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All Visitor Reviews
All 2005 Visitor Reviews Submitted by dreamer1107

Disclaimer: Reviews on this page were supplied by an outside source. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff of Haunted Illinois does not endorse, support, represent, or guarantee the accuracy, truthfulness, or reliability of these reviews.
Event Reviewed: Trail of Screams (Rockford, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 8:15 pm)
Review Posted: 10/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Low | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: Knowing that this attraction is located in a YMCA camp, you should have no problems finding it. They also had a very large flashing haunted house sign visible along the street.

Wait Entertainment: I only saw a couple characters (Jason and Michael Meyers) making attempts to scare the crowd. Otherwise, there wasn't anything to do while waiting in a very long, non-moving line. There was a food booth and merchandise booth, but you couldn't browse without leaving your place in line.

Length of Event: It seemed to be about 30-40 minutes which is longer than most haunted attractions.

Actor Performance: There was a guide for our group who took us through the woods and houses, who was very skilled and knew her narration very well. Overall, the actors were on the younger side (I was told they are all volunteers) and so were comparable to most Jaycees' actors. Other than the guide, there was one other actor who seemed to stand out and his part involved a realistically scary van sequence. (I won't give it away--probably the best part of this attraction)

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: This was a double edged sword, as they took us in a guided group of about 10. At times, our group size made it hard to hear the guide and really "flow" through the individual houses, but a smaller group size would have made the outside waiting line even longer...

Appropriate Ages: 10 and up

Props / Special FX: They were lucky to have a naturally spooky backdrop with the trail in the woods. Their other props fluctuated between some really impressive scenes to some very unremarkable scenes. Their opening scene was one of the most eye catching, but lost some of its effect once the main character in the room walked down the stairs and stood eye to eye with everyone else, barking out his lines (when standing at the top of the stairway, he appeared far more eerie and larger than life).

Costumes / Make-up: Costumes and makeup were overall very good. Some of the actors had airbrushed makeup on, some had blacklight compatable makeup, and some traditional makeup.

Summary: As I had mentioned in a review of Trail of Screams on another site, I had very mixed feelings on this one-- mainly due to a bad experience with the way they were running the ticket area before even seeing their attraction. Briefly, after waiting without moving at all in an incredibly long line to get in, one of their staff told us that we could go back to the ticket booth and upgrade our tickets to speedpass--and bypass the line. After *leaving our place in line* and then waiting in the long ticket line (again) we were told that they didn't have any more speed passes. They were rude to us and wouldn't even make apologies for their own staff member telling us apparently false information. Needless to say we were furious and let them know, and we were then grudgingly given speed passes. To mention one other big problem with their waiting system, I witnessed firsthand MANY people cutting in line, creating an even longer wait for the more honest patrons. I feel that their staff should have been watching and regulating this better! The way things were being run made them seem like more of a money hungry attraction, at the painful expense of their patrons. I enjoyed the actual trail, but given the poor management and staff outside the event, I don't know if I will be returning to this attraction. 

Event Reviewed: Rockford Screamfest (Machesney Park, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/29/05 @ 10:15 pm)
Review Posted: 10/30/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Fair
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Visibility/Location: Not being from the area but knowing that it was located in the mall, we were able to find it relatively easy. It is around the back of the mall, however, so it isn't immediately visible when you first arrive at the mall.

Wait Entertainment: This is where they excelled. Your ticket has a number, which corresponds to your place in line. Instead of waiting in line, you can do other activities (most of which are on the pricier side) or sit somewhere and wait until your number is called up on one of their many TV screens. This is such a unique concept and made for a very pleasant waiting experience. This is also the main reason why I'm not rating this haunted house even lower on the rating scale.

Length of Event: I honestly have no idea how long it took us to get through the haunted house(s) since we pretty much flew through them in our giant, cattle-sized group. My guess is it took about 20 minutes to get through everything.

