March 12, 2020 was the last time I ate a meal somewhere other than my home or my car.
Dine out options never appealed to me. That was until I heard nothing but good things about Knott's Berry Farm's 'Taste of Knott's'. Good things meaning; social distancing was enforced, staff was bountiful and, did a fine job of sanitizing. I had hoped for a Knott's Scary Farm edition of Taste of Knott's and, then Taste of Fall-O-Ween was announced! In addition to the yummy eats, a Trick-or-Treat trail was set up in Camp Snoopy and, costumes for all ages was allowed! WHAT?!
Tickets sold out fast. I was able to nab some for Thursday, October 8th. I couldn't wait to get to the park. Knott's Scary Farm is my favorite Spooky Season staple. In pictures, I saw fog and, spider web. As we headed down Beach Blvd the light posts had the Halloween light decor upon them and, when I arrived at the La Palma intersection, there was fog wafting above the trees in Camp Snoopy. As we kept driving the entrance to the park had a giant, inflatable spider atop it and, goth damn it, I was happy!!!
That was until I saw the parking lot. Before that, I need to say that tickets were advertised as limited. The tickets sold out so fast! They were sold out for the entire length of the event. I felt bad for those who couldn't get in on this. But, the parking lot looked a lot like Scary Farm nights. Now, in all fairness, we were directed to park behind the hotel. I didn't see the main lot. But, I observed the many masked faces going in and, maybe a handful were coming out. We made a promise that if it was too much, we would have no issues walking back out. We put our masks on and headed in.
I was dressed like a Feminine Frankenstein/Bride of Frankenstein Monster. My Daughter as an evil clown. I have to add she has been planning this look out since last Halloween. Proud Mummy here. We were spaced out enough from the other guests going in. Once we all got to the gate we were directed into a building I think was used for Guest Services before the pandemic. Anyway, there were markers along the floor as guests were asked if they were experiencing or, have experienced any COVID related symptoms in the past 14 days. We were thermal scanned and, then directed to the metal detectors and, bag check. Bag check was looser than before; for obvious reasons but, it was done nonetheless. The ticket scanners were behind a cubicle of plexiglass. This felt safe. As we walked in I took note the length of the line for the photo opp at the entrance. It was longer than I expected and, wanted to see. We stayed close to each other, checked our cards and, headed towards the first food station of the night.
First it was imperative we walk down the Ghost Town alley. Thats where, in pre-COVID times, the fog was spewed so thick you couldn't see and, ghouls would come at you. But, this time the fog was thin and, there were no monsters sliding around. However, there were gorgeous displays of pumpkins and flowers, clever lighting and, Knott's Scary Farm Spider Web.
Once again, I wish there hadn't been so many people. It wasn't as crowded as a Scary Farm night but, at times it was hard to be six feet away from another human. Thankfully, everyone was masked and, respectful of each other's space. Quite unlike Knott's Scary Farm nights.
The food stations were encased in plexiglass. As were the staff members. They too were friendly despite the circumstances and, were patient. I saw so many staff members sanitizing tables and, wiping down anything they could. Some were enforcing six feet distance and, again, there was no opposition.
After a blood orange IPA had been drank and, some delicious loaded pastrami tater tots and, buffalo cauliflower bites had been consumed, we went searching for the entrance to the Camp Snoopy Trick-or-Treat trail. My 14 year-old was in no way interested in Trick-or-Treating. I asked the attendant if I could take his bag and, Trick-or-Treat in his place. The attendant gave my son a look of shame and, said" You are never to old to trick-or-treat bro." I fucking loved it. My 14 year old? He still didn't care. The candy was mine.
At the very first treat spot, the plexiglass shielded attendant didn't blink at the old lady trick-or-treating as she placed three mini Hershey chocolate bars in my bag. It was good candy too!
The whole trail was lined with familiar props, effects and, there were scattered characters roaming. The trail was shared by those just walking through and, those trick or treating but, there was always a safe distance. Boils and, Ghouls, I was costumed, trick-or treating at 40 years-old, and in my favorite Spooky spot. This was more freeing than I've felt in quite some time. There was no age discrimination. The evening was cool, it was a perfect October evening.
The troops were tired and, my feet were hurting but, I didn't want to leave. I turned us back towards Calico while my family was eyeing the exit and, fried chicken. I needed a pic in the famous coffin! When we got to it, I couldn't help but wonder how many hands had touched that thing so, I kept my hands clear. There was fog, thunder effects and, a digital show on the walls. Super cute ghosts and, the spirit of a belchy miner was on display. The graveyard became a little more crowded for comfort so we didn't stick around for long.
Sadly, I didn't make it to the "Into the Fog" art display as the space was too enclosed for my comfort. Again, the staff was fantastic at giving instructions and, only allowing small amounts of people in. This was just, my personal choice.
We had to use the last item on our card for funnel cake. The line stretched far at both locations but, that was because social distancing was being strictly enforced. It didn't take terribly long to arrive to the window where the treat I was looking the most forward to was. Again, patience is key in the age of Coronavirus. The funnel cake was smaller than the beast you get normally but, quite a serving nonetheless. All of the "tastes" were size-able and, we all were quite full.
We decided to call it a night as there wasn't much time left until the 9pm closing time. We wanted to grab some of the famous fried chicken on our way out. It was lovely walking through the park and, feeling the ghosts from the previous year. It felt like I had just left.
Limping to the car, I disregarded the pain by wishing everyone could feel what I felt. Taste of Fall-O-Ween was like a tribute to Knott's Scary Farm. It's silent this year but, still there. It felt like things were slightly how they used to be but, also so soberingly different. It was a conflicting feeling but, I felt safe and, I felt guiltless for being happy while enjoying a familiar moment.
As of October 11, 2020 all tickets to Taste of Fall-O-Ween are sold out. Keep checking though. You never know.