As the sun set over Silverwood Theme Park on Friday night, residents of northern Idaho were shrouded in heavy fog.
Then out of the darkness came the click of a chainsaw – marking the 11th season of Scarywood Haunted Nights.
Scarywood is one of the biggest haunted attractions in the Pacific Northwest. This year’s theme, âFear Lives Here,â was personified by every hooded creature and demented clowns lurking in the shadows waiting for the perfect moment to pounce.
âWe’re changing everything in this park,â said Stephanie Sampson, public relations manager for Silverwood. “It’s not the family friendly atmosphere anymore. It’s the terrifying Halloween horror park in October.”
The horror is fueled by 200 actors in head-to-toe costumes, five haunted attractions, nine fear zones, and most of Silverwood’s iconic rides in the dark.
Having to cancel Scarywood was heartbreaking for die-hard fans, many of whom came to enjoy the horribly good time on Friday night. Sandpoint resident Jordyn Owens said she had been dating Scarywood since she was 13. Friday marked Owens’ seventh year at the Fear Festival, and she couldn’t be more excited after the two-year hiatus.
âI love Halloween, and there hasn’t been anything because of COVID, so it’s great to be around people and be scared,â Owens said. “I hate clowns, and they do a great job there.”
Fear Zones aren’t for the faint of heart, with a crime scene, dark and dangerous forest, and a scarecrow alley. Coeur d’Alene residents Billy Richards and Riley Huewitt advise traveling in packs and walking fast to make it out alive.
âSome of them are following you, however,â Huewitt said. “Especially the ones with the chainsaws.”
Still, they said they wouldn’t miss Scarywood for the world.
“Coming here starts the scary season, you know?” Richards said. “It’s not Halloween without Scarywood.”
Thrill seekers can hop aboard some of Silverwood’s iconic rides, including Panic Plunge, Scrambler, SpinCycle, Tremors, and the Timber Terror in reverse. Aftershock, Silverwood’s newest amusement ride, may be accessible to the public depending on weather conditions.
Participants can also walk around “Dillusion” for a magic show and buy spooky food from vendors in the park.
Scarywood is intended for children 13 years and older. So once Post Falls resident Emma Wyse came of age, her mother, Toffer Wyse, decided it was time to test her fear level.
âThis is his first time,â Toffer said on Friday. “She’s 13 now, so I’m like ‘You’re ready.'”
Emma was not yet afraid, but the night was still young.
âWe usually come every year,â Toffer said. “It’s something you can enjoy all night long instead of a quick haunted house, and these are activities you can do together.”
Daredevils and Scary Cats can see the event for themselves until October 30.
No disguise, mask or make-up is allowed. Face coverings are allowed as long as they do not give the impression that the participants are part of the show.
The doors are open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Parking is $ 5 per vehicle.
Season pass holders can get $ 10 off Saturday night, and Gold pass holders can get up to three tickets each at $ 10 off. On October 30, all firefighters, military personnel and veterans will be able to enjoy Scarywood for free.
Scarywood Haunted Nights is closed on Halloween because it’s a monster party.