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. (Technically, 2020 should have been year 48, but it was canceled due to the pandemic.)
It's been a nail biter, waiting for news of Knott's Scary Farm to be announced. But the dates and some of the details are in! Knott's Scary Farm will run on select nights from Sept. 16 through Oct. 31, 2021. The 2021 scare zones have been announced. We are still waiting for specific 2021 maze information to emerge from the fog. Tickets go on sale Aug. 16, 2021.
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.
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! We usually count on a few new mazes and returning favorites, too. We're looking back at 2019 details to see how to predict and prepare for the Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Halloween Haunt, although we expect operations to run a little differently in 2021 due to the pandemic.
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 usually operates from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. on select Thursdays and Sundays. The park is also typically open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Specific hours and dates are still to come. Tickets are on sale Aug. 16, 2021. However, Knott's berry Farm hotel packages are booking now, and they include Knott's Scary Farm tickets.
Knott's Scary Farm 2019 dates (we will share updated 2021 dates as soon as they are announced):
- Sept. 19, 20, 21, 26, 27, 28
- Oct. 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 31
- Nov. 1, 2
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.
Best Knott's Scary Farm 2021 ticket options (to come):
Tickets for Knott's Scary Farm 2021 tickets are on sale Aug. 16, 2021, although Knott's season passholders could purchase a Knott's Scary Farm add-on with access to every night of Scary Farm in 2021 for $95. However, by the time that Knott's Scary Farm dates were announced, this option was listed as "sold out." Well, those went scary fast!
You'll find a variety of ticket options. 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 up to $41 off the front gate price. There are discounts for annual passholders. Here's a look at 2019 tickets and options:
- Single night (as low as $43 online at least 24 hours in advance).
- Knott’s Scary Farm Pass ($100) with unlimited access to all 26 nights. It is usually available while supplies last, and, in July, it is already listed as "sold out!"
- Fright Lane & Fast Lane ($90 and up, but does not include admission) includes unlimited priority access to all mazes and Fast Lane rides.
- Admission + Fright Lane & Fast Lane ($125 and up) covers admission, plus unlimited priority access to all mazes and Fast Lane rides.
- Boo-fet dinner and Early Entry with one digital photo download with a monster at the Boo-fet ($34.99, must purchase admission separately).
- Scary Farm All Inclusive Ticket ($157.99 and up) includes Scary Farm admission, parking, Fright & Fast Lane and Boo-fet dinner with Early Entry.
- Online parking is as low as $22; Scary Farm Pass Parking Add-On is $70.
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 definitely 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.
What are the Fast Lane rides? Rides offering Fast Lane during Knott's Scary Farm in 2019 included:
- Coast Rider
- Montezooma’s Revenge
- Silver Bullet
- Pony Express
- Supreme Scream
- Sierra Sidewinder
- Voyage to the Iron Reef
- Calico Mine Ride
- Calico River Rapids
- La Revolucion
Rides without Fast Lane included:
- Sol Spin
- Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars
- Timber Mountain Log Ride: Halloween Hootenanny
Guests can experience the thrills in the shadows as many rides are in the dark! Plus, HangTime has red and green lighting system to match the CarnEVIL scare zone.
Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Scare Zones (Confirmed for 2021)
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 were four scare zones in Knott's Scary Farm in 2019 (and they are all re-emerging from grave in 2021):
- 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.
- 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 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.
If you get Early Entry with a Boo-fet dinner, you can see all the monsters from all of the scare zones in one place as they are released into the park. 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.
Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Mazes
We expect to hear more about 2021 mazes later this summer. There were two new mazes in 2019. The other seven were continuing mazes, carried over from the previous year (kind of like that recurring nightmare you can't escape), along with a few new horrors and effects.
The new mazes for 2019 were:
Origins — The Curse of Calico
Find out what happens when they combine classic Knott's Scary Farm elements, such as the Ghost Town Streets and The Hanging, into an all-new 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 unleashed the hidden demons and monsters of the Calico citizens. The special effects (from water, to fog, to electrics, to flying effects) left us spellbound.
This new maze was a big favorite with our Frog Squad. The entertainment outside the maze immerses you into the story and the scares inside the maze are legit.
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. This maze was not a froggy favorite.
Returning mazes for Knott's Scary Farm 2019 included:
This maze resurfaced from 2018, 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. New for 2019, a freight elevator show scene has been added.
Enter the second year of this maze for an extra-terrestrial 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.
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. In 2019, you'll take a trip through the added control room. Parents know that the scariest part of theme park rides is the exit through the souvenir shop. My wallet wants to avoid that journey, but an all-new dreaded gift shop was added to the end of this dark ride.
