Sunday, September 15, 2002

Halloween Event Goes Over Poorly at Sesame Place

Sesame Place, the Sesame Street-themed park aimed at young children, thought they'd give a shot at creating some October revenue through a Halloween event, as so many parks have done. And what seemed to do the best at most parks was the goriest, scariest events possible. So they came up with "Sesame Street Friends Go To the Doctor," with depictions of bizarre experiments being performed on favorite Sesame Street characters. The park had no marketing money left over for the year for TV advertising, so the park relied on in-park signs -- signs that did not indicate that the attraction was Halloween-oriented, to increase visitors' suspense at what awaited them.

To the surprise of park management, virtually every child came out of the attraction weeping, with fully a third of the parents (most of whom were splattered with fake Big Bird blood from the bird's lobotomy scene) threatening lawsuits seeking funds for what most call inevitable years of therapy.

"It's all just in fun!" said Jane Wiggins, park manager, who came up with the idea. "What kind of three-year-old can't handle a little Cookie Monster kidney removal with power tools and no anesthetic? Wussies."

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