Scream Acres. When I first heard the name I wondered "will they live up to it?"
Well let me tell you something; by the end of this attraction my heart was racing, I was in a cold sweat, and I had a slight headache (from screaming and laughing at my group.) This haunt in La Salle, Colorado proved without a shadow of a doubt they were worth the long 2 hour drive from Colorado Springs.
Before I get too far into singing its praises, let me guide you through the pre-haunt experience.
Purchasing tickets was a breeze. Their website was easy to navigate, and it very quickly became apparent that this haunt is the after-hours experience at the Fritzler Farm Park. The website offers tickets for the Park, as well as separate tickets for the haunt itself. You will have to make your way to the ticket booth to redeem your ticket and wristband, or you can purchase tickets onsite. Included in our haunted house admission was access to their beer garden (ID required), all the yard games, and access to the farm park prior to sundown. The only things not included were their pumpkin cannons and GLO paintball gallery, which cost tickets. This makes total sense as these activities require supervision. Your online ticket outlines all of this.
They offer 3 tiers of tickets. First is their general admission "Chillin" pass for $33: this will get you admission to their basic line. If you don't like waiting that long, they offer the "Shriekin Faster Entry" pass for $38. With this one you will pick a timeframe to enter, and will be guaranteed entry within that 30 minute time frame. Last, they offer their "Screamin" pass for $53, which is IMMEDIATE entry into the haunt. This last option may be best if you plan on attending later in the season.
The only thing to confuse me was the hours listed on their website. It says "Dark-10pm". This seemed weird at first, as most attractions give a solid schedule for when they are open. However, it becomes very apparent as to why they do this, which I'll go into a little later.
Driving up to the farm felt very much like we were traveling through the countryside. Even with their extensive signage, finding the entrance may be a little difficult due to how the roads are set up. You will need to go down what appears to be a frontage road that runs along the highway. Good news though, once you find this entrance, it is extremely easy to find your way to the parking lot.
Parking seemed easy as well, though you will be parking in the grassy area next to their fields. Their lot is absolutely massive, so keep in mind to wear good shoes, as it may be a tiny bit of a trek to the attraction itself.
During the day, this place is a dream outing for a family with kids. You can go and pick out a pumpkin (priced per pound), play yard games, and get a bite to eat at the "food court" area. It has the feel of a state fair, without the precarious rides. This place even includes a giant slide and jump pad playground area for kids to enjoy. My group got there around 6 pm and got to watch as the park went from family-friendly to haunted house energy real quick.
This is why their hours are "Dark-10pm". They shut down the pumpkin patch and the corn maze at 6, and many of the families file out. As the sun goes down, staff direct the crowd of eager victims to lines where they await their fate.
Again, please wear good shoes while attending any haunted house, but especially if you plan on attending an outdoor one. The line itself winds around for so long I'm pretty sure I got my 10,000 steps in right then. When we got to the front of the line, I asked why this was. One of the owners very kindly explained they can see upwards of 8,000 customers in a night during their busiest weekend. Needless to say I was FLOORED when I heard that.
We waited in line for about 30 minutes. We were among the first 5 groups in line, though many groups had purchased a higher grade ticket. The way they handled the entry system at the door was like a well oiled machine. It didn't feel like the wait was too long however, as we had an actor entertaining the line. We snapped a picture (perfectly timed photobomb) with him, and I wish I could remember his name, because he really made our wait enjoyable.
Now to the main event: the haunt itself.
I will be the first to say that I am jumpy, but there is something so daunting and intimidating about walking through a dark corn maze. The tension that builds as you are waiting for something to happen is unparalleled (can you tell this is my first corn maze experience?) Scream Acres does this so well that the first actress who appeared to guide us had members of our group screaming.
I did really appreciate this actor breaking character too, as we almost went through a bypass by accident. She mentioned that if we couldn't do strobes we could go that way, otherwise horrors awaited us inside a modular structure. This showed me this haunt is all about accessibility, and I later learned that it is completely ADA compliant! I can also attest that if you have mobility issues, this haunt will do its best to allow you to see as much of it as possible.
