Halloween just got even more terrifying as Alton Towers unleashed their most frightening Scarefest to date.
The annual celebration of all things spooky pushes guests to their limits as only the bravest take on the haunting scare mazes and ride the rollercoasters at night.
Because here at UNILAD we ain’t afraid of no ghost, I was the chosen one to test if this year’s attractions really were scary – and I’m still shaking now.
— Alton Towers Resort (@altontowers) October 29, 2017
With the park being open until late into the night, you are able to ride all your favourite rollercoasters including The Smiler and Thirteen in the dark which just makes the experiences even more intense.
The grounds are decorated from top to bottom with creepy pumpkins and spiders’ webs and with plenty of spookily dressed live actors to interact with dotted about the park, you really will get into the Halloween spirit.
However, the best and most terrifying parts of Scarefest are definitely the mazes which really will test your nerves.
— Alton Towers Resort (@altontowers) October 28, 2017
This year, three old mazes are ready to make you jump out of your skin as well as one new one that is the creepiest and most immersive yet.
Fan favourites Terror of the Towers, Sub Species and the Altonville Mine Tours have all made a return and are proving as popular as ever.
To test the water I decided to enter the oldest scare maze, Terror of the Towers to see what exactly lay within.
This year the scares in the award winning maze are seriously ramped up as you are confronted by monsters that get really close as you attempt to escape from the dark and claustrophobic tunnels.
Leaving the maze I was that shaken I did not dare to enter Sub Species and the Altonville Mine Tours fearing they may just give me a heart attack.
The Mine Tours sees you enter the deep underground which was once believed to be home to a group of outcasts only known as ‘Skin Snatchers’ while Sub Species is the park’s most ambitious scare maze to date with multiple routes, periods of intense darkness and varying endings.
In this maze all rules about the actors not being able to touch you are very much off as you are pulled and pushed from scene to scene.
New for 2017 is The Welcoming, a scare maze which acts as a prequel to Alton Towers’ latest rollercoaster, known only as SW8, which is due to open next year.
The park’s resident ‘Scare Expert’ Simon, yes that really is his job title, spoke to UNILAD about Scarefest’s latest addition.
Essentially you are meeting a group who live in the woods of Staffordshire and they have only just become aware of the outside world.
They live off the land and and every year they have their own version of Halloween, which is a celebration of the crossing of the worlds of the living and the dead.
You, as an outsider, have been chosen to become a part of their festival.
The Welcoming gives a ‘hint of what is to come’ from the park’s latest rollercoaster, something Simon was unable to tell us much about except that it is ‘wooden’ and ‘very natural’.
Incredibly proud of the latest maze, Simon told us it is ‘the most impressively immersive environment we have built’.
The story starts right from the queue line.
You are set up to leave the outside world behind you and open up to a beautifully flamboyant festival that is overly happy with sinister undertones.
As you dig deeper you start to realise things aren’t quite what they seem and you meet some strange villagers.
It is an absolute onslaught on all of your senses.
He couldn’t be more right!
Set outside, the maze makes use of the natural environment to give you the most intense experience possible that will give you nightmares for weeks.
The live actors do an outstanding job at being creepy, coming out of nowhere to give you the fright of your life dressed in straw and mud.
The park decided to give me a heart rate monitor to see how frightened I was during the maze and the results were off the scale.
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My normal resting heart rate is 69 beats per minute (BPM) but during the maze this jumped up to around 130 BPM and even reached 170 BPM when I was most terrified.
My heart rate reached this peak during a section of the maze that saw the villagers put a hood over my head as I made my way down a secret passageway with only a rope to guide me.
Although this section only lasted a couple of minutes it seemed to go on for forever and I couldn’t wait to escape from the darkness and creepy hands that were grabbing my ankles and stroking my hands as I struggled down the path.
— Alton Towers Resort (@altontowers) October 18, 2017
I kept saying to myself ‘don’t worry, remember these are just actors’ but as the hood was taken off my head and I was confronted by some rather horrifying villagers, I made a run for the exit desperate to escape.
Trust me, this maze really is only for the brave.
Scarefest is on at Alton Towers until Tuesday 31st October. Tickets are available to purchase on their website.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.