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Sunday, October 17, 2004

Feels like I'm Fallin'

Or Autumning. Gotta get the yard and porch decorations done for the trick-or-treaters. I'm not sure when to expect them, though: Saturday the 30th or Sunday the 31st? I saw an article the other day that lots of people are upset that Halloween falls on a Sunday this year because "Sunday is a day to celebrate Christ, not celebrate the Devil!" you think the other six days are ok for celebrating evil? Riiiiight....

Someone also pointed out that I didn't really post a review of the Haunted Castle, so here goes.

Overall, it's a fun and enjoyable Halloween carnival, provided you like scary (but fun) stuff. Heather Marie doesn't, and she didn't get a big kick out of it, but she was a good sport. Our first event was Casa Morte, one of two indoor haunted houses located inside the castle. Pretty good overall. Mostly the typical jump-out-and-scream stuff, but it did include some great uses of camouflage and one ingenius false-door room. This was the only really scary thing Heather Marie subjected herself to.

Next we tried the Ultimate Maze. Although not intended to be particularly scary, poor H-M was still frazzled from Casa Morte and didn't enjoy the maze. This is a year-round attraction that's entered through a fun-house style spinning barrel. Once inside, the bulk of the maze is made up of black plastic mesh separating paths and reinforcing tree and bush barriers. Part of the problem at night was definitely seeing where the "walls" were.

Heather Marie went shopping while the rest of us went to the Trail of Blood. This outdoor haunted house was well away from the main castle and reached by a short hayride. It included some fairly creepy wanderings in darkened woods and some very scary, creative uses of light and shadows to conceal scares. The only thing that kept it from being potentially really terrifying was the fact that it was pretty crowded at the time. The guy with the chainsaw isn't nearly as scary when you've seen him jump out at the 15 people in line in front of you.

Back to the castle for Domus Horrificus, the other indoor haunted house. Although it was supposedly scarier than Casa Morte, we didn't find it that way. Still very well-done, though. It included more good use of camouflage and some pretty good scares. Our group accidentally took a wrong turn that led backstage until we were gently redirected by a very nice evil wizard with a blood-covered head. Heh.

The last event was the Haunted Hayride. This was a fun, family-oriented right, that even Heather Marie enjoyed. More than any other, though, it missed the potential for some real chills. During one part of the drive through an empty field, the narrator talked about how Indians inhabited the area and how Vikings supposedly visited. Having a few phantom Indians and Vikings rise silently up out of the grass next to the road would've been a great touch.

All in all, it was a fun time and worth the drive and money. Our only real complaint was the lack of non-scary things. Their annual renaissance faire has lots of shopping and food vendors, but most of these were missing from the Haunted Castle, which was disappointing and frustrating for Heather Marie. Overall, though, it was a lot of fun, and may merit a return trip next year.


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