Scarefest at Alton Towers is a key event in the theme park & scare calendar. The spooky Halloween event returns in 2020 despite the pandemic and the recent cancellation of their Fireworks Spectacular.
This years event sees a slight reduction in the scare offering with 4 mazes. Darkest Depths, The Attic & Skin Snatchers return, whilst the previous Freak Show scare zone comes back in its own brand new outdoor Toxic Junkyard maze! The Alton Towers Dungeon is also open for extra screams.
There are no scare zones this year, however there are a few spooky projections around the park. The children’s show returns with an impressive stage on the lawns. For the first time, the gardens have been opened up after dark with an impressive setup of lights and audio to create an experience at the park like never before suitable for everyone.
To comply with COVID rules, all guests & actors have to wear a face covering in the attractions, we surprisingly found this didn’t noticeably detract from the experience. Social distancing means that you enter the maze only with your social bubble (up to 6 people), and reasonable gaps are left so you shouldn’t catch up with other groups; this actually makes the experience feel much improved from previous years where you’re sent in large groups and can miss many of the scares, even if the actors can’t get quite as close as usual!
“Enjoy some extra-spooky swashbuckling aboard ‘The Mutiny’, a notoriously spine-chilling ghost ship. Avoid the hazardous calls of the treacherous Sirens, dodge the swords of terrifyingly ghoulish pirate mutineers and come face to face with the Kraken!“
This returning attraction has received some changes and is in a new location next to Dark Forest. It’s a brilliant immersive experience aimed at families, but definitely suitable for adult groups too. The storyline and overall attention to detail in the themeing is excellent and really sets the scene for your journey through the Darkest Depths. For a family attraction it is surprisingly spooky in places with dark corridors and cleverly hidden actors, we do like how there is a mixture of theatrical speeches and jump scares throughout.
Scare: 5/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 8/10 – Overall: 21/30
The Attic: Terror Of The Towers
“Around here, people talk of the Governess – how she’s haunted by the death of her young charges, how she wants revenge, and how she’ll take it by seizing the spirits of the living in retribution. They say her ghost haunts The Attic…“
New for 2019, the attic has returned and has really benefitted from the covid reduced group sizes. We thoroughly enjoyed the experience and had many scares throughout. It’s a great mix of backstory and detailed themeing that really immerse you into what’s happening and make the characters you meet appear even creepier. The finale scene really left us trapped in the winding corridors and sinister actors both in front and behind us; even with social distancing the scares worked well.
Scare: 8/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 8/10 – Overall: 24/30
Altonville Mine Tours: Skin Snatchers
“The ‘Skin Snatchers’, we call them. Outcasts, their whole family. Rumours are they lived in that old mine. It’s deep and dark and the damp inside gives you the proper shivers. Just recently some fool reopened it – for tours! Be careful: they say those Skin Snatchers have a secret too horrifying for words…“
The highly detailed maze is back once again, and takes you on a realistic self guided tour into the mines. You meet a lot of the inhabitants on the way, though covid restrictions has had a negative effect on this maze, with more distanced actors meaning less intense scares. There’s also the removal of the headtorches, which made for a shorter experience as the first scenes you now walk straight through. The smaller groups do counteract some of the changes, which make you feel more exposed than before, but overall we feel this maze is the weakest.
Scare: 4/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 7/10 – Actors: 6/10 – Overall: 17/30
Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard
“After being hunted and chased away, the last of the Freak Show psycho clowns have gone into hiding, plotting in secret their next “BIG SHOW”. What for years appeared to be an old junkyard actually hides the secret that turns “townies” into evil carnies… Dare you volunteer to help stop their evil plan? Careful not to be captured though, or YOU will become the main attraction of the next show.“
The new attraction for this years Scarefest didn’t disappoint for us. We fortunately timed our maze time slot to experience this after dark and we’d definitely recommend to do the same to get the full experience with the lighting and scares. We loved how visually pleasing the maze looked, with so much going on and so much to see, throughout the different scenes. The actors used the space to their advantage and were really interactive toying with us as we ventured through the junkyard/funhouse. The finale was a real surprise and really ramped up the intensity with multiple chainsaws and no easy way to escape!
Scare: 8/10 – Themeing & Storyline: 8/10 – Actors: 9/10 – Overall: 25/30
Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls
“With luscious stretching lawns, vibrant beds and conservatory areas, Alton Towers Resort Gardens are well worth a visit in the daylight but wait till darkness falls and get ready to take the most otherworldly stroll of your life, but beware! A mysterious energy runs through the Gardens’ water; around here people say it brings lost souls back from the dead for all Hallows’ Eve… hear that whisper? Who knows you might have phant…astical company on the way!“
We’ve always wanted the gardens to be opened at night and thought they could be utilised for a scare attraction, but little did we know a family lights trail was exactly what was needed. We thoroughly enjoyed this walkthrough and were in awe the whole time with the colourful trees and twinkling fairy lights. Audio has also been added in certain sections, some with narrative and others with the whispering souls, it really does create an experience like never before at Alton Towers. The whole area of the gardens aren’t open, but a reasonable length walk has still been created, we really hope this returns and is expanded upon!
Overall this is one of our favourite Alton Towers Scarefest we’ve been to. Whilst it is lacking in scare zones impacting on the overall atmosphere, the maze experiences are definitely worthwhile, rides in the dark are looking fantastic, and it’s a perfect opportunity to experience the gardens after dark!
The Scarefest event is located inside the Alton Towers Theme Park and runs on selected dates until 1st November 2020. Ensure you have booked entry to the theme park, and maze attractions are paid for separately to the park entry.
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