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Timothy Haskell, Nights of Horror creator, with one of his spooky characters. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

Timothy Haskell, Nights of Horror mastermind, with one of his spooky fiends. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i

When it comes to spooky characters popping out of dark corners at a haunted attraction, ATZ is a well-known scaredy cat. We made sure to arrive well before dark on opening night of Luna Park Coney Island’s Nights of Horror. The Halloween festivities, which are scheduled till midnight, were about to get started at 5 pm. At the Surf Avenue gate, we spied theater director and Nights of Horror mastermind Timothy Haskell with one of his fiends. Ax in hand, the fiend offered us a fresh brain. We politely declined and hurried over to get our wristband.

Haunted games at Luna Park's Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Haunted games at Luna Park's Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spooky characters kept popping out from behind bales of hay as we made our way through the park. Our friend Stan Fox warned us, “Don’t turn around.” The ride and game operators were also costumed for Nights of Horror, except they don’t wear masks. Photography is not permitted within the maze. We’ll have to tell you about it without giving too much away! It was fun. Being a scaredy cat, we screamed a lot. Then we laughed hysterically..

Spooky character at Luna Park Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Spooky character at Luna Park Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Seven of the rides on the Boardwalk side of the park have been incorporated into the maze. They spin continuously during the event without any people aboard. Something was amiss though. They were haunted! A couple of games within the maze have also undergone a ghoulish transformation. As a longtime game operator, this was probably our favorite part of the maze. We really cannot say any more! You’ll have to go and see for yourself…

Riding the Circus Coaster at dusk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Riding the Circus Coaster at dusk. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Nights of Horror is a ticketed event. It costs $25 in advance or online, $30 at the gate, and $20 with ID for college or high school students, military, NYPD, FDNY and EMS. The price includes one-time access to the haunted maze and unlimited access to 12 rides. Among the rides are the Brooklyn Flyer, Air Race, Electro Spin, Eclipse, Tickler Coaster, Circus Coaster, Lynn’s Trapeze, Hang Glider and Water Flume. One of our friends rode the Circus Coaster 20 times! Keep in mind that Halloween season will be your last chance to enjoy Coney Island’s rides in 2010. After October 31, the rides don’t open again until Palm Sunday, which is April 17, 2011.

Halloween Treats at Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Halloween Treats at Luna Park. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Halloween treats include candy floss, popcorn, S’Mores, hot chocolate and apple cider. Luna Park’s seasonal menu also includes chili and roasted corn.

Uh oh…it’s getting dark….Caution: strobe lights and fog effects ahead!

Favorite spookiest character at Luna Park Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Favorite spookiest character at Luna Park Nights of Horror. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Say hello to our fave spooky character of the first Night of Horror. This petite creature sneaked up on us in front of the Electro Spin. She had a delightfully creepy prop in her hand–a doll’s severed hand–and was slyly adept at wielding it. By the time our friend had finished his ride, she’d completely charmed us.

Luna Park logo atop the Eclipse. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Luna Park logo atop the Eclipse. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Luna Park, 1000 Surf Avenue, Coney Island, 718-373-LUNA (5862). Nights of Horror runs every Friday and Saturday from 5 pm-12 am and on Sundays from 5-10 pm through October 31.

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