Schuster's Haunted Forest is one of the many fall activities at Schuster's Playtime Farm in Deerfield, WI. I was really excited to go to an outdoor haunt at a farm and really didn't know what to expect - a quaint little farm with a few patrons and a petting zoo? Sure, their playfully-decorated website talks a big talk (http://schustersfarm.com/haunted-forest/) but could this "playtime" farm really bring the big scares?
My jaw dropped when Mr. K (the easily frightened), Mr. G (the curmudgeon), and I arrived at our destination. There were TONS of cars parked in huge lot, a huge ticket line, and another line weaving between two buildings. I DEFINITELY underestimated this place! The wait was pretty long - about 30 minutes in a line to get tickets and about an hour and a half waiting to take the ride to the forest. Another 30 minute wait awaited us at the forest entrance and there was about a 10-15 minute wait at the end of the haunt. There were plenty of treats around to keep us occupied and 'Children of the Corn' was projected on the side of the building by the wait to get on the "wagon," so that was nice, but be prepared for a long wait!
The ride out to the Haunted Forest was our favorite part - hold on to your seats! The haunt itself had its strong points (the ghoul who kept scaring me in the line to get into the forest and a particular clown-laden section of the forest stand out to me) and its weaker points where some actors seemed a bit tired of doing the same thing over and over. For the most part, however, the energy was high and the scares just kept coming!
As always, Mr. K was holding on tight for most of the forest - this haunt is definitely not for the younger kids! Mr. G didn't appreciate the long waits in what was a line of 99% 13-18-year olds (clearly the target audience). Everyone at Schuster's Haunted Forest clearly seemed to be having a great time, however, and it was definitely quite the experience! I can't finish this review without recommending that everyone buy some of the Kettle Corn being sold on the site. I think we ate the entire bag in about 10 minutes! Delicious!
Signage / Visibility / Location
Because Schuster's Haunted Forest is such a big attraction with a huge draw, I would recommend just following all the other cars in that area! It's definitely easy to find!
Wait Area / Line Entertainment
The wait is LONG! We estimated our total time waiting (from ticket purchase to arriving back to the farm after the haunt) was about 2h45m. This could depend on your arrival time (we arrived around 8pm), but I would definitely recommend arriving early and preparing for the wait! Bring warm clothes as all of the waiting is outdoors.
The actors' performances varied from fantastic to a little confused, but all-in-all they did a great job. We kept being scared in various ways throughout.
Sets Scenes / Props / FX
The setting is great - what's better than a dark forest to set the creepy mood! The "wagon" transportation to the forest is pretty amazing, as well - a gigantic tractor driven by the creepiest of old ladies hurls you left and right through a corn field. Prior to leaving the main area while sitting in the wagon you are played a story that we think was giving us a little background on the Haunted Forest but we couldn't hear a single word. The scenes throughout the forest were great, but my personal favorite (and one I ran straight through, eyes mostly covered) was the clown-filled carnival.
The wait, as I said before, was tremendous, and the haunt itself lasted about 30 minutes.
We only ran into another group once during the forest but only, I think, because Mr. K was pushing us through a bit! We held up for a half a minute and then never ran into anyone else.
Most Memorable Moment
Standing in line waiting to get into the forest I kept laughing at the people who were getting scared by the "Death" character who kept pacing throughout the line. At one point I turned around to talk to Mr. K, and started to say something when I realized I was staring at Death who had been standing there, patiently waiting for me to notice him. I screamed so loud I had everyone around me giggling. Well played, Death...well played.
I had a great time at Schuster's Haunted Forest, though I could have done without all of the waiting. Not that I didn't enjoy the wait and the smells of the caramel apples wafting over me, but I wasn't expecting to spend over three hours at the farm that night! So be prepared to wait and I think you'll have a fantastic time. Not only was the Haunted Forest a treat, I definitely think I will go back to Schuster's during the day. What a great place!