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HauntedIllinois.com's
2003 Niles Scream Park Review

Niles Haunted House Scream Park
Mayflower Rd. (E. of Rt. 31)
Niles, MI 61011
Date of Review: 09/20/03
Visibility/Location: Niles Scream Park has excellent signage, leading you every step of the way from major highways to the event.   While the Scream Park is set off the road quite a distance, if you follow the large, brightly colored signs, you can't miss it.  Their huge parking area and large, bright orange sign at the entrance really made this event visible. 
Outside Appearance: Most of the individual attractions had great, spooky-looking facades.  The Niles Haunted House was themed as  a spooky old manor and to enter The Realm of Darkness, you had to walk through the mouth, in between the fangs of a giant snake.  The outside of Grim's Scary Tales is made to look like a stone castle.  All of the facades were realistic and highly detailed.  
Wait Entertainment: While there really wasn't much for wait entertainment  specific to each individual attraction, the midway area was filled with activities to keep you entertained.  They provided numerous hale bales where people could sit down, have a snack and relax.   Near one of the seating areas was a 9' x 12' projection screen to keep patrons entertained.  The movie playing on the night I attended was "Scooby Doo". There were also a lot of midway games to keep customers busy.  
Admission Price:
Niles Haunted House: $7.00
Haunted Hayride: $5.00
Grim's Scary Tales: $5.00
The Realm of Darkness: $5.00
Sean Bogunia's Seance Room: $3.00
The Field of Screams: $2.00
Side Attraction Tokens
(Some side attractions require multiple tokens)
$1.00 ea.
Discounts are also available by purchasing combo 
tickets for multiple attractions.
Length:
Niles Haunted House: 15-20 Minutes*
Haunted Hayride: 22 Minutes
Grim's Scary Tales: 4-5 Minutes*
The Realm of Darkness: 4-5 Minutes*
Sean Bogunia's Seance Room 15 Minutes
The Field of Screams 16 Minutes*

* = Since people move through haunted attractions at different rates, your time may vary.

Scare Factor:
Niles Haunted House: Medium-High
Haunted Hayride: Medium-Low
Grim's Scary Tales: Medium
The Realm of Darkness: Medium
Sean Bogunia's Seance Room: Low
The Field of Screams: Low
Atmosphere: The Niles crew used appropriate levels of mood lighting, music & sound effects and a generous amount of fog to create a realistic atmosphere in their attractions.  The level of detail in the separate events, especially the Niles Haunted House, really enhanced to the ambience of the attractions.  
Crowd Control: Niles did very well in this area, especially in the Niles Haunted House.  With their multiple check-points they were able to space out the groups evenly. In my four trips through the Niles Haunted House, I only ran into other groups twice and that was at their designated check points.  In the other attractions, I didn't run into any other groups.
Other Customer's
Opinions:
Everyone that I spoke to loved the Niles Scream Park.  The overwhelming favorite of all their attractions seemed to be the Niles Haunted House.  I heard many positive comments about the other attractions, as well.

Summary:

Niles Haunted House: 
The Niles crew did a great job setting up this event (as usual).  Even the walk from the midway area to the Haunted House was impressive.  Along this dark winding path, you encounter many spooky scenes, eerie lighting effects and lots of fog.   With the multiple routes through this attraction, you can go through many times and still see something new each time.  The affordable $4.00 admission for return trips through the haunted house made it affordable to go through more than once.  I really enjoyed the scenes related to their new theme "Pirates of the Scaribean".  The main scene related to the theme had everything from pirate characters and barrels of "rum" to the ship's steering wheel and pirate flags, to simulate the deck of a pirate ship.  This scene was nicely detailed and very well done.  I enjoyed the scenes were the actors interacted with the crowd.  In some scenes, there was no obvious exit and patrons couldn't continue until an effect had been triggered. This way, patrons couldn't miss key special effects and animatronics.  It's refreshing to see a haunted attraction focus on production value and a patron's enjoyment of the show, instead of just being concerned with throughput. 

Niles Haunted Hayride:  
This Haunted Hayride is definitely entertaining and is a little tamer than the Niles Haunted House, making it appropriate for Halloween fans of all ages. Some of their best scenes remained from last year's show. They also constructed new scenes this year (over 20 scenes total).  They constructed various themes like "Rippo" The World's Largest Gorilla, the Cemetery, Indian Burial Grounds, Earl's Eel Farm, etc.  Most of the scenes had actors and/or animated special effects.  One of the scenes even hurled a "body" at the customers on the hayrack! Throughout the journey, there was a coordinated soundtrack and live announcer to provide a story line for all the scenes.  

Grim's Scary Tales:  
Grim's Scary Tales is just as the name implies, a haunted attraction with a fairy tale theme.  Inside were various take offs of many popular children's fairy tales... with a scary twist.  Inside this attraction you will find twisted versions of fairy tales like the 3 Little Pigs, Humpty Dumpty and Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.   This isn't just a leisurely stroll through the Enchanted Forest.  You will be confronted with some scary characters and a few surprises along the way.

Realm of Darkness:  
This attraction is filled with various spooky themes.  You will walk through fog filled rooms, illuminated only by Tiki Torches and you will also encounter rooms with various other themes, to keep you entertained.  There were a few scenes with some great creepy fluorescent "glowing" artwork with creepy spiders, a boiler room with barrels and a glowing side show theme featuring creepy characters like evil clowns, "Squid Boy", "Gorgo the Giant Gorilla" and more. 

Sean Bogunia's Seance: 
This was really great!  Sean's humorous dialog and interaction with the crowd really made for an  entertaining show.  With the professional lighting sequences and synchronized music soundtrack, they really put together a professional production.   Sean performed several "supernatural" illusions.  The table levitation was remarkable and his other illusions were equally as impressive.  One of his tricks involved an audience member picking a card, then placing it back in the middle of the deck.  The deck of cards was then placed on the ground and the deck cut itself, revealing the same card the audience member had picked!  I don't want to give away too much of the show, but it was a really amazing!  

Field of Screams:  
This huge outdoor maze really kept me guessing.  Just when I thought I knew where I was going, I hit another dead end!  There were a couple different sections of the maze, the last of which being the most confusing.  Many of the pathways had curtains hanging across them, but so did some of the walls. This forced you to feel your way around to see if you were walking into an opening or another wall .  At one point, you even had to crawl through the back of a hearse to choose which direction you wanted to go.  I enjoyed the Field of Screams last year, but with this years' enhancements, it was even more enjoyable!  For the time spent making your way through the maze, the low admission price definitely made this attraction a great deal!

Overall, I have nothing but good things to say about the Niles Haunted House Scream Park.   They provide some great entertainment at an affordable price, while maintaining a family-friendly atmosphere. With their multiple attractions and various midway activities, they have something for everyone. I highly recommend this attraction.

 

 

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