The Haunted Barn in Stoughton, WI (http://www.the-haunted-barn.com/) was, hands down, one of the best haunts I have been to...EVER. I agree, that's a bold way to start a review - but hear me out...
I attended The Haunted Barn with my two friends: the easily-frightened, Mr. K, and the curmudgeon ("I just want to warn you guys, I never enjoy these things..."), Mr. G. Upon arriving at the barn, which was easy to find, we were greeted in the parking lot by a purring cat and the smells of seasonal sweets cooking in the snack stands. We were happy to find out that parking is free. Admission to The Haunted Barn is only $10, but bring cash - no credit cards accepted!
The line to get into the barn was short at our 8:30pm arrival (though it was much longer by the time we left!), but we still had time to meet some of the creepy characters lurking about - including a hilarious Beetlejuice who kept making appearances throughout the haunt. Upon entering the barn, we were surprised to find very detailed, very creative, and very creepy scenes with fantastic characters. Mr. K was scared by pretty much everything and Mr. G, against his prediction, seemed to be very much enjoying himself!
After making it through the barn, we began our trek outdoors through an open area. The air was crisp, the sky was full of stars, and the surroundings were beautiful. I should note, at this point, that if you plan on going to The Haunted Barn, wear clothes appropriate for the weather and wear shoes that you would feel comfortable wearing while walking up and down hills. After walking through the open area, we headed into the forest. The darkness of the forest, the rustling of leaves, and the anticipation of what was to come made this, in my opinion, the best part of the experience.
After a long walk around the grounds, we were pretty thoroughly spooked, but we weren't done! We were guided into a final building with even more rooms and corridors and some amazing lighting effects. Upon exiting, Mr. K was breathing heavily and his eyes were wide, and Mr. G was in awe of the visual effects. Without giving too much away, I, at one point, actually refused to go into a room and had to just close my eyes and run! The three of us agreed that The Haunted Barn was our favorite haunt thus far. Originating in 2004, The Haunted Barn has had 6 previous years to perfect its craft, and it shows. I highly recommend this haunt and hope you all have a chance to enjoy it as we did!
Signage / Visibility / Location
The Haunted Barn is right off of Highway 51 in Stoughton and directions can be easily found on their website (http://www.the-haunted-barn.com/directions.html). In the middle of the country, it's easy to find the haunt as it has lit up signs that draw your attention to the farm. The location is ideal - what's creepier than an old farm at night?!
Wait Area / Line Entertainment
Though our wait to enter was short, we still experienced good entertainment and good smells coming from the snack stands while in line. Bring some extra money because the scents are sure to build up your appetite!
The actors were fantastic. One of the character's scream was so blood-curdling I thought it was a tape! What I enjoyed was that not every actor was there just to jump out of nowhere and scare you - some just creeped you out enough by just sitting and staring. They did a great job building up anticipation.
Sets Scenes / Props / FX
Fantastic! The creators of The Haunted Barn take you in and out, up and down, and play with your perception of space. The lighting effects were fantastic and the use of darkness was even better. Even though parts of the barn are pitch black, the creators used a lot of tactile elements to prevent you from walking into a wall.
We took a while going through everything to be thorough and to take in our surroundings, so the entire haunt took us around 45min - 1h.
We had no issues running into anyone else until we got to the forest. At this point we just paced ourselves and held back a little, enjoying the stars, until we were properly spaced. The pacing is controlled again before entering the last building so that nothing gets spoiled!
Most Memorable Moment
I really enjoyed being in the dark forest at night, rooms that played with your perception of size, and the pitch black ending of the haunt which I don't want to give away - you'll have to see it yourself!
Definitely worth going to. Highly recommended!