This is our 61-day Hauntathon counting down to Halloween. Emily is visiting the Haunted Mini Golf Experience at Speed Zone LA to see what they’re about.
Ticket Information And Times
Joseph: So, we are running every Friday and Saturday night in October 2021. And we’re open from seven to 11:00 PM. People can buy their tickets and advance on Eventbright if they choose, if they do sell out on Eventbright presale, we still do walk-ups day of. So, they still can come in anytime, they just may have a little bit longer wait than the normal standard time ticketing time. They save a couple of dollars if they buy in advance, and then we will be open on Halloween night, Sunday night as well, and having some more entertainment Halloween weekend as well.
Emily Describes The Haunted Mini Golf Experience
Emily: We are here at Speed Zone Haunted Mini Golf. We decided to go the scary route instead of the spooky one, and it is rather scary. I’m already seeing a costumed funny man staring at me from the trees. It’s pretty scary, and the fog has not made it easy to play haunted mini golf. That’s why I’m losing, not because I’m not as good as Johnny playing put-put golf.
So, a little bit about those experience as we’re waiting for the next hole. When you go around, they have decor really throughout the whole mini golf area, they have one of those giant skeletons over there, we also have a little skele-mingo, which I always love. The actors are roaming about, we actually just had a gilla monster jumped out at me as I was trying to get the last hole. It was a little bit startling and scary.
We’re coming up here on one that has skeletons hanging on some of the various moving obstacles. So, it’s a nice little integration with the standard put put course. The fog machines definitely add another layer of difficulty to already pretty difficult mini golf courses. I am not winning. Unfortunately, Johnny is beating me, but I will keep you updated.
Joseph: my name’s Joseph Pancetta, I am the creative director here for a Haunted Mini Golf at Speed Zone this year. Speed zone is a park owned by Boomers. We are a family fun center that has two main go-kart tracks, Slick Track and Turbo Track. Then we have our Little Thunder for the children, and then we have our arcade, full bar, and restaurant inside, and then our two 18-hole course mini golf course outside.
Is This The First Year For A Halloween Event A Speed Zone?
Joseph: We’ve done Halloween Horror in the past, which was more towards adults. I wanted to design an event that was more family-friendly and spooky at the same time, so we give our guests the option to choose two courses. One is on the scarier side, Spirits of Sebring, and then Dawn of Daytona is for younger, that are not looking to get scared. So, you have the option that gets scared at the same time, so it kind of gives you the best of both worlds in the haunt industry.
What Is This Year’s Theme?
Joseph: So Spirits of Sebring is designed to be Fred and Ned Boomer, are brothers who have two pumpkin patches that were competing against each other.
In the Dawn of Daytona side, he has a great pumpkin patch and nothing’s going wrong, you know, there’s some fun, little silly thing. But on Ned side, he tried to use some toxic chemicals, had a spill, things went wrong and some creatures have come to life. So, they are haunting our 18 holes for guests to play through and they will hide in the fog and pop out, and you just don’t know whether or not they’re going to mess with your game.
How Did Joseph Get Into Haunting?
Joseph: I started in home haunts back in 1994. My uncle and mom just were a huge Halloween. My mom was born right before Halloween, and so we’d been raised in the Halloween industry. I did work for some other parks on their production teams, and some big projects out in Hollywood, and I was there for about 10 years, and then I decided, you know what, it’s time to change it up a little bit, and I got lucky enough to get hired here. They were looking for a new attraction, so here we are.
How Long Did This Event Take To Get Put Together?
Joseph: So we started designing back in May, from May to June with the design process, and then July and August were our fabrication times to get everything ready and get out here. We started installing in early September, we just kind of worked our way around the course to the lighting. One cool thing about the golf course is every single light on the attraction is solar powered, so it is an eco-friendly attraction for lighting. It’s the first time we’ve ever done something like this with an outside haunt, and it actually changed the game for us because these lights will last all night long and have about a five-year lifespan. So, that’s really, really fun with us. The only thing that really wants power, are the animations and the fog machines.
I see that
How Is Timed Ticketing Working?
Joseph: That is working out really fantastic for us. We found out that giving people time ticketing entry lowers down the wait time, they’re not waiting more than 30 to 35 minutes to get in, and they love it. They come in, they do their experience. We timed it, once you start your first round, it’s about an hour to an hour and a half experience through the whole golf course to get through, and guests absolutely love ever minute of it.
A Peek Into The Event
Emily: So we have scare actors walking around here.
Joseph: This Fred Boomer right here. You want to come say hi?
Fred: Of course I’d love to say hi to all the beautiful people here. How are y’all doing today?
Fred: Very nice, very nice..
Emily: So I see here that you have a bat. Yes. What is this?
Fred: His name’s Munchie, he’s my trusted son. I found him here just laying around, I had to help him out, and ever since then has just stuck with me.
Emily: It’s really cool. So we actually have characters walking around the mini golf?
Joseph: Yes, so we have Fred walking around, he’s looking for his brother, Ned, who is missing. And we do have some scarecrows that are come to life walking around. We have an evil little girl playing in the cemetery, and she likes to pop out a guest and hang out. And then we have some enchanted garden objects that some bushes like to come to life and kind of play tricks on you.
Joseph Explains His Inspirations For His Haunt Experiences
Joseph: My inspirations are like, originally I grew up going to Knott’s Scary Farm, so Knott’s Scary Farms is one of my big inspirations. I love the traditional, original feel of a classic Halloween haunt. So we want it to do that here, it’s something like, people love minigolf, and as you grow up, you like you come do it every now and then, but what better way than to celebrate Halloween by throwing in some scares into it?
And it does make it quite challenging. Some of the holes are truly covered in fog, like this one back here, and guests have a really hard time finding out where their balls went, it’s really funny. But the inspiration really is Knott’s Scary Farm, you know, and growing up with that, my mom’s birthday being around Halloween.
So, every year it was like, “let’s watch movies,” even though I was terrified. But yeah, that’s truly my inspiration, is just growing up in the industry and seeing how it goes, doing haunt haunts every year, and stuff like that.
What Might The Future Hold For Haunted Mini Golf?
Joseph: We are looking at this as our first year trial for it, and we are looking next year to expand. So we will be expanding it next year, more nights, hopefully maybe doing some full-on scary nights and maybe some kid nights, you know, where we won’t scare, and then maybe expanding to our other side over there where we’re hearing reports of some carnival sound effects coming out of there. I can’t say too much, but we’re working on stuff ready for that side for next year.