Reviews of Texas haunted houses and Halloween theme parks
October 13, 2017
Location 2330 Co Rd 138 Terrell, TX 75161
Price- Onsite price for general admission is $29.99. Onsite price for a speedpass is $44.99. Online price for general admission is $32.99, $47.99 for the speedpass. If purchased online, add $3.95 for a processing fee, per ticket. Add tax for all tickets. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more and are only available online. General admission group ticket price is $25.49, plus tax and a $1.95 service fee. The group speedpass is $38.49, plus tax, and a $1.95 service fee. Combo tickets with Cutting Edge are available, $49.99 for general admission, $69.99 for speedpasses. Add tax plus a $3.95 service fee for online tickets. $5 parking.
Remaining dates open-Fridays and Saturdays in October, October 29, Halloween and November 4. Hours are: 8-11 on Fridays, 8-midnight on Saturdays, 8-10 on October 29, 8-midnight on Halloween, and 8-10 on November 4.
Thrillvania now allows customers to choose the time they want to go through the haunts, by the hour and half hour. For example, Friday October 27 at 8pm.
Number of attractions-3, Verdun Manor, Cassandra's House of Clowns, Sam Hain's Trail of Torment.
Combined walk through time-30-40 minutes.
Other activities-concession stand.
What to know-Wear comfortable shoes with a good grip.
The entrance to the park itself has a pumpkin patch ($5 per pumpkin) on the way into the park. Instead of a winding walk through the swamp to Verdun Manor, you enter directly in front of the Manor, to a view previously unseen. The front entrance to the Verdun graveyard has a majestic view of the Manor and the swamp trail comes later in the haunt.
Once you enter the Manor actors are on you much sooner than in the old days. Each room has at least one well costumed actor, but the rooms themselves are the main attraction in Verdun. The first few rooms are beautifully decorated in Old West haunted Gothic style. It looks like you are progressing through a house, with an entry room, a dining room, parlor, den, library, crypt, and a slaughterhouse at various points in the Manor. Additionally, the Manor has a laboratory, catacombs, a hall of mirrors, stairwells, and much more. You'll want to spend time looking at the decor in Verdun, but watch out for the actors because they will sneak up on you while you're distracted.
Cassandra's House of Clowns begins with a much darker entrance than in previous years. It's a little difficult to see while wearing 3D glasses (this is a large 3D funhouse) but that adds something to the fright level. The clowns themselves do a fantastic job of startling customers. There are plenty of good hiding places in Cassandra's, and the 3D glasses limit peripheral vision, so the clowns really do seem to come out of nowhere. There are some great looking effects in Cassandra's, my favorite being the green laser hallway. The clowns probably have the most fun in an area with bars for them to climb and hang onto, and there were a couple of areas dark enough to require feeling on the walls to get out of. Cassandra's remains a first rate attraction and is still the best funhouse around.
Sam Hain's Trail of Terror is the final destination in Thrillvania, and it's exit leads directly to the parking lot, so be sure to finish with everything else before going to Hain's. This is one of the longer haunted trails around and has actors by the trail, and inside three houses along the trail. A general store, Mama's House, and a heavily fogged house make Hain's more frightening than most walking trails at haunt parks. The fog house has so much fog that it is difficult to find the way out. I had to feel the walls and the actor inside still had to help me find the exit. That house is small, but was as frightening as anything I've been through this year. The weather should be just right for Sam Hain's trail for the rest of the season, so enjoy your trip through.
In addition to the main attractions, a concession stand with carnival staples (the corn dog and Frito pie are my favorites) is located in the midway section of Thrillvania. Thrillvania is a great place to take a date or the family so be sure to visit, and remember that Halloween is fast approaching, so see Thrillvania while you can!
Hangman's House of Horrors
October 14, 2017
Location 4400 Blue Mound Rd Ft Worth TX, 76106
Phone 817 336 4264
Price: General admission is $29, the regular fast pass is $39, and the select your time, skip the line timed ticket is $49. Parking is free.
Remaining dates: October 20, 21, then October 24 through Halloween, plus November 3 and 4.
Hours: 8-midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 8-10 on weekdays and Sundays. 8-11 on Halloween.
Check the Hangman's site for discounts.
Hangman's has one main attraction, two side attractions, and a midway with a wide variety of food and Halloween related merchandise, plus an mechanical bull to ride, and a psychic. The food is carnival food, but it's good quality. There is also a snowcone shop with more than 20 flavors available. Hangman's provides live music on a stage close to the main attraction.
Hangman's gets a large crowd on the weekends, so be there at, or before the opening time, unless you don't mind a long wait in line. Fast passes are good, timed tickets are by far the best, if you are looking to cut down on time in line. The drawback to the timed tickets and fast passes is that line management in the side attractions isn't good, so you will probably get mixed in with regular ticket holders. In fact, the lines for the side attractions took longer to get through than the attractions themselves, and we had timed tickets. It should be noted that the timed tickets are only timed for the main attraction.
The walk through times listed on the Hangman's site seem exaggerated for the main attraction, and are pretty accurate for the side attractions. The main attraction, Hangman's House of Horrors, is listed as a one hour walk through time, but we timed it at 38 minutes. Zombie Outbreak is listed at 10-15 minutes, we were out within 8 minutes. No Place Like Home is listed at 5-10 minutes, we were out in 4 minutes. We were not rushing through. We had slow people in front of us in all attractions, so we feel confident that our times reflect the average walk through time for each attraction.
The House of Horrors theme this year seems to be haunted areas in Texas. They even have an area for Catfish Plantation, one of the better known paranormal sites in this area. One of the best parts of Hangman's is a catwalk overlooking other parts of the haunt, and the midway. This catwalk is narrow in one part and would scare the hell out of anyone who is afraid of heights. The hallways with stuffed animals creeped one of the reviewers out, and the little girl in costume, wandering around the area was a nice touch. Something I haven't seen in a haunted house is the hallway with red flashing, horizontal lights going back and forth over the length of the hall. An area painted in black and white, where you have to go up and down uneven floors was fun. Hangman's has a throwback neon painted room with actors wearing outfits to match the paint. There are a couple of mazes. I think they are similar to mazes at the old Hangman's location. Sheets and tubes make up the maze, which wasn't too long. There are two brightly colored spinning tunnels. It's a huge haunted house, and there are many well designed, creatively decorated areas.
Hangman's has several areas where you have to bend down to go under something. That would have worked, if there had been actors there to surprise you, but there were no actors around in any of those places. There are also lots of stairs, some pretty narrow and steep, and one was not well lit. The design of the haunt makes people go back and forth a number of times in the same area, and again, it would have worked if there had been more actors, but there weren't many actors in those areas. One drawback to building an extremely large haunted house is that you need lots of actors to staff it. Hangman's has actors, but there were parts of the house where we were just walking through, undisturbed.
