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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

9th Annual Haunted Hollow & Haunted Barn at Jim Dietrich Park - 2018 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: 9th Annual Haunted Hollow & Haunted Barn at Jim Dietrich Park

Location of Attraction: Reading Pennsylvania

Date of Review: Friday October 12th 2018

Total Number of Attractions Available: Two

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 7

Entertainment and Food Rating: 6

Atmosphere Rating: 7.5

Overall Costume and Make Up Rating: 8

Overall Cast and Crew Rating: 8

Overall Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 7

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 6.5

Overall Feedback: Haunted Hollow and Haunted Barn located at Jim Dietrich Park in Reading PA is now in their 9th year of hosting the event! The event itself is run in coordination with the local township and Rotten Concepts. This event has become a must visit for the local community members and now we know why. The event takes place for one weekend every October and it draws hundreds of local community members each night! For those whom never visited Jim Dietrich Park, it’s the perfect setting for a spooky haunted attraction! It’s tucked in a dark and desolate area surrounded by woods and the Schuylkill River. As we pulled into the parking lot we were amazed by the turnout that this event had received! As soon as we swung the car door open we could hear screams and the general upbeat buzz from the guests. We instantly became immersed into the atmosphere that was created and knew we were in for a special treat. Prior to entering the attractions we chatted briefly with Brad from Rotten Concepts. Brad shared with us that they only have a one week build time to construct the hayride but they do have access to the Haunted Barn/Dietrich Asylum throughout the season. We also learned that since this is a community event and coordinated with the township, the experience needs to be family friendly at all times; which includes no blood/gore and limitations on what Rotten Concepts can do in their attractions. With knowing this information we were very eager to see the experience that they put forth. To begin the evening we jumped in line for the Haunted Hayride. While waiting in line we enjoyed engaging with the guests around us. Many of these guests have been attending this event for years now, it was great to hear stories of their past experiences at this haunted attraction event. Special shout-out to Heather and Doreen, two individuals that instantly connected with our squad and certainly made our wait for the hayride entertaining. Once aboard the hay wagon we set off for the dark woods of Jim Dietrich Park. We were pleasantly surprised by some of the set designs we encountered during our journey. Knowing that they only had one week build time, several of the set designs were impressive. There was a great mixture of simplicity with a few added “wow” pieces that made the set designs engaging. Scene/actor wise, we encountered a little bit of everything from Pennywise to Hillbillies to The Purge. Each scene featured a handful of actors, all of whom were very passionate about their work. They boarded the hay wagon and engaged with guests, giving several in your face scares while still remaining family friendly! In between each scene was a small chunk of dead space, but this dead space was creepy, especially when we rolled alongside the Schuylkill River! As we rolled out of the woods our squad was quite pleased with experience we received. The Haunted Hayride was a well executed 25 minute family friendly experience. The scare actors all possessed well designed costuming and makeup that was believable. Shout-out to the two ride on hayride staff who were extremely pleasant and did a fantastic job at ensuring all the guests had a pleasant experience. Once departing the hay wagon we headed for the Haunted Barn, also known as Dietrich Asylum. The front facade sells you on the asylum attraction and makes you question if entering is a good idea. A nice touch was the scare cam. As guests are waiting in line you can enjoy watching the guests ahead of you on the scare cam. Once you step foot into the Dietrich Asylum you truly feel immersed into an insane asylum. The opening actor did a great job at setting the tone. From that point forward all hell broke loose! Dark twists and turns, disorienting lighting, unique scenes and terrifying actors are just some of the highlights from Dietrich Asylum. As we ventured throughout the Dietrich Asylum one thing that stood out was the actors! The scare actors were relentless in their attacks… as soon as you thought they left you escape they pounced on you one last time, providing an even more frightening scare than the time before. Set design was realistic and stuck to the Asylum theme perfectly! Scenes like the bath house, laundry room, living quarters, execution chamber and more were all well designed. An added element that made the entire experience that much better was the audio tracks. Each scene featured it’s own unique soundtrack that matched perfectly to what the scene was portraying. The scare actors perfected their timings and had perfect corners/places to hide; we never saw them coming! As you’re exiting Dietrich Asylum you see yourself on a live security video feed; be warned, this is just a distraction for the grand finale and final scare. The Dietrich Asylum was a solid 5 minute action packed experience that is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. The scare actors all possessed believable makeup and there were several incredible masks as well (Shout out to Altered Flesh FX)! Dietrich Asylum is still family friendly but ups the ante a bit compared to the hayride and is certain to please most haunt enthusiasts! At the conclusion of our experience we again chatted with Brad from Rotten Concepts. He shared with us some exciting ideas that they have coming down the pipeline for their 10 year anniversary next season! Their overall goal is to someday purchase their own property where they can expand and flourish into a much larger attraction. But for now, they are excelling at providing a spooky fun experience for the local community; it’s just a shame they are only open one weekend each haunt season. If you’re local to this special haunted attraction event we strongly encourage you and the family to pay them a visit! At $18 total for the two attractions, it’s well worth the price and is certain to provide a spooky fun family experience!

Individual Attraction Review:

Attraction Name: Haunted Hayride

Overall Attraction Rating: 6

Cast and Crew Rating: 7.5

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 6.5

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 5

Attraction Name: Dietrich Asylum

Overall Attraction Rating: 8

Cast and Crew Rating: 8.5

Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 8

Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8

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