Barretts Haunted Mansion – Full Review
Barretts Haunted Mansion is a Haunted Attraction located in Abington, MA.
1235 Bedford Street, Abington, MA 02351View All Details
Free Parking, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Special Events, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Indoor/Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction
Team Hallowoosh reviewed this attraction on September 28, 2017.
Final Score: 9.25
I’ve been going to Barrett’s Haunted Mansion every year since I began my Haunted House journeys in 2010. Every single year, they bring us something new and exciting that I can only wish most other haunted attractions would consider doing. 2017 marks the twenty sixth year Barrett’s has been scaring the life out of people and it’s only getting better. Residents of Abington, Massachusetts seem to love the attraction and consider it a staple in their town’s history since the building stays up all year long, complete with broken shingles, skeletons and all. Sharing a parking lot with one of the best restaurants around is also a great way to keep the spirit of Halloween alive.
A few years ago Barrett’s put up their new attraction ‘The Compound.’ For a few years it wasn’t much more than just a sensory overload, chain link fence maze. Last year, they completely demolished the maze and set up an amazing, state-of-the-art attraction. This year, it has only evolved into something even better. The house itself is in the best shape I’ve ever seen. Year to year, they amaze me with how much they can accomplish in such a small space. The night I attended the attraction was their ALS One Fundraiser event. All the proceeds from the tickets go directly to the developing research fund for finding a cure for ALS. This also means that all staff and actors are volunteering and I couldn’t be more proud of the work they did. From the actors to the detailing and the screams from customers who can’t even make it past the first door, Barrett’s Haunted Mansion is on my list of must-see haunts every year in New England and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Unfortunately, I had to travel through Barrett’s alone that night, but the actors loved taking advantage of this. Usually when I travel alone, most actors have no idea what to do when I come through since I could easily be mistaken for someone other than just another patron. These guys and gals were ready for a fight.
In this post-apocalyptic, junkyard-style haunt, I found some of the most energetic prop smashers that I can recall. The host of The Compound had an amazing presence when letting me know what I can’t do. ‘No hashtags’ was my favorite. He came off like the strict-but-fun ringleader of the compound, sticking his finger in my face and throwing his arms everywhere like it was a grand spectacle I was about to see. A fun bit he threw my way was ‘Alrighty Folks’ er’ folk’ as he exclaimed the rules to me in another voice over a little speaker that reiterated what he was saying. It was a little creepy and a little funny at the same time.
After I was given the rules of what not to do in this attraction the doors opened up and BAM! Giant club smashing an old-school desk. I didn’t even have time to understand what type of room I was in before I was adamantly shown this battered desk. After I made sure my guard was up for the next bashing, I quickly realized I was in the scariest room of all’ the classroom (oh, the terrible memories). They have a great and unique character this year who is what I can only assume to be a student. She carries an accordion, which is something I see very little of in a haunted attraction. She played me a little song and asked if I was all alone. I told her yes, I was all alone tonight and she replied ‘Oh Good! We won’t feel as bad sacrificing you’ and proceeded to cackle into the night with her expandable noise maker.
I loved the clowns in the carnival scene. One clown used the entire area as a giant jungle gym as he laughed and demanded me to play with him. One actor was crouching on a table staring blankly into my eyes until I finally had to get too close to him. Constantly in the pounce position I didn’t want to go any further.
Barrett’s has a great laser swamp this year. Two actors were stuck under the laser, simultaneously whispering ‘help me.’ Not the most original line, obviously, but the fact that they were saying it together inside this tight room made it sound like a strange echo bouncing off the walls. You really can’t tell where they are until their heads slowly bob up from underneath.
Everyone involved in the compound was very dedicated and interacted with me a great deal.
These actors and actresses are some of the greatest you will find in New England. Every year I come through, they put their heart and soul into their performances.
There have been many characters come and go over the years, but one character has been a constant presence at Barrett’s: the infamous clown ‘K1.’ This year was a treat for me because, usually, K1 is a crowd actor. But on this night, he was the one who gave me the rules before entering the house. I’ve never heard him speak before, so it was fun to put a voice to the face.
Each year, the house changes almost all of their scenes, but one room that is always 100% completely different is the very first room you walk into. The theme of every year is relevant mainly to the first room, or at least it has been for the last few years. This year is centered around sending people to the 26th floor of a haunted hotel. Naturally, this comes with an Innkeeper, a bellhop and a elevator operator. All three were very charismatic and truly sold their characters. The inn keep at the front desk even had a guest book and asked me to check in before quickly ripping it away from my sight and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. You’re going to die either way!’