The props and decorations looked good, the atmosphere was maintained throughout the main house, but the actors frequently had nothing to do but to stand and scream at people going by. There was a non stop line of customers going through, so I can sympathize with those actors, but better placement of actors would have helped.
The House of Horrors is a good, long haunted house that would probably benefit from either having more actors, or not being as long. Sometimes it's better to have a smaller, but more intense haunted house, but the trend is to make these things as big as possible.
The larger of the two side attractions is Zombie Outbreak. It looks the part, with disaster area decor, and zombies all over. It's pretty dark, it's cramped, and the zombies stay with you the entire time you are in there. Even after you leave the haunt, zombies try to get to you from underneath the building. I don't know whether the lot Hangman's is on was a junkyard before, but the area with Zombie Outbreak looks like one now. The setting for the side houses is great, you see decay and broken down vehicles and equipment everywhere, and that seems to be the theme for the smaller attractions.
No Place Like Home is the 3D attraction. The line took six times longer to go through than the attraction itself, and we had the fastest ticket available. There was no line management here, people just formed their own lines and went in. There isn't much to say about No Place Like Home. We wore 3D glasses, there was neon paint, and the props were painted with neon paint. It took less four minutes to go through.
Be sure to spend some time in the midway. There aren't many haunted attractions with a carnival area any longer, and it's a good way to wind down after the haunted houses.
Give yourself plenty of time when you to Hangman's. On busier nights you should expect long waits in line. Wear comfortable shoes, with good traction. There is a lot of uneven, bumpy ground in the main house, and you will be doing lots of walking.
October 7, 2017
Address 2511 FM 66 Waxahachie TX, 75167
Phone 972 938 3247
Price $30 regular admission at the park, $27 online, plus a $1 fee for online purchases. $15 fast pass.
Discounts/Coupons Active military personnel, and up to four members of their family receive $3 off each ticket, with valid military ID. Group tickets, for $25 each, are available for groups of 15 or more. Group tickets must be purchased in advance and online. There is no service fee for group ticket purchases. Group tickets are not sold at the gate. DFW Metro PCS stores have a $10 off 2 tickets coupon. Waxahachie Nissan has a $2 off coupon.
Dates/Times Each Friday and Saturday in October from 7:30pm-1:30am. The box office closes at midnight.
Screams is just off of I-35 on FM 66. Exit 399A and head west. Screams will be on your left after about half a mile. You will see the lighted sign. Parking is free.
Screams is a multi attraction haunt park located on the grounds of Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie. There are five main attractions this year, Castle of the Doomed, Hotel of Horror, CarnEvil Clown Maze, 3D Pirates of Peril Point, and the Zombie Wasteland. Additional attractions include Scary-oke, Veg-ta-bul Justice, and live music on the main stage. Screams features a wide variety of food and drink (alcoholic and non alcoholic) at concessions stands, as well as a full service restaurant and bar, the Full Moon Cafe.
Number of main attractions-5
Walk through time for the main attractions, not including the maze, 35-40 minutes. Add 25-35 minutes for the maze.
Miscellaneous-Wear comfortable shoes. Screams is mostly outdoors and you will do a lot of walking on dirt and gravel, and it won’t always be even ground. This is not the place for high heels. Dress warmly on cool nights, the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler at Screams than in Dallas. Do not wear costumes. Costumes are prohibited for customers at Screams for security reasons. Screams is mostly handicapped accessible.
Against my strongly worded advice, the review group visited the attractions out of order. As a result, the Castle of the Doomed review will be written by Randell, while I will write the rest of the review. Allow the 40 minutes Randell and Kerri spent in the fast pass line at the Castle (twice as fast as the regular line) to stand as a warning to ALWAYS GO TO THE CASTLE FIRST, WHEN SCREAMS OPENS!
Castle of the Doomed (by Randell)
Scarborough Faire's Dungeon of Yorkshire Tower is transformed into the Castle of the Doomed! The fire bellowing haunt is the flagship attraction of the park. On the approach, be sure to avoid all of the terrorizing creatures as they mingle about the queue. Upon entering, you are reminded that you are an unwelcome guest of the Castle as you are pursued by it's post-apocalyptic inhabitants. As one winds through the corridors, the decor is that of decay and torture. If you are lucky enough to survive until the end, there is an industrial wasteland drum jam as a reward. Be sure to make this your first stop as the queue will fill up quickly, making for an extremely long wait.
Hotel of Horror
The Hotel of Horror seems to have more actors per square foot than the other Screams attractions. In a way, the Hotel is like a funhouse because there is constant action of some kind from beginning to end. In the first part of the Hotel, there is a lot of noise to keep you off guard, especially from air cannons and an eerie soundtrack. Actors and motion triggered animatronics are found around every bend in the Hotel, and the action doesn't stop until you are chased out of the building. Some of the people in our group preferred the well lit, animatronic heavy first half of the Hotel, but I preferred the dark, creepy, second half. All of the Hotel actors did a great job, and the actors in the darker part were able to blend in with the surroundings and startle us over and over. Because of the design of the Hotel, actors have lots entry points and they seemed to come out of nowhere. They also knew to spend just the right amount of time pursuing our group, and they concentrated on the girl most of the time.
The decor and animatronics are a mixture of hotel and hospital/laboratory. This was an asylum for several years, before being converted to a hotel. Dense fog in the dark parts of the Hotel is a great touch, and guests never have a good field of vision, so everything comes as a surprise. The Hotel is probably the most intense attraction at Screams.
3D Pirates of Peril Point
The 3D funhouse has been updated for 2017. One update is much better looking painting on the outside of the building. The greeter is a friendly pirate, and the 3D glasses seem clean and fit well. Everything in Peril Point is painted in bright colors with neon paint. You will find more painted scenes, a greater variety of painted props, and more actors in Peril Point than in any other funhouse in this part of Texas. Peril Point has existed for a decade, and each year more decorations and props are added. After 10 years, the place is full of interesting things to look at. Actors are watching you the entire time, and they jump out when they see you are busy examining the decor. I'm not sure how many actors there are in Peril Point, but we never walked more than a few yards without one of them popping out at us. Some of the features include a spinning tunnel, an area with green lasers and fog that makes it look like you're walking in waist high water, and a hallway with paint on the floor that makes it look like your feet are somehow under the floor. People who haven't been through before spend a lot of time looking at the 3D decorations on the walls, but keep in mind that some of the actors wear costumes to blend in with the walls. They jump out when you least expect them.
