Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Free Article Join Over 1 Million Premium Members And Get More In-Depth Stock Guidance and Research

Everyone but Disney Wants to Scare You This Weekend

By Rick Munarriz - Sep 15, 2018 at 10:00AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

Halloween Horror Nights begins tonight as Comcast, Six Flags, and Cedar Fair get in on the seasonal fun.

Halloween might be several weeks away, but good luck telling that to the theme park operators and regional amusement park chains kicking off their holiday-themed festivities this weekend. Comcast's ( CMCSA 0.54% ) Universal Studios began frightening nighttime guests on Friday at Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood. Guests can walk through as many as 10 haunted houses, including one themed on Netflix's ( NFLX -2.33% ) smash hit Stranger Things.

Many of the regional attractions opened their Halloween scare zones this weekend, with most of them scheduled to be up and running by next weekend at the latest. Disney ( DIS -0.67% ) beat everyone to the punch with a mid-August start to its Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and it even sold out the first night. However, that event is a family-friendly celebration of candy consumption and costumed cartoon characters. Everyone else takes things up a notch on the fright-o-meter for their seasonal offerings. 

The Trick 'r Treat scare zone at last year's Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando.

Image source: Universal Orlando.

More treats than tricks 

Halloween is big business, especially for an industry that historically peters out after Labor Day with kids going back to school. Seasonal parks close down during the week, and larger parks see their crowd levels thin out dramatically. 

Haunted mazes, scare zones, and a safe but sinister vibe have helped players prop up their financials during the fourth quarter, which has been a sleepy period in the past. It's not a surprise that Six Flags ( SIX -3.19% ) has posted more revenue growth in the fourth quarter than it has for the entire year in recent years. 

It's not just park operators and fear-seeking visitors flocking to these events. Netflix's Stranger Things wouldn't have come to Comcast's Halloween Horror Nights this season if the country's leading premium streaming service hadn't seen the appeal of promoting its popular series to the growing and receptive Universal Studios audience. However, now that even Netflix has a handful of consumer products, it isn't a surprise to see cinematic properties warm up to parks that will collectively attract millions through the next few weekends. 

Universal's Halloween Horror Nights has houses on both coasts themed on Poltergeist, Halloween, Trick 'r Treat, and The Purge this year, and some of those properties aren't even owned by Comcast. Studios and park operators are coming together in a win-win proposition, and don't be surprised if the partnerships keep expanding to include more than just horror franchises in the future. Theme parks and amusement parks have already had a strong first half in 2018, financially speaking. The treats -- not the tricks -- will keep coming.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis – even one of our own – helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Netflix, Inc. Stock Quote
Netflix, Inc.
NFLX
$602.13 (-2.33%) $-14.34
The Walt Disney Company Stock Quote
The Walt Disney Company
DIS
$146.22 (-0.67%) $0.98
Comcast Corporation Stock Quote
Comcast Corporation
CMCSA
$51.78 (0.54%) $0.28
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation Stock Quote
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation
SIX
$36.66 (-3.19%) $-1.21

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning service.

Stock Advisor Returns
624%
 
S&P 500 Returns
140%

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 12/06/2021.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Our Most Popular Articles

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with the Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from the Motley Fool's premium services.