John Harper, chief operating officer of Old Tucson, talks about the return of Nightfall, the Halloween attraction, during a press conference inside the Grand Palace at Old Tucson in August. “There will be various haunts, attractions and dining, which will all be a part of Nightfall’s storyline,” according to Erik Blair, creative director. “Think of it as one big production.”

Editor's note: This story was originally published in August 2022. We're republishing it on Oct. 6, 2022 because Nightfall is officially open for the Halloween season.


After closing in 2020 due to the pandemic, “Nightfall” will return to haunt Old Tucson, offering a “more immersive, theatrical experience,” the site's new operators said.

The Halloween event will begin Oct. 6 and run Thursdays through Sundays until Oct. 30.

The event will now feature a detailed storyline. Old Tucson officials said the new experience will encourage guests to talk with the cast, piece together clues and solve the “terrifying mystery” of the small western town, an Old Tucson news release said.

“This year's event is a fully immersive experience that combines terrifying mazes with classic stunt shows and a town full of characters that you can interact with throughout the night. You can choose to uncover their secrets, help them with their problems or just enjoy a show at the Grand Palace,” the attraction's website says. “How you choose to experience this story, from family-friendly to fully-frightening, is up to you.”

Timed entry booking is now required for Nightfall in order to provide a better experience and manage the number of guests in the park, the news release said.

The timed entries begin at 5:30 p.m. each night, and guests are allowed to enter the park, 201 S. Kinney Road, until 10 p.m. Guests can explore the various haunts, attractions and dining options until the park closes at 11:30 p.m.

Depending on the day, pricing for Nightfall is $35-$45 for adults and $30-$40 for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Parking will be $5 per vehicle. For more information about Nightfall, such as their clear bag and costume policies, check out their FAQ.

Actors Gary Laramore, Ed McKechnie, Jonathan Mincks and Louise Wilson during a scene at “Nightfall, Arizona,” the first year of the annual Halloween attraction at Old Tucson Studios in October 1990.

Old Tucson, the setting of more than 400 feature films and TV shows, closed in August 2020 after the pandemic halted the crowd-based events that drew visitors to the historic location.

Pima County took over control of the 180 acres of land leased to former operator Old Tucson Co. when it announced it would be terminating its 25-year lease due to financial troubles onset by the pandemic. The company had leased the property since 1973.

In April, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve a contract with American Heritage Railways to take over operations at Old Tucson.

Company officials told supervisors at the time it would bring back the annual Nightfall event along with other events and film productions.

American Heritage Railways calls itself a “heritage tourism company based on the preservation of railroad history.” The company has specialized in operating historic railroad equipment for more than 25 years and is a top-five licensor for live-themed events with Warner Bros. and owns three tourist railroads, a scenic bus company and a historic frontier hotel.


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Contact Rick Wiley at rwiley@tucson.com