Carnevil Clown Maze
The name says it all. It's a maze with a ton of clowns. The clowns come in all shapes and sizes, some scare you, some feed you inaccurate directions to the exit, some engage you in conversation. One tiny blonde girl clown lied to us about how to find the exit several times. Noise, clowns, and other guests coming and going makes it difficult to concentrate long enough to come up with a plan to find the exit. Carnevil doesn't follow the usual pattern that mazes have, where you can stay to the right, along the outer part of the maze, and find your way out. I'm not sure how this maze is built, but I think you have to go to the center, and work your way out from there. This is not an easy maze to solve. We were pressed for time, so after 15 minutes we found a Screams employee to show us the way out. If we hadn't done that, it probably would have taken another 20 minutes to find the exit. Taking that into consideration, Carnevil is the longest attraction at Screams, in terms of time spent in the attraction.
The graveyard trail that used to be at the front of Screams has been moved to the back of the park, behind the food court, and has been converted into the Zombie Wasteland. Some of the old props are still around, many new ones have been added.
At the entrance to the Wasteland, a surprisingly articulate zombie greets you and explains the rules of the trail, in zombie specific terms. This part of the park is dark, and the Scarborough buildings, barely visible in the background, give the trail an eerie vibe. The actors are sometimes indistinguishable from the decorations. One guy looked like a zombie stuck on a gate, until he began running after us. This is a densely decorated trail, there is always something interesting to look at. You will encounter a pretty wide variety of zombies, and the winding trail gives them good cover to work with. Aside from the zombies, this is a quiet area, so you get the feel that you are deep in the country. The line doesn't get very long here, so you can easily see Zombie Wasteland twice in one night, without a fast pass.
As tempting as it may be to bounce around the park, do yourself a favor and follow this pattern. Go to the Castle first, then the Hotel, then Peril Point, then the Maze, then Zombie Wasteland. After Zombie Wasteland you will be by the food court, the taverns, Full Moon Cafe, and the area with the games.
Other activities (additional charges apply)
Food (main food court, Full Moon Cafe)
Drink-Several taverns and stands, plus a full bar at Full Moon Cafe, and a new margarita shooter stand. Roving employees sell shooters through the park. Non alcoholic drinks are at the food court.
Live music and entertainment
Palm readings, psychic, tarot readings
Games of Skill
Merchant's Row, with a wide variety of shops and merchandise. Very well decorated.
This coming weekend kicks off with Friday the 13th, and the forecast is for pleasant weather. Take our advice and go to Screams. The earlier in the evening you arrive, the better. It will be crowded, so consider purchasing fast passes if you arrive later in the evening.
September 23, 2017
Location 1407 Carpenter Street Bridgeport, Texas 76426
Phone 940 784 3327
Price $20 for adult general admission, $25 for the fast pass, $15 for kids 12 and under general admission. You get $5 off if you like them on Facebook. Their FB page is https://www.facebook.com/2die4fearaphobia/
Dates and hours of operation: Fridays and Saturdays through October. October 29, 30, Halloween, and November 3rd and 4th. Hours for Fridays and Saturdays through October, 7pm-midnight. For October 29-Halloween, 7pm-10pm. November 3rd and 4th, 7pm-midnight.
Number of attractions-One
Walk through time-30-40 minutes, depending on how fast you can make it through the blackout maze.
Fearaphobia has a true 80's charm on the outside, and a modern appeal on the inside.This haunt has several distinct styles, and offers something to appeal to all tastes. The demonic themed entry room lets you know that you are not in for a standard haunted house experience. The actors and props are great, and it's refreshing to see a haunted house showcase demons. As popular as demons and demonic possession are in film and television, they are pretty rare in DFW area haunted houses.
After the mood setting demonic greeting, you are off to a more traditional Texas staple, the chainsaw massacre themed country house.This may be the creepiest part of Fearaphobia, and it's the best decorated. I've seen lots of country house themed haunts, and this is up there with Verdun Manor in detail.
An unusual find is the complete blackout maze. Some haunts claim to have blackout mazes, but this was so dark that we had to feel along the walls to move forward, and we frequently felt others touching us, trying to find their way out. Actors in the maze misled us several times, and in the end, there was no way to find the exit without some assistance, making this the most difficult maze I've encountered in 14 years of reviewing haunted houses.
Fearaphobia shifts into high gear after the maze when you enter a post apocalyptic world of fallout shelters and survivors, hospitals and wasteland. The smallest of us are not immune, as evidenced by the creepy kids populating the place.
If you manage to make your way through the wastelands, swampland awaits. full of creatures of the bayou. This is another well decorated area, and it makes for a nice change of pace after the maze and wastelands.
Given the popularity of It, it's no surprise that clowns are featured prominently in Fearaphobia. The clowns come out to play in this stage of the house, and they are darker and more sinister than typical haunted house clowns. Pennywise would be proud as these clowns are out to make you float.
An extremely well done 3D area was worth a second look for us. High quality paint and attention to detail reminded me of the 3D part of the old Dallas Scaregrounds, in terms of quality. After a great trip, a finale of chainsaws gave a traditional ending to a unique haunted house.
Excellent actors, first rate props, charming decor, and some not often seen themes combine to make Fearaphobia a true gem on the outskirts of the Metroplex. Texas Haunts highly recommends making the trip west of Denton to see Fearaphobia this season!
September 30, 2017
Location 8550 West University Dr Denton TX 76207
Phone 469 556 3475
Price General admission $25 Fast Pass $40
Walk through time-trail-15 minutes, hayride-10 minutes
Hours-Open Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7pm-midnight, plus October 12, 15,19,22, 26,29, 30 from 7pm-10pm, and Halloween from 7pm-11pm.
Additional info-Wear comfortable shoes, this is a large attraction with uneven outdoor terrain. It's in the country, so dress warmly on cool nights. Drive slowly on 380 (West University) and look for the Parker House sign when you are 2 miles west of I-35. It's easy to miss, despite being lit. Refer to their site for detailed directions. Parking is free.
This year Parker House is not really a house, it's an outdoor only attraction. I have been informed by the owner that the house in Parker House will return next season. This year it is a trail and a hayride. The setting is great, you are in the country, far enough from Dallas so that the city lights aren't visible. It's an ideal location for a trail and hayride, and the Parker House grounds have a heavily wooded area for the trail.
The ticket booth (which does not accept credit cards, credit card purchases are online only) is well decorated and the trail can be said to begin immediately after you buy your tickets. There is a walk up to the main line for the trail that involves going into a tunnel with a low ceiling (if you have back problems, have fun) that is guarded by the gravedigger, the first of many actors on site. There is a cash only concession stand at the beginning of the line for the trail. The area seems to set up to play videos and/or movies, but the monitors were off when we went through.
Parker House likes to space out it's visitors so that they don't clump together on the trail, so prepare for a bit of wait at the trail head. Once you are on your way you will come to a very cool gate, then a swaying, wooden bridge. That would ordinarily lead to the Parker House, but this year the house is bypassed and you go straight into a medical/lab experiment area, followed by a zombie area. The zombie area is where you begin to get into the wooded part of the long trail. There are lots of actors and they have some pretty good routines going to scare the visitors. These are not the slow, plodding Romero zombies, they are fast and very active. The natural scenery and props are first rate, and set the mood for the longer, hillbilly part of the trail.
