To not do a Scare Maze is the scariest thing, apparently!
I'm probably talking to the minority here if I were to relay the fact that I am not a fan of scare mazes. I really enjoy dark ride haunted house rides (the scarier the better) but, it's the actor addition that I find really difficult to cope with. It was always a problem with me - and a bit of a conundrum - because one of my favourite brand of attractions has always been The Dungeons; which, let's face it, is an actor led horror maze - albeit, on a very slow scale.
So, I sat down and thought - what is it about the scare mazes that I don't like and, most importantly, what can I do to try and overcome the fear? I'll start with discussing the things of which I was scared. First of all, like many people, I hate having my personal space invaded. Secondly, I am not a fan of sudden loud noises. Thirdly, I have a very overactive imagination. However, then I thought: "Who DOESN'T have these fears?!" The whole point of a scare maze, much like most theme park attractions, is that we feel scared in a safe environment.
I can certainly compare the fear of scare mazes to the fear of going on a ride that goes upside down; it's a BIG step. For me - riding a ghost train was like riding a rollercoaster that had no loop - I was doing it aged 8! However... entering an actor inhabited scare maze for the first time is like making The Smiler - with its record breaking fourteen loops - your first upside down ride! Fans of rollercoasters and scare mazes will know - it's the wait that's the worst bit.
A week ago (I am writing this article in mid October) I decided to bite the bullet and joined a large group of friends for Thorpe Park's FRIGHT NIGHTS. It was a strange experience to go to Thorpe Park and not do any of the rides I was used to doing and to just do completely brand new experiences, and it reminded me why I love theme parks so much. Thorpe Park's FRIGHT NIGHTS sum up EVERYTHING theme parks are about for young adults - they're about sharing time with friends, laughing, being scared and then being proud of yourself.
So - here are my tips for surviving your first scare maze experience:
- Don't think about it before. I did - and it nearly tore my insides out with stress!
- Go with people you trust, and who have passion for the scare industry too. If you go with someone else who hates it, you'll probably just end up chickening out!
- Keep stating the bleedin' obvious to yourself: they're actors (none of them are really over thirty!) and they're there to see you scream and then smile! THEY WILL NOT HARM YOU. They can touch you at Thorpe Park, but who doesn't like being stroked on the shoulder by a stranger?
- Enjoy the theming. You're in a theme park - enjoy the sets, lighting, sound and atmosphere these unique attractions create!
- If you find it's all getting a bit too much inside the maze, keep looking straight ahead and continue walking. You're not allowed to stop inside the mazes, so - before you know it - it will be over.
- Don't forget to scream, laugh and smile! It's perfectly acceptable - and will help relieve lots of the stress!
I am sure there are many tips others can offer - so chuck them in the comments box down below. Of course, I can't speak for how to survive a US haunt - but, I understand, they're more reliant on technology than actor-led scares - so, I'll probably enjoy a US maze even more!
Do a scare maze - you won't regret it; it's like discovering a whole new genre of theme park attraction!