2011 Haunt Awards

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The Year of Strange Happenings!
By Noah Wullkotte: Jollypumpkin@aol.com

2011 will be forever known as the year of strange happenings. This has to be the most unlucky year City Blood has ever had visiting haunts. We toured one haunt where the electric immediately went out when we drove past its sign to park in their parking lot. We got escorted off the grounds at a haunt that had a haunt owner who’s head looked like it was about to explode. That was more entertaining than the haunt could ever be. A haunt opened over 30 minutes late and another had everyone waiting in the ticket line for nearly an hour while they worked out problems with their new ticketing system.

But, it doesn’t end there. While visiting a haunt in the deep woods of Kentucky, we almost got sprayed by a skunk in the parking lot. During our trip home from Toledo, a 32 ounce cup of Coke popped out of the car’s cup holder and exploded all over the car. You would think it would end there, but you would be dead wrong. Midway through the season, we would find out that we were the first costumers at one haunt because they had been rained out the week before.

So, we were the first people to experience everything while the actors would be speaking their first lines. It was either going to be good or bad. This has never happened to us in the 8 years I’ve been reviewing haunts. The streak of bad luck wasn’t over. The street I live on isn’t known for getting lots of trick or treaters, but I never expected that I wouldn’t get one trick or treater on Halloween. This is the first year in my entire life that I didn’t get one kid knocking on the door asking for candy. This is indeed the year of strange happenings.

Our haunt season unofficially started on September 1st with a trip to USS Nightmare in Newport, KY for a one of a kind event. At first we thought it was a lights on preview of the haunt, but would soon find out that it was a party celebrating the 20th anniversary of USS Nightmare. I ate food in a dark room while I sat across from The Captain, Anna and other colorful characters in Mitchell’s dinning room. This was one of the strangest events I’ve been invited to and one of the most memorable. I knew right then that this was going to be a haunt season like no other. Weeks later we would tour haunts like The Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH), The Chambers of Horror (Middletown, OH) and more. It was still early in the season and we had plenty of places to hit.

The majority of haunts we toured this season were as good as ever and there were a couple we had never been to before. This was the case with Wicked World Scaregrounds, Angel of Death Haunted Trail and others. The last weekend before Halloween, started with us getting escorted off the grounds of  one haunt. This is a long story that I will share with City Blood visitors very soon. The same weekend we got a sneak preview of a brand new attraction in the Greater Cincinnati area that will be opening in 2012. It’s called Scaredown. The season also came to an end with a tour of Angel of Death Haunted Trail in Oregonia, Ohio. It’s a quality haunted trail and one of the few with a liquor license.

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“One of the many homemade floats at this year’s Caufield’s Halloween Parade”

Overall it was a great season even with our incredible streak of bad luck. A lot of stuff went down. Kings Island Halloween Haunt created one of its strangest haunts called Mysteria while Sandyland Acres in Petersburg, KY introduced a brand new attraction called Farmers Revenge. Farmers Revenge is a haunted barn with a confusing dark maze and Mysteria featured grown men in tight spandex suits fighting for their lives as they dodged laser lights. Yes, I said grown men in tight spandex suits.

Many haunts made drastic changes like Industrial Nightmare Complex in Jeffersonville, IN rebranding itself as Industrial Terrorplex. They removed their haunt Pitch Black as well and added 2 brand new haunts called Carnevil and Infected in its place. Louisville’s Darkness Falls on Asylum changed its name to Asylum Haunted Screampark and added a new attraction called Zombie City which is the most interactive haunt I’ve ever toured. It was a season of change with quite a few haunts changing their locations. The Scare-A-Torium used to be inside the Big Bear store in Columbus, OH and is now in the Dublin Village Center in Dublin, OH. It’s been nearly 30 years since Dublin had its own haunted attraction. The Devils Attic in Louisville, Kentucky also moved from its location in a strip mall to an old creepy building near Downtown Louisville.