The hillbillies looked, and smelled authentic. I don't think any of them have heard of Altoids, let's leave it at that. Moonshine and trapping females are two of the occupations of the Parker House hillbilly clan. Their shacks are scattered throughout the more deeply wooded part of the trail, and they will chase you off of their property for the slightest provocation. Everything looks as it should, and the woods add significantly to the atmosphere of the trail.
After about 15 minutes, you will come to another, smaller bridge. This is the beginning of the line for the hayride. The trailer used here is fairly small, and they appear to have only one trailer, so expect a long wait, especially later in the season. There is no railing on the trailer, so those in the very back (where I was) will need to take care to not fall off of the trailer in the bumpier parts of the hayride. They do use real hay, and the ride is pretty long, timed at 10 minutes. The scenes and actors are along the lines of caged bumpkins running out after you, a plane wreck, trailers, caskets, and some standard hayride fare, such as actors running after the trailer.
The trail was good, and the hayride was pretty good, and is possibly the only hayride in this part of Texas. The score is only an 8 because Parker House is charging the same price for tickets this year, with no haunted house, as they did last year with a haunted house.
October 21, 2016
Location 816 E Oakwood St Tyler TX 75702
Phone 903 312 6109
Price-$20 general admission, $$25 for a fast pass. Free parking.
Dates and hours of operation-Thursday October 27 and Sunday October 30 from 7pm-10:30pm. Friday, October 28, Saturday, Oct 29, and Halloween from 7pm-midnight.
Number of Attractions-2, Chistletooth Manor and The Toy Factory (3D funhouse).
Walk through time-20 minutes combined.
Other activities-Concession stand, zombie and character caricatures, fortune teller, roaming actors.
What to know-children need to be 10 and up.
Terror Nights is the largest haunted attraction in Tyler and is one of the largest in East Texas. It features two haunted houses, Chistletooth Manor, the main house, and The Toy Room, the 3D funhouse. There is a festival area outside with a concession stand, fortune teller, a caricaturist who specializes in zombie caricatures, plus roaming actors. Terror Nights was built from an old pipe factory that burned down, and is located in an area with old factories and warehouses, so there is a built in creepy atmosphere to the place. The area Terror Nights is located in is so dark at night that you'll be in the right mood for a haunted house by the time you arrive.
Once you park you will see the festival area and ticket line. Up to ten costumed actors roam around the festival area, music is on, and there is plenty of energy in the place. We liked the layout of the festival area, it's compact enough so that the actors can spend time with all of the customers, while customers get to see people being chased out of the haunted houses by chainsaw wielding actors. The fortune teller and caricaturist add to the Halloween feel of the festival.
Chistletooth Manor is the larger and more frightening of the two main attractions. The Manor features a large animatronic to greet you as you enter the house, an authentic boiler room that could also be a crematorium, a library with an actor swinging around the room on a rope, dark, well decorated hallways, a maze at the end with two chainsaws blaring as you try to find your way, and much more! The music is great, with a soundtrack picked out by the owners. It's nice when music accentuates the rest of the haunt, rather than acting as a distraction.
Actors in Chistletooth were great at startling us, they were well placed, very active, and never broke character. In fact, none of the actors at Terror Nights broke character, even when they realized we were reviewers. Chistletooth is a great looking haunt, the decor is rustic, and you can see how a Texas Chainsaw type family could live there.Something that we all liked was that there were no blank spaces in the house, everything was decorated. The people who work at Terror Nights clearly care a great deal about the place because that level of detail takes a great deal of time to build and maintain. Both Chistletooth and the Toy Factory are well designed, and both feature many exits for people who become too frightened or fatigued. Neither house has annoying things like water splashing on you, or actors who just stand in your way to irritate you. Our favorite part of Chistletooth was the maze at the end with two actors who came at us with chainsaws. The maze was well designed and having two chainsaws around the whole time made it intense.
The Toy Factory is the only 3D funhouse in East Texas. The factory begins with a very dark maze (I was lost for a minute) and then turns into a neon paint decorated clown house. Clowns are everywhere, so if you have a clown phobia, watch out. The Factory is fun, but it isn't as scary or as intense as Chistletooth, so it's a house for the entire family. The 3D effects are great and, as with Chistletooth, there are no blank spaces in the Factory. Actors move you along at a brisk rate and the lack of peripheral vision (caused by the 3D glasses) intensifies the experience.
October 8, 2016
Location 7829 E FM 917 Alvarado TX 76009
Price $20, $1 off with food donation. Group discounts for 10 or more people-$17 per ticket. In person ticket sales only, no online sales.
Dates and hours of operation-Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7:30-midnight. October 30 from 7:30-10 and Halloween from 7:30-11.
Texas Scaregrounds is a mile west of 1-35W in Alvarado, but it feels deep in the country at night as you approach it on the old farm road. You actually pass a street called Forgotten Lane just before you get to the Scaregrounds. Something we noticed immediately was that the Scaregrounds reminded us of the haunted houses we grew up with in the late 80's and 90's, with a rustic look, a bonfire, and a concession stand to the side of the haunted house. By the time you park the mood is already set.
Speaking of concessions, I had a great brisket sandwich while waiting for tickets. Their brisket is some of the best I've had, and I'm picky about barbecue. The sauce was great too. They also have very good Frito pies, and a selection of other carnival staples. I was told that the concession stand is open year round, so check it out if you are in the area.
Texas Scaregrounds also has a psychic most of the time, but she was out with an injury when we reviewed. You'll probably see Chaos the Haunt Dog walking around with his human while you're there, and I think that this is the first time that I've seen a haunted house with it's own dog.
Chaos is the name of the haunted house itself, and the walk through time is surprisingly long. We probably made it through in 20 minutes, but 25-30 minutes is probably the normal amount of time customers will spend inside. Most of the rooms in the haunt are mini mazes with exits that are difficult to find, and all rooms have actors inside to make it even more difficult to find the exit. Chaos has more actors than haunted houses twice it's size and the actors are as good as any I've seen. Many haunted house actors make the mistake of not knowing the difference between irritating customers by blocking their path, or getting in their face, and actually scaring them. At Chaos the actors rely on timing, misdirection, and using their surroundings to frighten customers. Some veteran Chaos actors are allowed to touch customers, which is something that I haven't experienced since Tayman Manor is the early '00s. They are subtle about touching, nothing obnoxious about it, and they do a great job of creeping you out. The actors also know when it's time to show you the exit if you really can't find your way out of a room, and that happened to us a couple of times. As well decorated and designed as Chaos is, the actors are the best part of it.