Actor Performance: It was the end of the night and I think the actors were ready to quit and head home. They were very disappointing with only a couple exceptions, and were very low energy by the time the back half of my group passed by. I can understand being tired after a long day, but if these were paid actors (which I would guess they are) they need to keep the energy up for all patrons, regardless of what time they visit this attraction. Even for the actors who did have their hearts in this, their timing didn't provide any scares for anyone other than the first couple people in our group. This experience could have been the same for me if there had been no actors in the houses at all!

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: AWFUL! I believe this is the number one main (but not only) cause of why this was such a horrible experience for me. I was stuck at the end of a group about the length of 17 people. This resulted in me never being able to see what was going on at the front of the group when the actors would pop out for scares or when the props would briefly be animated. By the time the tail end of our group caught up, nothing would be going on.

Appropriate Ages: any age if they get stuck at the back of such a large group like I did

Props / Special FX: Some of their props were visually interesting to look at, but many of the props still weren't as advanced as I would have expected for a higher priced haunt.

Costumes / Make-up: Average, with the exception of the actors in the 3-D segment of the house

Summary: Needless to say, I was very frustrated after leaving this almost eventless haunt. I don't spend my hard earned money just so I can be cattle herded through little more than average-quality decorated rooms and hallways. I feel that this attraction really missed the mark by sending its patrons through their houses (or should I say, house)in such large groups that you lose any surprise factors you would normally get from the actors and animated props. Unless I hear of some pretty major changes in the years to come, I do not plan on returning to Rockford's Screamfest.

Event Reviewed: Dungeon Of Terror (Mazon, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/28/05 @ 8:45 pm)
Review Posted: 10/29/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: It's located in a small town, almost out in the middle of nowhere. They did have haunted house signs posted along the streets, but they blended in where we almost didn't see them (and we visited Dungeon of Terror last year too)

Wait Entertainment: I saw one actor passing through the crowd only briefly and otherwise didn't see any real outside entertainment. We didn't have a very long wait though and they did have the inside waiting room decorated ghoulishly!

Length of Event: a pretty good length for any price, but especially good for only $6!!!!! I think it took us over 20 minutes to get through the winding mazes and all

Actor Performance: Great! They changed the opening scene from last years, so I missed that a little (LOVED last years theatrical and scary beginning!) but the actors were still great throughout the haunted house. It's amazing that such a small town's fire department can put out such a fanstastic haunted house on what I'm guessing is a lower budget.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: They seemed to be timing the groups really well in keeping us separated but somehow my group (my boyfriend, friend, and I) managed to catch up to the small group ahead of us a couple times. I think this was because that group was moving incredibly slowly though the house and not the fault of Dungeon of Terror's patron flow in general. One of the actors even helped to stall us briefly in one of the rooms so that helped solve the problem of us running into the group ahead.

Appropriate Ages: It's extremely dark, so I'd say 12-13 and up.

Props / Special FX: Fantastic for a small town, and this haunted house could keep up with the best of the best (without having the advantage of the same budget). They had some creative scares and did a great job with their sets (even a moving wall in a way I'd never seen before). In between scenes, their winding maze was pitch black and sadistically twisted and narrow--SO well done!!!

Costumes / Make-up: Pretty good--they seemed better this year than last, too.

Summary: Even though this house is over an hour drive from where I live, I couldn't imagine Halloween without visiting the Dungeon of Terror!! After having gone last year, and having an equally great experience, I'm definitely hooked and plan to keep on visiting this one for years to come! While they don't have the same theatrics on the outside or the same budget as some of the more famous haunted houses have, they still pull off some amazing scares and special effects. I highly recommend this one!

Event Reviewed: Nightmares Basement Of The Dead (Aurora, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/28/05 @ 10:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/29/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: This is my second time going this week--please check out my other review for details.

Wait Entertainment: They had even more entertainment tonight than when I first went on Wednesday. They had horror movies playing and more actors scaring the crowd. (I did miss the growling/grunting animal-like actor who for some reason was not there tonight--he was impressive and seemed to scare a lot of the patrons)

Length of Event: 1/2 hour give or take

Actor Performance: AMAZING!!! I was expecting about the same performance as compared to when I went on Wed. I couldn't believe it, but they were even better tonight!! They did seem to have more actors, which made it an even more amazing experience!! The actors did such a perfect job--I thought it would be at least a little easier to predict the scares this time since i was just there days ago, but they kept me jumping!! And I don't jump easily!!! Awesome BotD!!!

