Full disclosure: I hate Halloween and always have. I hate being scared, chased, or frightened, so Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I hate how some people make Halloween even scarier than it already is.
When I was considering topics for this month’s blog post, I decided to conquer my fear and write about an event I have been avoiding for years: Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Fright Fest.
I used to work at Fiesta Texas in my PK (Pre-Kids) Days, so I reached out to a friend and former coworker who still works at the park for all the details. She sent me the press release, along with some complimentary tickets, so my husband and I sneaked away to Fiesta Texas on a Sunday evening in September to experience the “Must-Do Halloween Event of the Year.”
The first thing I noticed was how early in the year I was celebrating Halloween. Typically, I don’t start until October 20 or so, and all festivities end at midnight on November 1 (or whenever I finish all the candy I have hidden from my children). What was I doing celebrating so early? Well, this year, Fright Fest runs for eight weekends as well as the entire week of Halloween—a full 27 days of Halloween fun. Although it technically began on September 13, Fright Fest still has 18 nights of thrills, scares, haunts, and fun left to enjoy this season.
This year, there are five monstertainment shows, six haunted houses, and five scare zones to enhance guests’ experience and get you in the Halloween spirit. In addition to these special attractions, the majority of the rides are in operation, including The Joker: Carnival of Chaos, SUPERMAN: Krypton Coaster, WONDER WOMAN Golden Lasso Coaster, and our two favorites, Goliath, a steel roller coaster with loops, and the iconic Iron Rattler.
Upon arriving at the park, my husband and I grabbed the 2019 Fright Guide, which details show start times and the location of every haunted house and scare zone. This guide is a must if you want to make the most of your day at the park. It includes a key that denotes whether each attraction is rated General Audience, Parental Guidance Suggested, or Not Intended for Children Under 12.
Know Before You Go
Check the park operating schedule so you can arrive in time to do everything you want. The Fright Guide has a disclaimer at the bottom that states, “Fright Fest begins at 6:00 P.M. and we will show no mercy,” so be sure to plan accordingly if you are visiting with younger children who may scare easily.
During Fright Fest, Six Flags features four stage shows and one special show. My husband and I arrived a little before 6:00 P.M. and planned on seeing the House of Bones II show, which is sure to delight as you “fall under a cursed spell as [they] present a selection of songs inspired from the shrouded sorcery of the crescent city.” Unfortunately, we were delayed getting off of a ride and showed up to the theater at 6:01 P.M. An employee informed us that due to the darkness of the theater, no admittance would be allowed after the show begins. Although we were disappointed, we understood the reason. The Fright Guide’s disclaimer suggests arriving 15 minutes early and that no further admittance will be accepted after doors close. Take it from me: they mean this.
We were, however, able to take advantage of watching Noche De Los Muertos and Creature Feature II: Monsters in Paradise. The latter was very family friendly, and I think my three-year-old would have enjoyed watching the show with us. Noche De Los Muertos is categorized as “Parental Guidance Suggested,” but I did not find it scary. Whenever I see a show at Fiesta Texas, I am always astounded by the amount of talent that we have in San Antonio. The performers and musicians are all so talented and really engage the audience. I strongly recommend seeing a live action show when you visit Fright Fest to get you in the Halloween spirit.
The Arrival is the special show offered during Fright Fest, and I’d heard it was one of the best parts. My friend and former co-worker said that this attraction is very popular and shouldn’t be missed. After seeing it, I completely agree. At 7:00 P.M., the Fiesta Texas train rolls into the station in Crackaxle Canyon, releasing monsters, ghouls, skeletons, henchmen, and creatures of the underworld to disperse throughout the park. Although the Fright Guide says that Fright Fest begins at 6:00 P.M., to me, this was the start of the scary potion of our evening. Once the train unloads the characters, they scatter to different haunted houses and scare zones located throughout the park. Even though there were a lot of kids still at the park during The Arrival, this attraction was pretty scary for me and I would not recommend it for children under 12 or adults who are scared easily.
