Haunted Attraction Reviewed: The Dent Schoolhouse
Location of Attraction: Cincinnati Ohio
Date of Review: 9/16/22
Total Number of Attractions Available: One
Overall Haunted Attraction Rating: 9/10
Entertainment & Food Rating: 9/10
Atmosphere Rating: 9.5/10
Overall Costume & Makeup Rating: 9/10
Overall Cast & Crew Rating: 9/10
Overall Set Design & Special Effects Rating: 9.5/10
Overall Scare/Thrill Factor Rating: 8.5/10
Overall Feedback: The Dent Schoolhouse, located right outside of the heart of Cincinnati, kicked off our Ohio Haunt Tour on a frightastic note! Back for their 26th year of providing fear (17th year at this location), The Dent Schoolhouse has clearly mastered providing a top-notch haunted attraction experience! After what was a solid 8-10 hour drive for our squad, we arrived on site shortly before 7pm on their opening night for the 2022 season. Free parking is located at the nearby Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, just a brief walk away. As we strolled down the street headed towards the attraction, the infamous schoolhouse came into view, it was a beautifully eerie sight. The Dent Schoolhouse attraction is housed in an old public school which originated in 1894, a perfectly creepy location for a haunted attraction.
We had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow haunt review colleague, Sean Padelsky, who is also known as The Hauntfinder General. Sean has been a yearly attendee at The Dent Schoolhouse for many years and strongly recommended we make sure these folks were included in our Ohio Haunt Tour. It wasn’t long after entering the attraction doors when we realized why The Dent Schoolhouse comes highly recommended & is highly touted in the haunt industry! Sean kindly introduced us to one of the original owners of the attraction, Bud, who graciously spent a few moments chatting with us sharing the backstory on the attraction along with the exciting changes/updates they’ve made for the 2022 season.
The Dent Schoolhouse is requiring all tickets to be purchased online for the 2022 season. Tickets are available in timeslots, which help to provide some level of crowd control. There are three ticketing levels available; General Admission, Fast Pass (skip the wait), & Front of the Line (walk right in). Ticket prices vary based on the evening you attend, so be sure to visit their website for specifics. The Dent Schoolhouse possesses a rather flexible & open haunt schedule, giving haunt goers ample dates & times to visit. Besides their typical haunt experience, The Dent Schoolhouse also offers several special events such as Ghost Tours (Wednesdays in October), Lights Out Tour (November 4th & 5th), A Christmas Nightmare (December 9th & 10th), & Behind the Scenes Tours (select dates available).
Once onsite at The Dent Schoolhouse you’ll be funneled into the queue line for the attraction. With it being opening night for the 2022 season there was a great crowd already on hand, eager for some spooky fun! While waiting in the queue line there is surely no shortage of entertainment. Several roaming spooks, including the Pumpkin Smasher & Charlie the Janitor, were tormenting patrons & sending shivers down their spines before even entering the attraction. While waiting in line we had the pleasure of chatting with Brett from Indiana Fear Fair, one of the most highly touted haunts in all of Indiana. It’s always a pleasure chatting with fellow haunt industry folk like Sean & Brett! Leading up to the attraction's entrance is another queue area that features a towering wall of carved pumpkins & numerous carnival style booths (which double greatly as photo-ops). The pumpkins were all glowing brightly and dancing to the music being played overhead. It was soon our turn to venture into the infamous Dent Schoolhouse, but not before a spook relayed the backstory for the attraction. As the story goes, Charlie the Janitor supposedly tormented & murdered school children in the basement of the schoolhouse & now their spirits lurk the hallways tormenting any brave souls willing to enter The Dent Schoolhouse.
Just moments inside the Dent Schoolhouse doors we knew we were in for a special treat! The Dent Schoolhouse is truly nothing short of spectacular. The top-notch set design featured elegantly crafted props & scenes along with startling special effects (audio & visual). As we ventured through the early parts of the attraction we stumbled through numerous classroom-themed sets, including an eerie schoolroom which possessed chairs haphazardly stacked all throughout, creating a maze-like passageway to traverse through. The scenes were cleverly crafted to allow the scare actors hidden areas to lurk in, waiting to pounce on passerbys until just the right moment. Tipping library shelves made for a startling surprise topped off by a rather intimidating librarian. As we prepared to venture into the basement, in the stairwell was a school teacher dangling from the ceiling by a noose, another rather startling surprise. The elegant set design continued in the dark depths of the basement, as we continued to be in awe scene after scene. A plethora of various scenes were encountered in the basement of the schoolhouse, including a sewer, large broiler set, carnival, mad scientist lab, skull room, dingy bathroom, cafeteria, & more. Some of our favorite unique scenes were encountered in the basement, including the ballroom style scene with sheet covered ghostly figures and the waist-high squeeze passage which felt like wading through an ocean of gore & body parts. Eventually patrons stumble outside the schoolhouse where maze-like pathways are constructed by several school buses. The grand finale featured a long soap suds filled passageway that was challenging at times to navigate through. Across the board in The Dent Schoolhouse be prepared to encounter aesthetically pleasing scenes coupled with startling special effects to make for a sensory overloading experience!
While the set design was impressive, the cast & crew encountered throughout The Dent Schoolhouse was equally as impressive. These spooks were amped up & fully immersed into their characters. We were victims of several spine-tingling startles throughout our adventure. Some of our favorite characters encountered were the contortionist in the dingy bathroom, a screaming girl who was lifted off a table & devoured by a snake-like creature, and the ghostly character who glided above our heads in one of the earlier scenes. Spooks & surprises truly came at us from all angles, nobody was safe on this journey! Across the board we were pleased with how interactive & passionate the characters were. Job well done to the Dent Schoolhouse scare team!
As you exit The Dent Schoolhouse you’re funneled into their brand new Monster Midway! This midway could literally be advertised as an attraction itself, as we easily spent 30+ minutes enjoying everything it had to offer! This massive Monster Midway features a plethora of unique photo-ops, Pumpkin Smasher’s Axe Throwing, 4 different themed mini escape rooms, The Jack O’ Lantern Showcase (elegantly carved pumpkins featuring Cincinnati themes, horror characters, & more), The Haunted House Museum, Fall Favorites Snack Stand (fresh donuts, fudge, cider, & more), & The Spooky Shop (featuring a plethora of shirts, hoodies, & other collectibles/trinkets)! Don’t forget to take a ride on the Electric Chair, which is certainly an exhilarating experience!
The Dent Schoolhouse definitely lived up to its hype, as we were thoroughly pleased with the experience. We truly can’t rave enough about the creepy yet aesthetically pleasing sets & the menacing scare actors. The Dent Schoolhouse experience itself was ~20-25 minutes long and every second of it was time well spent! They really made every second count with essentially no dead space encountered. We cannot recommend The Dent Schoolhouse enough to haunt lovers of all varieties. Whether you’re an avid haunt goer like our squad or just the casual haunt patron, you’ll surely enjoy the experience that The Dent Schoolhouse has to offer. There’s certainly no question why these folks rank so highly by fellow industry professionals, as they are certainly a force to be reckoned with. Job well done to The Dent Schoolhouse team, we can’t wait to visit y'all again sometime in the future!