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: EXCELLENT!!! Not a trace of the other patrons before or after us. It was like we were the only ones going through the house!!! I don't know how they time it all so perfectly, but these guys know what they're doing!!!!!

Appropriate Ages: It's a pretty scary house, so I'd say 14 and older.

Props / Special FX: Can I just say, WOW??!!!!!!! This place just seems light years ahead of all other haunted houses I've been to (and I've been to 8 of the best haunted houses in IL already). My heart is breaking at the thought that they might not be back next year, because this place is just top notch in their effects/props and in their timing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Costumes / Make-up: again, AMAZING!!!!!! Every actor had such unique and professional makeup jobs done inside the house!

Summary: Of the many, MANY haunted houses I've been to over the years, Nightmares Basement of the Dead this year would have to be my #1 absolute FAVORITE!!! I can't even emphasize this enough--go see this one this year, because it sounds like they might not be back next year. The costumes and makeup are great, the acting is as close to professional as I've ever seen for a haunted house, their timing is amazing, FANTASTIC props, scenery and lighting, great sound effects... I could go on and on. And on top of all of that, I love that they have changed things up each year, so as not to fall into that rut of predictability. I hope you all enjoy this one as much as I have!

Event Reviewed: Dungeon of Doom (Grayslake, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/27/05 @ 7:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/28/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Fair
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Visibility/Location: Not being from the area (but having visited this attraction before), we had to pay careful attention to the signs posted by the street and almost drove past it. It isn't really that hard to find since it is located in their fairgrounds, but it's a dark area and we arrived right when they opened.

Wait Entertainment: I think it may have been a slower night for them because there wasn't as much entertainment as I remember them having in the past (I've been to this haunted house for 3 years, including this one.) I really like how the waiting area is decorated though--very spooky feel to it with a large skull entrance, corpse "flame" lights, bodies hanging from the ceiling, a casket, etc. They also had scary movies playing (no sound) on a large screen in the waiting area. There were a couple costumed actors in the waiting area, but they didn't do too much scaring while I was there. Given all of that, we didn't have too long of a wait (about 10 minutes I'd say) so I'm sure they'll have even more entertainment going on on the weekend.

Length of Event: I think the haunted house took about 15 minutes plus about 5-10 minutes for being "buried alive" for a total of 20-25 minutes

Actor Performance: Their timing seemed a little off this year and there didn't seem to be as many actors as they have in the past. I was definitely left wanting more. I don't want to say that the actors did a bad job, either, though because I think I'm just holding them to higher standards than the other haunted houses I've evaluated--I've loved this haunted house in the past and just didn't feel the same about it this year.  
To give a little more about the actors' performance, it seemed like a number of times they jumped out or appeared *after* I had already walked past and by that time they lost that surprise factor. I think this may have been because they were trying to not just scare the first person in the group (and instead scare some from the middle or end of my group), but I think it just ended up being fewer scares for everyone.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Fair flow--we were sent in in groups of about 5-10 each so it felt a little clustered at times. My boyfriend and I were initially following a couple that seemed kind of scared of the house, which resulted in the rest of the group being held back. I offered to be in the front and luckily they let me. The rest of the house was okay until we all reached the "Buried Alive" part of the house. This was my favorite part (as it has been every year) and was run pretty smoothly which made for a pretty good ending.

Appropriate Ages: Due to the "Buried Alive" portion, I wouldn't recommend this for anyone younger than 14 years old. I would also say ask to skip this part if you have any fears with tight or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) because it definitely results in you feeling very trapped and, of course, buried.

