Tulleys Shocktoberfest, outside of theme park Halloween events, is just about the only other Halloween event I knew existed 6 months ago, purely due to their adverts on the tube in London every year. In my naivety I’d always dismissed going as I always thought ‘how could a few mazes in a field on a farm be any good’. Obviously I was massively mistaken and despite knowing a lot more about Tulleys now than I did then, I was still taken aback by the sheer size, scale and quality of the event.

For newbies like myself that don’t already know Tulleys Shocktoberfest, near Crawley in West Sussex is massive. There are 8 traditional walking scare mazes, a haunted hayride, a short circus attraction, two live music stages, numerous roaming street theatre actors, add-on fair ground rides, midway games and attractions, two bars, and a vast selection of food options available. It’s like a mini-seasonal theme park that comes to life every Halloween.

Unbeknownst to me at the time of booking, I was going to be there for the press and VIP opening night event. Public tickets, like my own, are still available in limited numbers for particular evenings. Being an old fart, I didn’t expect to recognise anyone, however seeing some posts on various social networks afterwards I was able to go ‘Oh, I saw that person’ or more often ‘Oh, I know that person, but don’t remember seeing them’. Not surprising really given the size of the venue.

Street Theatre and non- Mazes

The numerous, differently themed roaming street theatre actors were all brilliant, from the superbly creepy twin girls, to the Wastelands area Mad Max-esque killers, and my favourites Austrian Hans and his pet Goatie. Great variety and a number of them kept people at Shocktoberfest entertained and on their toes throughout the evening.

Circus of Horrors was an entertaining, reasonably lengthy show that is performed in a traditional big top several times through the evening. I saw the 9pm show which was entertaining and disgusting in equal measure. My highlights were the contortionist and the acrobatic group. My low light was a bit too much to see of the Mongolian laughing ‘boy’s’ anatomy. Based on the performance I saw if you’re struggling for time this could be something to be missed out on. Scare Directory will be visiting again later in the season so if this changes we’ll let you know.

I didn’t experience any of them myself, but there are a few fairground rides, some traditional midway games, static zombie paintball and a VR experience available for an additional fee. For free though there are two very entertaining live music stages within Shocktoberfest. Perfect for if you want to get your groove on.

The Mazes

It’s worth mentioning, that all the mazes have some great elements, scares, and all have quality design, make up, sounds and costumes with very clearly passionate and engaging actors within them. Obviously there’s always going to be an amount of subjectivity about the individual maze reviews given a particular run through. I had opted for a VIP XScream Unlimited Pass which meant that I could fast track any maze as many times as I wanted. Even with the practically walk-on fast track queue lines, I could only manage to do repeat runs of three of the mazes. If I’d have been more single minded I could have done a couple more repeats, but I was more than happy to spend time soaking up the amazing festival atmosphere at the event.

For those that were on the most popular XScream Pass, offering a single run through of everything once in normal queue lines, I can only imagine it would have been an absolute mission to cover everything. That said queue lines on a Saturday opening night didn’t seem too extreme, topping out at 25 minutes for Wastelands Penitentiary. I imagine these queue times may get longer at peak periods closer to Halloween.

Twisted Clowns

This was my first maze at Shocktoberfest and my first ever 3D maze. You don 3D glasses at the start and enter the very trippy and neon clown based maze. My singular small group experience was good, but not great. The actors were good value and the 3D effects suitably fun. As a glasses wearer normally, adding the 3D specs was a bit uncomfortable. If I’d had my contacts in I’m sure I’d have had a different opinion.

The Chop Shop Garage

I did two run-throughs of Chop Shop and both were superb, plenty of actors, great theming, design, props, makeup, and great pacing. My second favourite of the night and not one for anyone with an aversion to chainsaws. Memorably on my first run through I ended up in a small group of five with a really big bloke with some face tattoos. I didn’t have a clue at the time, but a quick google afterwards informed me that he was Rag’n’bone Man

The Wreckoning

This was a bit of a mixed bag for me to be honest. There were some fun scares, really impressive sets and designs in parts and an interesting original concept. There were a few negatives though. In parts the theming and design looked a little poor and in some instances were non-existent e.g. walking through a fog filled bare shipping container or the very anachronistic finale. This felt like a really long maze and the positive elements were great. With a few tweaks I’m sure this maze can be great too.


So, the hooded maze. Like many people I’m not a fan of hooded mazes, so this was never going to rank highly on my list of Shocktoberfest’s mazes. Despite this there were some fun and entertaining elements to the maze and the actors genuinely creeped me out at times. Despite the high points, my most memorable moments were the frequent apologies for bumping in to the lad in front of me.

Hollywood Haunted Hayride

My first hayride and it was a fun change of pace to the usual walking mazes. Nothing particularly scary, but a whole lot of fun as you’re slowly driven around the haunted Hollywood sets. One particular scare stood out and the actors were great fun as they terrorised our group throughout our journey.

The Village: Coven of 13

To use the old vernacular this was a game of two halves for me. The second half was much stronger, but I did feel a little let down by the ending to be honest. First half had its moments, but didn’t quite hit the high points for me despite the actors best efforts. I’m also not a massive fan of the specific element used extensively at the beginning of this maze. Used sparingly it can be fun, but for me it went on way too long. The lighting and fog effects at this part though were amazing.

Creepy Cottage

Solo run through, and sadly had a few hiccups with actor resets. That said they were all good value despite those issues. Would have been nice to have experienced a clean run through. Solid maze with nice theming and sets.

Wastelands Penitentiary

Wow! I know I’m not the only person to throw superlatives at this all new small area and maze, but what Tulleys have introduced with Wastelands is seriously impressive. The entrance to the area itself is immense and within it features a really cool half hourly show. The maze itself is stunning, everything is on point. Top class set design, make up, costumes, a suitably intense walk through the admin offices of the jail before ending up in the frankly amazing cell block area. This was ramped up to 11. Awesome job and wish I could have got round it more than twice.

The Cellar: Imprisoned

Almost missed this one. I had to check my map and found this unexplored maze near the entrance to the event. Another solid maze, no faults, but nothing particularly out standing. As usual great set designs, props, make up and costumes for the game actors.


Absolutely brilliant evening at Tulleys Shocktoberfest. Highly recommended even if you have to brave the M25 to get there. It’s a massive event with tons to see and do with a great atmosphere throughout the whole site. I’m very happy to eat humble pie about my misconceptions of this event prior to visiting.

Tulleys Shocktoberfest runs on selected dates through to the finale and firework night on Saturday 2nd November.

Author: Steven