Trail of Fears 2011 Review

“The Wilson Clan Is Waiting”
By Noah Wullkotte:

It was officially the opening night for Trail of Fears in Hilliard, OH. The previous weekend, Friday and Saturday were cancelled because of heavy rain. The weather was great the night we drove up to Hilliard and there was already a pretty decent line when we arrived. We waited in line a few minutes to get our tickets. We would officially be the first 2 people to go through the haunt this season. While I thought this was pretty cool, I was also a little worried since the actors were testing everything out for the first time on us.

We waited in line for a few minutes and then hopped on the wagon as we were transported to the haunted trail. Trail of Fear’s hay wagon is much different than any I’ve ever been on. Your legs hang over the edge and you sit in pew style seats as you’re transported to a cornfield that leads to the second line for the haunt. The entire ride is around 10 minutes and unfortunately you’ll be forced to enter yet another line before the haunt ever begins.
Before you are dropped off and enter the cornfield, you’ll experience a few things while on the wagon. You’ll come across a scarecrow graveyard when suddenly a scarecrow hops off of his cross and attacks the hayride. You’ll also encounter a human/bird type creature that will follow you as you travel from the beginning of the haunt to the cornfield. The cornfield is uneventful and only has a few actors. Hopefully more is done with this area of the haunt in the coming years. There are a few other things you’ll experience like a prop of a man hanging from a tree, but so much more could be done. Filling the first 10 minutes with scenes would add to the experience and make people feel like they are really getting their money’s worth before the actual haunt begins. 
Once you are dropped off, you’ll enter another line. This year Trail of Fears has added a movie projector screen that plays classic horror movies. It’s a great addition to keep people entertained while they wait. A merchandise tent has also been added and features t-shirts, hoodies and diapers. So, if the haunted trail is so scary that you crap your pants, then you don’t need to worry. The wait in line was around 20 minutes. This is pretty long considering we had VIP tickets. We were somewhat entertained by the various queue line actors such as the Rat Man and the hillbilly who roamed around seeking out those with fear in their eyes.
The woman who took our tickets was obviously excited about opening night and was happy to see such a large crowd this early in the season. After waiting about 20 minutes, it was our turn to enter Trail of Fears. Trail of Fears (Aka Hilliard Haunted Forest) is an entertaining haunted trail. It doesn’t have a large budget, but it’s very creative with its different scenes. This haunt features a large body bag room, a butcher shop with hanging body parts, a nuclear wasteland with radioactive barrels, chamber with Mary Willson and more. Mary Wilson is an evil witch who cursed the lands where Trail of Fears is currently located.
There aren’t a lot of new additions for 2011, but there are still some very interesting scenes. My favorite scene last year was the King Kong scene which featured a large gorilla and sounds of the massive beast breaking free of his chains. The sound effects weren’t timed properly when we went through, but this is understandable considering we were the first people touring the haunt this season. I could also see some of the actors before they popped out to scare me.
I enjoyed quite a few of the scenes, but there are many that need to be worked on. The scene featuring small hanging bats and an actor in a large vampire bat costume is lackluster and seems like it was an afterthought. But this isn’t the case with the entire haunted trail. Trail of Fears may not have a large budget, but they do have some eye catching props. The white spider in the nuclear wasteland looks pretty realistic and moves like a real spider would. The spider that drops from the air in the Spider’s Lair is also pretty convincing.  It might have been partially made of PVC, but it looks pretty damn good all things considered. You’ll also get a chance to view animated body bags in the graveyard scene and walk past a glowing skeleton that’s trapped in a well. Unfortunately this prop isn’t animated anymore.
After you are done exiting Trail of Fears, you’ll hop on the hay wagon that transports you back to the parking lot, but you’ll need to wait several minutes before the wagon fills up again. Actors will come out to interact with customers, but there’s too much time where you’re waiting. The haunt lasts close to 15 minutes, but I was at the haunt close to an hour and a half. So, unless you purchase a VIP ticket, you may be at this haunted trail for quite some time. Hopefully it isn’t like this every night and they were just working out some bugs. You will be waiting a while on the wagon, but there are some actors that will keep you company. The blood drenched ghoul with the sharp machete was very entertaining and interacted with people on the wagon. He kept banging his machete against the back of the wagon to the point where it would leave indentations in the wood. The cowboy with a chain and bell rapped around him was also entertaining. He would try to keep adults entertained by telling jokes while he would scare the young kids on the other side.
After you are finished with Trail of Trails, don’t forget to get a drink or bite to eat at their concessions barn. You may even want to purchase a pumpkin or some homemade treat. The admission to Trail of Fears is $15 which is pricey considering that the actual haunted trail lasts around 15 minutes. If you factor in the hayride, then the entire experience can be close to 30. For $20 you can purchase a VIP ticket and won’t have to wait in line. You’ll also get your choice of seats on the wagon.
Trail of Fears is a fun haunted trail, but so much more could be done to elevate it to new heights. I wish they would incorporate the backstory of Mary Wilson better and follow a theme. Visit or scroll down this page to view their incredible video telling the story of Mary Wilson. I’m confused why the story isn’t really explored during the haunted trail. It would make the haunt a lot more interesting and memorable. Please understand that we were the first customers to go through the haunt this season. It will more than likely be much better when you go through. So, please keep that in mind.

Length-8  Design-7  Props/Animatronics-7  Acting-7  Scare Effect-7 
Final Stab: 7.2