Props / Special FX: As I have already said, being "buried alive" was my favorite part of this house and the feeling I get from it is probably the scariest I've gotten from any of the houses (since it plays on your fear of being trapped/buried). The rest of the house was okay, with some good and some so so effects. Having been to this one in the past, I left it today feeling like there were some parts that were lacking in both quality and quantity (in comparison to their performance in the past). I think the animatronics outshined their other props, but I had a hard time figuring out

Costumes / Make-up: Good overall, but I can't say that anything really stood out in terms of costumes or makeup

Summary: Overall, this is still a good haunted house with some great effects. My recommendation to others this year is go ahead and see it if you live close by, but I wouldn't recommend driving over a half hour or so to see it this year. I drove about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there and didn't feel it was quite up to par this year. I'm still hoping that they bounce back next year to be bigger and better as I know they can!

Event Reviewed: Realm of Terror (Round Lake Beach, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/27/05 @ 8:15 pm)
Review Posted: 10/28/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Medium | Atmosphere: Average
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Visibility/Location: We initially drove right past this one, but I spotted the haunted house sign as we were passing it by. It is located in an amusement park/mini golf course and is tucked in around the back. There are two haunted houses and what's funny is we walked right past the second house without seeing the entrance to that one too.

Wait Entertainment: There was one actor who hovered when we went up to the entrances of both houses. There was no line otherwise though so we didn't have to wait outside for anything.

Length of Event: The first house was X Chaos and, only due to the actors blocking certain doorways it took us maybe 5-10 minutes (if they hadn't done that we probably could've walked through in less than 5 minutes). The Realm of Terror house was longer and took us maybe 10-15 minutes.

Actor Performance: I was expecting more from the actors since this attraction was more expensive than most, at $15. Most of the actors were younger and did more screaming and yelling to try to scare us. Some did a great job, but it did have more of a juvenile feel to it. I personally don't get scared when people yell at me (I get more annoyed) so I didn't think that part was too scary. The actors did have a lot of enthusiasm, though, which impressed me.  
At one point they blocked my boyfriend from going by for a couple minutes and when he tried to walk past them (by going around them), he accidentally bumped into them and they responded by saying "don't touch the actors!" That bothered me a bit since they really were in our faces and our space. No one tried to kick us out or anything, but I think they should be aware of how much they get in patrons's faces.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: It was slow when we got there and I didn't see any others going through the houses (other than the actors, of course). The first house, X Chaos, was basically a maze through the amusement park's batting cages and flowed okay for what it was. (They could have done without that one, in my opinion.) I felt a little rushed at times in the Realm of Terror house because of a few actors telling me to "get out!" or "get out of my house!" The actors that yelled these types of sayings out, really seemed to rush us out of the rooms--and I would rather have spent more time to take in all of the special effects and props. Other than this, the rest of the Realm of Terror flowed okay.

Appropriate Ages: Almost any age could go through X-Chaos because there were almost no props and the actors weren't too scary other than popping over the tops of the fences/cages. Realm of Terror would probably be okay for ages 11 and up.

Props / Special FX: There weren't many props in X Chaos and I was very disappointed in going through that one. It was basically an outside maze with fences dividing the passages. At times you could even see the parking lot and the people hanging out outside. In Realm of Terror, they had some good props and animatronics to keep things interesting, but like I said before, I didn't get to spend a lot of time looking at all of them because I was rushed through the house.

Costumes / Make-up: Average.

Summary: I think this attraction is overpriced for what it delivers, since you are really just paying for one haunted house (X Chaos was very unmemorable). They had some great effects in Realm of Terror, but didn't give us the full opportunity to appreciate all of the effects. I also think the actors need a bigger range of skills so that they don't simply yell and get in the faces of their customers as I doubt people would find being yelled at truly scary. I think Realm of Terror has a lot of great potential and that, given enough time, they could turn it into a great haunted house.

Event Reviewed: Statesville Haunted Prision (Crest Hill, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/26/05 @ 9:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/27/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Poor
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Visibility/Location: Easy enough to spot from Weber Rd. They had lit signs and decorations that could be seen from the road.

Wait Entertainment: Some of their actors were around and interacted with the waiting crowd. I would say their entertainment while we were waiting was about average.

