Valleyfair’s Tricks and Treats scares away teenage guests

Tricks and Treats, fall 2022

Rick Larsen

Tricks and Treats, fall 2022

Dane Larsen, Contributor

This fall, Valleyfair-goers got in their cars and drove out, excited to experience some Halloween scare.


With grand expectations of an even scarier season to come, repeat customers got to the park and noticed a change in the atmosphere.


No big fog machines spewing around the park.


No large crowds with teens and children running all around with excitement.


No scary costumes from the staff who typically roam the park and scare the guests.


With utter surprise, everyone, especially teens, tried to understand the drastic changes this season.


Valleyfair has officially dumped the seasonal event known as ValleyScare, a much-loved fall event that featured haunted houses, workers in terrifying costumes with props to slide around as they jumped out and scared guests, and lights and frights all around the park.


“Tricks and Treats,” this fall’s new seasonal event, became family-friendly and featured staff in goofy-funny outfits. There were live shows at the theater and different themed areas.


The question is, how did this affect Valleyfair and its guests?


“I do not think that there will be a drastic change in attendance. There will be more kids and fewer teens,” said Zack Hamid, a guest at Valleyfair.


Some guests, like Zack, believe that there will be a switch in the type of people who will come to the park. 


Another perspective from inside the park might help shed some light on what’s really going on.


“I think that there are guests that are actively enjoying the change in environment, but there are also a large number of guests that will not come back due to this change in the park,” said Greg Holsten, a rides team lead at Valleyfair.


Young kids and parents will love this new event as it is a fun-spirited new place that they can explore. However, teens and young adults may be off-put by the change as it targets a younger audience. 


A large remaining factor is revenue. Valleyfair’s bottom line will drastically affect how it will move forward into the future.


Greg’s experience at the park may foretell the success of the drastic change. “I think after working here, there is not nearly as much attendance and people going as last year, so I believe that revenue is down.”


Who knows? But with anecdotal information such as this, one may wonder how the new changes have affected the park. 


Tricks and Treats was a great new innovative idea that targeted Valleyfair’s main demographic during the summer. However, the age demographic during the summer is different from the fall season. For teenagers like those of us who really looked forward to ValleyScare, we feel Valleyfair targeted the wrong group of people.