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2004 Trail of Screams Review

Trail of Screams
YMCA Camp Winnebago
5804 N. Main Street
Rockford, Illinois 61103

Reviewed: 10/09/04

Visibility/Location: I passed this event's entrance the first time and might have missed it entirely, had I not known where to look.  Although "Trail of Screams" is spelled out in large letters, attached to a utility pole, the light up above only illuminated the very tops of the letters (not the front face of them), making them hard to see.  
Wait Entertainment: While I didn't have to wait in line that long (I arrived shortly before they opened), there really wasn't much for wait entertainment.  
Admission Price: $9.00

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

Scare Factor: Low-Medium.    
Atmosphere: The atmosphere is established well before you enter the attraction.  The entryway to the YMCA camp is a very narrow, winding path, surrounded by trees and is very spooky-looking at night.  While you are waiting in line, there is a nice brick facade and wrought iron gate.  The eerie mood continues throughout the event, through the story line presented by the actors.  
Crowd Control: Crowd control was excellent.  Since they are guided tours and patrons are spaced out appropriately, none of the groups ever see or run into each other.  
Other Customer's
Everyone liked the value of this attraction. A couple of people who I spoke with thought that there was a lot of walking involved in the tour.  


This event is very unique and quite unlike a lot of haunted attractions out there. While their show contains some elements that you would typically see in a traditional haunted house, like chainsaws and strobe lights, an intense shock-type scare is not their forte. This is primarily a theatrical production. A strong plot line is presented at the beginning and continues throughout the rest of the attraction. As you make your way through, scripted scenes are performed, relating the history of the family of a doctor who has gone mad. Many of the scenes that are encountered, like the doctor’s office and the insane asylum, directly correlate with the plot line; however, there are a couple of scenes like the carnival fun house which aren’t as consistent with the main theme. Many of the scenes had some great-looking entrances. The Insane Asylum had a tall "wrought-iron" gate standing before it. There was even a five foot deep trench that you had to traverse, where someone from the insane asylum had “tunneled out”.

It should be noted that this event is an outdoor, as well as an indoor attraction. While the majority of scenes were played out inside shelter buildings, there were a few smaller skits presented outdoors, to keep your attention as you are walking from building to building. Keep in mind that the scenes are quite spread out, so a lot of walking through a wooded area is required. When you attend, be sure to bring comfortable footwear.

In general, everyone put on a strong performance. Although a couple of the younger actors stumbled over their lines a few times, everyone knew their roles and performed very well and very convincingly. Everyone stayed in character at all times, from start to finish. 

As stated before, this is one of the more theatrical attractions out there, with a great deal of entertainment value.  This event was a refreshing change of pace from your typical haunted attraction and is well worth attending. 

Click here to find out more about this event.




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