Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Headless Horseman Hayrides & Haunted Houses
Location of Attraction: Ulster Park, New York
Date of Review: Friday September 29th 2017
Total Number of Attractions Available: TEN!!
Overall Haunted Attraction Rating (scale of 1-10): 7.5
Entertainment and Food Rating (scale of 1-10): 8
Overall Makeup and Costume Rating (scale of 1-10): 9
Overall Actor Rating (scale of 1-10): 6
Overall Props, Animatronics & Set Design Rating (scale of 1-10): 9
Overall Scare Factor Rating (scale of 1-10): 6
Overall Feedback: We arrived at the well known Headless Horseman in Ulster Park New York on a chilly Friday evening. The parking lot was gradually filling up as customers trickled in. After purchasing tickets and going through security we entered the “midway” area. Within a few seconds we were rather amazed by the unique layout and style of the different gift shops and food stands (the deadly donut & ice cream was DELICIOUS!). We definitely felt like we walked through a time machine and went back in time. As we chowed down on some munchies we watched a few actors roaming about the midway area taunting the customers. Once we finished up our munchies we were ready to begin the evening. At Headless Horseman you complete all ten attractions one after another. You begin with The Resurrection Hayride and then complete the attractions in the following order; The Lunar Motel, Glutton’s Diner & Slaughter House, Horseman’s Tomb, Evil Reaping Dark Harvest, Night Shade Nursery & Greenhouse, Dr. Dark’s Black Spider Circus Sideshow, The Feeding Presents “The Pain Killer” and Two Raven’s Manor! The 10th attraction is a side show featuring skilled stunts and magic-illusions! As we boarded the hayride we noticed there were zero rails/ledges which had us quite confused. We were honestly worried about tipping over and falling off the wagon. Within a few minutes other customers boarded the wagon sitting with their legs hanging off the edge of the wagon leaving us with our feet facing inwards and ultimately looking like a bunch of ding dongs! It was a unique touch and something we’ve never seen before on a hayride to have your legs hang off the edge. The Hayride itself is definitely more of a theatrical performance and stays away from the in your face experience that many haunts utilize nowadays. As the wagon strolled through all the different scenes an actor on board the wagon helped tell the story and convey what was taking place in each of the scenes. The actors in the hayride did really good with bringing their scenes to life and putting on a solid performance. A big upset for us was continually seeing actors cleanup and reset their scenes before the wagon even pulled away… this really took the customers out of the mood. Had the actors waited another 10-15 seconds the wagon would’ve been out of sight and this would not have been an issue. Each and every scene on the hayride featured well constructed and detailed sets, props and animatronics. We were really oohing and ahhing over some of the scenes, that’s how amazing they were! After completion of the hayride we got in line for The Lunar Motel. As we waited there was an actor willing to eat maggots aka superworms for $1. Sure enough someone gave him a buck and he devoured the so called maggot like it was no big deal. Once you enter The Lunar Motel you complete the attraction itself and the next five attractions all right in a row. We personally as a group really dislike this layout to a haunted attraction. Historically when attractions run one after another the customer quickly loses memory of what he/she has just experienced. We ourselves were having a hard time remembering detail of what happened in a few of the middle attractions. We also can’t forget to mention the long kongo style line that developed the further we went along. On a quieter night like the one we had attended on we do not see much reason for groups getting caught up with one another so rapidly. This really impacted the overall atmosphere of the attractions and it wasn’t just our group that was frustrated. We overheard other customers complaints regarding the backup of groups. The only positive to this layout is the minimal to no wait time in between attractions. After the completion of Dr. Dark’s Black Spider Circus Sideshow, the last attraction in the string of six in a row, you head to the queue line to complete the final three attractions; The Feeding Presents “The Pain Killer”, the magic-illusion side show and Two Raven’s Manor. Across the board in the eight walk through attractions it was clear a lot of time and energy went into each and every scene! As mentioned for the hayride we continued our oohing and ahhing over the detailed scenes throughout the walk through attractions. The Lunar Motel, Glutton’s Diner and Slaughter House, The Feeding Presents “The Pain Killer” and Two Raven’s Manor were by far our favorite attractions of the evening! The biggest downfall of the evening was acting... it was definitely a sore spot in the eight walk through attractions. Some actors were in character perfectly while others literally stood like a statue as we walked by. It was rather hard to come to a consensus on an overall rating for acting because of the major inconsistencies. About half of the actors encountered featured a lot of energy and really did well bringing their scenes to life while the other half seemed to barely have a pulse and we can’t forget to mention the couple dozen we walked by that did absolutely nothing… by nothing we literally mean they stood there like a statue! It was definitely frustrating to see such a well known haunt have actors who seemed to lack energy and passion. We were able to speak with other customers about their experience and the responses seemed to vary. Some individuals absolutely loved the haunt and every aspect of it. Others spoke about the same frustrations we had regarding inconsistent acting. Regarding scare factor the overall response also seemed to vary when speaking with other customers. We as a group didn’t receive much of a scare factor from this haunt but we witnessed other individuals receive good scares. Overall we went middle of the road rating wise for scare factor and acting due to the inconsistencies mentioned above. Makeup, costume, props, animatronics and set designs all scored near the top of our rating scale as they easily compete with any haunt in the area and are near if not at movie ready quality! All in all we went with a solid 7.5/10 for overall rating. We certainly feel this rating could receive a HUGE jump if the actors take it up a notch! If the actors show more energy, passion and willingness to taunt their customers were sure the overall scare factor will sky rocket as well! All in all Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted Houses had us on a rollercoaster of emotions. We thoroughly enjoyed all the props, animatronics and set designs but were disappointed in the mediocre acting. We know this haunt can be a top notch haunt but the acting definitely needs to step up their game for this to happen! If you’re in the area of this haunt the set designs and background of the haunt alone are enough to call for a visit! We’ll keep our fingers crossed that the haunt was having an off night especially when it comes to actor performance. We hope you enjoy your experience at Headless Horseman when you pay them a visit!