Once Upon an October: Haunt #1 / Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
Halloween events always try to make each new year bigger and better. Some succeed, some fail and some stay “as is". This is our second year attending Dark Harbor in Long Beach, CA and they really outdid themselves!
What I have always liked about Dark Harbor is the simplicity. You have a legit haunted ship to run around and be scared. The community vibe is great, as everyone is in good spirits and not afraid to talk to you like they have known you for years instead of minutes. The atmosphere when I step aboard gives me those “Ghost Ship” goose bumps, and the actors truly embrace their rolls. It’s a load of fun!
This year was easy to find the Captain mingling with the guests while the sideshows brought the circus to life with acrobats, glass eaters and fortune tellers. The lines were long, but manageable. On average the standard pass was about 45 minutes per maze, and VIP was about 5 minutes. There were vegan food options as well as bacon wrapped hotdogs for the carnivorous types. They had concessions with beer, sit down bars with hard alcohol, and my favorite part…
THIS YEAR’S THE EVENT HAS HIDDEN BARS INSIDE THE MAZES!!!
…and those bars are not easy to find! While chatting and laughing about “kids these days” with the bartender, he gave us a small wooden coin. “What is this?!” I asked. His response was simply “It will get you in”.
The more we talked to other people, the more we learned how to use those coins and how to locate these special behind-the-scene bars. Those bars were the most fun I have had in years! A few bars had views of the maze so you can watch people walk through and their reactions. Some even had buttons so you can interact with the maze walkers by surprising them. It was devious and hilarious all at the same time.
People could not wait to talk to anyone once done with a maze, eager to share their favorite part!
If you can, I recommend you stay until the end of the night. As you leave each year they have a DJ and the exit becomes the best strange dance party ever! Ghouls, kids, monsters, parents, zombies, and others all showing their best dance moves.
Dark Harbor has become one of my favorite MUST’s for October. It’s like meeting up with old friends.
Article by: Jenny Robinson / Video by: Patrick Nagy