Length of Event: There were two haunted houses, but you had to pay for both when buying your ticket. Statesville probably lasted about 20 minutes and the City of the Dead took maybe 10. In my opinion, both haunted houses took too long--I would much rather have paid the $25 and left.

Actor Performance: I was not impressed by the actors in the houses. Many just resorted to the jumping out and screaming in your face (very annoying and unnecessary). It seemed a lot of the female actors in the houses resorted to screaming at incredibly loud and irritating volumes. I do think that the way the houses were laid out and the lighting and props that were used took away from the actors' performances...but the performances were still pretty weak. I was maybe startled one time, but otherwise just felt bombarded by actors coming from every corner of the rooms and hallways. I did not find any of it scary in the least. I haven't felt this annoyed going through a haunted house in a long time.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: They took us in large groups (similar to a prison fashion), which was clever but I think caused a lot of us to cluster together. I was in front of the group so I was one of the luckier ones, but I think my slower pace through the houses caused the other patrons to run into our group.

Props / Special FX: With only a few exceptions, I was *very* disappointed with the props and effects. The music and sound effects played overhead were way too loud, and were more irritating than scary. The lighting was also very irritating, with it fluctuating between being bright enough that you could see every actor coming toward you (long before they made their attempts to scare you) or being blinding or hazy (by the flashing lights and/or fog) that you couldn't get scared by the actors because you never even saw them after they passed you by. I felt very overstimulated by everything and just wanted it to be over after a couple of minutes in the first house. One other thing that I should mention: Most of their hallways were built so narrow and/or low that someone larger would have a very hard time to get through. We didn't get any warning about that--and my boyfriend had a very difficult time fitting through all the hallways. I think they should have to warn patrons that their houses are setup that way. That being said, their opening sequence in the Statesville house was fantastic, one disemboweled prop was amazing, and a giant animatronic creature was pretty cool from all of the props and scenes.

Costumes / Make-up: It seemed to me that almost every actor had about the same costume/makeup on. I didn't see any different "characters" in the houses and was so disappointed given the insanely high cost of admission. I would have expected that they could afford better makeup and costumes.

Summary: I'm sure you can guess that my boyfriend and I left this attraction very angry this year. I've been to Statesville twice before (although haven't been for a couple years) and never remember it being quite this bad. I feel very ripped off by the admission fee, but I still would be angry if I had paid just $10 to get in. I feel that overall, they just use too much noise and bad lighting techniques, too many actors using the same ineffective techniques, resulting in too little scares. I was very ready to be scared and Statesville just left me upset. I'm just glad that I didn't have to wait hours in line to get in. I don't plan to go back in the future unless Statesville makes some dramatic changes.

Event Reviewed: Nightmares Basement Of The Dead (Aurora, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/26/05 @ 7:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/27/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: You need to really pay attention to the signs depending on what road you take there, but they do have a large hearse parked on the other side of the building with a "burning" trashcan

Wait Entertainment: Amazing, especially considering we didn't have a line to wait in. These guys really know what they're doing! Three actors in particular had fantastic makeup jobs and acted their parts well. They absolutely freaked out a few of the patrons who came by while we were standing by watching. One actor had to have had a very sore throat with the very realistic, animalistic growling he was doing (so real sounding!!). I think Nightmares Basement.. had outdone themselves every year!

Length of Event: approximately 20 minutes

Actor Performance: Amazing!! I don't know how these people do it and I only hope that more people are able to attend this house to really see what I mean!! I was talking to one of the actors outside after going through the house and he said that on top of sensors and other things, they also use camera's to perfect their timing.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Excellent! While I was there, they sent us in by the groups we came in--I went in with just my boyfriend and never ran into any other groups.

Appropriate Ages: I'd say 13 years and up

Props / Special FX: AMAZING!!! They had some very creative prop setups and displays. For those of you who have been there in the past, I'm sure you'll love their new additions and changes this year! One really caught me off guard since I thought it was going to be the same as last year! FANTASTIC!!!

