Improving economic conditions have Ocean Park management in a cheerful mood as the park gears up for its scariest month of the year. Park chairman Allan Zeman, who dressed up as King of the Underworld yesterday to promote its Halloween attractions, said visitor numbers were expected to rise in October, with the brighter economic outlook more than offsetting any impact from a 20 per cent rise in admission prices, starting from October 5. 'There were 500,000 visitors in October last year, and we are expecting a breakthrough this year,' he said. 'I understand some people would like to not have a price rise; I wish we could make it free but we cannot.' The 9th Ocean Park Halloween Bash will be held from September 25 to November 1, with adult tickets priced from HK$235 up to HK$825 for special party tickets. The park is spending a seven-figure sum on this year's Halloween event, and plans to make it the scariest ever. 'There will be eight new haunted houses, 13 new shows and 80 daily performances and 404 wandering ghosts,' Mr Zeman said. New attractions include Hong Kong's first movie-themed haunted house, where visitors could encounter ghoulish characters from horror stories, such as 'Ms Single Braid' and the 'Vampire Catcher'. The park will also feature a haunted house designed by members of the public for the first time. Winston Li Ho-yin and Michelle Chau Man-yin, from Polytechnic University, beat 70 other competitors in April and will bring their haunted train station 'Purgatory Express' to the event. 'We were often told ghost stories about railways when we were young, especially a story about the last train heading to hell,' Mr Li said. 'I would warn all the visitors not to hold the handrails as you never know what might happen,' The park had planned to raise admission prices from HK$208 to HK$250 for adults and from HK$103 to HK$125 for children on August 1, but its board postponed the rise.