Six haunted attractions overtake the park in 2019 and star as the main attractions of Fright Fest. If you have visited Fright Fest before, the haunted attractions are different this year in that you must pay extra to access them. A wristband is needed for entry to each house, and kiosks are located throughout the park for you to purchase a haunted houses wristband. There are two basic levels of admission to the haunted houses: general admission and skip-the-line passes. You can also gain unlimited haunted house access with a Diamond Elite Membership Season Pass. Because our visit to Fiesta Texas doubled as a date night, my husband and I decided to splurge and buy skip-the-line passes. We justified this by rationalizing the cost of an extra hour or two of babysitting if we’d had to stand in line with the price of the higher haunted house skip-the-line passes.
With the exception of the Blood Bayou Haunted Trail, which opens at 7:30 P.M., all of the other haunted houses open at 6:00 P.M., so you have plenty of time to take advantage of during operating hours. We enjoyed four haunted houses: Midnight Museum of the Macabre, Buried Alive Haunted House, Slaughterhouse 6 Haunted House, and Blood Bayou Haunted Trail. They are all very scary, and I would not recommend them for anyone under 12—even 12 seems like a stretch (the Fright Guide has this same recommendation). The houses were professionally decorated and expertly done, but the blood, guts, and gore within the walls turned my stomach a little.
Before you walk through the haunted houses you are given the rules: don’t take out your cell phones; stay with your group; and most importantly, do not touch the actors and they will not touch you. Knowing that no one would touch me made me feel a little more at ease as I clutched my husband’s arm throughout each haunted house. Actors pop out to scare guests, fake screams are simulated through speakers, and some really cool projectors illuminate the floor with frightening images as you are walking to enhance your experience. In one haunted house, we walked over slithering snakes—I was terrified by the “realness” of them. The amount of technology used in the haunted houses was both horrifying and impressive. Overall, I am glad we purchased skip-the-line passes because we walked right in to every haunted house we visited and were pleased with the scares we experienced in each house.
To further channel your inner ghoul, five scare zones are stationed throughout the park and are included with park admission. These are high-traffic pedestrian areas: each offers a different theme, complete with its own monsters, ghouls, zombies, and other scary creatures that are impossible to avoid as you walk through. Because they are frightening additions to Fright Fest, Six Flags recommends that parents accompany kids through the scare zones. They open nightly at 7:30 P.M., so avoid these areas if you plan on leaving the park early. Every scare zone is marked on the Fright Guide. You can probably avoid them if you take alternate routes, but in the name of journalistic research, we walked through every scare zone as we roamed the park. They were definitely scary and well-themed, but due to the high foot traffic in those areas and the amount of creatures per guests, we were able to walk through the zones without having creatures follow us or get too close. Confession: This also could have been due to my borderline gallop through each scare zone.
The actors’ costumes and makeup are flawless and lifelike, which can make Fright Fest scary for children and even some squeamish adults. Although I don’t know your own family’s comfort level with Halloween and the scare factor that comes with it, I would not recommend the nighttime activities for anyone with young children. The only true kid-friendly attraction other than the show Creature Feature II: Monsters in Paradise, is the Twick or Tweet Meet-and-Greet, which offers kids the chance to see their favorite Looney Tunes characters in costume in the Sangerfest Halle on Saturdays and Sundays from noon–5:00 P.M. We unfortunately missed this due to our arrival time at the park, but I think it would have topped my list of favorite things from the day because I love taking pictures with all of the Looney Tunes characters.
All in all, my husband and I had a wonderful evening at Fiesta Texas during Fright Fest. I did reach my maximum scare level, but spacing out time between haunted houses and scare zones helped me to realize none of the scary elements were real. Despite my initial fears and reservations, I had fun. If you’re looking for a fun, scary activity to celebrate Halloween this year, be sure to add Fright Fest to your list!