Kuwahara’s Pumpkin Patch and Thriller Park is a Halloween treatOct 21, 2020 11h45 ● By Katherine Weinstein
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
Kuwahara’s Pumpkin Patch and Thriller Park is open for the season. The Draper pumpkin patch is a popular destination for folks to buy pumpkins and take fall photos while Thriller Park captures the thrills and chills of the season. Activities include an adventure maze, live performances and zombie paintball. The haunted house, Thriller Manor, has amped up the frights this year for those who are brave enough to enter.
There are new attractions this year as well as protocols to help keep visitors safe in light of the pandemic. "We want to make it a really fun and safe experience for such a crazy year," said owner Alex Kuwahara. The Pumpkin Patch and Thriller Park is located at 12153 S. 700 West.
For example, instead of ball pits and bouncy houses for younger kids to play in, “we are putting more into our maze this year,” Kuwahara said. The Once Upon a Time Adventure Maze is not one in which the challenge is to find the way out. Rather, it is an interactive walk-through where kids can meet costumed characters and discover magical scenes along the way. "It will be a fun adventure for kids," he said.
The sets include a witch's cottage, the pumpkin king's lair and Once Upon a Time castle. The goal is to create a unique Halloween experience while social distancing. The maze is in the open air and groups of visitors will be spaced apart.
Themed live performances will be a big part of the fun this year at Kuwahara’s Thriller Park. Live performances will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. The themed shows alternate nightly and will feature kooky and spooky characters as well as magic acts, storytelling, medieval fighting, music and dance.
Even for those simply looking to buy pumpkins, Kuwahara’s Pumpkin Patch adds an element of ghostly fun. Different types of pumpkins are on display in themed buildings with names like “Frankenstein’s Cemetery,” “Nightmare Village” (as in “The Nightmare Before Christmas”), and “Fairytale Kingdom.” In addition to regular jack-o’-lantern pumpkins, Kuwahara’s sells exotic varieties such as Cinderella, Ghost and Red Warty. “Our pumpkin prices are comparable to those in grocery stores,” Kuwahara added. All of the pumpkins are grown in Utah.
The refreshments at Kuwahara’s Pumpkin Patch are also in keeping with the Halloween theme. At the farmer’s food truck, hot dogs are served up as “mummy fingers” and veggie nachos become a “cannibal feast.” Seasonal treats like churros, doughnuts and hot chocolate round out the menu. Kuwahara is proud to serve INTI coffee from Peru.
Kuwahara’s goal is to have attractions that appeal to everyone. Thriller Manor invites adrenaline junkies to experience new levels of fright this season. "We change it up every year," said Max Burton, who orchestrates the haunted house with his company, Scared Haunt.
Burton, a former part-time owner of Castle of Chaos, has been frightening folks since childhood when he hid out in Ft. Union cemetery and pretended to rise from a grave. "I've been scaring forever! I love it!" he said with a grin.
This is Burton's first season at Kuwahara's Thriller Park. His vision for Thriller Manor includes everything from a Mad Scientist's Lab to evil clowns, pumpkin-headed monsters wielding chainsaws and cannibal hillbillies. Bringing this vision to life involves special lighting, sound effects, animatronics and pneumatics in addition to a troupe of volunteer actors. "We have a really good troupe," Burton said. "They love to scare."
The actors will not, however, touch people as they go through the attraction. Every aspect of the Pumpkin Patch, Thriller Park and Thriller Manor is being planned with the pandemic in mind.
Capacity limits will be in place for all attractions, including the Pumpkin Patch. People are expected to wear face masks while standing in line and inside enclosed spaces. Hand sanitizer stations are available and Kuwahara’s staff is vigilant about cleanliness.
To help manage crowds, a $5 fee per person will be charged to enter the Pumpkin Patch. During non-peak hours only, that fee can be put toward the purchase of pumpkins or tickets to Thriller Park or Thriller Manor. For more information about fees, hours and tickets, visit kuwaharawholesale.com.