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2006 Trail of Screams Review
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Trail of Screams
@ YMCA Camp Winnebago
5804 N. Main Street
Rockford, IL 61103

Visited: 10/19/06


Visibility/Location: You could miss the entrance, if you aren't looking carefully.  There was a "Trail of Screams" sign on the utility pole near the entrance, but that is only visible if you are coming from the south.  If you are coming from the North, you can't see it because it is obscured by trees.  They had a backlit arrow sign near the road, to help increase visibility of the entrance, but the night I visited it wasn't illuminated.  If you follow Mapquest directions, you should have no trouble finding it.  
Wait Entertainment: There were a couple of actors scaring people waiting in line.  The Michael Myers character had a real metal machete that he would scrape along the pavement to get people's attention.  There was also a character on stilts that reminded me of a tall version of the monster from the movie "The Village"
Admission Price: $11.00

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

Scare Factor: Medium
Crowd Control: Since this was a guided tour, crowd control was excellent at this event.  I never ran into any other groups.


The Trail of Screams is a combination indoor/outdoor event held at the YMCA Camp Winnebago.  There were several scenes inside camp buildings that were separated by long, twisting, dark sections of nature trails. Walking along the dark trails really set a spooky mood for the scenes to come.   

They had some pretty creative scenes this season.  One of my favorites was the tomb,  which was a 10 foot deep trench, dug out of the ground.  It's a really creepy feeling to literally walk  underground with dirt walls on either side of you!  One of the most intense scenes was the "Prison of the Dead".  Upon arrival, the warden instructed everyone that they only had two minutes to escape or be incarcerated forever.  To "make a break for it", you had to make your way through various rooms including a path of chain-link fencing with chains hanging down in your face, a pitch black hallway and a room where the floor drops out from under you.  

The hospital was another one of their scenes.  Unfortunately they must have been having technical difficulties, because there were no lights on, in the entire scene. The "mad doctor" had to lead the patrons through with a flashlight.  That was a shame, as the lack of lighting made it very difficult to see any of the props/detail in the scene.  Even with the lighting issues, the scare at the end was effective, thanks to some good improvisation by the actor in the scene.   

One of their highly detailed scenes was the crematorium.  One area in the crematorium featured stone walls, a body impaled on spikes and assorted body parts hanging on the opposite wall.  Underneath the spikes was another body on a table that had green goo pumping out of its chest.  Another room had red brick walls and a hole in the wall where you could see the remains of a body.  

There was also a clown scene that featured a couple of evil clowns tormenting a little girl.  Throughout the scene, there was a lot of glowing 3D art painted on the walls. It was a great concept and the clowns were intense.  There was, however,  an issue at the exit.  It was a pretty high step down from the doorway to the ground. A ramp or illuminated step would have been helpful here.     

Our tour guide did a great job of leading my group through the trail.  She knew her lines well and provided the patrons with the story line that tied all of the scenes together.  The tour guide was by no means soft-spoken and she communicated clearly, but there was still a time or two when I couldn't hear everything that was said, because she wasn't facing the group the entire time she was speaking. In general, all of the actors knew their parts and followed through well, staying in character the whole time.  Some were more low-key, while others (like the ones in the prison) were very energetic.

Overall, the Trail of Screams group did a good job this season.  I have always enjoyed the trail's creative story line, as well as the natural spookiness of the trail itself.  This event really gives you a lot of bang for your buck, providing more than 30 minutes of entertainment for $11. 


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