My Haunted Lagoon Experience, Hawaii

Guest Post: Ruth Elayne Kongaika

We live very close to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, which has a variety of activities during the year. You can learn about Tongans, Samoans, Tahitians, Hawaiians, Fijians, and other Polynesians all in one place. They have a vast lagoon that goes from one end of the center to the other on which you can take a canoe ride, and see all the villages along the way.

Creeps in the Lagoon, Polynesian Cultural Center in HawaiiI guess I thought I was too old to get scared, but discovered I was wrong. Last Halloween I went together with four of my grandchildren to the Haunted Lagoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii, which has become an annual event. Unlike any spook alley I had ever experienced, this one took place on the water.

The canoes can carry approximately 35 people. An oarsman steers the rafts with a long pole as he stands on the deck. As we pulled away from shore and approached the first bridge, the grim reaper appeared overhead with a sign that said, “I would turn back if I were you”. The low bridges across the lagoon were draped with furry material, which hung down in strips and touched our heads and shoulders. It felt really creepy.

On our left after the first bridge, there was a woman standing on a small island with a white dress and long hair. A sinister voice told the story of the poor lady of the lagoon who had lost her lover and son in the lagoon. About this time the lady walked, and then then crawled on the water towards our raft (I'm still not sure how she did that). She then jumped into the lagoon and disappeared. It looked so real!

Lady Crawling on Water Polynesian Cultural Center in HawaiiEveryone in the raft was screaming and holding tight to the next person. My granddaughter was almost in tears. Just when we felt a little bit safe again, creatures appeared out of the water and reached into the canoe. There were monsters on the shore bending and twisting. Eerie music played and chilling sound effects made the whole experience more intense.

Scared Kids, Polynesian Cultural Center in HawaiiWhile going through another tunnel, huge hairy spiders dangled down towards us almost touching our heads. Children sang Ring Around the Rosies and mothers called out for their children. Ghosts flew overhead adding to the frightful environment. Suddenly, lights flickered on the water focused on a creature or a floating graveyard. Kudos to the Polynesian Cultural Center for an excellent haunted lagoon experience.

There is a milder keiki canoe ride for the children or for the faint of heart. The center has the Haunted Lagoon ride starting in late September and running through Halloween. To entertain guests who are waiting in line for their turn on the canoe ride, there are movies, games and entertainment.

People come from all over the islands travel to the North Shore to have their turn at this Haunted Lagoon Experience. It is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit. Polynesian Cultural Center has a ghostly cast of over 100 to make this an unforgettable experience.

The Haunted Lagoon has become Hawaii’s premier haunted attraction. Last year the Polynesian Cultural Center welcomed more than 44,000 guests in 20 days. Each year they choreograph a new show to keep kamaina (locals) and visitors entertained. It is definitely worth a visit.


Ruth Elayne Kongaika was raised in the mainland, USA, but has been living in the South Pacific for the past forty years. She enjoys trying to capture the beauty of the Polynesian islands through her photography, painting and writing. She has a blog which shares some of her art and favorite subjects at:



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