The Ides of October

“Beware the ides of March!” We all remember that quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, right? (Vaguely, anyway …) Turns out “ides” is a term for mid-month, usually the 15th. I guess this is our none-too-subtle way of reminding you that Happy Halloween Weekends are dwindling down to just two and a half more weekends.

Thanks for the #tbt, WHSH! (Those call letters create a dandy onomatopoeia -whoosh!)

Along with the rest of the park, Thunderbird is open just five more days this season: this weekend, next weekend plus Halloween, October 31. Beware!


A surprise guest

Matt and Don (our magician) hit the road early this morning to make an appearance on WHAS-TV’s “Great Day Live!” show in Louisville:

Rachel’s reaction to Don’s magic is priceless. And how Matt didn’t dig in and taste-test some of the Halloween goodies on the drive to Louisville is beyond me!

I did get a kick out of Matt sending me this photo he took while waiting in the Green Room.

He was amazed to see our friend Mick Foley right next to Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island (Matt’s childhood crush; well, one of them). Sometimes magic happens in the Green Room, too.

Carve a Kitty Claws pumpkin!

Do you carve out some time each fall to create an artistic jack-o-lantern?

Several years ago, we saw this photo online:

Raven pumpkin

… and we just knew we had to work on a series of templates to share. (Thanks to Bryan, a roller coaster enthusiast from Ohio, for getting us started.)

Last fall, we experimented with a number of homemade templates. We had some success and some massive implosions of pumpkin guts. Overall, it wasn’t pretty.

On a lark, I asked Matt the other day for some carving tips to pass along in this blog post.

His replies:

  • Don’t cut yourself (don’t worry – no humans were harmed in our carving exercise last year; Matt’s just very safety-minded).
  • This one got personal: Don’t let your Director of Communications pick out some ridiculously difficult pattern that is virtually impossible to carve perfectly.
  • And finally: Don’t carve pumpkins in front of a heckling audience; this applies to me both at work and home.

Hopefully your experience will provide you with more positive memories than poor Matt.

And so we present you with this Kitty Claws Pumpkin Carving Template.

Kitty Claws Pumpkin

Please download. Please be careful. Please be nice. Please send us a picture of your masterpiece.

And please have a happy, happy Halloween!


Halloween Giveaway: Tickets and BOOfet meals

Congratulations to La Shanda R. from Danville, Indiana, who wins two admission tickets to Happy Halloween Weekends plus two meal vouchers for our BOOfet. Thanks to everyone who entered!
What’s your favorite treat this time of year?

Halloween TreatsFor some it’s a caramel apple and for others it’s anything with “pumpkin” in the name (pumpkin cheesecake fudge, anyone?).

Still others can’t wait to see the leaves change from green to bright fall colors. Or hear the laughter of children as they show off their costumes for the first time.

Tell us about your favorite Halloween treat and you could win two tickets to Happy Halloween Weekends plus two BOOfet meals (available Saturdays in October only); tickets and meal vouchers must be used by October 31, 2015.

Here’s how to enter:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to enter this giveaway.
  • Employees of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari (and our immediate family members) are not eligible to enter.
  • Use the widget, below, to enter daily. There are lots of options, so you can earn extra entries by posting here on our HoliBlog, tweeting about this sweepstakes, and visiting us on our Facebook pages. The winner – chosen at random – will be emailed late afternoon on October 1.
  • For the “post a comment on the blog” entry option, simply tell us about your favorite Halloween treat. (Our comments are moderated, so as long as the content is HoliFriendly, it will appear soon.)
  • By entering our contest, you agree to be added to our e-newsletter list. You may unsubscribe at any time by following the directions in your email.
  • Did you know you can subscribe to our HoliBlog so that you receive all of our posts (including contests) by email? If you’re using a desktop computer or tablet, look for the “Subscribe to Blog” sidebar at the top-right corner of this page. On a smartphone? Just scroll down a tiny bit more to find it.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all!

Off to OwensBOOro

Matt and Lauren head to OwensBOOro, Kentucky, early tomorrow morning to chat on the air with our friend Chad at WBKR.

Be sure to tune in at 7am CT, as we’re sending Chad some goodies, the sweetest of which is a promo code with the deepest discounts available for Happy Halloween Weekends. And by that we mean General Admission tickets for just $24.99!

Chad is what you might call a super-fan. Or a HoliFan. He digs our coasters.

Here he is back in April, as one of the first riders on Thunderbird:

We’re all planning to tune in to listen at 7am.

… even Gourdon the Talking Pumpkin, who usually sleeps in until at least 11.

