On Thursday 23rd October 2014 Theme Park Guide where invited to the media night of Howl'o'ween at Chessington World Of Adventures Resort. We started the evening outside the lodge gate near the hotel car park where we were greeted by Chessington staff who directed us to the side entrance, upon walking to the entrance we spotted lots of eyes watching us. Cardboard eyes have been placed all around the park.
After being briefed about the evening we were given a wrist band and could wonder around the area whilst we waited for other people to arrive. When we waited outside the gate there were stick insects and cockroaches that brave adventures and adults could handle. The stick insects where a big hit with the children however it would seem that most people where to scarred to handle the cockroaches. During the event Seastorm, Black Buccaneer, The Vampire and all of the mazes where open, with the rest of the park sealed off for the night.
6:15pm came and it was time to go into the park. We started walking towards the chicken shack and we were greeted by 5 roaming vampires and a vampiress who welcomed us to Hall'o'ween and told us to follow her. By this time the five roaming vampire where walking around everyone setting the mood for the evening. We stopped just outside the chicken shack entrance and where we were invited in for a 'bite to eat.'
Inside the restaurant were more eyes watching over us, pumpkin punch and the chance to trail Chessington's Howl'o'ween Scare-vice Menu. The menu is a three course platter contain a platter os salt and vinegar crickets, dried locusts and curried meal work with sweet ghost chilli and soy dipping cause. For the main was Howl'o'ween pumpkin and goats cheese salad tossed with pumpkin seeds and an infusion of garlic fried bugs and ginger.
Dessert was creepy crawly cupcakes made with cricket flour and dehydrated ant butter cream and toffee and mealworm ice cream. Within our group we tried all of the items apart from the cupcakes and have to say its not as bad as it sounds! We found our selfs going back for seconds on the meal worms. During our time in the Chicken Shack other food was available from the temporary buffet set up for the evening which includes jacket potato’s, rice and curry. As well as drinks from the bar and pumpkin juice. Everything in the Chicken shack was themed from the eyes on the walls to the halloweeney napkins. When everyone had finished eating and taking photos of the cupcakes we were given an official welcome speech, welcoming us to the media night of Howl'o'ween.
The speech was short lived and was interrupted by the Pumpkin High show crew coming in and entertaining everyone. Billy Bug, Batty Betty, Katia Kat and Werewolf Will stormed in and kicked off the evening. With Billy Bug taking centre stage and introducing everyone, running around the room high-fiving people. We then got told to get all of our belongings together and headed out to Market Square.
Market Square was given a huge makeover at the start of this year which ment that the location of the show had to be moved. Now positioned at the back of Market Square to the right of the entrance to Pizza Pasta the show venue plays hosts to two new shows for 2014. Pumpkin High School of Rock and The Hairy and Scary Show, along with the fancy dress competition. In the middle of Market Square was a spooky tree full of theming such as a Skeleton and tomb stones with a crow in the tree. The shop and pizza pasta have been all dressed up for the event with colourful lights attached to the buildings.
With music playing from the Nightmare before christmas it was time to preview the Pumpkin High School of Rock show. Billy Bob plays the host of the show where three acts sing it off against each other in a all singing all dancing halloween themed show where the audience decides who wins! The show lasts for 15 minutes and requires a guest judge from the audience to decide the winner. With some adult humour to keep adults happy the show is very entertaining. The act with the loudest applause wins the 475th show at the Academy. With songs such as Thriller and Heads will roll its well worth a watch if you get a chance. For a recording off the show please see our video below.
After the show everyone was given the choice of going to Hocus Pocus Hall first for those younger adventures or going to The Haunting In The Hollows. Whilst walking down towards the entrance for the maze we noticed that the park has added 4 lights to the entrance towers of Transylvania. Two at the entrance side and two to the exit side.
The Haunting in the hollows is back and is better than ever with more actors than we have ever seen in the maze. The maze still follows the same story as last year where the villagers is covering up a dark secret. Count Dracula is somewhere lurking in the shadows! With some of the actors making a return for the third year in a row its nice to see some familiar faces in the maze. Acting throughout the maze was very good with actors picking on everyone in the group rather than just the one that are scared.
After waiting for the rest of our group to go through the maze we all met up for a couple of night rides on the Black Buccaneer and The Vampire. With the park concentrating on night time lighting this year the park looks better than ever with the Vampire all lit up and the Black Buccaneer looking amazing in the dark. After meeting up with the other group in Transylvania we saw a trick or treat cart in the area where little ones could put their hands into three mystery boxes one containing a plastic spider and the others containing other items. The trick or treat cart is free to try. After riding the vampire a few times in the pitch black it was time to see what the mystery of hocus pocus hall was like this year.
The Mystery of Hocus Pocus Hall was our last maze of the evening and was the same as last year. With lots of improvements throughout the maze it was a smash hit last year and we expect it to be very successful again. With projection mapping in the maze the park hasn't cut any corners again with no Hocus Pocus Hall theming viewable the attraction has been transformed. With very talented actors the maze is one of our all time favourites and is one that we hope to see stay at the resort for a long time. With actors now in the final scene (the mirror maze.) Theres no section of where something isn't happening and your just walking through on your own.
Overall we think that Howl'o'ween is going to be very successful this year with the resort spending lots of time with the lighting of attractions and setting up of the mazes. The event runs from 24th October till 2nd November 2014 and is open from 10am till 8pm daily throughout the event.