Barrett's Haunted Mansion
North Abington, MA
Full Contact Option: Yes/Certain Dates
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion is a staple of each season, and there have been times we’ve gone twice. Of course the wallet felt that particular stress, but the experience was well worth it.
The Haunted Mansion portion of Barrett’s is only half, with the other being Condemned, a rundown toxic waste facility that has affected all those who still remain there. The Mansion is a mix of different themes and changes often across each season, so you never have the same experience twice if you’re a repeat visitor. (Names do change with the themes, so they may have changed since this writing)
There is a bit of a quality difference between the two, as the Mansion is hyper-detailed and full of elaborate set pieces. One time there was a complete subway car to get through, and this past season, it opened with an airplane cabin that ‘crashes’ via pneumatic pistons and dumps you into the haunt. Condemned features several open air portions including a haunted playground of ghouls.
Tickets cover both, but since they are considered separate attractions, the admission is treated somewhere in the middle of an average haunt and a place like Legends of Fear. I feel $40 is slightly high for the relatively quick walkthrough and lengthy lines, but the quality vs quantity ratio is stacked in the better position. While you wait, there are movies playing, roaming actors, and now some small sideshows where people can dodge racing monsters and eat bugs.
A few nights of the year, they do have some full contact options. Devil’s Night allows for grabbing, pulling, and separation from your group. Darkness Unleashed is much of the same, but without any illumination. I’ve yet to experience this, so it will have to be added to my to-do list. Each of these is a single attraction entry, so one night will be the Condemned, and another will feature the Mansion. The price remains at $40 though, and tends to sell out all the same.
There are a few lights-on dates for a no-scare option and a reduced fee, as well as a combo detail for getting some food next door at the Ale House next door. Additionally Barrett’s is one of the few places that gives you a free-preview haunt. If you buy tickets on-site, you get a little extra. After entering the giant mouth, there’s a few rooms that are decorated to the same high quality as the paid attraction, and even have their own haunt actors waiting in the shadows. Overall, it’s a detailed and well constructed haunt if the ticket price can be overlooked.
The screen that normally played horror movies dimmed and a theme started playing. All of the usual queue actors began parading down the central stairway, so I knew something was going to happen. They took their place at the edge of each bend in the waiting line and then some unfamiliar but aggresive numetal began to play and the creatures took off down the paths, while unsuspecting guests scrambled to get out of the way. Some of the actors ran, some crawled. It had the same effect and added a spice to the long wait times that often occur there.
Another funny moment was after I had to run back to the car for something. A young group of teens had freshly emerged from the Comdemned and one girl in particular was a little on edge. She round the corner of a parked car and saw me, making a sort of 'hhrrwwhhhgggwh' sound, mistaking me for one of the spooks before realizing that I was just another customer.
Everything from the entryway portal, to the free preview haunt, to the waiting area, to the attractions themselves are flawlessly assembled. Actors add their own flare to the performance, and with the locations being revamped each season, there is plenty of repeatability potential.
As mentioned, the price of admission is a little on the high side, so multiplying by four is quite the hit. The quality is superb, but I would have been more comfortable at mid-to-high 20s for only a few minutes of walking time inside.
There's actors inside, outside, in the lines, out near the food trucks, and even in the ticket queue. There's no portion of the property left unsaturated. Performances are always top notch, and vary depending on the personality of each. I haven't participated in Devil's Night, but I would anticipate giving this a much higher score in that instance.