Horror Event Returns to Family Park

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Scareactors standing in front of a ferris wheel at Hersheypark Dark Nights

Credit: Hersheypark

Families visiting Hersheypark this Fall may be in for a scary surprise.

The entrance gate of Hersheypark during Dark Nights
Credit: ABC

Last year saw the debut of Hersheypark Dark Nights, the first-ever haunted event at Hersheypark. The Park in Hershey, PA, is known for appealing to families and candy lovers alike, and during the Halloween season, it hosts family-friendly activities like trick-or-treating and character dance parties. It was odd and exciting to see such a “dark” event advertised for their Halloween season.

Today, Hersheypark announced on Twitter that the event would be returning for the 2023 Halloween season, starting on September 15. The event promises to be bigger and longer, with even more event nights than last year.

Last year, the event ran from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on event nights, and ticketholders were required to enter the Park before it closed to day Guests in order to gain access to the houses. It featured four haunted houses; Haunted Coal Mine, which took place in an abandoned coal shaft, The Descent, which had Guests explore the tunnels under Hersheypark, Creature Chaos, which featured magical and frightening creatures, and Twisted Darkness, a carnival-themed house.

A scareactor at Hersheypark Dark Nights
Credit: Hersheypark

The event also featured four scare zones located in small areas of the Park; Darkstone’s Hollow, a sideshow of mythical creatures, Valley of Fear, which took place along Spring Creek, and Midway of Misery, which was a twisted circus. All Guests of Hersheypark had access to these scare zones, even those without Dark Nights tickets.

Hersheypark Dark Nights also offered specialty food and drink that was available to both day Guests and event Guests and exclusive merchandise. Hersheypark seemed to make an effort to include Day Guests when they could and not make the event too gory or frightening, but many fans found that a detriment.

A ringmaster standing in front of a cage with a hand popping out.
Credit: Hersheypark

Many Guests on social media complained that the scare zones were far too small and underpopulated, the houses weren’t scary due to the avoidance of gore or violence, and the event faced many logistical problems, including food stands closing too early and the event layout making for poor crowd control. However, Halloween events are always popular for theme park goers, as evidenced by Six Flags’ current Scream Break event.

Let’s hope this year, Hersheypark Dark Nights are better than ever!

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