Visitors from Owensboro might see a familiar face on stage at the Graveyard Smash show during Holiday World’s Happy Halloween Weekends. The zombified pirate in brown is Owensboro’s own Jordawn Howard.
“I remember watching the shows (at Holiday World) when I was little and I wanted to be up there some day. I never thought it would really happen,” Jordawn said just after the first performance of the season on Saturday afternoon.
It just so happened that Jordawn was back home in Owensboro while taking a break from acting school in New York City when she got a phone call from Laura Staffeldt, who choreographs for Back Alley Musicals and is also directing Graveyard Smash.
“Laura has coreographed me a couple times, so when she asked if I would be interested in doing this, I jumped at the chance,” Howard explained.
Graveyard Smash is a very high-energy show, with spookified zombies dancing and singing mashups of today’s radio hits with slightly changed lyrics to match the Halloween season. In between songs, the characters tell monster jokes.
Howard is actually not the most local cast member. One of the other girls is from right there in Santa Claus, Indiana. But the others are from all over the country: Miami, Chicago, Minnesota and South Carolina.
Jordawn says it’s a lot of fun being a pirate, but it also takes a lot of work. Rehearsals for Graveyard Smash started the end of August. “For a couple weeks it was two days a week for six hours. And then for the last few weeks we practiced Tuesday through Friday from 4-10 every night,” Howard said.
On show days, it takes two hours to get into costume and make up.
Jordawn and the rest of the cast perform the musical four times each Saturday and Sunday during Happy Halloween Weekends at Holiday World. Graveyard Smash is just one of the many attractions throughout the park on these season-themed weekends.
Happy Halloween Weekends
Holiday World goes all out in October. The entire park is redecorated with pumpkins, corn stalks and other not-so-scary decorations lining the sidewalks and landscaping. The rides are renamed with frightful names like “bone-rattling bumper cars” and spooky music plays through the loud speakers. Concession stands offer seasonal items like pumpkin sundaes and spiced coffee. Even the nursery rhymes on the train ride have been re-worded for Halloween.
There’s so much seasonal stuff to do that our boys didn’t even miss Splashin’ Safari.
We started with the Halloween Magic Show with Don Baggett, where my kids were amazed at the disappearing tricks and amused at the humorous bits with volunteers from the crowd.
Our five-year-old enjoyed Holidog’s 3D Halloween Adventure, which is a colorful non-haunted house with features on the walls and floors that pop out with 3D glasses.
Our seven-year-old enjoyed Carnival Chaos, a walk-through maze with mirrors, clowns, and side-show startles. But his favorite was Mummy’s Treasure Maze, which is an outdoor shelterhouse converted into an Egyptian themed labryinth. I lost count, but I think he went through it five times.
After each of the boys picked out a pumpkin in the Pumpkin Patch, we rode the hayride and then headed back to the trick-or-treat trail, where park staff handed out candy to the kids.
There’s also a 12-acre corn maze and a junior maze for smaller children in the activity trail section.
My family had so much fun that we stayed until the the park closed at 8pm, just after the lazer light show by the fountains to end the day.
Halloween Weekends continue throughout October. For more information, visit www.holidayworld.com/halloween.