Hysteria Haunted Fields
Full Contact Option: No
Last year was a record for the number of haunts I attended, but a few had fallen by the wayside by the time the month ended. Many were a fair distance away, so they were difficult to fit into the limited weekends, but Connor’s Farm was relatively close compared to most. I guess because it wasn’t a traditional haunt, it slipped under the radar enough to go unnoticed, and the $35 admission was a bit of a hit to the finances compared to the ones in the mid to low 20s.
But I made a point to add it to my rotation this year, and I’m glad I did. It still ended up being a stand-in due to a canceled New Hampshire trip, and a Connecticut outing that required a Sunday admittance. So on a slightly breezy Saturday, we made the trip just north of Salem to a sprawling farm that was home to acres of haunted cornfields, forests, and winding set pieces of horror.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect since I had visited the farm only a few weeks prior during the daytime. During light hours, there is a lot meant primarily for kids, but can double as a family outing. There’s small ziplines, paintball, apple canons, and a corn maze. All but the corn maze is shut down at night, with the maze turning into a flash-light only affair (BYO). It has a separate admission or you can buy a combo ticket. From out day hours experience, it is a rather tricky maze to tackle, even with the map in front of you. The lack of cellphone signal doesn’t help either when you stumble upon the QR codes scattered at important intersections, so doing all this in the dark feels like it would chew up the entire evening.
On that topic, time management is something to mention. I checked out the reviews ahead of time, since I wasn’t entirely sure what the attraction offered. The main thing I kept seeing in the comments was the wait time, which could range from an hour to two. It seemed like the haunted trail was sufficiently long to justify the queue, so I figured I’d just try to get there around opening and hedge my bets.
Upon arrival, it didn’t seem so bad. The parking lot still had plenty of spots despite a great number of people still opting for the street for some reason. It wasn’t until I checked in and got around back that I saw the long winding snake of people wrapping around the property. Not much I could do now, so I took my place. Luckily there was another group behind us who were able to make conversation and keep the time lively. We discussed other haunts, and I worked in handing over a business card for this site, so hello sir if you managed to find this page.
A short two and a half hours later, we got through a barn and into the front gates. I can’t really fault Connors Farm for how they handle the crowd, since there are a few competing factors. They have to factor in the large crowd that shows up, they have to try to mitigate congestion on the trail, and they have to minimize wait time. The $35 admission fee is pushing above the median for a single feature attraction, so that can’t go much higher, yet the volume of people still remains. They can’t reduce the gap between groups, since we were already sort of stumbling upon the people in front of us, and being stepped on by the ones behind. I suppose it didn’t help that the couple in front of us kept stopping to take selfies. And they can’t widen the gap, since the line is already at the limit of most people’s patience. So it is what it is.
So with the slight negatives out of the way, we were in, and it was a treat. The first section does plant a few doubts since corn mazes led to orchard mazes, and I was wondering if it were going to be a short journey to the end. But then we entered the forest, passed by an old graveyard, and started getting into some of the small structures that formed the pseudo-indoor portions. Here is where much of the attraction shines. The detail is equally impressive with mazes made from wooden coffins, funhouses of false walls, and disorientating schoolbus corridors.
The website estimates the walk time to be about 45 minutes, but based on the timestamps of the opening gates and some I took right after getting out, it appears to be about 35, which is still impressive. And all of that time is saturated with scares and atmosphere; there’s no dead air. vOverall, if you don’t mind the wait and the slightly pricey admission, it’s well worth adding to the rotation in October.
The people behind us, upon finally getting to the entrance after two+ hours realized that they no longer had their paper tickets. These were used to get in past the initial gate, so I hadn't really thought about needing them again, but apparently you have to have them again for the start of the trail. We left them behind, but I hope they found the tickets somewhere on the ground, since that would be maddening to wait that long, pay that much, and then have to go home.
It's hard to go wrong with haunted trails, especially in New England, but the indoor portions were detailed to the max. The waiting line had its share of goats and swings and things to keep the kids happy.
While a little on the high side, the trail proved to be worth the extra. Adding to the admission price would only serve to soften the large crowd, but I think they found a sweet spot between the two.
Actors were great, and the atmosphere was suitably spooky. Some took the time to add a creep factor to their performance rather than go right for the jumpscare.