Sleepy Gourdon

What else is new this year? Every Saturday in October, we’re offering a Halloween BOOfet in the Good Old Days Picnic Grove. (Details and reservations for the BOOfet are available here.)

Our Halloween BOOfet is an all-you-care-to-eat meal that starts at 12:30pm CDT on Saturdays and includes fried chicken and other yummy picnic treats. One of the entrees will change each week. When I messaged Tammy to ask her for this week’s extra entree, I was at first a bit offended by her one-word response: BRATS.


About three seconds later, I remembered we’re sort of in Little Germany here in southern Indiana and brats is short for bratwurst. So that means we’ll give you our wurst on Saturday – hope you can join us!

Halloween Magic in the air

There’s something magical about the fall of the year: The leaves change colors, temperatures cool down, children of all ages sport fun costumes, pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes pop up everywhere.

Halloween Pumpkins

There’s also magic in children’s laughter – that burst of belly laughter that is utterly contagious.

One place to catch that laughter? At our Halloween Magic Show:

Happy Halloween Weekends begin tomorrow (September 26) with four Halloween Magic Show performances each day in “Kringle’s Kreepy Kafe.”

Our Halloween event runs Saturdays and Sundays through October 31. We hope you’ll bring the whole family for some not-so-scary Halloween fun!

This gag never gets old …

After all these years (the original Vacation movie was released in 1983), this still makes us laugh:

Santa’s friends may be a bit early for Happy Halloween Weekends, but you can be right on time – this year’s event opens Saturday at 11am and runs weekends through October 31. E-tickets are available here for less than $30 each.

WIKY wake-up call

“Don’t anybody eat the pumpkin cake balls I just put in the fridge!” Barbie hollered down the hall this afternoon. Yes, we often share, but these Halloween treats were set aside for media friends.

Wednesday morning (that’s tomorrow, if you keep up on your HoliBlog reading), Matt and Lauren are heading to Evansville bright and early for a fun chat with Dennis Jon Bailey and Diane Douglas on the air at WIKY radio.

Tune in just a little after 7:30am CDT and you’ll hear Matt and Lauren talking about Happy Halloween Weekends.

You’ll probably hear everyone else in the studio happily chewing. We’re sending a tray-load of Halloween treats from Mrs. Klaus’ Kitchen.

We won’t list everything here, but … Pumpkin Cheesecake Fudge.

Matt and Lauren will also share a special promo code that’s exclusive to WIKY listeners which you can use to purchase your Happy Halloween Weekends tickets online for just $24.99 each.

We’re having a ball decorating the park with pumpkins (guess just how many over on our Facebook page and you could win a pair of tickets).

We hope to see you this weekend – for rides, pumpkins, Graveyard Smash, pumpkins, our Halloween Magic Show, pumpkins, hay rides, and loads of pumpkin treats!

See ya, summer …

Hope you can join us tomorrow (Saturday) for some fun on the world’s top two water-park attractions: Wildebeest and Mammoth as we say goodbye to summer. Then dry off on Thunderbird, as you launch from 0-60mph in just over three seconds.

Remember, on Sunday we’re closed to the public for a private outing.

And then next weekend (September 26) is the boo-ginning of Happy Halloween Weekends!

This is only a test

Do you remember school fire drills? As kids, we’d scurry down the hallway knowing we’d get a few extra minutes of “recess” as part of the drill.

It was a good thing.

Here at Holiday World, we conduct drills, too. And yesterday evening was a big one.

For the better part of a year, our staff has worked with area agencies to plan the type of emergency-preparedness drill that would benefit all involved.

… because every last one of us wants to be prepared to handle what we hope will never happen.

Our scenario? A weather emergency: a “microburst” would hit the park while we were open.

Our staff and most of the emergency workers didn’t know any of the details of the drill ahead of time, so when the first radio call went out we learned there was a fast-appoaching violent storm.

We tweeted throughout the drill, explaining what was going on:

We learned, through triage, that park guests needed help in the parking lot, in Kringle’s, and in a restroom – where access to the injured was blocked by falling trees. There was also a pregnant lady in Skeeball who thought she was going into labor. LifeFlight from St. Mary’s and a Search & Rescue team from the Owensboro, Kentucky, fire department joined personnel from local police, fire, EMS, EMA and sheriff departments.

As part of the drill, the injured were transported by helicopter, ambulance and bus.

And what happened to the woman in active labor?

Thanks to the scores of rescuers who gave up their evening for the training exercise. As much as we all hope to never need your expertise and skills, it’s good to know it’s there.