SCARY ACRES

OMAHA, NEBRASKA

ARTICLE BY: ERICA LEONIS

New edit-494.jpg

This October, I had the immense pleasure of joining ScurryFace at Scary Acres in Omaha, Nebraska for their homecoming weekend. I was told to expect big crowds, wonderful people and actors, and some intense scenes. I will be honest I don't think I was fully prepared. 

 

For me personally, this place set a standard for haunts that I had not seen as of yet. The staff are incredible. They made sure we, and all the ScurryFace representatives, were taken care of. The actors were also incredibly accommodating, and helped us throughout the weekend if we had questions, felt lost, or just needed a good conversation.

 

The drive up is pretty standard. Scary Acres is located near a neighborhood, and is relatively easy to find. Parking is a breeze with several parking attendants guiding vehicles to the appropriate rows, or towards a drop off location near the front. It was kind of spectacular watching this well-oiled machine work.

 

Tickets must be purchased on site, and have a slightly different cost for each attraction. The Master's Castle is $12, the House on the Hill is $11, and the Haunted Woods costs $10. However you can purchase a Super Combo ticket for $28 for all three attractions. Lastly, if you want to get in the faster VIP line, you can add the stamp to your individual tickets for $5 each, or $10 on the Super Combo ticket.

 

The midway is massive, and I got to see it in full force over the weekend. It's well lit, with scare actors entertaining and chasing down unsuspecting patrons. I also got to watch as customers lined up to grab a picture with these actors, or sneak a selfie from far away. It was truly a joy to watch these monsters work. 

 

I got the opportunity to experience all three haunts before doing any camera work Friday night. Myself, Vice Versa, and the Red Tie Guy himself, Tyler, went through each individual attraction near the beginning of the night. Each of these haunts deserve their own section and highlights (and maybe a few embarrassing moments from our group being scared!)

 

We started in the Haunted Woods, and it very quickly became apparent we were dealing with some rogue clowns. Skipping around us wielding various instruments, these demented beings taunted and laughed at us through their maze.

Tyler couldn’t help but comment on the decrepit carnival games, claiming he is good at several of them. However you won't have time to test out these sets before you're chased out of the area. Soon after, I learned just how jumpy Vice Versa is as well. Another clown, Thrasher, got her to drop from fear, and we had to catch her and get her back onto her feet.

The rest of this attraction plays off of several other fears. This includes claustrophobia, where I was scared more than once by unseen forces. One aerial stunt made us legitimately worried for the well-being of the actor, and then their mental state when they stood up and continued to taunt us. They even include a gross out factor that got me in a squeamish sense. Once escaping from the final scare, you are let out into the midway. 

 

The feeling throughout this zone is that of a festival. They have massive fire pits, food vendors, and performances by fire dancers during the actor’s break time. There is also enough line entertainment to keep you and your group spooked while waiting for your next attraction. Just walking through the midway is an experience in and of itself, and is incredibly well organized. 

 

Our next stop was the House on the Hill. It’s a little bit of a workout to get up the hill to the entrance, so be prepared. The atmosphere of the house looming over you foreshadows very well the horrors that await inside. Its grungy exterior looks like it's straight out of a horror movie, and I was sincerely impressed by the attention put into the outside aesthetics. 

 

We were presented with the rules via recording before our tickettaker knocked to let the beasts know that their next victims were ready. The door was then ripped open, startling us with the first scare of the experience. It was just go, go, go from there. The monsters in this house are loud, and make it a point to use their environment to chip away at your sanity. 

 

It's obvious that the actors in this house know their surroundings like the back of their hands. They time their scares really well, entertaining the whole group instead of focusing on just one person. Using height to their advantage in a bar scene, there were moments I felt both very small and like something would grab my ankles. There were several moments where I could feel someone breathing down my neck, only to turn and find a creeper right behind me. 

 

Many places in this attraction as well had Vice stumbling in fear, and I helped to keep her on her feet. As we walked into a very cold maze she basically fell backwards as someone appeared through the sheets in her face. The two frozen monsters did an amazing job keeping us lost and on our toes. This room was very small, but it felt massive with how they herded us around it. 

 

That feeling of being pushed into a specific direction doesn’t end there either. The three intimidating creatures in the next scene make sure to play off of the feeling set up by the popsicles in the room prior, and stay on your tail the entire time you are outside. It seems like they communicate well with actors in the surrounding areas, and it helps make for a very cohesive show. 

 

What I want to highlight next is just how many kinds of scares I saw in this seemingly “small” haunt. I saw everything from stalking, psychological, jumpscares, sounds-scares and one of my absolute favorites, the statue scare. I won’t say where these ones are, as I don’t want to give it away, but the way these individuals move is inhuman. They made both myself and Vice jump out of our skin, and they executed a dual scare beautifully. I was honestly excited to come back and get video of these two later with ScurryFace.

 

The exit is unassuming, terrifying, and makes so many people run for their lives. It’s by far one of the longest exits I’ve seen for an indoor/outdoor haunt, and it requires a little bit of dexterity. The actor knows how to work the space to make you feel hunted. Later that night I honestly waited right outside with my camera just to get others' reactions as they ran out, and heard one girl saying “I’m going to throw up” as a fear response. 

 

The final attraction at Scary Acres is The Masters Castle. This has a beautiful castle motif which you see as you walk up the path from the parking lot. This is the longest of the three haunted houses. Be prepared for a line leading up to this one, but I promise it is so worth the wait. Upon entering, you are met by the master and his faithful servant as they introduce you to what you may expect of the walls within. Once you are shown through a secret passageway, the terror begins pretty quickly.

 

This experience is on several levels, literally, and climbing up and down through the halls does an amazing job of distracting you from those who may lurk around you. Be mindful of your footing, as some of the slopes may be a little difficult to navigate while you're being terrified.

The creatures in this house know the layout very well, and will use everything in their scenes to mess with your head. This haunt also takes you outside several times, where you will be swarmed by anything from cultists to feral beasts that leap higher than I thought possible.

Something that really stood out to me was the stamina many of the actors within this building had. I watched as several do the same exhausting act for every group they saw, even if they didn’t know a camera was on them yet. The patients within the asylum screamed bloody murder the entire night, thrashing about in their room. Actors climbing along the walls over people without a moment to get down to the floor, and as I mentioned earlier, a jumper who leapt

incredibly high.

There are few clowns or clown-adjacent creatures in this haunt, but the ones that exist work a tight area easily. They masterfully scared my group several times during our walkthrough (including Tyler), or turned us around entirely, getting us lost. I also got the pleasure to watch them torment groups later on during my walkthroughs with a camera.

 

The costuming and makeup for Scary Acres as a whole is done with thoughtfulness and precision. They truly try to make each head-to-toe look work with each scene. I got to watch a little of the behind-the-scenes process, and witnessed the organization, communication, and artistic intent behind it.

 

Overall Scary Acres is an experience all its own. I personally want to thank them for being my first haunted house experience outside of Colorado. This park brings out the best in what spooky season has to offer, and I honestly wish I had experienced something like this when I was a teenager. To me, Scary Acres defines the feeling of Halloween in a way I wasn’t anticipating. Their staff, actors, and everyone involved put in so much effort to make this place special, and I hope to be able to experience it again in the years to come. 

PHOTOS BY: LIONS TALE PRODUCTIONS

296766713_10217243243631950_2644472021581225724_n.jpg