Every October, Ocean Park Hong Kong is transformed from a family-friendly theme park to a sinister and ghostly place. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Ocean Park’s Halloween Fest. Since the event’s inception in 2001, Halloween Fest has become Asia’s largest Halloween celebration and one of the most popular annual events in Hong Kong, driving in both locals and tourists looking for a good spook.
I was at last year’s Halloween Fest and I returned this year to experience what Ocean Park has to offer. Last year was a terrifying experience where I had to live out my own death, but the park has elevated its scare factor this year. For the uninitiated, Ocean Park pulls out all the stops for its Halloween Fest, and has impressive concepts and executions (by execution we don’t mean killing people). If I were to compare, this Halloween Fest is scarier.
This year’s highlight is a collaboration with Sony Pictures for Ghostbusters, one of 2016’s most-awaited movies with an all-female cast. It’s a lot different from last year’s collaboration for The Walking Dead, a heart-stopping attraction where you have to move fast before the zombies catch you. This year is more relaxed and fun, proving that the Halloween Fest celebrations evolve each year.
Below are some of our favorite attractions:
10. Sugary Spook Village
The Sugary Spook Village is a good place to start. It’s a harmless attraction (because it’s made for kids) where you have to play simple games with the Pumpkin elves. The Emerald Trail is the city’s longest outdoor walk-through, so you can enjoy being around nature while gathering toys and sweets. My favorite: a jack-o’-lan·tern ring that lights up!
9. Halloween delicacies!
To make the Halloween Fest experience more immersive, Ocean Park created a customized menu for the occasion! At Cafe Ocean, you can have the mortuary set menu, which has the ghostly toilet of death (a tomato ox-tail soup with a grinning skull), the biology class of the damned (a clever platter that has pan-fried beef striploin, deep-fried chicken breast with brie cheese, roasted chicken fillet, chipolata sausage in tomato sauce, seafood vegetables pate), and a possessed chalkboard eraser (a charcoal helvetic roll with white chocolate). To top it off, you get a mini-cup of Häagen-Dazs ice cream!
8. Project Deathway
Ocean Park Hong Kong sure can come up with unusual combinations! For their annual stage show, they combined horror with fashion, bringing stylish clothes, light effects, pyrotechnics, and dance performances, like an incredible routine where dancers climbed up poles and swayed over the audience. The show is in Chinese, but Ocean Park provides radios with translations.
7. Legendary Palace / Palace of Death
One of Ocean Park Hong Kong’s unique Halloween Fest attractions is the transforming Legendary Palace / Palace of Death. During the day, you enter a glamorous castle with beautiful gardens, and meet elves and playful spirits. You can even use the Halloween Ghost Hunt app to snap selfies with them! But at 5:30, the palace transforms into the Palace of Death, where the friendly ghosts are replaced by snake spirits, spiders, demons, and the Devil Ox King. Let’s see you try to take a selfie at the Bridge of Hell or at the Altar of Ghosts!
6-5. Halloween Ghost Hunt app
Addicted to Pokemon Go? Then you will like this app. Use Halloween Ghost Hunt to detect ghosts around the park and “capture” them using augmented reality. You can use the app to win prizes like coupons, food, priority access to Halloween Fest attractions, and access to Project Deathway.
Ocean Park now has wi-fi, so you can also use the Ocean Park Hong Kong app to pre-arrange visits to attractions, learn queue times, and map the most efficient route from attraction to attraction. Trust us, you will need the map as the park is 91.5 hectares, or twice the land area of SM Mall of Asia.
4. School of Shadows
We all had horror stories about school, but it’s different when you’re actually facing the horrors. At School of Shadows, you have to walk through an abandoned school filled with angry ghosts who are ready to take you to the underworld if you step too close. This is one of the attractions where jump scares are effective. It’s one thing to see a malevolent creature pop out in a movie, it’s another when it pops out right in front of you.
Every year, Ocean Park’s Halloween Fest has a star attraction. Last year was H15, or Halloween Fest 15, to celebrate the occasion’s 15th anniversary. In H15, you are strapped to a stretcher as you live out your own death and pass through the different stages of hell. In one scene, you are put in a narrow space where you are cremated! This year’s star attraction is 16+, which means only those who are above 16 years old can join. It was described to me as a combination of Fifty Shades of Grey and Saw, which is a curious choice for a theme park. It was disturbing, though. The live show has different playrooms with increasingly frightening fetishes that look more like human experiments than self-expression. This could have been our top attraction, but the mature content won’t be appreciated by everyone.
2. Club Blood
Club Blood is another one of Ocean Park’s creative combinations. Here, they combined vampires with the raving lifestyle. Club Blood features Danson Tang, a Taiwanese model, actor, and singer, who is secretly a vampire running a club to get his next victims. The club is well-designed and looks like a real one, with loud music blasting as you carefully tread from room to room. It has a few jump scares, but the scariest part is the room filled with mannequins, and only one person swaying. And I wasn’t even sure that they were all mannequins…
1. Ghostbusters Live!
Ocean Park Hong Kong has a fun Ghostbusters-themed attraction where you can explore scenes from the franchise, including the mansion, the haunted subway, and even Times Square in New York! My favorite part is the Ghostbusters Academy, where you can become a ‘buster and capture spirits in a trippy game. There’s even a giant Mr. Stay Puft statue for the perfect photo op!
The Ocean Park Halloween Fest will be open from October 2 to 31, 2016, from 10am to 11pm. Regular admission ticket is HK$385 (roughly P2,371) for adults and HK$193 (roughly P1,188) for children. A premium ticket, purchased on the Ocean Park website or through travel agents, is HK$690 (roughly P4,250) for adults and HK$365 (roughly P2,248) for children. Premium ticket holders are entitled to exclusive access to secret rooms at four haunted houses, unlimited priority access to all Halloween Fest attractions, priority access to one Project Deathway show per day, coupons worth HK$ 200 (roughly P1,231), and a special Halloween souvenir.
Ocean Park Hong Kong offers a Halloween Fest SkeleFun VIP tour for HK$8,888 for one to six people, which includes direct access to all Halloween Fest attractions (including access to secret rooms at four haunted houses) with a personalized itinerary and private host. The tour also includes an exclusive access to the make-up center and a photo op with special props and costumes.