Not a single actor broke character after this point. I may need to apologize to my group too, as I screamed so loud I hurt their ears. We left the first modular structure and it became clear we were going to be terrorized. It is absolutely horrifying to be hunted by someone watching you through thick rows of corn. They timed their pop-outs well, and nearly made me fall down several times.
I stationed myself at the back of the group this time, and I felt absolutely stalked by actors who got in my ear. The heavy breathing and uncomfortable whispers really sent shivers down my spine. At several points, they got us to run away, with actors right on our tail. To this point, I need to give their spacing between groups props. We only saw one group, but they lost us within 30 seconds. This - despite several of us panic jogging/running down the path. This is also a testament to the crowd control I saw actors doing.
To this note- please try not to run through a haunted house. Keep in mind that if you do so you could injure yourself or others. I understand how hard it can be though, as the reflex to run away is my core reaction to fear.
As far as the actors and sets go, I need to highlight several things. I saw 3-4 animatronics the entire haunt. They really added to their scenes, sometimes minimal, but wonderful. There were also scenes within the maze and in modular structures, that in some cases tripped us up in the best way possible.
"Mama" sincerely took flight with her performance. She got every one of us, and was well set up by the actors in the rooms before her. I remember leaving the area with a small fist pump because of how beautiful the scare was.
The clown area did a great job. I could comment all day long on their dialog and energy, but the act that really stole the show is right at the beginning of the area. It scared most of our group, though it may have flown over some of our heads. I'm not going to say anything more about it, because you deserve to experience it for yourself.
We got great dialog from the mad doctor and his patients. We did respond to them as they asked their questions, and they had great comebacks for the sass we threw at them. I love an actor who can improvise on the spot.
Lazer room, simply put, WOW. Also thank you to the actress in here who helped us find our way out. She stayed in character the entire time.
The last section of the corn maze really sent chills up and down my spine. I believe these were giggling scarecrows… but were four really necessary?! I honestly couldn't have any other reaction other than to freeze and nearly pee myself. Half of our group ran to find the exit. Catching up was difficult as I couldn't stop laughing from the movie-like reaction.
The makeup and costuming really work well for this haunt. Most of the actors wear masks, and the ones you get close enough to see have beautifully done makeup. There were only 2 or 3 monsters I saw with less-detailed makeup, but the areas they were in were either so dark it didn't particularly matter, or it made sense that they were so clean. Overall, the makeup was outstanding, and I'd love to see what other special effects makeup their team is capable of.
All in all this haunt takes about 30 minutes to walk through depending on your pace. It also felt like there were way more actors than there actually were. I got the opportunity to speak with someone who I believe is a manager. They explained how the attraction is set up in beautiful way: "It's like Swiss cheese, where actors can move through and pop out of multiple places." Thank you for this simile, as I will be stealing it for future use.
This person also spoke volumes of the owner - Christian. I learned that he puts so much work into the attraction to make it what it is. This includes working 18 hour days for weeks on end, designing, building and preparing for the season. Honestly it is so well done.
For me, I love watching how others speak about the person in charge of any haunted attraction. This is so much more impactful than any review you can read, as you get a real sense of how the operation is run. Scream Acres in particular has heart, and you can tell people really love working here.
I also got the privilege to speak with Christian, which I honestly was not expecting on the opening weekend. I learned a little about the actor training, which clearly gave these actors the tools they needed to make a cohesive show, vet and newbie alike.
He also mentioned they expect to see around 50,000 guests this season. I can absolutely believe it. This was night 2 and their queue line was nearly half-full the entire time we were there.
With so many people expected to come through this attraction, I asked when would be the best time to visit. According to the owner, if you want to beat the crowds, you'll want to go the first weekend of October. However if you want the best experience, you should head out to Scream Acres during the third week of October.
As a whole, this attraction delighted me, made me scream until my head hurt, made me laugh at my group so hard my sides hurt, and had me leaving in a cold sweat. Well done. I sincerely recommend heading out to Fritzler's Scream Acres at some point this season, and maybe get out there a little earlier in the day so you can experience the farm park as well. With everything this place has to offer, in my opinion, it's well worth the drive and the ticket price.