The first scene doesn’t usually last too long before you start jumping through time and space in the rest of the house. I found myself suddenly in a cabin with a man cutting up a deer for dinner. I interacted with pirates telling me the captain wants me topside to clean up all the ink on the deck. A woman completely covered in spider webs got my attention pretty well when she squirmed at me and started making this gurgling sound. Might be the sound you could imagine a spider would make if it was ten feet tall. The point is that she was a spider web creature or victim who didn’t snarl or ‘grrr’ or ‘ahh.’ She was a very unique character and I appreciate the unique effort she put into her character.
Downstairs, in the basement of the house, I came face to mouth with one of the tallest and most intimidating clowns I have ever met. This guy must have had a good foot and a half on me. I was a quarter of a way into a sewer passage when this actor lunged at me and laughed directly into my face. I tried to get around him but he moved in front of me every single step I tried to take, all the while still letting out that same deep dark laughter. Another clown noticed my flannel shirt and more than once recognized me as ‘Mr. Flannel.’
The focus on originality at Barrett’s never ceases to impress me. I cannot recall any character that I have seen anywhere else, let alone horror movie icons. Every cast member is dedicated to their craft and their unique, one-of-a-kind costumes are no exception. From head to toe, everyone is dressed appropriately to fit the description of their creature or monster.
The Compound is riddled with post-apocalyptic-style psychos covered is dead animal furs and dried human skin. The clowns inside the carnival scene wore different styles of clown attire. One would have the onesie jumpsuit while another had black lace and neon bows like a fire dancer. The student with the accordion was a great touch. Even she was wearing old time fashion school children clothing, complete with rolled up jeans and suspenders with a button down white shirt. The great element at play in the Compound is ‘dirty.’ No matter what scene I walked through, I could always count on seeing everyone covered in greasy, muddy, black sweat.
In the Mansion the scenes are a little more sporadic in theme. So, naturally, the costumes change rapidly.
The bellhop is a character I don’t see too much of in a haunted house, so it was a treat to see the character and an even bigger treat to see them in a full blown, elegant bellhop uniform. The pirates seemed to have been disappearing from the New England haunts as well, so it was a lot of fun seeing old leather boots and the tricorne hats. A spider attack victim completely covered in webbing and little spiders was extra unique to me. I will never forget the tall clown in the basement with his equally-as-big costume and 80’s style hair making him seem a foot taller than he already was. The collar on his ringmaster-style jacket was perched up like another set of arms ready to grab me.
Masks are a rare thing to encounter at Barrett’s Haunted Mansion and I can only recall four of them out of the forty plus actors I saw that night. I can tell that masks aren’t always the most appreciated means of completing a costume, but the few actors that wore masks used them very well. I particularly enjoyed the second clown in the basement wearing a full-head mask that moved with his jaw. Although some of his words were a little muffled, the majority of his act was humming nursery rhymes which did not need clear spoken words.
Customer Service: 9.43
Besides the giant, lit Barrett’s Haunted Mansion sign on the road, the first thing you will notice is the abundance of parking lot attendees helping guide you where you need to go. The parking lot is shared with the Abington Ale House, so the attendees have to ask if we are here for the haunted house or the restaurant.
After I parked in the giant lot that they now have behind the compound, it was practically impossible for me to not know where I was suppose to go. The ticket booth is a big shed, complete with a ten foot tall devil head you walk into and begin your epic journey of the night. A goblin character welcomes you into the mouth of the demon. Most people believe they are walking directly to the ticket counter, but they are taken by surprise to find out that even the ticket booth is a haunted attraction! Before reaching the line to purchase our tickets, we were treated to a little two room mini haunt. Barrett’s began this tradition long ago, but the layout changes every year and it’s always a great, free way to start the night. If anything, it gives people a small taste of what’s to come and the ones who can’t handle it leave and make more room for us in the waiting line.
The staff are always friendly and helpful. I make sure to go back to the front desk and thank them for putting on such a great show and they are always more than willing to talk to me about the production.
If the haunts themselves weren’t great enough, their waiting areas are entertaining as well. The Compound’s waiting line is practically another section of the haunted house with less actors. The waiting line for the Mansion is a covered pavilion with a whole bunch of original queue line actors. While I wait in line, they usually have a television screen overhead playing clips from different horror movies. In between clips, they show commercials for Barrett’s Haunted Mansion and go over the rules of what isn’t allowed in the attraction. Although, you will be told the rules before entering each attraction by one of the talented and dedicated cast members.