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 ranked really high in 2018 and 2019. It is located in The Hollow scare zone just inside the entrance to the park. We found this maze with a shorter 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.
Special Ops: Infected (not expected to return for 2021)
If you have never done this maze and love laser tag games, then this is a priority maze of the night because the line can get long. This was also its farewell season, so we won't see this one return. Your mission will take you through a convenience store and meat-packing warehouse. We can never get enough of this fun maze. It's not as scary as other mazes because it's well lit and you can shoot the zombies. Being part of the action makes this maze come alive, not unlike the undead.
Arrive as soon as possible to join the army in fighting zombies. Don’t worry — they’ll arm you with cutting-edge laser guns. Face off against hordes of more ravenous zombies than ever before in bloody streets. This high-tech, innovative experience will thrust you into the middle of a live-action video game complete with live actors, a real-time scoring system and more interactive targets and surprises around every corner. The attraction is one of the largest mazes ever created in Knott’s Scary Farm history, so form your squad and put your zombie apocalypse survival skills to the test in this action-packed, one-of-a-kind experience. We had to duck and get low in some areas, so this maze was a bit more physically challenging than others. No reservation or special ticket required, but we recommend hitting this maze ASAP. Sir, yes, Sir! Get moving, soldier!
This maze also died out, with 2019 being the year it died by the sword. Enter the hair-raising Shadow Lands maze and fight off demon samurais whose souls are cursed to rot within the depths of purgatory. Guests will embark on a quest through a sacred shrine, an ancient Japanese temple and into the midst of the Shadow Lands. There were not many changes from 2017, so this maze did not rank among our favorites in 2018 or 2019. If you have to slice a maze out, this might be a good one to cut if you have already seen it in years past.
Featuring high-flying aerial stunts and scares, Paranormal, Inc. sends guests investigating 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, this one has a lot of really fun elements and special effects that make it a can’t miss, especially since it had a much shorter line than the surrounding mazes (at least on opening night of 2019). This maze has been around a few years, but it's still toadally worth going through.
Knott's Scary Farm Must-See Shows
When you need a break from the mazes and terrifying scare zones, shows can offer some comic relief. There's an all-new puppet show as well as some returning entertainment.
New in 2019 was the improvisational adult puppet show, Brian Henson's Puppet Up! — Uncensored. Audience members can offer suggestions that the puppeteers must act out with puppets onstage for zany and unpredictable fun. The screens to the sides show the 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.
Every year, Knott’s fans look forward to The Hanging show in Calico Square. In 2019, the theme, Shhh...It Happens, offers plenty of political comedy and favorite (or least favorite) musicians and movie characters from the past year. The show looks back at the year’s pop culture and news stories with killer comedy rife and special effects, pyrotechnics and stunts. Aren’t you dying to know whom they will be hanging this year? The Hanging occurs at 8 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 11 p.m.
The art show returns — Into the Fog: A Scary Farm Tribute Art Show — with one-of-a-kind art from 40 artists at Bizarre Bazaar, a pop-up merchandise location located across the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. It’s also a great place to pick up Knott’s Scary Farm apparel and other fun souvenirs.
For magical, comic relief, guests can watch CONJURE — Magic and Mirth in the Birdcage Theatre. Award-winning magicians and CW’s Masters of Illusion regulars take the stage to amaze and amuse on select nights. You can catch the show at 8:15 p.m., 9:30 p.m., 11:15 p.m. and 12:30 a.m.
Awaken the Dead — Guests can jam to popular music with candy skull dancers at this nonstop dance party in Fiesta Village.
Survival Tips for Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
If you want to see and do it all and make it through the night, here is our survival guide:
- 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 the Knott's Scary Farm 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.
- Grab a map when you enter for maze, scare zone and ride locations, as well as showtimes.
- Looks for photo wall locations around the park!
- 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.
- Stay hydrated! All of the screaming and walking can dry you out.
- Skip The Hanging this year to save time unless you are a die-hard fan.
- 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, with additional scares for Knott's Scary Farm guests.
Halloween Foods for Knott’s Scary Farm
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 Smoked Bat Wings (taste like chicken) at Boardwalk BBQ, Cockroach Bites at Gourmet Churro Factory, Pumpkin Milkshake at Coasters Diner or Bloody Eyeball Boba from Gourmet Coffee Hut. Pick up the guide to get a full list of offerings.
Rules for Knott’s Scary Farm 2021
While there is no hard list of rules, we expect there will be mandatory face coverings and physical distancing in 2021. 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 and on 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 4:30 p.m. Kids can dress in costume, participate in a costume contest, see a "Monsters Are Coming, Charlie Brown" show, and even go trick-or-treating in Ghost Town.
What questions do you have about Knott's Scary Farm? Share in comments below!