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  • Writer's pictureChandler Clouser


Haunted Attraction Reviewed: SHOCKTOBERFEST


Location of Attraction: Sinking Springs PA

Date of Review: 9/19/2020

Total Number of Attractions Available: 5

Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 8.5/10

Entertainment & Food Rating: 9/10

Atmosphere Rating: 8.5/10

Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 8/10

Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 8.5/10

Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8.5/10

Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 7/10

Overall Feedback: With the 2020 haunt season facing new obstacles every day it is refreshing to see the scares brought to us from Shocktoberfest. While some of the attractions have been severely limited due to new restrictions, Shocktoberfest adapted well to these challenges. Focusing on upping their animatronics, and special effects to new highs! They also included a brand-new haunt for 2020, and temporally converted their hayride into a walking trail.

COVID PROTOCOLS: All guests and haunters/staff were required to wear a mask, and maintain social distancing. There was plenty of signage posted around the midway, and at the ticket booth reminding guests to wear their mask and maintain social distancing. Hand sanitizer was located throughout the property, and most importantly was near the entrance and exit to each attraction. Timed ticketing is also being utilized to help control the volume of attendees onsite each given operating night.

We began the evening around 7:30 picking up our tickets from the ticket booth, and grabbing a few hot apple ciders to warm up that chilly evening. The ticket booth also acted as the first of two gift shops. The merchandise at the ticket booth was limited to t-shirts and sweatshirts, with more options at the second main gift shop. The tickets run anywhere from $25 and up depending on the ticket combos you purchase. The All Access Combo Pass goes for $50 and allows you to enjoy all regular attractions available. The options for tickets included various combo passes which could be upgraded to VIP tickets for those impatient scare-lovers who don’t want to wait in lines. With tickets in hand we geared up for a spooky evening of the 5 terrifying attractions available at Shocktoberfest. Upon entering beneath the zombie themed archway, complete with pyrotechnics, we hit the mid-way. This MASSIVE mid-way offers a selection of games, photo spots, live music, food trucks, drink options, entertainment areas, and picnic tables for small groups to congregate around. Can’t forget to mention their 5 minute escape room, Maintenance Shed.

Our first stop was Unknown 2.0 which lasted around 5-7 minutes, and offered an excellent façade to the haunt appearing to be created from wooden shipping containers stacked hap-harzardly on top of each other. This is where the atmosphere started to pick up. The feeling of instability from the front façade was a great way to stir up those uneasy feelings of dread leading into the nightmare fuel that is Unknown 2.0. We learned that Unknown 2.0 would not be showing it’s normal preshow, which explains the story occurring in the haunt, in order to remain in CDC compliance. This did not have much effect on the haunt experience for most of our team who are returning guests. New attendees in the squad had no trouble understanding the story, and spooky voices throughout the attraction. The design, and feel of this attraction was top-notch. Even considering the absence of a full team of haunters, the scares were well-timed, and the use of props, and animatronics was well-thought out. Use of smells were utilized in multiple scenes to help further immerse the audience. Special shout-out to the scare team in the clown scene, these folks were full of energy and did a phenomenal job interacting with our squad. Everything in the haunt was used effectively, and many of our members enjoyed the darker atmosphere of the haunt which only helped further disorient us leaving us more susceptible to a spine-tingling startle!

Our next stop was Ground Assault Zombie Laser Tag! We were ready to hunt some zombies, and get geared up for a spooky showdown with our fellow haunt-goers. When we reached the front of the line we had our Laser Tag guns and sensor headbands distributed. The staff informed us that everything is being sanitized between uses, but also encouraged us to clean everything ourselves if it made us more comfortable. The staff explained the new rules, unlike in the past where you played in teams, this year’s game would be a free-for-all battle. The hiding spots and scenery in the game play area was really interesting playing off of classic Laser Tag sets, while incorporating a scary haunted woods atmosphere. Unfortunately, this is where things got less spooky. Many of the guns and headbands had technical issues, and there wasn’t any visible leaderboard to help create a sense of competition. Typically this attraction is swarming with live zombies that you also have to shoot down, but we only recall encountering one or two zombies this go around. This made for a somewhat lackluster experience overall. We have high hopes that next season things will return to a team-based experience, and we’ll just chalk it up to a casualty of 2020.

