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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser

Hackney Haunts - 2021 Review

Haunted Attraction Reviewed: Hackney Haunts

Location of Attraction: Westminster Maryland

Date of Review: 10/15/2021

Total Number of Attractions Available: 3

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 7.5/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 6/10

Atmosphere Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 7.5/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Overall Feedback: Hackney Haunts returns in 2021 with a trio of all NEW haunted attractions - you’ll never experience the same thing year to year with a visit to Hackney Haunts! The Hackney Haunts team worked diligently over the offseason to be able to expand their offerings from a previously one attraction experience to now three attractions. They partnered with Local Homestead Products LLC in New Windsor, Maryland to provide a traditional style haunted corn maze attraction, The Stalking, while also still maintaining their original location in the Westminster Townmall. They’ve secured additional space within the Westminster Townmall and now offer two attractions at this location, The Haunting of Hackney House and Bite Fight! We’re sure you’re wondering and the answer is yes, you can easily experience all three attractions on the same evening (~15 minutes apart). Ticketing is very straightforward with a visit to Hackney Haunts, as each individual attraction costs $10. For an additional $5 per attraction you can upgrade to Fast Pass admission to bypass the lines and decrease your wait times.

In each of the past two seasons Hackney Haunts had geared their experience towards a family-friendly crowd. Last season's theme was “Horror Holidays”, which immersed haunt goers into seven different holiday themed scenes (New Year’s, St Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, & Christmas). For 2021 they’ve kicked things up a notch, increasing the intensity which has allowed for a more thrilling overall experience! We’d still classify Hackney Haunts as a suitable option for the entire family, but they’ll certainly deliver a fair share of frights!

The Stalking - We began our experience with Hackney Haunts at Local Homestead Products LLC for their haunted corn maze, The Stalking. Local Homestead Products has a large farm market onsite with all sorts of scrumptious offerings to choose from. Several food trucks were also onsite to ensure nobody left hungry. Family-friendly offerings like a pick your own pumpkin patch (daytime) and traditional non-spooky corn maze (daytime & nighttime) are available for families to enjoy. For those seeking some additional thrill and excitement, The Stalking is located in a dark and desolate corner of the Local Homestead Products property. As we prepared to enter The Stalking, Michael Myers made a brief appearance and then faded off into the cornfield… this was very effective as it created an element of suspense as we then knew he was going to be lurking in the cornfield. The Stalking is a 15 minute adventure, featuring massive 10’+ cornstalks in combination with moonlit paths and a gentle breeze which certainly made for an eerie journey. We encountered a slew of different scenes along our journey. Two hillbillies were found chilling outside their shack, when we crossed paths with them they immediately began engaging with our crew and wanted to share some of their stew with us. A gory slaughter barn scene certainly delivered a blood-curdling fright, make sure to scurry through here or you’ll run the risk of leaving without your limbs intact. A section with two pathways was lined with easily a dozen plus scarecrows, some of which ended up being alive and ready to deliver a startle. A simple but effective section with white sheets hanging about on a clothesline made for a disorienting snake-like pathway; several spooks quietly lurked within the sheet maze providing some major creep factor. A few witches congregated around a steaming cauldron, eagerly awaiting for a perfect addition to add to their boiling cauldron of potion. Easily the most exhilarating section of The Stalking would take place in the clown fun-house, where several manic and energized clowns engaged with our crew providing a perfect combination of laughs and startles. In between the different scenes we traversed through moonlit pathways with eerie music echoing throughout. Well placed scare actors were lurking within the cornfield ready to deliver a fright as we traversed through some of the moonlit pathways. While most of the scenes featured simple set design with structures made out of wooden pallets, it was just enough for the actors to play off of with their skits and also hide within, waiting to pounce on patrons to provide scares. Overall, The Stalking was a simple but effective old school style haunted corn maze suitable for the entire family to experience.

After experiencing The Stalking at Local Homestead Products LLC we ventured north towards Westminster Maryland, where two attractions are housed within the Westminster TownMall. Locating Hackney Haunts within the mall can be a bit challenging; you'll want to utilize the mall entrance between Boscov’s and Belk. A large Hackney Haunts banner is hanging above this entrance to confirm that you’ve found the correct entrance point. Once within the mall doors you’ll discover the ticket booth queue line. Two separate queue lines are available, one for onsite ticket purchases and another for online ticket redemptions. Once snagging your tickets you’ll be directed towards the queue lines for The Haunting of Hackney House or Bite Fight. Within the mall there are several photo-op booths for patrons to enjoy. At this time there isn’t any real source of entertainment or your standard midway offerings - we’d love to see these folks incorporate some roaming scare actors, food vendors/trucks, etc. Fortunately there’s tons of local restaurants that you could easily pair with a visit to Hackney Haunts.