Chaos is designed to maximize space in a mid-sized building, so in addition to maze like rooms, the corridors are narrow and winding. Lighting is dim, the place is well decorated, and the design allows actors access to you from all directions at once. The outstanding costume design and make up should also be mentioned, and both remain consistent throughout the house.
Chaos is made to look like an old country haunted house in many areas and features haunted house staples like clown rooms, a dungeon and torture chamber, and chainsaws, and the actors make everything special for the customers. It isn't easy to startle us, but the actors got us a few times. Teamwork seems to be important to the cast and it's not unusual for one actor to distract you by doing something obvious while another comes at you from a blind spot. They are also big on coming after you from the ground and from overhead, so you can never be sure where the actors will pop out.
This was our first time at this location of Texas Scaregrounds and it's head and shoulders better than their old locations. They aren't far from downtown Ft Worth, and we made it there from Dallas in about 40 minutes. As more haunted attractions move to the outskirts of the Metroplex, Texas Scaregrounds becomes more convenient. They are definitely worth the drive and are a must see haunted house for 2016!
October 8th, 2016
Location: 1701 E Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Phone: 817) 348-8444
A Blue chip haunted house and around since 1992, Cutting Edge
never fails to disappoint. It is one of the few houses in North Texas that is so well
put together that it does not require multiple haunts to get the point across.
You are looking at about a 35 to 40 minute walk through, so get ready for
Once inside you are greeted with mazes of hauls and walls where it is impossible to tell the difference between what's a statue and what's a live spook. Some of the new statues are hand operated and follow right up to you.
This year featured many new rooms including an Ice King room that was a fridged
snow wonderland. There was also an ancient Aztec Forest complete with live Aztecs with evil axes to grind. A house inside the haunt was designed as a forever collapsing house that crushed as you walked t through it. We also found a house that shook entirely and moved up and down as you walked through with violent winds that simulated a tornado.
Among other items of interest were a New Orleans themed grave yard complete with angels and demons, mazes with secret doors, a children of the corn house, and a funeral parlor featuring a giant bear ready to attack you!
One thing that keep the walk through from bunching up are the two areas that feature live music which allows the line to break up. Also returning this year was the Maze of terror where you have 5 minutes to find your way out or else!
October 7, 2016
Location 2511 FM 66, Waxahachie TX 75167. Take exit 399A from I-35.
Phone-972 938 3247
Price-$30 regular admission at the park, $27 online, plus a $1 fee for an online purchase. The fast pass is $15 at the park. Add a $1 fee for a fast pass purchased online. Purchase tickets on the Screams site or at the Screams ticket booth.
If you don’t want to wait in line, go through the attractions first, then eat and drink. A fast pass is available for $15, and will get you through the attractions quickly. Group discounts, with $25 tickets, are available for groups of 15 or more, and must be purchased online. A $50 for two coupon is available at all DFW Metro PCS stores. $2 off coupons are available at the Waxahachie Autoplex. Active military personnel receive a $3 discount for themselves and up to four family members, upon showing valid military ID. Children 5 and under get in for free. Parking is free.
Dates and Times Open-Each Friday and Saturday in October, from 7:30 pm-1:30 am, with ticket sales ending at midnight. Arrive early to get a good spot in line, especially on Saturdays, and go to the Castle first. The Castle has the longest lines later in the evening. My routine is to go to the Castle first, the Hotel second, the 3D house third, the Maze fourth, and the Zombie Wasteland last.
Screams is a multi attraction haunt park located on the grounds of Scarborough Faire in Waxahachie. There are five main attractions this year, Castle of the Doomed, Hotel of Horror, CarnEvil Maze, 3D Pirates of Peril Point, and the all new Zombie Wasteland. Additional attractions include Scary-oke and live music on the main stage. Screams features a wide variety of food and drink (alcoholic and non alcoholic) at concessions stands, as well as a full service restaurant and bar, the Full Moon Cafe.
Number of main attractions-5
Walk through time for main attractions, not including the maze, 25-30 minutes.
Miscellaneous-Wear comfortable shoes. Screams is mostly outdoors and you will do a lot of walking on dirt and gravel, and it won’t always be even ground. This is not the place for high heels. Dress warmly on cool nights, the temperature is usually a few degrees cooler at Screams than in Dallas. Do not wear costumes. Costumes are prohibited for customers at Screams for security reasons. Screams is mostly handicapped accessible.
Castle of the Doomed
This is the largest attraction at Screams. The Castle is a long, dark trek through corridors filled with fog, strobe lights, and skilled actors who seem to pop up over and over. With flames blazing overhead, the entrance to the Castle sets the mood and actors waste no time going to work on your group. The atmosphere in the Castle is great, with dark, eerie lighting and decayed walls. Scenes of experiments gone wrong and dungeons follow, and the inhabitants are always in front of you, and behind you. Years of work have gone into the props and decor in the Castle, so try to take your time as you go through to appreciate it. Of course, you’ll be setting yourself up as an easy target for the actors if you do so, but that’s part of the fun.
Hotel of Horror
The Hotel is more of an old school haunted house. It’s entrance is just up the hill from the exit of Castle of the Doomed, making it convenient to see before heading to the other side of the park. Actors get started immediately after you enter and go all out until you exit. These are probably the most energetic actors at Screams. The action is non-stop, and the setting is the creepiest of all the attractions. The Hotel is well decorated, and it has some interesting animatronic pieces and pop out creatures. The lighting seems different this year, along with the music, making the experience more intense. One thing I really like about the actors in the Hotel is that they fixate on the most frightened members of the group, which makes the experience more fun for everyone. In terms of fright, this is probably the best of the attractions.
3D Pirates at Peril Point
3D Pirates of Peril Point is on the other side of the park, and you’ll be able to find it easily enough since it’s wall is covered in neon paint. The wait here can be pretty long later in the evening, so seeing it after the Hotel is a good idea. This is a pirate themed funhouse, complete with uneven, rocking wooden floor beams, vibrating floors, hallways full of moving props, and, of course, lots of 3D painted props. There are also a fair number of actors in Peril Point, and they do a great job of mixing in with life size props. The 3D glasses obscure most of your peripheral vision, which makes your group an easy target for actors moving in and out of hiding places and hidden doors. The laser and fog water illusion was working perfectly. It’s a cool looking illusion that makes it look like you’re walking through waist high water. This was my most enjoyable trip through a funhouse in a long time.
CarnEvil Clown Maze
Located on the far side of the park, next to Pirate Point, the Maze is good to go through after the 3D house. The line for the Maze usually isn’t as long as the other attractions, so you can save it for next to last. If you are afraid of clowns, this place will scare the hell out of you because it is nothing but clowns. The Maze has been redesigned this year to make it even more difficult to get out of. I’ve never been good at mazes, so it was never easy for me. I would say that it can take up to 20 minutes to find the way out. Try to use surrounding buildings as a reference point and maybe you’ll be able to shave a few minutes off of the typical time for this maze.
