Thrills and Chills Await at Kennywood Park's Phantom Fright Nights

Kennywood Park's Phantom Fright Nights & Fall Fest are a must - do on your fall bucket list!

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID South Hills Publisher September 26, 2023

Kennywood Park, nestled right under the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is renowned for its rich history, family-friendly atmosphere, and world-class attractions. But when the leaves begin to change and the crisp autumn air descends upon the park, Kennywood transforms into a realm of eerie excitement and festive fun with its Phantom Fright Nights and Fall Fest. These seasonal events have become beloved traditions, offering visitors a unique blend of spine-tingling scares and delightful autumnal festivities. If you're looking for the best fall and Halloween events in Pittsburgh, you don't need to look any further than Kennywood's Phantom Fall Fest.

We love starting our day at Kennywood on the Old Mill! Even the already spooky rides had some extra chill to them for Fall Fest!

Phantom Fall Fest: A Perfect Blend of Spooky and Cozy

Kennywood Park's Fall Fest isn't just about warm apple cider and family-friendly fun; it also has its share of charming spookiness. During the day, the park's decorations take on a delightful yet slightly eerie character, with faux animal furs hanging on pallets, skeletons, and scarecrows adorning various attractions and walkways. This unique blend of fall festivity and subtle spookiness adds to the overall appeal of the event, making it an experience unlike any other and the perfect outing for visitors of all ages. With more than 35 rides, your family will be delighted to spend this fall day with the phantoms of the park. 

The kids loved seeing the different scare zones in Kennywood all dressed up for Haunts! It was perfect that they had the opportunity to experience this during the daytime hours. 

One of our favorite highlights of Phantom Fall Fest is the attention to detail in decorating the park's attractions. Even beloved classics like the Old Mill and Noah's Arc get a seasonal makeover, with Halloween and fall-themed decor that enhances the ride experience. It's a visual treat for all as you walk through the park, taking in the creative transformation of Pittsburgh's favorite amusement park.

Trying to keep up with the dead riding through Kennywood

One of the behind-the-scenes delights we experienced was the opportunity to witness the artistry involved in creating the haunting makeup and props that make Phantom Fright Nights so spine-tingling. We watched in awe the makeup demos featuring the skilled artists responsible for turning actors into terrifying creatures of the night. One of the key figures in this creative process is Chris Pope, the Make-up Manager at Kennywood, who works alongside his partner Nick Kardos to handcraft masks and props for the entire event.

We got to watch make-up demos with the actors and met Chris Pope, the Make-up Manager who creates all the mask and props at Kennywood by hand with his partner Nick Kardos. 

The dedication of Chris Pope and Nick Kardos is truly remarkable, as they begin their work on props for Phantom Fright Nights and Fall Fest as early as May. This early start ensures that Kennywood's actors are fully prepared to bring their chilling characters to life when the Halloween season arrives. Meeting these talented artisans and learning about their creative process adds a deeper layer of appreciation for the effort and artistry behind the scares at Kennywood.

Chris Pope and Nick Kardos start working on props for Phantom Fall Fest starting in May to ensure all Kennywood actors are prepared for their roles.

Phantom Fright Nights: A Haunting Experience

Phantom Fright Nights, Kennywood's annual Halloween-themed event, is a spine-tingling experience for thrill-seekers and fans of all things spooky. From the moment the siren goes off to alert you the Phantom has come to play, you'll be immersed in a world of seven haunted attractions, four scare zones, 35 spooky rides, creepy creatures, and fog-filled streets of adventure. 

It's all fun and games during the day at Phantom Fall Fest but once the sun goes down....

Phantom Fright Nights gets pretty spooky after dark!

One of the standout features of Phantom Fright Nights is having multiple haunted houses in one park like Shady Grove or Kennyville Cemetery. New for 2022, we got to experience mAlice in Wonderland, which was expertly designed to send shivers down your spine; an easy feat once the Queen of Hearts was "off with your head".  But it's not just the haunted houses you need to fear, Kennywood has four fearsome scare zones filled with a variety of ghoulish characters and creatures who will stop at nothing to give you a fright. From the disturbing figures you will encounter walking through The Welcoming/Departing (Kennywood's tunnel) to the Dead Light District filled with zombies, the park's dedicated actors and performers bring these spooky spectacles to life, making every step through the fog-filled streets an adventure.

Check out this aerial view of the new for 2022 Malice and Wonderland "choose your destiny" maze.

Don't miss the spine-tingling scares and thrilling rides that take on a new, eerie life during Phantom Fright Nights. From the ghoulishly delicious themed dinners to nighttime rides on Kennywood's world-famous coasters, the park offers a complete Halloween experience that will keep you coming back year after year.

Festive food was served during a sit down mAlice and Wonderland dining experience

Kennywood Park's Phantom Fright Nights and Fall Fest provide an exciting and immersive experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you're seeking heart-pounding scares or a cozy autumn day filled with family-friendly fun, Kennywood has something special to offer during the fall season. The combination of spine-tingling thrills and charming festivities makes these events a must-visit for anyone looking to embrace the Halloween spirit or simply enjoy the beauty of fall in western Pennsylvania. So, if you find yourself in the Pittsburgh area during the autumn months, make sure to check out Kennywood Park's Phantom Fright Nights and Fall Fest for an unforgettable experience.

The kids don't want to brag, but they got to meet Andrew Fuller, "Is it Cake?" champion at Phantom Fall Fest!

Plenty of games are open for play at Kennywood during Phantom Fright Nights

Phantom Fall Fest operates every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through October 29th. Usually you should purchase your tickets online for your best savings but for 2023 you can SAVE on Phantom Fall Fest tickets with CertifiKID and get single tickets for $34.94 after taxes and fees!!. Be sure to note the new bag policy - no bags permitted larger than 8”x5”x2” (except for diaper and medical bags). No outside food or drink permitted during this specialty event except for one unopened water bottle per person.

Always a good time at Kennywood!

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Haven't been to Kennywood in a while? Check out our Insider Tips on Taking Kids to Kennywood Park to help you prepare for a day of non-stop fun!