The Haunting of Hackney House - As you await in the queue line to The Haunting of Hackney House you’re immediately immersed into a dark and eerie atmosphere, as the Hackney House facade is ominous and decrepit appearing. Audio and visual effects were utilized to simulate a thunderstorm echoing off in the distance. Just moments inside the front door of The Hackney House, a perfectly timed spook appeared out of practically nowhere to deliver our first of many startles. The Haunting of Hackney House is a short 5 minute experience, but there’s certainly no shortage of excitement! We traversed through some traditional house-like scenes including a living-room, raunchy bathroom, kitchen and dining rooms, all which possessed spooks to bring the scenes to life, along with a touch of special effects and pneumatic props to enhance the scare/thrill factor. Some of the more memorable scenes included an exorcist room, where an animated scare actor contorted her body on top of a bed while the bed itself violently thrashed around. A haunted library possessed moving shelves, bookcases with spooks lurking within them, and a Edgar Allen Poe painting that watches your every move. A hallway lined with red robed mannequins made for a few moments of suspense, as one of these “mannequins” came to life to deliver a scare. A detailed and visually stunning ritual scene gave off extremely creepy vibes. Towards the end of The Haunting of Hackney House we traversed through an aesthetically pleasing cobwebbed hallway littered with corpsing skeletons. One final surprise is lurking around the corner, awaiting to send you fleeing out of The Hackney House doors!

Bite Fight - Prepare for a high-action, 5 minute adventure through Bite Fight, where an epic battle between vampires and werewolves leaves no shortage of thrill and excitement! The queue area for Bite Fight was elegantly crafted and did a spooktastic job immersing us into a whole different world! Prior to beginning our adventure through Bite Fight we had the pleasure of enjoying a short pre-show, where the infamous Vampire Vlad Orpheus set the tone and prepared us for the journey that lies ahead. Throughout our journey through Bite Fight we traversed through dark and eerie crypts, castles, and caves. Blood-thirsty vampires and man-eating werewolves lurked in the shadows, awaiting their victims. The storyline was effectively carried throughout our adventure through Bite Fight, as the exhilarating battle between the vampires and werewolves had us uncertain of who’s side we should take! A dungeon-esque scene featured a vampire with blood pouring from her mouth as she was devouring a decapitated head. Massive man-eating spider creatures infested the scene leading up to the murky swamp, which featured a well-timed spook to deliver one of many spine-chilling startles. One section had us feeling like we somehow stumbled outside, as the dimly-lit forest section featured incredibly realistic set design and ample places for werewolves to lurk within. Just as you think you’ve made it out of Bite Fight unscathed, one final scene delivers a hair-raising startle that sends you fleeing through the castle gates. Throughout Bite Fight we encountered a slew of realistic werewolf and vampire props that had us questioning what was and wasn’t real. An excellent mixture of special effects, pneumatic props, and energized scare actors were utilized to bring Bite Fight to life and immerse the audience into an unnerving adventure.

After our experience through all three attractions, The Stalking, The Haunting of Hackney House, and Bite Fight, we had the pleasure of chatting with the lovely owners of Hackney Haunts - Jason, Sarah, and Carlos! These folks very clearly have a true passion for entertaining and are all about providing a spooky fun experience! These folks are already brainstorming plans for the 2022 season, which will almost certainly include larger and essentially all new attractions! It’s been truly incredible to follow along Hackney Haunts journey from year one to now year three of professional haunting! They’ve made major improvements in the overall quality of their attractions from last season to this season with notable improvements in the following areas: extremely detailed and life-like scenes, increased usage of pneumatic props and animatronics, high-quality and immersive special effects, more realistic and captivating costuming and makeup, and a energized and engaging team of scare actors! We have no doubts that as the Hackney Haunts team continues to gain more resources and experience they’ll most certainly become a force to be reckoned with in the haunt industry! The future is certainly bright at Hackney Haunts and we cannot wait to revisit them next fall. If you’re looking for a family friendly and spooky fun haunted attraction then look no further, as Hackney Haunts is well worth a visit and sure to please all varieties of haunt goers! Happy Hauntings!

Individual Attraction Ratings:

Attraction Name: The Stalking

Overall Attraction Rating: 6.5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 7/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 6.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 6/10

Attraction Name: The Haunting of Hackney House

Overall Attraction Rating: 8/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Attraction Name: Bite Fight

Overall Attraction Rating: 8/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

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