It’s that time of year. Where the summer heat is starting to wane, pumpkins are being stocked at the supermarket, and every Michael’s, Big Lots and 99 Cent store has been stocking spooky merchandise for the last two weeks.

Where Universal prefers to trickle out their Halloween Horror Nights information, Knott’s saves it all for a single night. Small amounts are confirmed at events like Midsummer Scream, or they tease the return of some mazes on social media, but the big announcements are saved for the final Thursday evening in August, as has become an annual tradition.

Jeff Tucker, Knott’s Entertainment Supervisor, and one heck of a host, leads the charge for the show. Starting off with a dark choreographed number, Jeff arrives, emerging from a coffin, and gets the crowd pumped.

The entire event is live-streamed online, so in case you didn’t have a chance to visit as a season passholder, you can still enjoy the entire event yourself, and watch the replay here.

Knott’s has a lot of returning content, as is expected and desired. A lot of the culture for Scary Farm is around revisiting favorite mazes, and seeing what changes have been made over the last year.

This year, seven mazes have returned. This includes Dark Ride, Paranormal Inc., Pumpkin Eater, Red Barn, Shadow Lands, Special Ops: Infected and Trick or Treat: Lights Out. That means Voodoo and Tooth Fairy have been retired. However, Tooth Fairy lives on up north, at California’s Great America, so if you’re still itching to hear that ear-piercing drill and the chomping teeth, you know where to go.

These mazes aren’t carbon copies from the previous years, either. Virtually all of them will have new finale scenes, and slightly reconfigured rooms, enough to give you a few new scares. But you aren’t reading these articles for what’s returning, you want what’s new.

There are two new mazes this year. The first is Dark Entities from Gus Kruger.

Teleport beyond earth and into a realm where the darkness is absolute. In the depths of space, a lone station faces terror beyond all imagination. An extraterrestrial mutation has invaded the station, and it’s on the prowl for new hosts. The unearthly inhabitants’ force increases as it feeds on its unwilling victims. Escape the dark entities before its deathly force eliminates all living form aboard the station. There’s nowhere to escape when time is running out!

This maze is playing a lot of their cards close to their chest. Neither the video nor the acting bits included any look at the monsters we can expect to see occupying our visit. We’ll have to see it first hand to see how it turns out. Accompanying this atmospheric space station maze, is one that’s a bit more grounded… well, UNDER-grounded. And we have Jon Cooke to thank for this nightmare.

A heavy fog drapes over an abandoned port village where ancient creatures lurk inside the pitch-black underground caves hidden below the seaside shores. The Nightwatch Mining Crew has mysteriously disappeared and village rumors point to the eerie tunnels the town sits upon. Myths of the terrifying horrors that lurk within the cave have often been whispered but never confirmed. Did the crew meet their demise at the hand of vicious creatures that live within the cave? Journey into the ominous caverns and follow the crew’s path into The Depths, discover if the superstition revolving around the cave is true or not. But be warned all who have entered have never resurfaced

This is set in the 1940s, and the music and costumes will be appropriately styled to match. It was confirmed that H.P. Lovecraft was a big inspiration for this, with the Kraken-style creature.

But there’s also a new scare zone.

This year, a new and unearthly scare zone is making its sinister arrival to the park. For the first time the lake underneath Silver Bullet recedes to reveal the horrors and creatures it’s kept hidden, until now. Forsaken Lake will unleash gothic creatures, which have been ravaged by the dark and murky waters, as they wander from their crypts preying on unsuspecting visitors, looking for victims to drag back to their watery graves.

While every so often, some monsters stroll nearby Silver Bullet, this is now a full-fledged scare zone, a welcome addition to the park. And, as detailed in our Midsummer Scream article, will feature a nightly funeral procession. In fact, all the scare zones will feature “naturally occurring” events throughout the evening.

  One of the biggest questions of the evening was going to be about the shows. Elvira concluded her resurgence in the park last year, and Ed Alonzo, another long-time host, is staying up in San Jose for the 2018 season. So that left questions as to the new entertainment options. Well, that was answered tonight.

In addition to this year’s mazes and haunted attractions line-up, Knott’s Scary Farm is debuting two-all new shows that will keep guests on the edge of their seats. In HACKS – Cutting Room Floor, the unique, twisted, improvised comedy antics of “Hacks” returns to Knott’s Scary Farm with a brand new show in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre. This time around, they have taken over a run-down movie theater and with the help of the audience and lots of “B” horror films, they create on the spot, a Halloween show that will have you screaming with laughter.

The Bird Cage Theatre will once again become the home of comedy and magic in CONJURE – Magic and Mirth in the Bird Cage Theatre. Join award-winning magicians and Fox’s Masters of Illusion regulars as they take the stage to amaze and amuse. Witness magicians Dana Daniels, Taylor Hughes, and Chipper Lowell front and center as they perform on select nights.

Plus, a new non-stop dance party has taken over Fiesta Village with AWAKEN THE DEAD, where guests can jam to the most popular songs.

This is a very welcome addition to the park, as the show count had become a bit sparse in recent years. A magic show, an improv show, along with the classic Hanging will share the park with a dance party over in Fiesta Village. Additionally, the performing magicians will rotate as the weeks roll on at Knott’s Scary Farm, encouraging multiple visits, and giving a change of pace from simply walking in and out of mazes all night.

With the new shows, new mazes, new scare zones, and the expansion of the atmos-“fear” characters peppered around, there’s a lot to be excited for this season.

Knott’s Scary Farm begins September 20th and runs select nights through Halloween. Tickets are on sale now.