The Scream Zone haunts San Diego County

Strobe lights blind victims, blood oozes down walls and screams of terrified teenagers fill the crisp air of midnight. This could mean only one thing: it’s fall. Fall, to many, means the comeback of annual favorites. For some, it is the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks, while for many San Diegans, it is the Scream Zone at the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

And although Halloween has ended, the Scream Zone is still running.

Workers don clown suits and doll makeup for a night of spooky surprises in the Scream Zone’s four attractions: the Haunted Hayride, the Chamber, the House of Horror and, most recently, the Zombie Paintball Safari. These prove unique to your typical haunted house, as the Chamber contains the longest spinning kaleidoscope tunnel in all of Southern California. Grasping onto poles, clowns and dolls zig-zag through the nauseated prey. The idea of being scared out of one’s mind might not appeal to many people, but sophomore Kate Carter thinks otherwise.

“I love the thrill and excitement of the Scream Zone,” Carter said. “When people pop out at you, all you can do is scream and have fun with your friends.”

This year, the Scream Zone will frighten San Diegans until Nov. 2. Open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays through Thursdays and from 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, it is no doubt one of the most popular Halloween spots.

With a new year comes new scares. One is the Zombie Paintball Safari, in which hayride passengers shoot live zombies with paintball guns. Another interesting aspect is a glow necklace for those not interested in getting scared to the full extent. People with these necklaces go through the mazes and hayrides just like any other passenger, but the actors won’t get up in their personal space–as much. $3 in addition to the entrance fee, these necklaces are causing controversy.

“It seems pretty pointless because you are spending money to be scared, and then even more money not to be scared,” senior Kevin Freeman said. “It is just a big waste of money if you don’t like to be scared.”

Although many San Diegans leave each haunted maze or hayride terrified and unwilling to return, there is something that brings them back year after year: the pure fun of being scared out of one’s mind.