After a short break we moved onto Midway Massacre. This lasted roughly 5 minutes, and was really more comparable to a low-key walk rather than a main attraction. Midway Massacre was the newest attraction available at Shocktoberfest. Last season it was actually featured as part of the midway and was just a small portion that all guests traveled through throughout the evening. Unfortunately 2020’s version of Midway Massacre left much to be desired. It was by far the least popular attraction among our team. The attraction, in all aspects, seemed rather thrown together. There was no clear path of travel, as we often found ourselves confused on where to go. We were unimpressed by the minimalistic sets that we encountered, featuring no special effects and just an overall dull appearance. We encountered several scare actors along the journey but they failed to interact with our squad, leaving us feeling underwhelmed. It was a real-risk to open a new attraction this year, and we hope our experience was a fluke. Given the top notch quality of the other attractions at Shocktoberfest, our squad has come to expect far superior work from the Shocktoberfest team. The Midway massacre has a lot of potential and we hope to see it improved for the 2021 season.

While normally we would be getting ready for a terrifying (but cozy), hayride through the Zombie safari Tour we instead prepared for the Zombie Safari WALKING Tour! This 20-minute walk offered an interesting opportunity to see everything this horrifying hayride had to offer up close, and at our own pace! The visuals throughout the Safari Tour were fantastic, there was always something to ooh and aah at, especially for regular haunt-goers it was a nice change of pace. The Zombie Safari Tour boasted some of the best special effects at Shocktoberfest; loaded with animatronics, pneumatics, pyrotechnics, and more! Even during the empty spaces between each scare zone offered an eerie atmosphere. There is just something scary about wandering in the woods at night. Other than a few complaints about needing the staff to readjust the sensors for a longer delay on automatic drops, or pyrotechnics, the team’s feelings were very positive. One of the notable aspects of the haunt was the impeccable costuming of the tree creatures in the all new 3D/blacklight scene! By far the most intense scene of the evening was the butcher shop section, loaded with startling sound effects and chainsaw wielding maniacs! The Zombie Safari Tour offered a decent transition into the final attraction for the evening: PRISON OF THE DEAD!

We saved the best for last! Prison of the Dead lasted roughly 20-25 minutes, and gave us some of the best scares of the night. The haunt started with a short bus ride on the official prison inmate transportation vehicle to the main entrance. Right away you started to get into the unsettling atmosphere of things to come. We waited in the cue for about 10 minutes, which was the longest wait of the night. You could feel the energy of all the haunt-goers ready for what surprises would show up in the Prison. The actors did a remarkable job with jump scares, taking care to create as much of a personal, in-your-face experience as possible. The actors in the shower scene, and boiler room brought their A-game, and we had a great time interacting (safely, of course) with these performers. There were some issues with animatronics working during the outdoor sections, which made the shortage of actors more obvious than in the rest of the haunt. Some of our favorite sections for 2020 were the new garage scene, escape tunnels, and electrocution chambers! Year after year the Prison of the Dead continues to WOW our squad with its astonishing set design, crazed scare actors, horrifying special effects, and blood-curdling scares! As usual, it was the most popular and enjoyable attraction of the evening, with plenty of scares and enough unnerving visuals to make any haunt-enthusiast look forward to a future visit.

Overall, our team had a great time at Shocktoberfest. While some attractions (Midway Massacre and Ground Assault Laser Tag) left much to be desired, the others more than made up for any negatives. Our team enjoyed seeing the exciting changes to make the haunts safer, while maintaining what fans have come to love about Shocktoberfest. Our squad always looks forward to visiting Shocktoberfest and feels its a must for fellow haunt goers to pay them a visit. We were impressed with how Shocktoberfest handled 2020, and how well they maintained a frightfully delightful experience for not-only those attending the main attractions, but for those enjoying the midway, and Club Shock for an evening of tasty food, libations, and an overall scary good-time. We look forward to visiting Shocktoberfest for many years to come, as they always succeed in providing a SPOOKY FUN experience! Job well done Shocktoberfest team!

Individual Attraction Ratings:

Attraction Name: Unknown 2.0

Overall Attraction Rating: 8/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 8/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8/10

Attraction Name: Midway Massacre

Overall Attraction Rating: 4/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 4/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 3/10

Attraction Name: Ground Assault

Overall Attraction Rating: 5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 5/10

Attraction Name: Zombie Safari Tour

Overall Attraction Rating: 7.5/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 7.5/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 8.5/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 6/10

Attraction Name: Prison of the Dead

Overall Attraction Rating: 9/10

Cast & Crew Rating: 9/10

Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9/10

Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8.5/10

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