My father took me to my first Halloween scare-fest when I was in 7th grade. Since then, I have visited many of the surrounding parks and events that all claim to offer the “scariest” experience with just the right amount of fun included. This year, however, I was invited by my best friend and his family to attend the Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, for the first time.
I admit, I was a bit hesitant at first. I couldn’t possibly believe that anything could top the scare factor of Knott’s Scary Farm and the high-quality mazes from Hollywood Horror Nights but to surprise, it topped them both.
It became increasingly apparent to me throughout the span of the night that the Queen Mary is the ultimate location to hold a Halloween-themed event. The eerie echoes and cold, damp feel that exists within the ship’s lower decks provides the perfect setting for raising adrenaline levels to a maximum.
In addition to the already creepy vibe coming from the ship, there are groups of “scaracters” that wander the ship’s hull whose job is solely to fright and taunt you. They’re all dressed in costume and covered in elaborate make-up to fit the theme of their assigned maze.
Dark Harbor is evidently smaller than other Halloween celebrations that take place in surrounding large-scaled theme parks, but still manages to put up a fair fight against its competition. The sheer quality of Dark Harbor’s mazes and decorations are enough to argue against attractions such as Knott’s Scary Farm, which have been around for more than quadruple the time of Dark Harbor.
The only complaint I was left with at the end of the night was the restroom situation. The only available restrooms were porta potties, which, depending on the person, can be a deal breaker.
One of the most substantial benefits that Dark Harbor holds over its competitors is the price for general admission. For just over $30, a patron can experience what is arguably the best Halloween thrill in Southern California. Hollywood Horror Nights, in comparison, can run up to $100 on peak nights.
After nearly seven hours spent in Dark Harbor, I came to the definite conclusion that it was the ultimate Halloween scare-fest. No matter how sore my feet felt, I was leaving extremely satisfied and eager to return the next year.