Farm tickets from your favorite frogs right here.
Knott’s Spooky Farm is a daytime event for children ages 3 to 11. It is included with regular admission to Knott’s Berry Farm and takes place from park opening until 5 p.m. Kids can dress in costume, participate in a costume cavalcade, see shows and even go trick-or-treating in Ghost Town.
What questions do you have about Knott's Scary Farm? Share in the comments below!