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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Shocktober 2017 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Shocktober

Location of Attraction: Leesburg Virginia

Date of Review: Saturday October 14th 2017

Total Number of Attractions Available: TWO!

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating (scale of 1-10): 7.5

Entertainment and Food Rating (scale of 1-10): 7

Overall Makeup and Costume Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Overall Actor Rating (scale of 1-10): 7

Overall Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Overall Scare Factor Rating (scale of 1-10): 7

Overall Feedback: Our first ever haunted attraction review in Virginia took place at the well known Shocktober in Leesburg Virginia. We arrived shortly after opening time and the parking lot was rapidly filling up. Prior to heading to the ticket booth all customers must stop to read and sign a brief waiver. Guests will then turnover their waivers to the staff at the ticket booth. In our opinion ticket prices are a bit steep with regular admission being $35 if purchased online or $40 onsite. Although guests should be somewhat at ease as the profits are going to a good cause. We were excited to visit Shocktober for many reasons. With it being located in Virginia we were eager to broaden our coverage area. We have heard many good reviews on Shocktober so we wanted to experience it for ourselves. But the most important reason of all was to support Shocktober and their support of the Arc of Loudoun at Paxton Campus. Many good reasons to pay this haunt a visit and we are glad we did! We were fortunate enough to have fastpass tickets so we could bypass the long lines. As we head into busy season we definitely suggest the fastpass option if you dislike waiting in long lines. As we awaited our entry into the first attraction of the night, Paxton Manor, we took a few seconds to take in the upbeat but eerie atmosphere. The Paxton Manor has been documented as a real haunted house and it surely looks the part. How they converted a building like Paxton Manor into a haunted attraction is really unique. We really appreciated how Shocktober highlighted and accented different features of the manor into their scenes. The set designs and props did not disappoint, the acting on the other hand was mediocre at best. A lack of energy and creativeness in the actor skits and scares were easily picked up on by our members and other guests. The mediocre actor performance really negatively impacted the scare factor and overall rating of the Paxton Manor. We’d love to see the actors move away from the “what are you doing here” and “get out” lines to something much more creative to the haunt itself. On the bright side Paxton Manor is a decent length walk through. It took our squad about 20 minutes to make our way through the attraction. At the completion of Paxton Manor we jumped right in line for Carnival of Souls. This attraction is housed in the basement of the manor, a rather unique place for a carnival themed attraction. At first we had doubts about the attraction but boy were we proven wrong! This dark and eerie basement was brought to life by the crazed clowns and carnival workers! Spot on actor performances really made for a scary and funny experience! The higher energy level, creativeness and personal interaction from the actors really made a world of a difference in terms of scare factor and overall attraction rating. Kudos to the actors of Carnival of Souls for really bringing your A game! At the completion of the two attractions our members compiled our thoughts and overall we were pleased with the experience Shocktober offers. We now understand why so many haunt goers have spoken so highly of Shocktober over the years. Makeup, costume, set designs, props and animatronics all were very well done. Kudos to the makeup artists and build team at Shocktober. If you have the “I visited once already” mentality, you’ll be a happy camper to know that the Shocktober build team is busy completely renewing the Paxton Manor attraction each and every season. There aren’t too many haunts around anymore that constantly make massive changes to an attraction like Shocktober does each and every season. Shocktober advertises to be a PG-13 show and that is advertised appropriately. Definitely some pop scares to be had but by no means is Shocktober an absolute terrifying haunt. Most definitely a haunt suitable for the entire family! All in all Shocktober offers a spooktacular experience for all haunt enthusiasts. We have no doubts that they’ll please all levels of haunt goers! If you’ve yet to visit Shocktober this season then we strongly suggest you pay them a visit! Only two more weekends to experience Shocktober during the 2017 season so don’t delay and go get your scare on TODAY!

Individual Attraction Review:

Attraction Name: Paxton Manor

Overall Attraction Rating (scale of 1-10): 7

Actor Rating (scale of 1-10): 6

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Attraction Scare Factor Rating (scale of 1-10): 6

Feedback: Paxton Manor is a traditional walk through style attraction housed inside the upper floors of the Paxton Manor. Paxton Manor is Northern Virginia’s only real haunted house and it certainly provides a downright spine-chilling atmosphere. Paxton Manor was our first attraction completed on the night. We were fortunate to have VIP entry so we were able to skip the long lines. Groups of around 6-10 were entered into the attraction every minute or two to help create some spacing in between groups of customers. Unfortunately it only took a few scenes to catch up to the group in front of you which ruined many of the scares. A mixture of pop scares and short skits were utilized by the actors. The actors have really well down sets to interact in and it's unfortunate when the best they can do is ask “what are you doing here” or tell us to “get out”. We would love to see the actors engage and interact with the customers more as well as stay away from using the well known and overused lines like “what are you doing here”, “get out”, “hey”, etc. The set designs and props were all very well done and put together. We liked how different aspects and pieces of the Paxton Manor itself were highlighted in the attraction! The building itself already gives off a really eerie vibe which leads to a lot of suspense heading into the attraction. Unfortunately the actors just didn’t quite nail their performances to provide that scare factor everyone is looking for. The eerie atmosphere, high quality set designs & props and life-like costume & makeup are all there but the actors need to up the ante and be more creative in order to hit a homerun on the scare factor which will ultimately make Paxton Manor a kick butt haunted attraction!

Attraction Name: Carnival of Souls

Overall Attraction Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Actor Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating (scale of 1-10): 8

Attraction Scare Factor Rating (scale of 1-10): 8.5

Feedback: As we descend down into the damp, dark and musty basement of Paxton Manor we were eager to experience Shocktober’s newest attraction, Carnival of Souls. We were interested to see how Shocktober utilizes the basement for an attraction like Carnival of Souls and well it’s safe to say they executed perfectly. The basement of Paxton Manor had a vibrant vibe as crazed clowns and carnival workers roamed about, waiting in the shadows to scare their next victim. The uneven dirt floors played into the mind games that the actors played upon their guests. An interesting swamp scene featured a clown head floating just above the water… as soon as you determine the clown head won’t be moving anywhere it goes flying across the swamp! That was definitely a good scare! Again more high quality scenes were featured throughout the Carnival of Souls. After the mediocre actor performance in Paxton Manor we were praying the actors would perform at higher creative and energy levels… well the actors came through for us! The actors played into the customer's fears and gave a very personal and interactive scare! Unlike in the Paxton Manor we did not catch up to any groups in front of us which allowed us to experience each and every scene for ourselves without witnessing it take place in front of us. The phenomenal performance from the actors and spacing between groups really allowed for a much higher scare factor! Carnival of Souls is a well rounded attraction that will not disappoint any haunt goer!

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