The all new Zombie Wasteland is in the back of the park, close to the food court. This is my favorite attraction at Screams, partly because I love trails, but also because it is the best decorated attraction. The Wasteland makes use of the Scarborough buildings and creates it’s path in and around them to make the creepiest trail I’ve seen in years. The Wasteland actors are great at finding hiding spots (some hide in plain sight) and, despite having a lot of ground to cover, are able to scare each group several times.
Other Attractions/Activities (for an additional fee)
Climbing Tower, Henna Tattoos, Wax Hands, Hot Seat Extreme, Games of Skill Psychic and Tarot Card Readings. Various theme-related retail booths on Vendor Row
Acting has been the greatest area of improvement over the years at Screams. There are far more actors than in the old days, and the quality of acting has improved dramatically over the last few seasons. Each attraction has wonderful actors, but I think that the Zombie Wasteland actors have to singled out since they have the difficult job of scaring people who are frequently in a long, almost continuous line. Peril Point actors do a great job of blending in with their surroundings, and know how to get close to you while your vision is partially blocked by the 3D glasses. Castle actors makes good use of the many hidden doors and cut outs, while the Hotel actors do the best job of targeting frightened guests. The Maze actors do their best to keep you from finding the way out, and they get in their share of scares too. 2016 is the best year ever for the cast at Screams.
You’ll be startled quite a few times at Screams, and it does have some pretty frightening areas (mostly in the Castle of the Doomed and the Hotel of Horror) but this is a more family friendly attraction than some haunts. All but your youngest kids can go through the attractions at Screams, have a good time, and not have nightmares for weeks afterward.
All attractions are well decorated, with the Zombie Wasteland and Castle having the best props. The Castle is extremely well decorated, especially it’s lower level, but the laser/fog produced water illusion in Peril Point is the single best effect at Screams. I like the way the Hotel is set up. It feels like something out of an early 80′s horror movie and the style is consistent throughout the haunt. Peril Point has good 3D paint and props, and the pirate theme is a nice change from the usual clowns in funhouses. The Zombie Wasteland has some of the best decorations and props I’ve seen outside of Verdun Manor at Thrillvania, and CarnEvil is very well decorated for a maze.
Screams is one of my favorite places to visit each year in large part because it has the best setting for a haunt park that I’ve seen, and the combination of ren faire buildings and haunted houses is unique. This is the largest haunted theme park that I’ve been to, and it can be a lot of fun to go to even without going into the attractions, which I’ve done a couple of times at the end of the season while not reviewing. I do miss the outdoor horror movies that were shown for a couple of years, but there is a great Halloween carnival atmosphere at Screams, which is enhanced by the merchants, in their well decorated shops, and by the games and rides. It’s easy to spend a full evening here, especially in cool weather, largely because the park itself is so much fun.
The general admission price has gone up a little over the years, but at $30 for five attractions, all you can enter, Screams is still the best overall value in North Texas. The fast pass is also a fairly good bargain when you consider that it will allow you to go through each attraction multiple times, even if you take plenty of time to eat, drink, and look around at games and shops. You can spend a lot more, for much less entertainment, at most haunted attractions. Free parking is a nice bonus.
Other Activities/Entertainment (additional costs apply)
o Palm Readings, Psychic, Tarot Card Readings
o Henna Tattoos
o Games of Skill
o Electric Chair attraction
o Climbing Tower
o Shop merchandise
J&F House of Terror Meets Slaughterhouse
October 1, 2016
Location 1855 Wall Street Suite B, Garland TX 75041. Refer to the site for directions.
Phone 972 278 7692
Price-General admission is $25, VIP is $40. Parking is free. See site for discounts.
Dates and hours of operation- October 7,8,14, and 15 from 7pm-1am, or until the line dies down. October 20 through Halloween, Fridays and Saturdays from 7pm-1am, or until the line dies down, Thursdays and Sundays from 7pm-midnight or until the line dies down.
Slaughterhouse from Deep Ellum joins with J&F House of Terror this year to give you a two for one haunted house in Garland, just north of LBJ, off of Garland Ave (Hwy 78). J&F sits in a very dark corner of an industrial area, which gives a creepy feel to it. At night the area is pretty much deserted and you can imagine that you might find industrial accident monsters running around.
The surprises begin as soon as you enter the house, with well placed props distracting you while actors jump out at just the right moment to shock you. The first half of the attraction features winding hallways, well decorated with neon paint in some parts. Placement of the actors is impressive since there were several times when they seemed to come out of nowhere.
An trail area follows the halls, featuring a stiltwalker, chainsaws, and natural terrain. The new J&F/Slaughterhouse combo reminds me of the old school haunted houses of the 80's and 90's, set in a dark part of the city, with an intense haunted house that takes you by surprise. The location is great and is easy to reach from any part of Dallas and it's suburbs.
October 1, 2016
Location 8550 West University Dr Denton TX 76207
Phone 469 556 3475
Price-General Admission-$25, Fast Pass-$40
Walk through time-30-35 minutes
Hours-Open Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7:30pm-midnight, plus October 9,13,16,19,20,23,25,26,27 from 7:30pm-10pm, and October 30 and Halloween from 7pm-10pm.
Additional info-Wear comfortable shoes, this is a large attraction with uneven indoor and outdoor terrain. It's in the country, so dress warmly on cool nights. Drive slowly on 380 (West University) and look for the Parker House sign when you are 2 miles west of I-35. It's easy to miss, despite being lit. Refer to their site for detailed directions. Parking is free.
Parker House is a multi attraction haunt located in the country to the west of Denton. Everything about the place has the feel of an old, isolated country home, the kind of place you've seen in movies like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The area around Parker House is very dark, the buildings look creepy, and the mood is set on the trail from the ticket booth to the line for the first attraction. A host greets you at the head of the line and tells you the story of the Parker House while you wait. The groups are spaced out to allow everyone to fully enjoy themselves in the house, so on crowded nights you might want to consider buying a fast pass.
Once it's your turn to enter, you walk over a rickety bridge, then up to the house. The front of the house is worth taking a picture of, and it's equally impressive from a distance and up close. Even before entering you'll notice how much detail has gone into the haunt by looking over the front porch. It's so well done that you really feel like you're about to enter a horror movie set.
After going through the opening of the house, you'll enter a room where you'll sit and participate in a seance. It's an extremely well decorated room and the actress was good, so it was a nice kickoff for the house. After leaving the seance you will travel through halls filled with antiques and props, and some impressive animatronics. We took our time at this point since these halls had windows with some of best props and decorations I've seen since Verdun Manor. Every bit of this area is well decorated, so try to avoid rushing through, no matter how scared you are.
