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Newbie Review Crew Member

Brett (wm)

Photo of Brett

I love Halloween and fall in general for several reasons. First off, I was born 15 minutes before Halloween. Missed it by that much! But it's not so bad… presents one day, candy the next! Good thing I was not born around Christmas, otherwise I'm sure I would get the birthday/Christmas combined gifts! I also love Halloween because it's the one time of year where it's ok to pretend to be someone or something you're not. Just an FYI: other times of the year you might get arrested for that. The colors, the crisp air, the crunch of the leaves beneath your feet… all reason I love the fall season.

When I attend a haunt, I want to be scared! It's a great adrenaline rush, much like a roller coaster ride. Some funny rooms or actors are ok if used in moderation. I love to see the creative details that some haunts put into their exhibits, some are works of art! But I also like the dark haunts, where you have to rely on your other senses to make it through. Strobes and black lights are ok, again if used in moderation.

Previous Reviews: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010

2015 Reviews

Please note: this review is for the 2015 season rather than the current season.

Wisconsin Scaryland

by wm (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Saturday, October 17, 2015 at about 9:30 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Very High

Review

Looks can be deceiving! Driving up to Wisconsin Scaryland, it just looked like any other large building. But inside this average looking dwelling was another story!

The line for Wisconsin Scaryland was impressive! It’s clear that this is a very popular attraction, the wait was close to two hours! There are two separate wait lines: one outside and one inside. The smoke alarm kept going off as they were using a fog machine in the inside wait area. At first I thought that was just another sound effect until I saw a worker keep fanning the air by the alarm to make it stop. Although it’s very expensive, you might want to consider the 'Jump The Line' ticket. Especially on a cold night where you're waiting over an hour!

Your journey starts in an elevator where they lay out the rules. It's there that you learn that you cannot touch the actors, but they CAN touch you! It's good that they state this right up front so visitors are not too freaked out when it happens. Then you ascend to the "13th" floor and to the horror that awaits you.

There are three different themes in Wisconsin Scaryland: the Westport Penitentiary, Toxic, and the Carnevil Big Chop Circus. While some haunts would make these three separate attractions, here they flow from one theme into the next.

There were so many great staged scenes: The cemetery, the circus, the trashed bathroom (SO gross), the nursery, the dentist office... every room was done very well! They had them all dimly lit to perfection. Unfortunately not all the rooms had actors in them, but everything was great to look at.

As mentioned above, one thing that makes this haunt unique is that they the actors can touch you. This isn’t over-done, but just enough to freak you out! There were a few times where someone grabbed or lightly touched me. Their timing was great!

The haunt seemed to end abruptly. I thought we were walking into the next scene and it really was the exit. I didn't want it to end!!! In talking with other visitors, everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves. A tip that I didn't find out until after my visit: Purchase your ticket online for a nice discount!

Signage / Visibility / Location


It's pretty easy to find Wisconsin Scaryland, and you'll definitely see the crowd of people waiting in line.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


There were a few actors walking around as you waited in line. Nothing scary, but definitely entertaining! It was a little confusing where you needed to purchase your tickets.

Actors' Performance


Most all of the actors did a great job and really went all out. Even the nurses that take your money were great!

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


All the scenes and props in Wisconsin Scaryland are top notch. You would expect them to be, considering that Halloween FX Props designed it!

Length


It took approximately 20 minutes to make our way through all three themes.

Crowd Control


It was a very busy night, and there were several times we bumped into other groups.

Most Memorable Moment


I have to say that the one thing that I remember most was walking through a large public bathroom. The janitor was hilarious!

Summary

Long lines, but well worth the wait! All in all, Wisconsin Scaryland is a very professional and well run haunt!

View all Wisconsin Scaryland reviews

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Please note: this review is for the 2015 season rather than the current season.

The Haunted Barn Stoughton (CLOSED)

by wm (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2015 at about 11 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: High

Review

For years I’ve heard about the Haunted Barn. I always hoped that one day I would be able to take a road trip and visit this well run haunt. When the Haunted Barn went away last year, I was extremely disappointed. Another great haunt that I would never be able to attend. But earlier this year I hear that they’re back for 2015!!! I was determined that I wasn’t going to miss out on attending this year.

I have to start this review out by saying that the staff was GREAT! This was the second haunt I attended on the same night, and the first haunt ran longer than expected. When my GPS took me to the wrong place (twice), I called their number to get their correct location. When they state that they never turn someone away, THEY MEAN IT. Although we were late in arriving, they rolled out the red carpet for us. (Not knowing I was reviewing their haunt for Haunted Wisconsin) From those at the ticket booth, to the food booth, to all the actors in the haunt itself: definitely a CLASS ACT! They take pride in what they do, and they do it well. It's haunts like the Haunted Barn that do it for the love of Halloween and giving a good scare! I unfortunately didn't get any pictures of the haunt or it's actors due to not wanting to keep them any longer than needed. I hope that they continue to stay around for a long time to come, and I mean that sincerely. Thank you!

The location of the Haunted Barn is great. There’s not much around it but its also not too far out of town where you're in for a long drive. The grounds is setup very well and visually the barn is impressive when you drive up. First impressions set the stage to your experience... and my first impression, both by the staff and the look of the barn, was telling me I was in for a treat!

