Scarefest got underway at Alton Towers Resort last weekend, bringing with it a whole host of spine-tingling attractions and spooktacular family fun. TowersTimes rounds-up what’s on offer at this year’s event.
The main attractions are of course the scare mazes, with this year’s maze line-up unchanged from 2020. Following its debut last year, Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard makes a return, in its location behind the Games Bunker. The notable change for this year is that the main area of the maze has been enclosed, with the erection of a scaffold structure, in order to make the maze more weather-proof. Back for a third year is both The Attic: Terror of the Towers and Darkest Depths, giving guests another opportunity to enjoy the detailed sets that these mazes offer. After previously being marketed as a family maze, Darkest Depths has this year been promoted as a fourth scare maze, although no major changes have been made to the experience. The final maze to make a return is Altonville Mine Tours: Uncover the Legend of the Skin Snatchers, now in its sixth year, making it the second longest-running scare maze at the Resort after Terror of the Towers. It continues to be the case that the Haunted Lantern helmets are no longer being used, but this remains a strong part of the line-up. For eligible guests, Alton Towers have added Ride Access Pass entrances to the mazes not located in the Towers themselves – Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard and Darkest Depths.
The new addition for 2021 is the interactive family attraction, Trick O’ Treat Town. This indoor walkthrough is located in the area which previously housed the Great Glass Elevator finale of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Ride. Providing a trick or treat experience with a quirky Alton Towers twist, inside guests start by taking a walk down Spooky Avenue before moving onto houses in Treat Street, Witchy Woods, The Graveyard and The Hill. Paper bags are handed out at the start of the attraction so that the sweet treats that the town’s residents hand out after knocking on each door can be collected. As has come to be expected, this attraction features some wonderful sets, which are sure to delight younger guests.
Arguably an unexpected highlight of last year’s event, Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls returns to illuminate the gardens in an array of colourful lights and projections. With work also recently completed on the historic Banqueting Hall window at the front of the Towers themselves, the Resort have also taken the opportunity this year to light them so as to show off this fantastic feature.
An established part of Scarefest is also the family shows and entertainment, which can this year be found on the Front Lawns stage that has been used throughout the 2021 season. As well as including the traditional shows from the Freaky Five, a mix of live vocals and dance is provided by Sin Bin. The Alton Ancestors also make a return with an updated dance routine, being found on Towers Street in the morning and Fountain Square later in the day. In CBeebies Land, younger guests can once again enjoy the CBeebies Land Monster Ball, featuring all of their favourite characters.
The food and beverage units seen on the Front Lawns during Oktoberfest have once again been retained, making this area a combined food and entertainment hub. In the Mutiny Bay Courtyard, the outdoor bar area is now being used as an extension of The Welcom-Inn. A range of Scarefest merchandise is also available in Towers Trading, with a popular new addition for this year being plushes of the Freaky Five characters.
Towers Street is decorated with its traditional colourful bunting and scarecrow characters, as well as the ride-themed pumpkins and main Scarefest sign. At night, it is further enhanced by projections of the Scarefest logo on the floor. Although the dancing skeletons have given way to the newly restored window, the troupe of ghosts do make a return. Nightfall also provides an opportunity to experience the theme park’s rides in the dark!
Overall, this year ultimately see Alton Towers apply the tried and tested Scarefest formula to deliver what remains a solid all-round Halloween event. Whilst we did find Darkest Depths to be light on actors during our run-through, the other three mazes were all strong. Nonetheless, it does feel as though the maze line-up now requires changing-up, to keep the event feeling fresh. It also remains the case that the event would benefit from more park-wide Halloween theming, although, given its scale, this understandably brings its challenges.
Tickets for the Resort’s scare mazes can be purchased either online or from the Resort Box Office. A combination ticket for Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard, The Attic: Terror of the Towers, Altonville Mine Tours: Uncover the Legend of the Skin Snatchers, and Darkest Depths, costs £30, with annual passholders able to obtain a 20% discount on this price. Individual scare maze tickets can be purchased on-the-day for £8 each. Trick O’ Treat Town costs £10 per bag, with all adults (anyone aged 12 and above) required to purchase one bag each to go through, although each adult can share one bag with up to 2 children (aged 11 and under). The cost does seem high, when considered relative to the price of the scare mazes.
Scarefest runs at Alton Towers Resort on the 8th-10th and 15th-31st October, with the theme park open 10am – 9pm on these dates. Will you be paying a visit this year? Share your thoughts over on the Attraction Source Forum.