The Art of Reviewing - Fright Review Squad Style
“Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us.” - Tim Burton. If this famous Tim Burton quote applies to you then it’s highly likely you are one of millions of individuals with a pure passion and love for Halloween. I think we haunt enthusiasts can agree that Halloween is most certainly the number one holiday; but according to America Haunts (www.americahaunts.com) Halloween is the second largest commercial holiday in the United States. Research definitely shows that many folks love a good spine tingling scare and no better place to receive that scare then at one of America’s 1,500 plus haunted attractions. Haunted attractions provide thrill seekers such as ourselves heart stopping startles while in a safe and controlled environment. And of course haunt enthusiasts such as ourselves are willing to pay for that experience. Now, some folks may think it's outrageous to pay to be scared and if that’s the case, well who cares because they clearly aren’t a true Halloween lover. But on a serious note, us haunt enthusiasts are willing to pay top dollar to visit America’s top haunted attractions. Anywhere from $10 to visit the local charity haunt to well over $100 at some attractions. Throw in costs for food, travel, lodging, etc. and you’re easily shelling out several hundred dollars for just one nights worth of scares. Some haunt lovers like to visit haunted attractions “blindly”, meaning not reading up on the haunt before visiting. But if you’re like the vast majority of haunt lovers then it’s likely you’ve done your research on which haunted attractions to visit each fall. Now if only folks had a credible source when doing that research to ensure they are receiving the most horrifying scares for their buck. Well, thanks to Fright Review Squad haunt enthusiasts have exactly what they wished for.
Fright Review Squad all began when a father and son decided to give up scare acting at a local haunted attraction to indulge in the haunt review business. Paul and Chandler (father and son respectively) had been scare actors at a York County haunted attraction for several years. For 6 weekends each fall you’d find Paul and Chandler in costume and makeup providing hundreds of customers those spine-tingling scares we all know and love! And when the haunted attraction they worked for wasn’t open you’d find them out and about the Pennsylvania and Maryland areas checking out the local competition. After four seasons of scare acting Paul and Chandler elected to use their knowledge of the haunt industry to give back to fellow haunt enthusiasts. In August of 2016 Fright Review Squad was born. Chandler began promoting the newest haunted attraction review group with a professional Facebook page and website. Over each of the last three years Fright Review Squad’s social media following has continued to grow with now well over 3,000 Facebook followers and several thousand website views each season. Not only has their following grown over the past three years but the Squad itself has grown significantly since its inception in 2016. Beginning with just a handful of reviewers in 2016 Fright Review Squad now boasts a team of 15 plus reviewers, all with varying experiences and knowledge within the haunt industry.
When establishing Fright Review Squad in 2016 Paul and Chandler vowed to provide an honest, accurate, detailed and constructive review for each haunted attraction they attended. As the two began researching the best ways to convey their reviews to haunt owners and enthusiasts it was decided on to establish their own haunt review scorecard. The haunt review scorecard allows the squad to review varying aspects of the overall haunted attraction as well as each individual attraction. Categories like scare actors, costuming/makeup and entertainment/atmosphere are just a few things that Fright Review Squad rates when attending each haunted attraction. Each of the members in attendance will complete the haunt review scorecard and then one overall review will be published. With this concept Fright Review Squad publishes reviews that aren’t just one persons “opinion”; instead it boasts thoughts and input from anywhere from 6-10+ reviewers. Amongst our squad of reviewers we have members with varying talents and experiences within the haunt industry ranging from former scare actors to haunt owners/management to long time haunt enthusiasts. Each of these individuals has a keen eye when traveling through each haunt. And don’t just think we are providing numbers/ratings for each haunted attraction. Along with those said ratings you’ll find a detailed written review that not only helps haunt goers determine if that particular haunt is for them; but the written reviews are also constructive feedback for the haunt owners so they can better their overall experience.
We often get asked “what the hardest part of reviewing is” and besides mentioning the large amount of traveling and the frequent late nights our answer to this question is much more complex. During our first three seasons of reviewing we attended over 40 haunted attractions across PA, MD, NJ, DE and NY. Each and every one of these haunted attractions offered a completely unique experience. Some haunts may have been more “scary” than others but we can guarantee that we had an absolute blast at each and every one of them. Now here’s where the hard part comes in, assigning those beloved ratings. When we are assigning ratings to each haunted attraction we aren’t comparing said haunt to any other haunt(s). For example, when visiting the local charity haunt we obviously don’t compare their experience to one of the multi-million dollar haunts. That method is completely fraudulent and would just highlight the big guns while throwing the “smaller” haunts to the curb. Instead, we assess the experience that each individual attraction offers and provide what we feel is a fair rating/assessment of the experience provided. On that note, don’t expect to read our reviews and find all 10/10 ratings, there are other review groups out there already awarding perfect ratings to every haunt. With Fright Review Squad you’ll find our reviews are a fair and accurate assessment of each haunt. So when reading our reviews don’t be discouraged from visiting a haunt that we might’ve rated “low” in your eyes. For example, a haunt that we might’ve scored a 5/10 could be a higher rating in someone else’s eyes. Give our written feedback a careful read and you’ll be able to determine if that haunt is the experience that you’re looking for. Some folks prefer the in your face gory experience while others prefer the family friendly experience. With our reviews we can help you decipher which haunts should be on your schedule of events each fall based on your haunt tastes and preferences.
It’s now 2019 and Fright Review Squad is gearing up for our 4th season of reviewing. After visiting over 40 haunts within the past 3 seasons and 27 alone in 2018 our squad hopes we can top last years impressive haunt tour. In 2018 we traveled all across PA, MD and NJ to visit just a small portion of the haunted attractions along the east coast. What hidden gems will we find this year? What new to us haunted attractions will we discover? Which haunted attractions will be among our top 5 list? Which haunted attractions will prove they worked throughout the off-season to revamp and improve their experience? We guess you’ll just have to give us a like on Facebook and stay tuned to our website for all of 2019’s haunted attraction reviews. We appreciate all the love and support that our followers show us. Your continued support has allowed us to grow and blossom into the spooktacular haunt review squad that you know and love; Fright Review Squad!