New Orleans’s Latest Halloween Attraction is Now Open!
New Orleans has a proud history of instilling fear in its citizens and visitors. We’re literally surrounded by the dead, who reside in their stony structures, occasionally creeping out if there’s too much rain. Many people also swear that ghosts still roam the buildings, streets, and parks where they spent so much time while they were alive. You don’t have to conjure up the dead to get scared this Halloween season, however. The proud parents of the highly successful Mid-City spookhouse The Mortuary are ready to reveal their latest monster to those seeking new thrills and chills.
The mastermind behind The Mortuary on Canal Street is bringing his fright-tastic skills to City Park, where he has opened the Scout Island Scream Park: a 50-acre, free-roaming Halloween fest for all. “Scout Island Scream Park is a month-long Halloween festival that incorporates multiple haunted attractions, Fright Zones, a kids’ area, hayrides, music, food, entertainment, and carnival rides,” explained Jeff Borne. “What we’re modeling this after is a theme-park Halloween event, versus what you would find at a typical haunted attraction, giving people the option of having entertainment for the whole evening and not just going to a single haunted house. It’s more like going to a Halloween-themed festival.”
Scout Island Scream Park has several attractions that invite you to spend as short or as long a time as you can handle. With the general admission fee, guests are invited to freely roam throughout the three Fright Zones, including the Cirque du Fear, The Horseman’s Fright Zone, and Blood Bayou. Jeff continued, “The Fright Zones are themed areas that guests can walk through at their leisure, getting from one area to another. They can hang out for however long they want. It’s just a fun experience on top of everything else that’s going on. There are actors and animatronics there to put you in the atmosphere of the concept. The Horseman is based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. There are period actors that are walking around warning guests about the Headless Horseman. Of course, guests will run into the Headless Horseman and be able to go on Ichabod’s Bridge and experience some of those period elements on their way to a carnival ride or music stage.“
Blood Bayou is where you’ll find The Kraken, a spooky nightclub for adults. “It’s an entertainment tent where they’ll be a DJ every night that we’re open, with upscale food. The music format is 70s, 80s, 90s, and current music. Behind the Kraken is a giant oak tree that’s a VIP area where people can enjoy their food, or groups can rent it for private parties. You won’t be able not to pick out where The Kraken is because there’s a giant 40-foot creature in front of the building.”
In addition to the Fright Zones, you can also experience three devilishly demented haunted attractions: Zombie Outbreak Battlefield, The Devil’s Swamp Terror Tour, and The Scream Factory. Jeff elucidated on the main event attractions: “Zombie Outbreak Battlefield is a combination of a haunted attraction and laser tag. Guests get outfitted with military-replica laser tag weapons, and they go through a short training program before they’re sent on a mission to clear an abandoned military base where there was an experimental lab where there was an outbreak. You go through the base shooting live and animated zombies as they try to go after you, fighting your way through all the different scenes associated with how this thing happened. At the end of it, your score is tracked, and you can see how well or how poorly you did.
“The Devil’s Swamp Haunted Terror Tour is kind of like a play on the swamp tours, but it’s haunted. Guests get to carry lanterns with their group, and they go through the woods and the swamp in darkness, finding their way out, and discovering all the cool stuff that’s in the Devil’s Swamp. It’s pretty huge; it takes a while to get through. It’s pretty scary in itself. And The Scream Factory Haunted House pays homage to the Scream Factory that was on the Northshore for so many years. We’re bringing it back, and it’s a really heavy circus theme.”
One of the best aspects of Scout Island Scream Park is that it will keep a very close tie to The Mortuary, which is only six minutes from Scout Island by car. Those who buy a ticket to Scout Island will get a VIP upgrade to The Mortuary. That’s a great deal, considering that you won’t want to miss out on what’s going on at The Mortuary on their 12th year of terror. “At The Mortuary this year, we’re being inspired by The Purge series. We’re taking the idea behind The Purge and incorporating our own twists on that concept. The theme is ‘Mortuary Strikes Twelve’ because it’s our 12th year, so it’s all based on, ‘At the strike of 12, anything can happen.’”
During the daylight hours, you can also enjoy the Mystère Escape Rooms at The Mortuary. You have the option of being locked into one of five rooms, ranging in scariness, with the challenge of escaping it. “The most popular room since we first opened up is The Serial Killer Lair which is a Saw-themed escape room. Groups of up to 12 are led into the first part of the space and locked in where they have 60 minutes to try and escape. It involves riddles and clues and puzzles and secret passages and traps. All kinds of fun stuff.”
Scout Island Scream Park has the distinction of being an à la carte festivity; most of the happenings are included in the general admission, and then you choose to add on to your adventure. You can also stay for a much longer time because it’s not a start-to-finish type of attraction. Jeff explained, “The big difference between Scout Island and a typical haunted house like The Mortuary is once you get the all-access pass, you can do any of the haunted attractions as many times as you want. So, if you want to do Devil’s Swamp a second or third time, as long as you get in line again, you’re good to go. It’s a hell of a deal.” For the little ones, there are scare-free areas and other attractions, like a hay ride and pumpkin patch.
Jeff and his crew have a “goal to create the biggest Halloween festival in the country.” They’re going to be watching closely at what gets the most reactions, so that they can build upon it and make it even greater in years to come. Scout Island Scream Park and The Mortuary are open through Saturday, November 3. Are you going to be ready to enter these spooktacular attractions?