BIGGER, badder and scarier than ever - York’s Halloween festival is back after a two-year Covid-imposed break.

Tom Pearcy is relaunching Hallowscream at York Maze tomorrow, Friday, after recruiting more than 200 seasonal staff to stage the event.

He expects to welcome about 40,000 visitors to Hallowscream and its daytime sister festival, Hallowtween, which is aimed at 10 to 15-year-olds and starts on Tuesday, October 26. Both end on Sunday, October 31.

“When we cancelled Hallowscream last year I promised we’d be back bigger, badder and scarier than ever for 2021,” said Tom.

“This year we are expanding with extra nights and new entertainment for an action-packed series of 16 terrifying Hallowscream nights and six ghoulish Hallowtween days.”

York Press:

Tom said the event was ‘hugely’ important.

“We only open for summer and Halloween; that’s our business. We didn’t do Hallowscream last year so we had more or less zero income for that entire year. We need a good Halloween to get us back to where we need to be.”

The attraction has five haunted houses, while visitors to Hallowscream will be treated to a new fire and light show with lasers and projection mapping, a stage show with death-defying performances of illusion and magic, a new food court and fairground rides.

York Press:

“We go live on Friday night. I am really excited,” said Tom.

"We are building what we think could be a world's first - a fire, light and laser show so it's projection mapping onto a giant pyramid of shipping containers. It's a five-minute musical special effects extravaganza every half hour every night."

He said the park had been carefully designed to space people out.

"Over the whole period, including Hallowtween through half term, we hope to get about 40,000 people - the same number we would normally have but spread out over a wider area."

York Press:

So what will the new 200-strong team be doing?

"We normally have about 150 'scare actors' - so there's a large number of acting parts," said Tom.

"Some of it is very theatrical - our street theatre team is out and about wandering around, then there are some people literally hiding in a dark corner and leaping out at you. We have a variety of acting roles with all abilities welcome.

"Then food and drink is a big part of the operation as it's a full night out. We do a variety of street food stalls, bar and coffee so there's barista/ bar work and food prep. There's also a large number stewarding, managing queues, taking tickets. All told we need about 200 people."

Tom said they had held casting and training sessions last weekend, followed by workshops this week on 'how to scare people safely', healthy and safety training, and rehearsals.

What changes can die-hard Hallowscream fans expect this year?

"Because of Covid we have tried to spread people out," said Tom.

"We have created a new food and drink court which brings people out of the main atrium. The fire and light show will be viewable from the food court and we have brought in fairground rides to move people round the park a bit more.

"It's pre-book only online so we always know exactly how many people are on site and we have a limited capacity. All the peak nights tend to sell out quickly. At the minute people are going mad buying all around Halloween time. Buy tickets now if you want to come!

"It was the same for summer. During the last four or five weeks of summer we sold out every day. With Covid, we decided to put a limit on tickets and put them all online so we could control the number of people here.

"It allowed us to make sure were full every day but to a safe capacity."

What else do visitors need to know?

Hallowscream at York Maze runs 16 selected nights from 6.30pm to 11.30pm between Friday, October 8 and Sunday, October 31, 2021. Tickets are from £22 plus a £1 booking fee and must be booked in advance online.

Tickets are not available on the gate.

All visitors are required to wear a face mask inside the scare houses. Children under 14 are not permitted and children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult including inside the haunted house attractions.

What about Hallowtween?

Hallowtween runs daily 12.30pm – 5.30pm from Tuesday, October 26 to Sunday, October 31. Tickets must be purchased online, there are no tickets available on the gate. Tickets for the opening days are £12.50 adult or child, increasing nearer to Halloween with peak dates priced at £16.50.

All visitors (including children) are required to wear a face mask inside the scare houses. Though Hallowtween is aimed at children aged 10-15, there is no set age limit and parents can decide if it is suitable for their children.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult including inside the haunted house attractions. Adults of a nervous disposition who would find Hallowscream too scary are also welcome to attend Hallowtween.

Tickets for Hallowscream Nights and Hallowtween days are now on sale at and