Nightmare on Wolcott St
Full Contact Option: No
Nightmare on Wolcott St eluded me all last year. It was close to a few other attractions in the area, making it a perfect place to add to a road trip in order to justify the drive, but I could never location the preferred way to buy tickets. Some places allow same-day/in-person purchases, but they are in the minority. Often there’s a need for timed tickets in order to spread the crowds evenly throughout the night and prevent congestion, but apparently Wolcott allows you to simply buy at the counter and wander in at your convenience. The guestbook seems to confirm this common confusion, so I was glad I wasn’t the only one.
The attraction goes for an old-school haunt from years past, and this goes for both the location and the website. There’s no hauntpay convenience fees, no adaptive mobile friendly style sheets, and no recent updates since 2013. Instead, you have a gallery of horror animations that aren’t related to the attraction, and a calendar that marks off days with dancing pumpkins and ghosts. I say all this with utmost love, considering the design decisions I’ve made around these parts.
That said, the physical location takes itself a little more seriously. There’s a bit of an uneasy vibe upon entering. The building could be missed despite hiding in plain sight, with only a small “Haunted House” banner hung up near the roof. Parking is around back, but it’s not apparent if you’re in the lot for the haunt or an abandoned ground where your car is fair game for scavengers. The location doubles as a vehicle junkyard, and the junkyard doubles as a safe haven for stray cats. Giant twin statues of Mary look down upon you as you make your way up front where a few (nice) display cars are parked.
In the lobby, animatronic witches cackle, there are photo ops, and electrical arcs spark out the ceiling when you least expect it. I arrived just before opening, so there was no wait, and we got right in. The first portion was pitch dark, and a guide explained the standard rules, while another actor bumped into us. Then it was off through the 55 or so rooms in the building.
The layout was sprawling, and it was a decent procession throughout the attraction. What I liked most of all was the attention to detail with massive and elaborate sets for each room. There were dozens of themes across the rooms, and each had an equal amount of work put into plastering every square inch with something to look at and absorb.
I mention the old-school vibe, since the attraction reminds me of the ones I went through going back many years, where the set pieces age over the years and only become better for it. Actors were somewhat more sparing than other locations, but paced enough between animatronics and props in order to appear when needed, and not just act as monster closets. The finale provided a single placard with the text: RUN, at which point you exit the building only to be chased down by a chainsaw wielding maniac who not only makes you run for your life, but also thanks you for coming. At this point, you’re left in a pile of old cars, debris, and feline companions.
The first scare occured before we even got in. While I was buying the ticket, someone triggered an electrical spark, which flash an arc in the ceiling, and gave everyone a jump.
The outside is decorated to a degree, but the junkyard and random statues add to that in an unintended way. The inside is saturated with elaborate sets. It would be worth having a no-scare option just to appreciate it at a slower pace.
It's on the bottom of the middle tier, and appropriate for what it is. The walk through the haunt takes its time, and isn't overly rushed. There's a lot to see if you slow the pace down, and there's enough actors to keep things lively.
Scares are mostly of the jumpscare nature, so most of the creep factor will be in the decor, and the final chainsaw chase.