Some haunts made huge changes like The Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati, OH opening previously unseen areas of the schoolhouse while The Chambers of Horror in MIddletown, OH added a brand new side attraction known as “The Last Ride”. Screampark in Lexington, KY has its own version which is called The Hot Seat. But instead of being a coffin ride, it’s an electric chair simulator. Next year, Screampark plans on making huge changes as it moves to a much larger location.

3D attractions were big this year and The Haunted Laboratory in Akron, OH implemented 3D into their attraction. Nearly an entire floor of the haunt was transformed into a 3D attraction with many of its classic rooms splattered with fluorescent paint. This year may have had its ups and downs, but it was still one of the most enjoyable. While we didn’t get to tour as many haunts as we hoped to, we got the chance to revisit a few attractions we hadn’t been to in years.

This includes St. Rita’s Haunted House in Cincinnati, OH and Bloodview Haunted House in Broadview Heights, OH. My visit to St.Rita’s was an interesting experience to say the least. St. Rita’s made lots of changes since the last time I went through and it was one of the most enjoyable nights I’ve had at a haunt in years. It’s all thanks to the two actresses I ran into half way through the haunt.

No, they weren’t acting, but they were touring the haunt for the first time this year while they took a small break from scaring customers. Boy were they petrified. They screamed in terror at any little noise they heard and there were points where they almost fell over because of how horrified they were of what they were experiencing. I can’t tell you how funny it was to see two small girls in black robes and white face paint fearing for their lives.

This haunt season wasn’t only about touring professional haunts. We got the chance to experience events on a smaller scale. Every year we travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the annual Caufield’s Halloween Parade and this was one of the best years for this fun tradition. We got stuck in traffic on the way up, but we made it just in time. Nothing is better than watching homemade floats going down the road and monsters roaming the streets.

We also got our haunt on at Scream Acres Ct, Cincinnati’s premier home haunt. All proceeds went towards the Make A Wish Foundation and the entire haunt was created by a 16 year old boy. Scream Acres Ct wasn’t the only impressive haunted creation. We visited an incredible yard display in Hamilton, OH. It featured homemade animatronics, detailed scenes and just about anything you can think of. But, the season officially came to an end when we took a trip to Burger Farm in Newtown, OH. I hadn’t been to the pumpkin farm in nearly 20 years and didn’t know what to expect. Sadly, it wasn’t quite the same. I guess I still have my childhood memories though.

This was a very strange year and one I won’t soon forget. We enjoyed all of the haunts we toured and wish everyone a safe and happy 2011. We hope haunts all over had a successful season and everything went well. I would sincerely like to thank all of the haunt owners, actors, workers and everyone involved in all of the haunts we visited. Everyone poured their blood, sweat and tears into making the best attractions they can and we are forever grateful for your kindness and hospitality. We would also like to thank haunts everywhere for all that you do for the Halloween season! Without haunts to visit, Halloween wouldn’t be as frightfully fun. City Blood looks forward to the 2012 haunt season which will be here sooner than later.

Now without further interruptions, City Blood presents the 2011 Haunt Awards. Awards are given out to haunts we visited this year in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana! Scroll down the page to see which haunts won awards.

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Haunt of the Year: Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)
Fear Fair is simply one of the best haunts in the nation. The amount of detail and dedication that’s put into its many horror movie recreations and over the top rooms is amazing. You’ll feel like your stepping foot onto the set of your favorite horror flick. This year’s Hangar 17 has added to the intense nature of the haunt and incorporated the history of Freeman Army Airfield. The actors are intense beyond belief. You’ll be grabbed, pulled and confronted by movie monsters and creepy characters. This is the first time an Indiana haunt has been awarded Haunt of the Year and the first time a charity haunt has received top honors from City Blood. Fear Fair is well on its way to achieving legendary status and receiving notoriety from across the nation. This is a haunt that is a must see and unlike anything you’ll experience. This is the one and only Fear Fair!

Click here to read the 2011 review!

