Knott’s Berry Farm’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween: Halloween, 2020 Style

It wasn’t long ago I was bouncing around the world, seeing new cities and meeting new people every few days. These days, I’m mostly flitting between the three rooms of my apartment. And while I’m grateful I’ve been able to stay healthy since the pandemic hit the U.S., I’ve been itching to experience something new while keeping myself and others safe. This weekend, I found the perfect opportunity to do just that when I visited Knott’s Berry Farm’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween, combining three of my very favorite things: Halloween, theme parks, and delicious food.

Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween

Knott’s looking especially boo-tiful at Taste of Fall-O-Ween

A Theme Park? In a Pandemic?

Being a Knott’s 100th Anniversary Ambassador has been quite the honor because the Southern California theme park has meant so much to me since I was an infant. But their 100th anniversary hasn’t turned out how any of us expected. The good news is that, since the park shut down earlier this year to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve found creative ways to slowly welcome guests back. Taste of Fall-O-Ween is Knott’s Berry Farm’s latest opportunity to safely visit a partially reopened park. For the next few weekends, though rides are closed, Knott’s is opened for food tasting, Halloween decor, performances, shopping, and trick-or-treating.

Knott's Fall-O-Ween

Ghost Town looking even more ghostly than usual

I have been extremely cautious about social distancing since the pandemic hit (I haven’t even been to a grocery store since March!), so I missed out on Knott’s previous two tasting events, Taste of Knott’s and Taste of Calico. But after hearing from fans and fellow ambassadors about how well run those events were and how many precautions Knott’s has been taking, I did some more research into their safety measures and decided this was the perfect event for a safe change of scenery.

Knott's Taste-of-Falloween food tasting

Safely spaced out picnic tables

So, before I jump into the fun stuff, a little on why I felt comfortable checking out Taste of Fall-O-Ween even during these strange times:

  • Event capacity is limited, meaning crowds are much smaller than they are in normal times. The first photo in this post is about as crowded as it ever got throughout the park
  • Before entering, every guest is required to have their temperature checked and confirm they haven’t experienced symptoms
  • Masks are required at all times, except when you’re seated at a table (and tables are spaced far apart)
  • Park employees are diligent about regularly disinfecting seating areas and bathrooms
  • Hand sanitizer is placed throughout the park
  • Six-foot markers have been stamped on the ground in food queues, so it’s easy to keep a distance while waiting in line
  • Plastic barriers are placed around cash registers to protect employees
  • Everything is outdoors, and walkways are fairly wide, so it’s easy to keep a distance when you are passing others
Knott's COVID-19 Safety

Queue markers encouraging guests to keep their distance

You can read more about Knott’s safety measures for the event here, or just send me a message if you’d like to hear more about my personal experience.

Spookily Delicious Food

Taste of Fall-O-Ween, as its name suggests, is a food tasting event, though it wound up being so much more. Adult tasting cards cost just $35 and treat you to five tastings, while children are granted three for $20. And when I say “tasting,” I don’t just mean tiny bites, either. This portions are very generous—and scary good. There are about fifty items to choose from, so everyone can find something that appeals to them. The only problem was narrowing down which items we wanted to try. After much deliberation, we settled on:

Knott's Macaroni and Cheese

Cheeseburger mac and cheese with bacon and a Panko crumb topping

Knott's meatball sub

“Headless” meatball sandwich: beef and pork meatball on a Hawaiian bun with provolone cheese, marinara sauce, and a side of sweet potato waffle chips

Knott's tater tots

Hot pastrami, diced garlic pickles, and Mornay cheese sauce over tater tots with boysenberry mustard

Knott's chicken drumsticks

Sweet chili chicken drumsticks

Knott's riblets

“Burnt ends” riblets and garlic mashers

Knott's churros

Pumpkin spice churro sticks with a candy corn sugar and Bavarian cream dip

Before arriving at Knott’s, we had been thrilled at the prospect of maxing out our two tasting cards and sharing ten different items, but I’m sad to admit that we found that we were full after just six and had to tap out. Other items I would have loved to try include the battered buffalo cauliflower bites, the graveyard funnel cake, the Ghoulish Pumpkin cinnamon bun, and the corn on the cob with butter, mayo, and Taki crumble. Guess another trip is in order! The good news is you definitely won’t go hungry, and you can always use those extra tastings on wine and beer.

Knott's Halloween

Taste of Fall-O-Ween coming alive by night

Plus More Festive Fun

Knott’s Berry Farm is one of the first places to really do Halloween to the fullest. Its annual Knott’s Scary Farm event began in 1973, and many credit it for popularizing the idea of a Halloween event season. And though Knott’s Scary Farm was canceled this year due to the pandemic, it makes sense that Knott’s would knock it out of the park when it comes to rethinking Halloween for 2020.

Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween

I’m officially in Halloween mode now!

If you know me at all, you know how much I love Knott’s bigger theme park neighbor to the south, but this is a hill I’m willing to die on: the place that rhymes with Schmisneyland can’t hold a candle to Knott’s Berry Farm when it comes to Halloween. And I love Halloween decorations. Knott’s spooky season scenery is stunning each year, and they outdid themselves for 2020’s Taste of Fall-O-Ween.

Knott's Berry Farm Halloween

Wait, I thought the rides were closed for this event?

In addition to detailed decorations throughout the park, at Taste of Fall-O-Ween, you’ll find spooky characters greeting guests from socially distant locations like balconies and the Sheriff’s Office. Independent craft booths sell Halloween décor, guests can purchase pumpkins to carve at home, and, best of all, Camp Snoopy has been transformed into a trick-or-treat trail. Though candy was limited to the kids, we childfree adults were sweet on strolling through this intricately decorated area and waving to socially distant Peanuts characters.

Camp Snoopy Halloween

Gourd grief!

As cool as the park looks by day, I highly recommend staying past sunset, because when the lights and fog come on, the decorations are out of this world. Plus, crowds thinned after dark, and most of the kids went home, so we had the trick-or-treat trail almost all to ourselves.

Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween

Sure puts my Halloween decorations to shame, no matter how many trips I made to HomeGoods

If you’re in Southern California and are looking to get out of the house without exposing yourself to too much risk, Taste of Fall-O-Ween at Knott’s Berry Farm is the perfect outing. It’s running every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday between now and November 1st—though it looks like dates are selling out fast, so get on it quick if you’re interested in checking it out. (Edit on 9/29: looks like they’re already sold out of the original dates, but select Thursdays have been added!) I’m so glad I left my self-quarantine bubble to feel festive, eat great food, and stroll around one of my all-time favorite places.

Happy Halloween season, everyone! Wear a mask, stay safe, and vote!

I was a guest of Knott’s Berry Farm as a Knott’s Anniversary Ambassador, but all opinions are entirely my own, as always!

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