Fright Night is entering its 27th season of haunting Central Illinois. Even though this is my third year attending this haunt, I still end up getting a little lost. Luckily, Forest City is relatively small.
Tickets are purchased at the Haunted Church. This is also where you will catch the Hayride (minus the hay) over to the other 3 haunts. There are concessions at both locations as well as Port-A-Potty facilities and fires to warm up by. Additionally, they have a horror movie museum, green screen photography where you can pick your background and footage you can watch from when the Skinner House was visited by ghost hunters.
This was actually better than it has been the past 2 years. Two masked maniacs were waiting outside the door and used the baseball bats they were carrying to beat on the porch and side of the church. You have to maneuver through a dark maze which is not overly long, but is very tight and you will have to push your way through. A couple of times during your tour, you have to duck down onto your hands and knees and crawl. Dirty, uncomfortable, awkward fun.
The stars of the show here are easily Bobo and Gertrude the Clowns. Although all of Fright Night’s staff are volunteers, these two are worthy of haunts where the actors are paid. There is another section where you have to walk through a densely fogged room and what appears to be a huge hand comes down at you from the ceiling. Fabulous.
We were warned by BeBe the blue haired clown, that they were down staff on the haunted trail so we went into it with somewhat lower expectations than normal.
Unfortunately, we did encounter two folks who were completely out of character. The gentleman did apologize and tried to usher the female with him out of the haunt, but not before she offered to scream for us, which she did until she was out of breath, then ordered us to “read her shirt” which stated, “Happy Happy Happy”. Not exactly exciting, but okay. I honestly kept wondering if she was really this odd or she was trying to lure us into something scary.
Haunted Trail was saved, however, by a chainsaw wielding madman who made us crawl through his van and somehow managed to get between me and my boyfriend without me knowing. Ahhhh…you stealthy, freaky fiend! Chainsaws get me every.single.time.
There was also a rapping clown who also was oddly entertaining. Thanks to these two characters especially for redeeming this for us.
The potential is there for this to be a lot better than it was. Several young actors did their best to try and scare us. One girl was on the floor and I THINK she was supposed to be possessed, but it honestly looked like she was auditioning for a dance show. She’s incredibly flexible I’ll say that for her.
You have to walk through a yucky bathroom. I’m sure a lot of folks will be fine with it the way it is, but if this room smelled as bad as it looked, that would go a looooong way to upping the stakes. Crazy lady in the kitchen was loud and frightening, but here again, props outside of the norm (smelly, disgusting food) would have been key to increasing the scare level.
Three years running, this has been the one spot that delivers. They like to send larger groups through crazy cage so we were sent in with 4 college students.
This is also the only time where a child actor impressed me. Not because she was scary, but because she handled the adult customer antics with serious skill. While asking each of us our names, when she got to a male member of the group he stated his name was Ben Dover. Not necessarily appropriate. But this girl then ordered him to turn around, put his hands on the wall and bend over. Oh little girl…YOU made my night!
There is one character who stays with you throughout the majority of Crazy Cage. Several times he leads you down a dead end passage then forces you to raise your hands, jump up and down and sing “Party in the Crazy Cage! Party in the Crazy Cage!” If you can let yourself go enough to participate in that it can be fun.
He did have my entire group put our hands on a tree at one point then ordered us to, “drop our pants!” Alarming, but none of us actually followed that particular order.
I did get a gruesome gross-out moment when one of the characters was on the ground blocking me from moving around him. I couldn’t really see him so had my hands down and touched what I HOPETOTHEHIGHESTPOWERONEARTH was a sweaty head. All kidding aside, if they slimed his head on purpose then huge thumbs up because I still cannot stop thinking about it.
Fright Night does a good job of making their haunt an “event”. Plenty of things to do. They have a band coming on the 24th as well as other things planned for later in the month. You can truly make a night of this place with all that it offers!
To find out more about this