Carry on screaming this Halloween
If you go down to the woods at the end of the month, you're sure of a terrifying surprise. Dinosaur Adventure is preparing for its annual Halloween PrimEVIL. STACIA BRIGGS prepares to be scared. Plus were else to experience a spooky time.
It was one of the highlights of last autumn for my family — even if it did reduce one member of the party to a temporarily shivering wreck.
PrimEVIL is returning to Dinosaur Adventure in Lenwade, and this year it's bigger, better and even more terrifying than last year's event which saw visitors scared witless by chainsaw-wielding mutants, crazed hospital inmates and all manner of supernatural ghouls.
The first thing that strikes you when you arrive to Dinosaur Adventure at night is how the park is completely transformed by darkness: non-threatening and family friendly by day, at night the attraction is awash with shadows which cast an altogether more sinister light, especially in the woods.
My family, who are huge fans of the live-action, scare-actor filled attractions at Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, loved PrimEVIL so much last year that we went twice in order to scare ourselves doubly.
My son, 10, who is the sensitive soul of the family, chose only to take part in the Dinohaunts walk which is man-ageably scary, with plenty of action along the way, but my daughter, 13, her friend and I took on all challenges — we braved the Maze of Mutants and their chainsaws and the pitch-black Insanitorium with blood-spattered lunatics jumping out at us around every shadowy corner.
This year, there will be four live-action attractions at PrimEVIL, including one for younger visitors over the age of five who prefer a gentle, rather than a terrifying, scare.
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All attractions are live-action walk-throughs involving a cast of more than 35 actors who remain in character throughout the night.
Dinohaunts follows the Dinosaur trail through the woods which will be transformed into a spooky walk complete with ghouls, witches, ghosts and werewolves all determined to make you scream.
Suitable for anyone aged over five, the walk will take visitors past the park's most famous residents, such as T-Rex and the triceratops, and will include lots of surprises along the way.
New for 2011 is the House of the Living Dead, based in part of the Dinomite building.
Scullmore Properties will be offering brave souls aged 12 and over the chance to look around a wonderful new property on the market which has become available to new tenants.
Unfortunately, the last tenants aren't quite ready to move out. Even more unfortunately, the last tenants are zom-bies who were all killed at the house and have remained to scare anyone that ventures within.
Another new attraction is Circus of Terrors, which can be found in the Lost World A-Mazing Adventure maze. Here, you will find that the circus has come to town…but it's no ordinary circus.
At the Circus of Terrors, the performers like to play with their food – and they like meat. Lots of fresh meat… The attraction is suitable for over-12s.
Finally, and for the most hardy of visitors over 12, is the Insanitorium, towards the back of Dinomite.
A hospital has been overrun with crazed patients and their equally insane doctors, all of whom are lurking in every corridor waiting to give you the scare of your life.
Martin Dupee, head of operations at Dinosaur Adventure, Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, explained that the park plans to make PrimEVIL an annual scare-fest for those with nerves of steel.
'Children have always loved the Dinohaunts, but our older visitors told us that they'd like something scarier, so that's what we've given them!' he said.
'It's a really big deal for Norfolk – there's nothing like it for miles. A team of actors work really hard to scare the living daylights out of people, and the customers love it. As soon as last year's event finished, people were already asking about this year's PrimEVIL.'
In addition to the live-action attractions, there will also be a firework display, creepy animal handling, performances from the Abominable Stiltwalkers, pumpkin carving and food stalls.
My daughter now claims that she's recovered from her visit to the Insanitorium last year, so we'll definitely be back for more. See you in the House of the Living Dead…
t PrimEVIL is at Dinosaur Adventure on October 27 to 31, 01603 876312, dinosauradventure.co.uk
t A Spooky Ticket, giving you access to Dinohaunts, entertainment, fireworks and other activities including Di-nomite, costs �8.95. Terror Tickets, including everything from the Spooky Ticket plus entrance to Circus of Ter-rors, Insanitorium and House of the Living Dead, cost �14.95.
n Spooky Express (Oct 22-30) — Bure Valley Railway will offer some Halloween fun aboard the Spooky Express - free ticket for children when accompanied by a fare paying adult (two children per adult).
n Halloween Half Term (Oct 22-30) — A spooky trail around Pensthorpe Nature Reserve will offer a fright for all the family, including learning more about the natural and mystical beasts and a screamingly spooky Bug Walk with all sorts of creepy crawlies.
n Snagglefang's Spooky Spectacular (Oct 24-30) — Make your own masks and lanterns and join Bewilderwood's famous end of day lantern parade if you dare! Hunting for colour-coded bats hidden around the forest, plus interac-tive storytelling.
n Halloween Workshops — Norwich Puppet Theatre are running two creepy creative classes for Halloween - make a monster, ghoul or ghost. Ages 5+ Oct 26 and ages 9-15 Oct 25.
n Real Halloween (Oct 29-30) — The Fairyland Trust celebrates all that is magical about Halloween and late autumn in the grounds of Holt Hall. Creative workshops with magic potions, wizard shields and witches pets. Plus children will be able to carve pumpkins, make lanterns.
n Halloween Spooky Trail (Oct 31) — Scare yourself silly at Fairhaven Woodland & Water Garden. There will be magic, music and strange happenings.
n Halloween Walks — Norwich Ghost Walks leave the Adam and Eve pub every Mon/Tues/Thurs, 7.30pm, (www.ghostwalksnorwich.co.uk). And give yourself the spooks on Great Yarmouth's Halloween Walks (Oct 29-30), with strange stories of goulish finds, murder and witches (www.heritage-walks.co.uk).