Full Contact Option: Yes/Certain Dates (Light Tugging)
If there were a prize for charm, it would be awarded to the Dark Woods. Perhaps I'll create one just now and grant it. Located somewhere in the lower part of New Hampshire where I can physically make the drive without falling asleep and crashing, is a small farm that has dedicated a portion of the adjacent forest to becoming a haunted woods. Being an outdoor attraction, the gloom and winding paths add to the atmosphere quite nicely.
The website is a treat in of itself. Featuring a Frequently Asked (Dumb) Question section that answers precious little of importance, a blog of random short stories, local events, and general ramblings that may very well be from one of the forest spooks on their down time, and a page dedicated to character guidelines. (There's a strict no clown policy for one)
That then leaves the Facebook videos, where a spirited character advertised the Woods with promises of free entry if you bring a goat or the necessity of wearing adult diapers in case you 'piddle a little'. Humor obviously plays a lot into the overall feel of the attraction.
The path you travel once entering is sufficiently long, especially once you factor in the twists and turns. Even the trail leading to the ticket booth follows the edge of the property, where the natural environment carries the same forboding feel as the properly decorated portion. Derelict schoolbuses and one-room schoolhoues dot the forest path, forcing you to traverse each obstacle while actors do a bit more than jump out and scream. Some sing Halloween carols while others in the form of children do their best witchcraft possession shrieking.
When you're done, you can take a stab at the corn maze, which is included, then warm by the bonefire or shop at the indoor farm stand. I recommend the coffee-milk if you're a true yankee.
The carolers asked for a name, and for some reason my son said something along the lines of 'an astronaut'. Without missing a beat they starts singing about space.
Any haunt set in a forest gets a free boost courtesy of Mother Nature. There's a mix of well constructed set-pieces mixed with standard plywood and drapes to keep the labyrinth properly separated and to maximize the navigatable space.
This is one of the least expensive haunts that wouldn't fall into the volunteer or indie attractions. The lengthy forest walk, corn maze, and gathering spot our front make it a great value for the money.
This one is hard to rate. The interaction between the actors and guests always bumps up my score, but the acting is more along the lines of silly fun rather than jumpscares and abrasive yelling. We'll consider this a score for thrills, which is just as good.