As darkness falls on the campus of the G-Star School of the Arts in Palm Springs, FL, mysterious things start to happen. You’ll notice a large group of high school students gathering around the school’s immense soundstage who appear at a distance to be quite average, until you get near.
Upon closer inspection, you will notice that some of the teens have apparently been infected with some sort of zombie apocalypse type illness. Others have the look of clowns who are just a bit askew. Others still are just a tad bit off; then again, they are teenagers, so how can you tell?
All of them together make up the cast of X-Scream Halloween. Now in their seventh season, the talented actors and actresses each have a hand in the design, layout, and execution of what has been billed as one of the world’s largest Halloween attractions. Under limited supervision from Mr. George Colavecchio, the event draws thousands of terrified locals and horror-tourists alike to the charter school to experience a small slice of movie magic.
This year, the attraction consists of three “houses,” a small midway complete with bounce house and bounce slide, and various merchandise and food vendors. I will rate each section based on its level of theming, and general scare factor. The ranking will be on a scale of 1-10.
Haunts (descriptions courtesy of http://www.xscreamhalloween.com)
Short Stalks Haunted Maze: How tall are you? Less than 48 inches? GREAT! An adventure – just for you – is here!
Shorty is a scarecrow. He’s not been very happy lately. It seems that there isn’t much call for a short scarecrow. After all, if corn grows to 6 feet or more, how would the birds see him? How would he scare them away? Not to worry – Shorty has a new job!
Tucked away in a corner of X-Scream Halloween is a cornfield made just for Shorty and his friends! Shorty knew you were coming so he did something special – just for you! Hidden in the corn maze are candy treats and surprises – all you have to do is find them!
So kids come on down – check your height at the door. Forty-eight inches, and not one skooch more! Leave the grownups behind – you won’t need them here. It’s all in fun with nothing to fear!
Scare Factor: 0
(This is the children’s maze of X-Scream Halloween. Housed in an open area, with parental viewing on the side, kids are guided through the maze by a student farmer, who helps them by giving them candy along the way. If you bring a little one with you, this should be your first stop.)
The Werehouse: Full disclosure – that’s what they said. Trust us, we’re the government – that’s what they said. Ancient artifacts saved for centuries – abnormal creatures hidden and protected from harm by the government – but now a collapsed system has unleashed it ALL!
Hidden deep within the secure facility, hundreds of evil artifacts lie contained and shielded. The world is safe. Or is it?
Someone has broken in and, in an attempt to possess the invaluable objects, destroyed the very barriers that kept us safe.
Now the powers that have been dormant for so long have been unleashed – can you stop them?
Abnormals. Were-creatures, mermaids, reptilians, sirens and more. Creatures of legend and myth. We’ve all seen them. Our brains are simply conditioned not to retain what our eyes have witnessed. Basic species preservation.
Beyond the artifact section of the facility – hidden even more securely – lays the Abnormal area. Many are kept here to ensure their own safety. Others lie behind lock and key to protect mankind. Many wish to possess them.
Was the chaos in the artifact section merely a distraction to allow the abduction of Abnormals? What lies in store for our world if they get out – if the power of the artifacts is set loose – ALL AT THE SAME TIME? Maybe the Mayans were right after all!
Scare Factor: 8.5
(Housed in air conditioned comfort inside the school’s massive soundstage, this display of all the mythical creatures you can think of is almost on par with some of the ‘big guys’ you’ll find in the major theme parks. An experienced para-military guide guides you through the maze, and if you are frightened by enclosed places, darkness, and loud noises, this may not be the place for you! )
Zombie Pandemic: Beware of the occupants of the bus parking area at X-Scream Halloween. The Zombie Apocalypse is at hand, and you’re only protection is a small caliber handgun, and your will to live. Be warned, however. Zombies live here!
Scare factor: 10
(As you wander through the bus parking at the G-Star School of the Arts, you know something wicked is afoot. The fact you are following a trained zombie hunter adds to the suspense as well. As long as you follow the guide’s directions to the letter, you may make it out alive!)
X-Scream Halloween isn’t only about the houses. It also excels at makeup and costume design, as is evident by the numerous scareactors who wander throughout the attraction. There are insane clowns, zombies, and other creatures that must be seen to be believed. Most of them are eager to be photographed, since their souls have already been forsaken into the netherworld.
The G-Star School is located at 2030 South Congress Avenue, Palm Springs, Florida 33406 (One block south of Forest Hill Blvd on Congress.) Tickets are $11 for adults, and $6 for children, with discount coupons still available from Florida Haunted Houses.com.
The event only has one night left to scare the living daylights out of everyone who has yet to journey into the darkness that is X-Scream Halloween. The park opens on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 6:30 p.m., with the box office remaining open until 11:00 p.m. On Halloween night, guests have the opportunity to travel through the haunted attraction with nothing between themselves and total darkness but a small penlight. For those of you who are brave enough to face their fears by travelling through 18,000 square feet of pure terror, you can reserve your trip into madness by checking out their website.
Remember that Halloween is a time for fun and frivolity. It is a time to come out of your shell, and to acknowledge the mischievous spirit that resides within all of us. Be sure to keep following this column for news on other spooky events in the Palm Beaches and beyond. If you know of another local event that needs more press, please tell me about it!