Considering there is limited space in the barn, they do a great job of making the most of their square footage! It seemed that every time we turned a corner there was a scare or surprise waiting for us. The bloody bride got me really good! The fortune teller was very entertaining, repeating several times that I had 'something to hide'. (If she reads this review, this is that something!) The little girl that led us to different areas was humorous and never once dropped character. Just when we thought we were done, there was one last scare that had us running! The scoreboard for those whom either wet their pants or quit the haunt half-way through is a nice touch!

I'm so very glad I was finally able to visit the Haunted Barn. One more thing off my bucket list! Here's hoping they continue to provide a quality haunt for years to come.

Signage / Visibility / Location


There's something up with both Google maps and iphone maps that kept giving us the wrong address. It's really not hard to find, just take Hwy 51 out of Stoughton. Once you're they're, you'll see it right away!

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


We did not have to wait... they were waiting for US! The waiting area was setup very nice, both outside the barn and right in the main entrance.

Actors' Performance


The actors and staff are really what makes the Haunted Barn a MUST ATTEND. They're not in it to make money, but I do hope they make some! They're timing was perfect, nobody dropped character, and it was literally one scare after the other.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


The sets are a bit rustic. In my mind there are corporate haunts and there are homegrown haunts. This haunt falls under the homegrown category. It might not be as polished as the haunts with bigger budgets, but they make up for it with creativity and great acting!

Length


It took about 15 minutes to go through start to finish. I personally would rather have 15 minutes of non-stop action than a haunt that is super long but light on scares. Kudos!

Crowd Control


We did not have to deal with any crowd control, until we were bumping into each other at the end as we were running away!

Most Memorable Moment


Beetlejuice was a hoot!

Summary

In all my years of attending haunts, and there's MANY years, I was very impressed by this entire group and their haunt. They're good people! But don't let that fool you... they're going to scare the crap out of you!

View all The Haunted Barn Stoughton (CLOSED) reviews

Comments: (0)

Please note: this review is for the 2015 season rather than the current season.

Screamin Acres Haunted Houses

by wm (Newbie Review Crew Member) after attending on Friday, October 16, 2015 at about 9 p.m.

Fun Factor: Very High Fear Factor: Medium

Review

You would think with a name like ‘Screamin Acres’ that this haunt would be huge. Well, you thought right! Screamin Acres is one of the biggest haunted attractions around that includes multiple areas. There’s so much ground to cover, at some point I lost track of time! They expect to expand their haunt every year, which is mind-blowing as it’s already huge with multiple themes. While some other haunts will charge you for each theme or attraction, you get everything for one price here.

The wait area is very nice and impressive. It’s housed under a big tent, so you are out of the elements on those nights that are cold and nasty. The first thing you notice is the dj spinning the tunes. Not some cd playing on repeat, but an actual dj in a booth! The whole tent is lit up with lasers, which is another nice touch!

First up is the Slaughter House. If you’re into gore, then this will be right up your alley with a few scares thrown in. The amount of detail was crazy, those with weak stomachs beware! Then we went through the corn maze which was dark and quiet. Being out in-between the corn stalks at night is creepy! Your mind will start to play tricks on you and you’ll start jumping at things that aren’t even there. Then throw in a few actors to really keep you on your toes! You can never go wrong with a corn maze at night.

About halfway through Screamin Acres I realized something was missing. Shhh…. Can you hear that? No, I don’t hear anything! While there was a music playing in the wait area, pretty much 95% of the experience was void of music or pumped in noises. While odd at first, I actually enjoyed that! It was eerie to walk in the cornfield or down a long dark corridor with no music or automated noises. DEAD QUIET, other than some screams heard off in the distance. It made this haunt that much more spooky!

Next we entered the Crawl Space. I won’t give too much away, but smells play just as big as a role as what you’re seeing! VERY realistic, but hardly any actors. That leads you to the Last Resort, which is more a traditional style haunt. We were startled a few times in there! Just when we thought it was all done, there was Side Effects. This is a 3D attraction complete with glasses. There was a little bit of everything!

Several actors were very funny, while others were down-right scary. Some opportunities for a good scare were lost due to number of staff versus the size of the haunt. That’s really my only complaint. Many rooms looked incredible but there was nobody in them. But with that said, the amount of detail was incredible! It felt like we were walking through a big budget horror movie.

On busy nights, the Fast Pass is a good deal for only $10 more.

Signage / Visibility / Location


It was very easy to find! My GPS took me right to it and it's very well lit.

Wait Area / Line Entertainment


I was surprised that there wasn't much of a wait to get in for a Friday night. As stated above, the waiting area in impressive!

Actors' Performance


All of the actors did a great job performance wise. All were in character and did a great job. More of these fine actors is what's needed for a haunt of this size.

Sets Scenes / Props / FX


This is where Screamin Acres shines. The scenes are incredible! I can't imagine how much time was put into creating all those great rooms, and there are a ton of them!

Length


There are five different parts to this attraction: The Slaughter House took about 20 minutes. The corn maze about another 20 minutes. The Crawl Space took about 10 minutes. The Last Resort took about 15 minutes. Side Effects took about 10 minutes. Everything together lasted approximately 75 minutes.

Crowd Control


There wasn't much of a crowd when we attended, so we did not bump into anyone during our journey other than the line before the Last Resort.

Most Memorable Moment


There was a scene in the Crawl Space that combined sound, smell and gory visuals that will haunt me for some time!

Summary

If you’re looking for a fun, large haunt in the Madison area look no further! You really get the maximum ‘bang for your buck’ at Screamin Acres.

View all Screamin Acres Haunted Houses reviews

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View my 2019 Reviews




October 18th, 2019 11:56 p.m. CDT 1.27