2: Dead Acres (Pataskala, OH)
3: The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)
4: The Haunted Schoolhouse (Akron, OH)
5: USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)
6: The Black Bog (Lebanon, OH)
7: Baxter Avenue Morgue (Louisville, KY)
8: Terror Town: House of The Dead (Maumee, OH)
9: The Haunted Laboratory (Akron, OH)
10: Ghostly Manor (Sandusky, OH)

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Add button to your haunt’s website if you’re an award winner.

Rest of The Awards:

Ohio’s Best
Dead Acres (Pataskala, OH)

Kentucky’s Best
USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)

Indiana’s Best
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)

Scariest Haunted Trail
The Black Bog (Lebanon, OH)

Best Haunted Hayride
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride (Petersburg, KY)

Best Multi Haunt Attraction
The Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH)

Best New Haunt
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park (Louisville, KY)

Best Charity Haunt
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)

Most Extreme Haunt
Dead Acres (Pataskala, OH)

Best Old School Haunt
Mayhem Mansion (Morning View, KY)

Most Interactive Haunt
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park (Louisville, KY)

Most Authentic Horror Movie Scenes
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)

Most Mind Bending 3D Attraction
Brewery Butcher 3D at The TerrorFest (Columbus, OH)

Scariest Haunted Dark Maze
The Abyss at Screampark (Lexington, KY)

Most Frightful Family Attraction
Spooky Ranch (Columbia Station, OH)

Most Entertaining Side Attraction (Not A Haunt)
Hot Blooded at Kings Island Halloween Haunt (Mason, OH)

Best Bang For Your Buck
The Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH)

Best Design
Fear Fair (Seymour, IN)

Best Lighting
The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)

Best Sound
USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)

Creepiest Setting
USS Nightmare’s Haunted Steamboat (Newport, KY)

Best Acting
Zombie City at Asylum Haunted Scream Park (Louisville, KY)

Best Actor
Rat Man at Extreme Nightmares (Columbia Station, OH)

Best Actress
Anna at USS Nightmare (Newport, KY)

Favorite Child Actor (Under 10)
Billy The Saw Puppet at Dungeons of Delhi (Cincinnati, OH)

Best Queue Line Actors
Bloodview Haunted House (Broadview Heights, OH)

Best Queue Line Actor
Zombie Fighter at Bloodview Haunted House (Broadview Heights, OH)

Most Spooktacular Queue Line
Psychomania, Theater of Terror (Clarksville, IN)

Most Professional Costuming, Makeup & Masks
Bloodview Haunted House (Broadview Heights, OH)

Most Memorable Haunt Mascot
Baxter Avenue Morgue’s Warren Vanderdark (Louisville, KY)

Most Impressive Props/Animatronics
Terror Town: House of The Dead (Maumee, OH)

Best Prop
Haunted Laboratory’s Tesla Coil (Akron, OH)

Best Facade/Facades
Spooky Ranch (Columbia Station, OH)

Best Use of Darkness
Mayhem Mansion (Morning View, KY)

Best Use of Fog
The Black Bog (Lebanon, OH)

Best Use of Chainsaws
The Haunted Hotel (Louisville, KY)

Shock of The Year
Movie Screen Scare at Nightmare Haunted House (Lexington, KY)

Most Jaw Dropping Scene
Dracula’s Castle at The Haunted Schoolhouse (Akron, OH)

Most Innovative Scene
Gas Filled Elevator at Dementions (Jeffersonville, IN)

Most Bone Chilling Storyline
Trail of Fears (Hilliard, OH)

Best Concessions
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride & Farmers Revenge (Petersburg, KY)

Safest and Most Organized Parking
Sandyland Acres Haunted Hayride & Farmers Revenge (Petersburg, KY)

Most Professional Looking Website
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center (Sandusky, OH)

Best TV Commercial
Kings Island Halloween Haunt (Mason, OH)

Best Viral Videos
The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)

Most Eye Catching Entrance Sign
Ghostly Manor Thrill Center (Sandusky, OH)

Coolest Apparel
Dead Acres (Pataskala, OH)

Best Advertising Efforts
The Land of Illusion (Middletown, OH)