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History of Hersheypark In The Dark

Hersheypark In The Dark is Hersheypark’s oldest shoulder season event. It was an event started two years after ZooAmerica opened. This is a look back at the history of this event. 

Creatures of the Night (1980-present)

Originally started as a one night event on October 31, 1980, Creatures of the Night, is an annual event which occurs during the month of October in ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park. The attractions for the event include a flashlight tour, presentations of several movies, as well as animal demonstrations.

Starting in 1992, the event expanded into the Minetown region of Hersheypark (Kissing Tower Hill since 2014). Six rides were opened for operation: Antique Cars of Twin Turnpike, Convoy, Dinosaurs-Go-Round, Flying Falcon, Kissing Tower, and Red Baron. The rides required tickets. Creatures was renamed Creatures of the Night . . . Plus! for the 1992 season, to emphasize that the park was operating a few rides. The name reverted back to the standard Creatures name the following season.

A blog post written by the Hershey Community Archives, in 2012, features a map of Creatures from the 1992 season. Click here to view their blog.

It is unclear when Hersheypark began renaming rides for Creatures. Rides were not renamed in the 1992 season. In 1995, Trailblazer Hollow (which included two rides, Trailblazer and Pony Parade) was incorporated into the event. The area was themed for Creatures as Sleepy Hollow. It is most likely that the 1995 event is when the park began renaming rides after Halloween-themed names for Creatures.

Trailblazer Hollow, as Sleepy Hollow, would be open through 1997, with no significant changes being made to the event on the park side, in the 1996 season.

1995-10-12-the-gettysburg-times-pa9
Advert from The Gettysburg Times, October 12, 1995, page A9.

For the 1997 event, the main entrance for Creatures was moved from the ZooAmerica entrance to the main entrance of the park, as Creatures was becoming a more popular event. In Carrousel Circle, only the Carrousel was opened (called Night Mares). Pippins, a restaurant in Tudor Square, was also open.

This led to a significant change to the event in 1998, splicing the main park into a new event.

Hersheypark In The Dark (1998-present)

In 1998, the event was split into two, with the name of the event becoming Hersheypark In The Dark (HPITD). The ZooAmerica event remained as Creatures of the Night. HPITD was a pay-per-ride event (which would be changed to a single fee at the main entrance in 2006).

The original Sleepy Hollow area was switched from Trailblazer Hollow to Comet Hollow. Trailblazer Hollow would be reopened for Hersheypark In The Dark in the 2000, with most of Pioneer Frontier (the water rides remained closed), as well as, officially, all of Carrousel Circle and Music Box Way (although some of the rides in Carrousel Circle and Music Box Way were operated and re-themed in the 1999 season, just not marked on the park map).

In 2001, with the addition of the NightLights Laser Show in Midway America, a laser show was put on during HPITD – FrightLights: A Laser Spooktacular. None of the rides would be open in Midway America officially until the 2003 season.

Directional Signs [Shawn Marie Mann]
Directional signs at the intersection of Founder’s Circle and The Hollow, 2013. Photo courtesy of Shawn Marie Mann.
The first roller coaster put into operation for Creatures was Trailblazer, sometime between 1993 and 1995. It’s Halloween-themed name was “Ichabod’s Train.” In 1998, Trailblazer was not opened for the event in favor of Comet. As a result, Comet was given the name “Ichabod’s Train.” When Trailblazer was reintroduced to the event in 2000, it was given the name “Boo-Blazer.”

BOO-Blazer [Shawn Marie Mann]
BOO-Blazer was the Halloween-themed name for Trailblazer from 2000-2014. Photo courtesy of Shawn Marie Mann.
Ichabod's Comet [Shawn Marie Mann]
Sign for Comet, 2013 Hersheypark In The Dark. Photo courtesy of Shawn Marie Mann.
A few other rides changed names over the course of Creatures / HPITD. One was an inflatable ride, Moonwalk, which was originally called “Scaredy Cat.” When Wildcat was opened for Hersheypark In The Dark in the 2004 season (the rest of Midway America was first opened in the 2003 season), Moonwalk was renamed “Boo Bounce” and Wildcat was given the name “Scaredy Cat.”

Another ride was Balloon Flite, which was called Balloon Flite during Creatures / HPITD. After the ride was reinstalled following it’s time in storage (2003-2004), the ride was given the name “Balloon Fright.”

Pony Parade was originally installed in Trailblazer Hollow before being relocated to Midway America in 1997. When Pony  Parade was in this location when the “Sleepy Hollow” area opened in Trailblazer Hollow, the ride was called “Sleepy Hollow Horse Carts.” When the ride was reopened with Midway America in 2003 (except for Wildcat), it was renamed for HPITD – “Monster Movers.” The “Monster Movers” name had been previously used for Earthmovers, which had been removed after the 2002 season (it was relocated to Dutch Wonderland for the 2003 season).

When Whip was opened for HPITD, it was given the name “Spider’s Web,” which was the name given to Cyclops before it was removed from the park.

One ride was never renamed at all: The Howler. The practice of renaming rides for this event was discontinued after the 2014 season.

A list of all of the Halloween-themed names for rides can be seen here. A history of maps for Creatures of the Night and Hersheypark In The Dark are located in the Library Maps Database subsection of this website. There is also a timeline of Creatures / HPITD, which you can see here. Click the links to check them out.


To see more Throwback Thursday posts, click here

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Harry Michelson View All

I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks. Right now I am focused on Hersheypark.

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