Eventually you'll enter a slaughterhouse, then a funeral parlor, the two are probably connected in the story. The actors are very active in this part of the house, so you'll be relieved to get outside for the beginning of a long trail between the main attractions. The trail itself looks great, it's complete with zombies and an old cabin, plus eerie woods. This is the best trail I've been on in years and is an attraction in it's own right.
After the trail you'll enter the Sanitarium, a large building filled with hospital and asylum props. There are some dark halls in this part of the haunt, plus elaborate scenes with the inmates and staff. I've never been a big fan of asylum haunts, but this one was so well done that I enjoyed it. Like the rest of Parker House, the Sanitarium is well decorated, in great detail, but the actors are the best part of the Sanitarium since longer scenes are necessary here.
Parker House offers a combo of beautifully decorated houses filled with top flight actors, and a great country haunt atmosphere. It's worth a trip to Denton and is a must see attraction for the 2016 season!
Hangman's House of Horrors
September 24th 2016
Location: 4400 Blue Mound Rd, Fort Worth, TX 76106
Phone: (817) 336-4264
Hours: September 16th through October 31st
7:30pm - 12am (open every Friday and Saturday night. Also open the Wednesday and Thursday before Halloween as well as Halloween Monday)
Price: $25 general admission or $35 for fast pass
The main attraction is a multi story large abandoned masonry building that
was formerly a helium production plant during the first world war. Yet in 2016, it contains grizzly ghouls in every room closing in to seal your doom.
It would be frightening enough on its own, but the crew at Hangman's have turned it into a true terrorfest. You will encounter tunnels that spin, school rooms, a boiler room, meat locker, several mazes, a mad scientist crime scene lab, a funeral home, a room that is completely checkered on different fun house levels to disorient you as you walk through, and if you are scared of heights, the 3rd floor has see through scaffolding suspended high in the air against the building and you think you are going to fall over with the whole thing !
Outbreak is in an abandoned trailer park with post apocalyptic burned out vehicles, rotting meat, devastated toilets, and trailer inhabitants sure to give you a run down.
The No Place Like Home 3D attraction winds you through a twisting trail of bright 3D colors and elaborately painted scenes. You will see many characters from your favorite stories along the way, it's just that there is something miscreant and sinister about these characters that will give you that foreboding feeling in the pit of your stomach.
September 23th 2016
Location: 4721 Cecilia Avenue, Midlothian Texas
Hours: September 16th through October 30th
8pm - 11pm Sept 16, 17, 23, 24, 30. Oct 1, 7, 8, 16, 23, 30
8pm - 12am Oct 14, 15, 21, 22
8pm - 1am Oct 28, 29
Price: $20 to $25 per person (discounts available certain nights with a donation of 2 cans of food)
Tayman is conveniently located 20 minutes south of downtown Dallas, yet is in a rural setting. Upon entering the grounds you feel as if you are walking into an old ghost town with several attractions all near by.
The Funeral Home is a winding maze of funeral staff tearing toward you as they are in agony. The floors creek as you make your way through and see many rooms that contain crevices in which ghosts and spooks hide.
The abandoned mine shaft lets you find your way through a series of walls as you try to escape the children of the mine workers who were left to die after their parents had perished many years prior. You are given a lantern to find your way, but it is dim and just bright enough to make out the outlines of ghouls before they are upon you!
Fappy the Clown's Theatre of Wonders
The Dark Carnival has returned and brought back it's star attraction, Fappy the Clown's Theatre of Wonders. Prepare yourself for a unique 3D experience that takes place in a town assembly hall on Tayman Main Street. Carnival performers, side show oddities, and danger all lurk within the walls of this late 1800's building.
Gravedigger's Hollow - Hallowed Grounds (Opens September 30th)
The Hollow is the final resting place of town inhabitants unfortunate enough to have lacked the funds for a proper burial. Rumored to be the prime shopping grounds for Barnaby Tayman's cruel experiments to reanimate the dead, the hollow is full of restless souls that can't wait to get their hands on you! Gravedigger's Hollow is an outdoor attraction, and as such it will be open as weather permits. Now expanded, Gravedigger's Hollow - Hallowed Grounds takes you even further into the woods and delves deeper into the legends surrounding the town of Tayman.
Standoff (opens September 30th)
The house is surrounded by the walking dead, supplies are running low, you only have a few bullets left, and you can feel the inevitable death creeping closer. Can you hold off the horde long enough to regain your sanity and possibly escape? Test your skill shooting your way to safety in this new attraction of 2016.
DAN’S HAUNTED HOUSE
October 18th 2015
Location: 501 E. Swisher Rd. Lake Dallas, Texas 75065
Hours: October 23, 24, 30, 31st and November 1st 8pm until 11pm
Price: $20 per person
Dan’s Haunted House has NO CLOWNS, NO ZOMBIES, NO CHAINSAWS, and no BS. It is a truly unique haunted house and I guarantee it will be different than any you
have even been to. First, its all out doors. Second, its all based on Japanese
Built on several acres that is located in a dense flood plain, Dan’s haunt leads
you through trails upon trails of endless outdoor terror giving you that
Blair Witch stuck in the woods feeling. A few parts of the haunt have trail exits as
it is sometimes too scary for really young children, three of which had to be
lead out by there parents crying.
The thing I like about this haunt was its creative use of outdoor materials and costumes to create this haunted woods environment. If you have ever seen Halloween costumes from 1910s then you have an idea of the creepy eerie factor you will expect from these home spun creations from Japanese folklore.
The walk through time is 25 minutes on suspenseful twisting turning trails leading you into each new small village of baleful wonderment and terror. The characters
are miscreant in nature and unlike other haunts, feel free to run in this out door
labyrinth of strange and ominous apparitions !
October 18th 2015
Location: 1701 E. Lancaster Ave, Fort Worth TX 76102. At I-30 and I-35W.
Phone: 817 348 8444
Hours: October 22nd through 31st. 8pm-10pm 22, 25, 26, 27, 28,29 then until 1am on the 30th and 31st
Price: Adult regular admission-$30+tax. Adult speed pass-$50+tax. 10 and under regular admission-$25 plus tax. 10 and under speed pass-$45+tax. Parking is $10. Credit cards online, cash at the door. A combo ticket with Thrillvania is also available. Check either the Cutting Edge or Thrillvania site for details.
Discounts: Go to the Cutting Edge site to have a coupon emailed to you. Group discounts are available for groups of 15 or more at 15% off regular admission tickets. Group discounts are also available for speed passes, check the site for prices. Book group discount tickets on the Cutting Edge site. Group discounts are not available for October 19,20,26,27 or Halloween.
Walk through time: 45-60 minutes.
Cutting Edge is not joking about being the world’s longest haunted house. It takes around 45 minutes to go through. Expect to go up and down stairs with dark areas. There is a soapy bubble hallway, so make sure that you wear clothes and shoes that you don’t mind being soaked in bubble bath. You are able to by pass this part of the haunt if you don’t want to get wet. The temperature on warm nights is hot inside Cutting Edge. Pee before you go in to avoid a full bladder while being scared pissless. Lines are long, so arrive early to avoid this, but its well worth the wait.
