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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres - 2018 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres Website: Location of Attraction: Newtown PA Date of Review: Sunday October 14th 2018 Total Number of Attractions Available: THREE Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 7/10 Entertainment and Food Rating: 6/10 Atmosphere Rating: 6/10 Overall Costume and Make Up Rating: 7/10 Overall Cast and Crew Rating: 7/10 Overall Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 7.5/10 Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 5/10 Overall Feedback: Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres has been on our squad’s “list of haunts we want to review” for the past several seasons. For the 2018 haunt season we were finally able to pay them a visit. We’ve always heard good things about Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres so we wanted to check out what all the buzz was about. We arrived shortly after 7:00pm on a Sunday evening and the parking lot was rapidly filling up. Located in Newtown PA on a large working farm, the Sleepy Hollow team has a lot of space to grow their haunted attraction. Currently there are three attractions offered: Field of Fright, Sleepy Hollow Hayride and The House in the Hollow. After purchasing tickets guests will be directed towards the midway area. The attractions at Sleepy Hollow are spaced out across A LOT of land… so be prepared for lots of walking! A large bonfire along with a food shack are available for your enjoyment. To kick off our evening we headed for Field of Fright. This attraction was clearly geared toward children and would make a great “introduction to haunts” for a family friendly activity. The Field of Fright took place in a large cornfield with gigantic corn stalks to block out your sight lines. Unfortunately the scenes were few and far between, elements were a bit cheesy, and it was a genuine flop — overall the most dull, uneventful experience of the haunt season. We honestly can’t recall a noteworthy character except the “princess” at the beginning that encouraged everyone to dance before entering the cornfield. In general, the actors were dull and lack luster in their performances. Set designs were bland and had zero “wow” factor. Only a few noteworthy props such as the man eating dog animatronic and the animatronic snakes in the greenhouse were found on our journey. The attraction itself is a decent length walk through but unfortunately featured heavy amounts of dead space inbetween scenes. The actors did not interact with the guests making the attraction feel like an empty walk through. Right now, Field of Fright should be called “Field of Dull”. But don’t get us wrong, with some tweaking to the set design and more energy/interaction from the actors, Field of Fright could easily become a much more lively and thrilling attraction. After our disappointing experience in the Field of Fright we swung over to the Sleepy Hollow Hayride for our 2nd attraction of the evening. The Hayride is the Michael Bay blockbuster flop of hayrides, this season — a lot of hype, flames and explosions for little reaction from the guests. The heavy investment of funds into props and effects are visible in each scene. The hayride utilizes fire blasts at least four times throughout the ride — most notably during the Purge-like car wreck scene, and during a performance of fire twirlers and “Freak Show” performers. An elaborate pirate ship scene with several startling explosions and at least two sequences where vehicles get —TRULY— dangerously close to the wagon made this a rather intense ride. The bone structure is there for this to be a truly memorable haunted hayride, but the acting falls short and the design of the hayride with limited guest interaction makes it difficult to get involved and stay involved. Several well design sets were encountered but for many of them the haywagon zipped right through, not stopping to allow the actors time to interact with the guests or for the guests to even take in the creativity of the scene itself. Throughout our hayride experience we gave it a lot of flack for feeling dull, but in retrospect, a live horse interaction (headless horseman), two vehicles careening through mud dangerously close to the wagon, burning vehicle(s), and performers twirling fire on the edge of a cornfield were all pretty remarkable haunt elements that aren’t seen at other locations. We feel it walked the line very well between family friendly and adult haunt only. The Sleepy Hollow Hayride would tie well as an experience with Field of Fright as a child-friendly attraction. Once departing the hay wagon we set off for The House in the Hollow. With having already experienced two below average attractions our expectations and hopes weren’t very high for the final attraction. But boy were we wrong… just moments after entering through the gates we immediately knew we were in for a top notch experience! Malfate Manor, AKA The House in the Hollow, is a orphanage where dozens of souls/spirits still lurk in the dark hallways and graveyard. The attraction/building itself truly looks like a decrepit and eerie manor, a perfect setting for a haunted attraction. We are literally in awe of this attraction, as it was somewhere between magical and thrilling. Each scene was perfectly staged with remarkable acting, incredible set designs, and was truly captivating. We were blown away by their use of holographic displays, mirror/projectory work and life-like animatronics. We’ve never seen anything like it. These actors were hands down some of the best we’ve ever come across in our years of reviewing haunts! Typically haunts have a few standout actors but to have an ENTIRE attraction full of top notch actors is truly something unheard of. Their passion, enthusiasm and delivery of their skit is of pure perfection! Not to mention the amount of improv and interaction used is also refreshing. No congo lines of guests being pushed through this attraction as we never once encountered a group in front or behind us. Beware, as the actors and the scenes will play tricks on you, making you question what is real and what isn’t. The attraction wasn’t necessarily “scary”, instead it created a sense of wonder and marvel. We have never been so startled, engaged and captivated as when one of our crew members disappeared right before our eyes. The atmosphere inside the attraction was carried throughout the entire experience — through a graveyard where ghosts ran among the tombstones and underground where we experienced the sounds and visuals above us as if we were being buried in a coffin. Just when you think you’ve safely made it through the attraction one final surprise is lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce on the guests! This surprise certainly had a few of our members literally running for the hills. The House in the Hollow was literally a jaw-dropping and hands down TOP-NOTCH experience! The House in the Hollow was unanimously voted by our squad as the best walk through haunted attraction we’ve ever experienced! For the majority of our members it was a 2-3 hour drive and The House in the Hollow is worth that drive alone! We will definitely be coming back to experience this attraction for many years to come. Once back in the midway area we grabbed some grub and sat down to chat about our overall experience. We feel that Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres is a tail of two experiences… the below average experience(s) being Field of Fright and Sleepy Hollow Hayride and the top notch experience being The House in the Hollow. Field of Fright and Sleepy Hollow Hayride each have the building blocks in place that will hopefully allow them to flourish into quality attractions. The House in the Hollow needs no tweaking as it is near perfection as it is! If the passion and enthusiasm that is displayed in The House in the Hollow is shared with the other two attractions Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres could easily become one of the best haunted attractions in Pennsylvania. But for now, with two of the three attractions providing below average experiences, Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres will remain as a mediocre haunted attraction. If you’re in the area or looking for a unique experience we strongly suggest coming to visit Sleepy Hollow Haunted Acres; an attraction that has something for the entire family. The House in the Hollow is definitely a hidden treasure in the haunt industry and is something all haunt enthusiasts must experience! Individual Attraction Review: Attraction Name: Field of Fright Overall Attraction Rating: 4/10 Cast and Crew Rating: 4/10 Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 5/10 Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 3/10

Attraction Name: Sleepy Hollow Hayride Overall Attraction Rating: 7/10 Cast and Crew Rating: 7/10 Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 8/10 Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 5/10

Attraction Name: The House in the Hollow Overall Attraction Rating: 10/10 Cast and Crew Rating: 10/10 Props, Animatronics and Set Design Rating: 10/10 Attraction Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

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