My friends and colleagues from Pixar had the awesome idea of spending the weekend at the Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights. The park is located in Los Angeles, so we needed to hire a van that could fit all seven of us. The trip was fantastic, a brilliant excuse to drive down and to see places like Monterey and Big Sur, where the fog, the Sun and the wind contributed to providing an ever changing coastal landscape. The cliffs and the forests were at times breathtaking.
The park opened at 7pm, just after sunset, and it felt very different than it did in other occasions. The darkness was made worse by layers of thick artificial fog, and within it numerous dark figures lurked awaiting for some victims to scare. These people were actually employed by the park to add to the experience, and it definitely worked, at least for the first half hour or so. Dressed in horror costumes and equipped with fake but realistic and loud chainsaws, the actors went straight for the careless visitors, usually resulting in fear, panic and eventually laughter and maybe a photo.
Only some of the rides were available at night, but a few themed haunted houses were added to celebrate Halloween, such as Saw, Halloween or My Bloody Valentine. Inside each of these there were a lot more actors attempting with remarkable success to scare the visitors. Sometimes some actors even posed as visitors, and were dragged into cabinets screaming and definitely spooking the people behind them. I wonder how many people actually worked in the park those nights!
To add to the horror of the night - they spared no expenses! - on our way out of the park we enjoyed the view of a few real fistfights (and probably real bleeding noses) at the bars of the Universal City.