But as night falls on Evermore Park, darkness also intrudes on the village as it becomes the Cursed World of LORE and a variety of evils and frightening creatures also appear.
I visited Evermore Park on its grand opening night, paying special attention to the differences and transition between the Magical and Cursed World of LORE and what makes the Cursed World, well, cursed.
Here are a few things I learned based on my experience:
I had read beforehand on the Evermore website the Magical World of LORE is designed to be a family-friendly, fun-yet-spooky trick-or-treating adventure, while the Cursed World allows guests to experience a terrifying, haunted tale of old Celtic LORE.
With that in mind, I expected things to get a fair bit scarier and adult-specific at sundown, and they did. But I also noticed several families with small children were still around and having a good time after dark in certain areas of the park that remained upbeat and populated, such as the Fall Festival and Crooked Lantern Tavern.
In many ways, the Evermore Park experience in general is what the visitor wants it to be because there is so much to see and do that guests must focus their time on the things that interest them most. In the same way, the Cursed World of LORE is as scary as the individual visiting the park wants it to be. The scarier parts of the park are easily distinguishable, and those in search of spine-tingling Halloween thrills will surely find them.
At the same time, visitors should always keep their wits about them while traveling through the Cursed World of LORE. You never know when an imp or vampire might decide to follow, sneak up on or frighten you.
I learned in talking with the characters that the cursed part of the World of LORE also refers to certain elements of the story of Evermore itself. But I won’t detail these here, as it might ruin some of the conversations and quests that are part of the park experience.
The transition from the Magical World to the Cursed World is very gradual, as things are constantly changing in the World of LORE. Allow me to offer a couple of examples of this.
In the daylight, I observed from a path leading to a bridge called Lost Kin Crossing an inanimate creature calmly staring at Nettleton Brook from the water’s edge. When I walked past the same area at night, the river monster was facing the path and eating another small creature.
I also went through Morrighan Crypt, which was the scariest part of the park, in my opinion, both before and after dusk. The crypt leads guests through a small building by way of dark, narrow hallways equipped with lifelike statues and plenty of corners and crannies actors could jump out from unexpectedly at any moment.
My first time through the crypt, there were just a few inanimate vampire statues, and what scared me more than anything else was the anticipation of wondering whether one of them was actually an actor ready to pounce as I walked past or if there was someone around the next corner waiting to jump out at me.
When a quest led me back to Morrighan Crypt after the sun had set, vampires lined the walls in every available nook, some of them actors who did scare and sneak up behind unsuspecting wanderers.
In other words, the longer one stays at Evermore Park’s World of LORE, the more it evolves from being magical to cursed. And though the Magical World feels much more cheerful, fun and lively, the Cursed World introduces some unique thrills, delights and adventures of its own that keep visitors wandering through Evermore well past dark.
Evermore Park’s World of LORE is open through Nov. 3, with Aurora, a magical Dickensian festival, coming this winter and Mythos, a lantern festival based in Norse mythology, set for summer 2019.