Cutting Edge has one of the largest budgets and amount of actors that I have ever seen. They have an entire inner section of the building just dedicated to props and wardrobes alone. Its the way Walt Disney would run Disney Land if he were into the macabre. The haunt opens with several tunnels driving you indifferent directions. Actors begin coming at you here in a mist filled land of toxic waste decor and jumping out to you from all sides. There is a haunted closet of clothes, and and haunted jungle from Vietnam that had the best sound effects of machine guns and dinosaurs. The actors get as close to you as possible without touching, and the lighting and clothes keep you from being able to see them. This year had what seemed to be more animatronics than last year, which were on point to the best timing.
Halls and rooms are heavily fogged but they do have intermission rooms in the haunt to prevent groups from going through the house squished together. I have never seen this before, but its a great idea because each intermission room has a live show to watch for about 3 minutes until you continue your journey again.
The cemetery looks and smells like a southern witches graveyard with decor similar to the graveyard from the movie Interview with the Vampire and was my favorite scene in the haunt. The vegetation becomes thicker toward the end of the cemetery as you pass into the swamps and some of the dinosaurs come out into the trail and can bump into you.
There is a large Maze in the middle of the haunt that you have 5 minutes to try to get out of. To date, I have never made my way out. After the maze, there is even more haunt with demonic redneck themes complete with cannibals and old wooden structures.
This haunt just goes on and on without ending. So depending on how fast you and the people in front of you move,it could take upwards of an hour to get through. You get a LOT of bang for your buck on this attraction, so be sure to make a night of it and bring your favorite friends. There is even a large screen with music videos to watch while you are in line, it really has the theme of an event and not just a haunted house!
STRANGLING BROTHERS HAUNTED CIRCUS
October 13th 2015
2602 Mayfield Road, Grand Prairie, Texas 75052
Open Until Nov 2nd
Oct 14th through 17th
Oct 19th through 24th
Oct 26th through 31st
Week Nights are 7:30pm until 10:30pm
Weekends are 7:30pm until Midnight
$29.95 General Admission one attraction
$40.00 General Admission Both Attractions
$49.95 VIP Admission one attraction
$60.00 VIP Admission both attractions
Walk through time:
25 minutes on Haunted Circus and 10 minutes on Zombie Paintball Hunt
Strangling Brothers is a very different type of haunted attraction. Instead of a traditional haunted house, you go through a big top tent and truck trailers, each with it’s own scenes and actors. each trailer has a unique scene and dedicated actors. The trailers are separated by outdoor areas with scenes of their own. The actors, inside and outside, are well hidden and are great at surprising customers. Strangling Brothers is an extremely well run attraction. All of it’s props and animatronics work perfectly, and it’s very clean, no dust or dirt, which is great if you have allergies. As with any haunted attraction, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Strangling Brothers is a large place and some of it is uneven ground. Enough of it is outside so that you should wear warm clothing on cooler nights.
The experience begins under the big top with a carnie show and dancers as you wait in line to enter the main attraction.
After leaving the big top, you’ll enter the main part of the haunt, where you’ll be greeted by darkness, plenty of air guns, and lots of clowns. The areas between the trailers are filled with lots of buildings, props, and actors. A few of the trailers are set to ascend and descend like hills, which is pretty cool, especially for an attraction not set in the country. Since this is a haunted circus themed attraction, clowns play the largest role, but there are a variety of creatures to be found along the way. This haunt has a surprising number of big ticket animatronics and effects, including a spinning vortex tunnel that rocks back and forth. The spinning animatronics were outstanding.
Variety is one of the best things about Strangling Brothers. Some areas are completely blacked out, others are filled with fog, strobe lights and lasers, and other areas look rustic. Glow in the dark paint is used well and helps to set the mood for some of the scenes. Going outside between trailers provides a nice change of pace, and actors make sure that the space isn’t wasted. There are long trails that will satisfy people who want a haunted park experience, and they are of comparable quality to trails at some of the larger outdoor attractions in the area. Great fog and strobe filled areas infested with clowns were a favorite. Multiple cage mazes provide an interesting alternative to standard sheet mazes. The “oddities” trailer has Ripley’s style displays of freaks, while another trailer has a cannibal kitchen. There are several clown areas, a clown bus, a clown morgue, and a clown circus. Funhouses, graveyards, zombies, and mad scientists round out the main attraction.
A second attraction, Zombie Paintball Hunt, is set up like a gun range, props include abandoned old cars and scrap metal to form a post apocalyptic stage around which zombies roam as you shoot them with your paint ball gun.
Although Strangling Brothers is a large attraction, there are enough actors to go around, and they make good use of the many hiding places afforded by the unusual structure of the place. The actors had their timing down well, and they always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. You don’t have to worry about Strangling Brothers becoming stale over the years because it is in a new location, with new scenes, each year. This is a true travelling haunted circus, and is one of the best haunted attractions in Texas.
October 10th 2015
Thrillvania Haunted House Park
2330 County Road 138
Terrell TX 75161
Open weekends (2015 hours of operation not available on website). Ticket prices $29.95 adult and $14.95 child — add $10 for speed pass (2015 prices not available on website).
Combined walkthrough 35 minutes
Located 33 miles east of Dallas is Thrillvania Haunted House Park. The brain child of Lance Pope, Verdun Manor/Verdun Manor has been a leading Dallas’ area haunt for decades. Since its early conception in Forney this Southern-style mansion has grown from a single prop filled building to a full park of thrills and chills!
The main attraction is the world famous Verdun Manor. First take a haunted stroll through the Voodoo Bayou and old graveyard — watch out for any huge dragon that may be lurking around. After that is Baron Verdun’s mansion! This two story haunted house is packed floor to ceiling with props and live spooks around every turn. The house features everything from the traditional, to a working laboratory, to torture chambers and bone scraping caverns. If you escape, there’s more!
Cassandra’s Labyrinth of Terror 3D is a mind-blowing psychedelic maze of demented clowns! That’s what you can expect once you put on the 3D spectrum glasses and enter this techno trip. Loaded with fluorescent effects and a dimension twisting tunnel you will find the Baron wasn’t “clowning around” when his experiments got a little crazy. That’s right, it’s LOADED with clowns!
The park also offers concessions and a magic show with two performances. Its a good break until the final scare.
Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment is like getting caught in a back woods horror movie that you may not escape from. The trail meanders through several out buildings where some bad things have been happening — be careful that you’re not next. Also, keep an eye out for the creatures that made Verdun legendary, werewolves.
Verdun Manor on its own is with a trip to Thrillvania. If you want to experience a variety of haunts in one stop then Thrillvania is the way to do so.
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