Costumes / Make-up: WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The same actor I talked to outside had an amazing makeup job, and after talking to him I found out that he does his own makeup. It really looked professional. The other actors had great makeup too and didn't have the typical makeup jobs and costumes you see in most haunted houses.

Summary: Just when I thought Nightmares couldn't get any better, it did! I've been trying to hit a haunted house or two every day until Halloween at this point and have planned out my whole schedule, but I'm seriously thinking of changed it so that I can go to Nightmares a second time this year! I heard that this may be their last year, but I'm praying that changes because they are absolutely my FAVORITE haunted house year after year!

Event Reviewed: Freaky Frights on Forest (North Riverside, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/25/05 @ 7:15 pm)
Review Posted: 10/26/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very Low | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: You can definitely spot this street from 22nd pretty easily, since all of the props and decorations are outdoors and there are many cars parked along the streets there--you should have no problems finding it.

Wait Entertainment: n/a. This was a free show for anyone who wants to go through it (although they accept donations via donation boxes).

Length of Event: As long as you want to spend looking at the "freaky frights". I think it took us about 20-30 minutes to walk up and down the 2 blocks of scenery.

Actor Performance: n/a--no actors were out tonight/Tuesday night, but I think they do occasionally have people hiding here and there to scare the people walking by.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: n/a--there were a lot of other people viewing the scenes/props, though.

Appropriate Ages: pretty much any age, but some of the props were gruesome

Props / Special FX: awesome, like last year. I don't know how they animated so many of their props, but they were very creative with their setups (like the dresser drawers that opened and closed)

Costumes / Make-up: n/a

Summary: This is a fantastic, *free*, event that families and individuals can visit this Halloween with plenty of entertainment just in walking through their Halloween prop displays. Most homes on Forest participated in this, with their yards full of creative and fantastic displays. Everyone that we passed by seemed to really enjoy viewing these displays and I personally loved it. There seems to be so much to look at and the homeowners had no problem with people taking pictures of the prop displays and even posing with them (there was a mock guillotine that my boyfriend posed in!). I'd definitely recommend stopping by this even if you have some free time this Halloween season!

Event Reviewed: Lombard Jaycees Haunted House (Lombard, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/25/05 @ 9:00 pm)
Review Posted: 10/26/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Very High | Atmosphere: Very Good
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Visibility/Location: They did have signs posted, but they were just a little hard to spot. We were still able to find it without too much trouble.

Wait Entertainment: There was absolutely no line when we got there, so there was no need for entertainment.

Length of Event: It might have lasted 20-25 minutes. It was a good length event--I really wasn't expecting it to be as long as it was. Great length for the price!

Actor Performance: Most actors did really well with the timing and didn't really overdo it. I wasn't expecting too much with a Jaycees crowd of actors, but they really did well with dishing out the scares (and I don't scare easily!). I was caught off guard a number of times, usually because I'd already have had two actors try to scare me and I'd keep on walking by thinking it was over... only to have someone else appear and startle me. I'm guessing they didn't have the usual number of actors tonight since it was very early in the week (Tues), but they still did a great job. Only occasionally did we come across someone who did a poor job (one actor just peeked his head around the corner as we were walking through, but he never did anything to try to scare us)

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: We never ran into any other groups, but we could hear the screams of the other patrons as we walked through the pitch black hallway mazes. That really added to the creepiness.

Appropriate Ages: I would say maybe 12 and up.

Props / Special FX: Amazing for a Jaycees haunted house!!! I was so impressed!!! They were so creative in their props and set design--I've actually never seen anything like them in other haunted houses (and I've been to many!). I don't want to spoil it for others, but to give you an idea of the rooms that they had in there, there was a satanic looking cathedral, a pool room(!), towel room, etc. I think the sets/rooms that they had really conjured up memories of similar scenes from the horror movies.

Costumes / Make-up: I would say the costumes were average, but again please keep in mind this was a Jaycees haunted house.

Summary: I just have to say--WOW!!! For a Jaycees haunted house, this attraction was really impressive and considerably better than a lot of the more expensive and larger scale attractions I have been to. The Jaycees actors really seemed to have their hearts in this one and made it a startling and scary experience for someone who doesn't get caught off guard easily!

