It must be fall: The days are getting shorter, television is good again, and FOX News won’t stop talking about pumpkin-flavored drinks. There are a lot of rabid fans of this season and the pagan rituals that surround it, but I’m not one of them—which is probably why I haven’t been to Knott’s Scary Farm in longer than a decade. Call me crazy, jaded, or both, but having sweaty teenagers in theater makeup jump at me from the foggy depths of hell isn’t worth the $60 price tag; besides, I heard that Universal Studios delivers a much better bang for your buck in the scare department. Nevertheless, it’s my duty as a cannabis-consuming man-child to take myself out of my comfort zone, so I raided my weed drawer, grabbed a change of underwear, then headed to beautiful Buena Park to enjoy a night full of ghosts, ghouls and goblins alongside 20,000 horny, unsupervised children.
Smoking cannabis is one thing—you usually know when you’ve hit your limit, and even then, you only have to ride the high for a short while. But it’s an entirely different experience when you take an edible (especially one containing 100 milligrams of THC), and to put it bluntly, all bets are off. Your may wind up laughing uncontrollably while having a great time, or you may end up asleep on a bench. One thing is for sure, though: The experience will likely last until you wake up the following morning. The fake Mountain Dew containing a lethal dose of cannabis that I chose to consume before my Uber arrived wasn’t purchased at one of Orange County’s various legal dispensaries, therefore I had no way of knowing the actual cannabis content and, more important, it hadn’t gone through the rigorous lab testing that the state of California requires under Proposition 64. As I made my way toward the door, I finished the last drops of the somewhat-familiar-tasting beverage. I was already feeling a bit taller thanks to its euphoric effects and hoping the bottle, which was gifted to me by a friend, wouldn’t be my downfall.
As I approached the entrance to the frighteningly packed theme-park gates, I noticed the TSA level of idiotic security measures I would have to endure before my tour of the haunted money trap could begin. I had prepared for such an occasion, so my unmentionables were already tucked safely away in my side bag. Or so I thought! When my turn came to allow the underpaid staff member to touch my bathing-suit area, I was forced to watch the scariest thing any stoner could imagine. I had left in plain view a Select cartridge worth its weight in gold, and that man tossed it into a nearby trash can and waved me on without missing a beat. He may have won the battle, but he lost the war; I puffed away on my two remaining vape pens while maneuvering through the crowd and toward the attractions.
Just outside the center of the theme park is an area decorated to resemble a ghost town. Within that area are stores that generally fit the Wild West aesthetic, selling merchandise aimed at capturing the essence of what was available to consumers during that time period: old-fashioned taffy, various types of fudge, etc. There’s even a store that isn’t a store at all, but rather a building that houses old guns and military photos. I’m not sure what people ate back then, but i’m guessing it involved a lot of soup followed by more soup, not pizza or buffalo chicken wings. But that doesn’t stop Knott’s from dishing out slices and sammies to weary travelers along the trail, and it didn’t stop me from ordering a plate of fries topped with chili, pork carnitas, ranch dressing and Cheddar cheese. Costing around 10 bucks, it was the least expensive thing I had bought all night, and it was actually pretty delicious considering the soundtrack to my intimate dinner was interrupted several times by a myriad of Scooby Doo villains while Rob Zombie’s “Dragula” blared over the loudspeakers. It might have been the side effects of the black-market buds, but by the end of my meal, I was experiencing the pain of overconsuming cannabis along with the familiar sting of heartburn. I tried to take a photo of my culinary achievement, but Knott’s Scary Farm is darker than a 9/11 joke, so you’ll just have to close your eyes and imagine a plate of chili cheese fries.
As I wandered the park, I realized technology doesn’t always improve something. The scariest thing I’ve ever seen was when I was about 4 years old. My family lived in Florida at that time and decided to celebrate Halloween by taking me on a haunted hay ride; really, it was just a ride in the back of a pickup truck through the swamp. Toward the end, the truck stopped near a man who was standing next to a table that had a very well-dressed mannequin laying on it. My child-sized brain hadn’t noticed the midsection had been replaced with spaghetti covered in tomato sauce, so when the demonic butcher began chopping up his “victim,” I panicked and started snitching quicker than a street-tough rapper on trial. For months after that fateful night, I informed every adult I met about the time I witnessed an actual murder and nobody tried to help. Now, instead of letting our imagination help to make the experience a reality, haunted houses rely on terribly produced CGI effects that are displayed on televisions or projected onto walls in order to convey the terror, and I find it all just comes off as silly. Call me old-fashioned, but those spaghetti guts scared me more than a cockroach hologram—and it’s probably 80 percent cheaper to produce. (If anyone from Knott’s is reading this, I’m available for consultations.)
After six hours of waiting in line for mazes, waiting in line for food and, my personal-favorite pastime, waiting for the line to wait, I decided I had had enough spookiness for one night. My high had peaked hours before, leaving me with feet that felt like anvils and a headache the size of Texas. Plus, I didn’t feel like hearing yet another version of the monster mash. So, with a belly full of chili and regret, I exited the park and made a mental list of haunted attractions that I think are actually scary to hopefully sell to the people in charge at Knott’s, if I ever have a chance encounter with them. These include:
• A maze, but it’s just a pitch-black room you have to stay in for five minutes. As the door closes, you’re told there’s one spider in the room, but you can’t see it.
• A maze that’s actually just the DMV.
• A haunted maze that is a grocery store, but they only sell off-brand food products.
• A room with, like, 10 mimes.
• A house that’s haunted by everyone in your phone whose messages you’ve left unread.
• A theme park that only sells blue Powerades and Monster energy drinks.
Okay, that last one has actually already been taken by Knott’s. Seriously, guys, stop selling blue Powerade. If you’re looking to wait in line while an adult dressed as the love child of Mickey Rooney and the Joker jumps at you from the shadows, then Knott’s Scary Farm is conveniently located. Make sure you support legal cannabis as much as possible, and as always, happy smoking!
Knott’s Scary Farm at Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park; www.knotts.com.
Jefferson Matthew VanBilliard is a leo that enjoys all things cannabis and is just trying his best. He let us know that although the desert will always be his home you can find him on Fourth St. in Santa Ana battle rapping teenagers or at the local high school where he coaches girls varsity volleyball without anyone’s permission.