Six Flags Frightfest: A Scary Good Time

Angelika Sarnacka, Staff Writer

The anticipation rose as we waited in line for the KingDaKa. Each step we took brought us closer and closer to the entrance of the ride where the fun would blast off. The closer my group of friends inched to the front, the more our emotions grew. Our twin feelings of nervousness and excitement grew stronger and stronger with each step. All the lines in Six Flags are long but the wait for this ride dragged on to what felt like infinity. 

We waited for an hour and thirty minutes (even though it actually felt like a three hour wait), but to pass the time in line we played hand games (chanting “Lemonade / Pepsi Cola / Ice Tea”) and wondered when our time would come. Suddenly, a message on the loudspeaker announced that the ride had broken down! And the time it would take to be repaired was…indeterminate. Other line waiters started peeling away, giving us the opportunity to move up which made us very happy. The fact the ride had broken down in the middle of our wait added to our feelings of anticipation; we were not just nervous but SUPER NERVOUS now. We knew it was a common occurrence for the ride to break down during operating hours but it was still scary thinking the ride you are about to go on was just broken, especially when we are talking about the tallest roller coaster in the world. After the repair crew moved in and out, we again began inching to the front of the line. We could hear the screams of people whirring over the steep drop, their shrieks intimidating us while also preparing us for what was to come. Once it was our turn we got on the ride, buckled up and took deep breaths as we watched the lights flash from red, to yellow, and then finally green and we were BLAST OFF! The ride was amazing and took our breath away. We had started the day off on the right foot and were ready to attack Fright Fest head on. 

If you are somehow in the dark about what Fright Fest is, it is a fall event at Six Flags that celebrates Halloween. During the autumn season, parkgoers enjoy rides and games in what are typical days of amusement, but when the sun sets, monsters descend upon the park. You might think you are just approaching the line for the Ferris wheel when, BAM! A zombie jumps out from behind a bush to scare you. These frightening ghouls stalk around the park and appear from nowhere to send you jumping in your boots. Generally, they bring the fright to Fright Fest. This past year, the overall experience of attending Fright Fest was different compared to past year. Since the pandemic began, Six Flags has had to enforce certain rules and regulations to ensure the safety of visitors. This definitely changed the experience a bit. As a veteran (I have attended Fright Fest the past three years), I noticed how the park has changed over this period. 

Way back at Fright Fest 2019, we did not have to wear masks or maintain a safe social distance as the virus had not arrived yet. In the summer of 2020, after the coronavirus broke out, new regulations were put in place throughout the park to ensure participant safety. Fright Fest of 2020 took place in October, but a lot of the key elements were missing.  The experience as a whole was simply a lot less frightening as fewers scary characters took over the park trying to pursue you. You might walk around and occasionally catch sight of one, but they typically kept their distance and tried to scare you from afar.  

In 2020, even the experience of lining up and loading onto a ride had changed. You were expected to socially distance both in lines–which would have already been long in normal times–and on the rides themselves. A whole row would be left empty between each party to ensure social distancing. After you disembarked the ride, you were expected to use the provided hand sanitizer as a way to keep yourself and the park more clean. Even the experience of entering the park was different; upon passing through the gate, you walked through a little tent equipped with metal detectors and thermometers that measure your temperature. 

Although Fright Fest for 2020 was different, it was still very fun and full of excitement. The most recent Fright Fest which was in 2021 was very similar to 2020’s with all the continued regulations and expectations but it was different because it seemed to bring back some of the old park rules that were seen before the pandemic. During this event we still had to wear our masks and were encouraged to sanitize after every ride but we got to see more of the fright aspect in 2021 compared to 2020. Social distancing was still encouraged but the on the rides loading was normal. No rows were skipped which made everything feel a bit more normal. 

Fright Fest is an amazing event to go with friends and family because Six Flags has rides for everyone and frightening thrills around every corner. If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can go for a spin on the KindaDa Ka, but if you prefer a calmer ride, you can hop on the more sedate M&M ride and take in a beautiful view of the park. After a year of isolation I was reminded of the adrenaline filled park that I once adored. Though I’m a seasoned teenager, I still enjoy FrightFest and probably will for life.