Event Reviewed: Best of St. Charles - Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour (St. Charles, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/24/05 @ 8:30 pm)
Review Posted: 10/25/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: Low | Atmosphere: Fair
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Visibility/Location: Some homes were easy to spot, but I was a little annoyed with others because of the trace decorations they seemed to have out there (and yet somehow they got on the list). I feel bad for the better decorated homes as the others took away from the overall experience.

Wait Entertainment: n/a--I printed the tour guide from their website with the list of homes (each with directions from the center of town), and we drove around the different homes in town on our own.

Length of Event: It took us about 3 1/2 hours to do the whole thing.

Actor Performance: n/a really--I didn't see any actors, but we did this on a Monday and I wouldn't have expected anyone to be out. One thing I did find to be strange was that I would occasionally take a picture of a decoration that someone had out on their lawn (of those whose homes were part of the tour) and at least 3 times one of the owners came out and looked really angry. I'm not sure if there is some law or something against that (I didn't even get their house in the picture), but I would have expected that the owners would be flattered or at least expect some attention for their extravagant decorations.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: n/a, but we only ran into one other sightseer along the way

Appropriate Ages: any age for most homes--only a couple might have been perceived as scary to younger sightseers

Props / Special FX: I have to give this recommendation for anyone going through the tour--my favorite couple houses from the whole tour were part of the "Southeast" part of the tour. If you're going to only see a part of the tour, I'd recommend seeing the homes from that part first.

Costumes / Make-up: n/a

Summary: We drove around the Best of St. Charles Gallery of Ghoulish Homes tour last year and I hate to say it, but this year was fairly disappointing. I was very impressed by last year's displays and was excited to go back this year. Other than the handful of great home displays, the rest was a pretty big letdown. And like I mentioned, there were some homes that almost had no decorations out at all, but were still on the list of homes to visit. I felt that they should have been a bit more discriminating in which homes were let onto this tour guide.  
I think it's important to mention, however, that there really aren't other towns in the area that are doing something as creative as having a listing of it's best decorated homes along with directions to each one--the concept is wonderful and I still don't regret doing the tour (it's free, too!). I think families may enjoy it more than my boyfriend and I did.

Event Reviewed: Dream Reapers Haunted House (Melrose Park, Illinois)
Reviewed by: dreamer1107   (Event Visited: 10/23/05 @ 8:45 pm)
Review Posted: 10/24/05
Overall Score:
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Scare Factor: High | Atmosphere: Good
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Visibility/Location: Flashing sign from the main street was easy to see. They had a hearse parked outside along with a burning trashcan, so all of these made it very visable

Wait Entertainment: We had a short wait since we went later on a Sunday night (in the past they had more characters scaring the waiting patrons), but I did see one character passing by when we were in line.

Length of Event: I would say about 15-20 minutes, depending on how fast you and your group move through it.

Actor Performance: Very good. The timing of the scares was done very well, although occasionally there seemed to be too many actors clustered in one area which lowered the scare factor. Some of the actors were more skilled than others but I was glad to see that they really didn't resort to the scream-in-the-patrons'-faces deal. Some were very creative in their approach.

Patron Flow Inside Attraction: Our group was broken up about halfway through the tour and we never ran into another group (I was pretty happy because I was then the first person in line at that point). I tend to move slower through haunted houses and they didn't rush us at all.

Appropriate Ages: I would say 13 and up. There were some good scares that I wouldn't recommend for younger children (and I definitely don't scare easily!)

Props / Special FX: As far as the rooms go, most were done very well except for a couple that were a little too brightly lit. It was definitely much better than last year, and i was very happy with it this year overall.

Costumes / Make-up: Some of the makeup jobs were EXCELLENT. Very impressive!

Summary: After having a bad experience with the house last year, I was very impressed with it this year. They added some new and very creative effects and rooms and seemed to improve on their weaker areas from last year. I almost didn't go to this one this year and now I'm very glad that I did!





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