The Hippo


Apr 18, 2019








Installing fear
Haunted attractions conjure up scares

By Ryan Lessard

 If you want to be scared out of your socks but horror movies just aren’t doing it for you, New Hampshire’s haunted attractions may be the answer.

John Tracey, the co-owner of Haunted Acres (446 Raymond Road, Candia,, said a number of significant changes have been made to the park. Haunted Acres is a series of five attractions centered around Area 52 and connected by a story about a top secret government facility overtaking a small New Hampshire hamlet.
“We revamped several of the scenes in the different houses,” Tracey said.
The Graveyard of the Damned — all that remains of a fictional New Hampshire town after the government wiped out its residents or performed ghastly experiments on a few of its denizens — has been expanded this year. New details have been added to the Quarter Mile Nightmare Walk through the woods, such as some special effects like lasers and spiders. And Tracey said they added some surprises out in the woods.
He also remodeled the 3-D Nuclear Accident House and added a decontamination room. 
The Maze from Hell is different every year. 
Tracey said they also added roaming musicians and walk-around performers with LED lights.
“We also have the only nighttime ziplines in New Hampshire,” Tracey said. 
Access to the ziplines is a $10 upgrade on the ticket price at the gate. There are also photo booths, two large bonfires and eating areas.
Last year, Haunted Acres was ranked the No. 1 Halloween Event in New England by Boston Events Insider, according to Tracey. He said this year they’re in contention for the top stop again and they earned a five-star rating.
Regular tickets are $29. Thursdays, there are “date night” specials where you can get two tickets for $42. A speed pass for skipping lines is $39. Credit card is only accepted for online purchases. Tickets at the gate are cash only. Check their Facebook page for specials and coupons. Saturday, Oct. 28, is a costume contest and Sunday, Oct. 29, is a lights out night.
Another haunted mainstay every Halloween is Spooky World presents Nightmare New England and The Haunted Hayride (454 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield,, which is also undergoing a lot of improvements every year. This year, co-owner Michael Accomando said, they paid attention to small details.
“We spent a lot of time this year working on individual scares,” Accomando said.
He said The Colony attraction has a new ending and about half a dozen scares throughout. At one point, there’s an illusion that makes you feel like you’re walking through water, he said.
This is also the first year the attractions, which are on the Mel’s Funway Park property, are transitioning from pop-up installations to permanent pavilions. That way, Accomando said, they can build upon it every year and make the experience far more realistic.
The 3D Festival of Fear is built out of the same pavillion that was on the property last Halloween with some significant improvements, Accomando said. Some rooms were added, like a barrel maze and a U-shaped room meant to make you feel like you’re ending up right where you came from. 
“It’s amazing how easy the mind can be tricked with what we’re going to do,” Accomando said.
Now that it’s set up permanently, a future buildout will create the illusion of multiple floors.
The next permanent pavilion is for the Brigham Manor, a traditional haunted house. Next year, it will be completely reconstructed so it feels more like you’re inside a real house. For example, every room will have a ceiling, faucets will drip, furnaces will be hot, fridges will be cold and bathrooms will be, well, stinky. 
This year, Accomando said, they added a kitchen area with a walk-in freezer. And the pantry was redone with hydraulic pistons so it seems like a whole wall is about to fall on top of you.
The Carnage attraction, which is a junkyard, has been expanded upon with a new garage and a maze of wooden pallets at least 10 feet high. Accomando said he also put some work into the ending.
In the next three years or so, Accomando hopes to bring back a former attraction called Sleep Stalkers, set in an abandoned sleep clinic where night terrors have become real.
Tickets are $39.99 for all five attractions including the Haunted Hayride on Fridays and Saturdays. Thursdays and Sundays are usually $5 less, but you can also find $5-off coupons for Friday and Saturday visits. VIP tickets are $64.99, which provides unlimited access to the Funway park features as well, such as go-karts and mini-golf. Super VIP tickets for $79.99 provide access to an unlimited number of hayrides.
A lights out night will be on the last night of the attraction, on Nov. 4.
Haunted Overload (DeMeritt Hill Farm, 66 Lee Road, Lee, is set in a cursed farming village populated by undead after a demon visited the village and was met with inhospitality. The park is open to the public during the day on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $5 per person. For night visits, people are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance for $25 since shows may be sold out. If tickets are available at the time of the show, they are $29. Friday Night Light events, where visitors can see all the sets without the scares, on Oct. 19 and Oct. 30, are $13. There’s a lights out event on Oct. 31 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. 
Fright Kingdom (12 Simon St., Nashua, offers a fully immersive experience with six attractions. Apocalypse Z is a zombie world inspired by The Walking Dead, Bloodmare Manor is your quintessential haunted house, Psycho Circus has clowns — what more needs be said? — and other attractions include The Abandoned, Grim and the central area known as Monster Midway. 
Regular admission is $25. Fright Passes, which are speed passes to get you into the Midway faster, are $36 at the door or $32 online. A Fright Pass also gives you free access to a coffin ride simulator. It’s open Fridays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 7 to 10 p.m.
Harvest of Haunts (Charmingfare Farm, 774 High St., Candia, has four attractions: Horse-Drawn Ride, Barn of the Dead, Tractor Bog Ride and Infested Corn Maze. It’s open on Oct. 20, Oct. 21, Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. Tickets are $25 per person, which includes access to all attractions.
Screeemfest at Canobie Lake Park (85 N. Policy St., Salem, 893-3506, has five terrifying haunted houses as well as games and live shows. The attractions are called The Culling, The Canobie Lake Hotel, Carnivus (with cannibal clowns), The Village and The Black Hollow Cove, which is pirate-themed. General admission is $34 on Fridays and Sundays, $38 on Saturdays. For people under 48 inches or older than 60, tickets are $23. Kids 3 and under go for free. 

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