With the addition of the Compound, now the whole attraction just feels incredible. The Manor itself was always a fun sight to see when driving by. Now they have this giant structure with smoke and hanging lights that everyone can see from the road to the restaurant and the whole parking lot.
Pulling into the parking lot, I can’t help but let out a little ‘wow’ every time I visit. Barrett’s knows how to make their relatively little space seem ten times bigger. Hardcore metal played from within the Compound while ghostly horror music played around the Mansion. All year long, the Mansion has life-sized skeletons posed as if they are crawling all over the walls from the outside. During haunt season, they naturally have lights pointing up at the skeletons casting shadows high up on the walls.
The friendliness of the staff brought a good balance with the creepiness of the characters before I entered the attractions. Plus, with the ambiance of the restaurant patio overlooking the Mansion, it’s very hard to feel like you are ever in real danger outside of the attractions. The best way I can describe the atmosphere of Barrett’s is ‘Fun!’ They will scare you and terrify you, but you are constantly reminded outside of the attractions that horror is just another great way to have fun with friends.
Special Effects: 9.28
Without even paying for it, I was treated to a very unexpected air cannon in the little mini haunt at the ticket booth. It’s placed exactly where it should be, right when you think it’s over. Come to think of it I can’t remember another air cannon inside the haunt anywhere, which is good because I think they are very overused and very rarely mix with the scenes they are put in.
Fog and outdoor lights are the main effects of The Compound. Going into most haunted attractions, I look at fog as a spectral mist. But, in the Compound, it feels more like steam from a broken engine or machine and sometimes looks more like the burning smoke from human flesh.
In the Mansion, this year’s theme involves an elevator. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let’s just say I warned you to hold on tight. One of the more impressive effects I witnessed was a deer on the meat cutting table in the cabin scene. Usually I find scenes and props depicting animal harm to be very tasteless, but this was a first for me. The way the deer moved and it’s placement really sold the idea that I had actually been transported into a crazy, backwood killer’s cabin. The Mansion even has a Krampus-themed room where snow falls all over. Before I went into the basement of the Mansion, there was a room that looked like the lobby of a hospital. One of the windows to an examination room had nothing but silhouettes of hands clawing at the glass.
I would have to say my favorite effect would be the airbag tunnel. As a frequent haunt goer, I go through at least thirty airbag tunnels a season, so it’s even surprising to me that I would choose this as my favorite. The thing that makes it better than others is the fact that it also has a squishy floor to walk through. The first thought that goes through my head when I walk on these floors is ‘I’m going to fall’ and followed by ‘Ew, I’m going to fall into human body parts and fluids.’ Naturally, I try my best to get out of these messes as quickly as possible, but the airbags made it difficult to do so, as well as made it impossible to even see what I was stepping on. This ended up giving me a little more quality time with the squishy floor to truly appreciate all the little gross things I thought I was walking in.
Barrett’s loves to change their theme every year. This year, they toy with the number 26 to honor the twenty sixth season of operation. It’s been a few years since they let their age be a character in their themes. 2008 was their 18th season and they based their theme off of a restricted room numbered ’18.’ The next year, they had a frozen room and they called it ’19 Below.’ But, the tradition is always one or two rooms dedicated to the central theme of the year while practically nothing from the previous year stays the same.
This year focuses on the mysterious 26th floor of a hotel. The lobby of the hotel looks amazing and they even have a little hallway leading into the elevator. The elevator itself is a room along with the tiny hallway of the 26th floor with four room doors I had to pick from to move forward. This is technically four rooms Barrett’s has created in direct relation to this year’s theme and, therefore, the most space I’ve ever seen them use for the central theme. The creative part of me wants to believe that the 26th floor actually has all of the crazy rooms that I went through. The cabin room, the pirate ship room and the spider tunnel could easily all be insane rooms on some sort of horrific interdimensional portal that exists on this floor. Individually, all of the rooms played with their respected themes very well. There was nothing that looked out of place and everything was appropriate.
The Compound is a post-apocalyptic-style village of a sort. Although, some parts of the compound didn’t feel like they were matching up to this theme. The school house, the carnival and the laser swamp don’t strike me as places I would find in a nuclear disaster-ridden village. Yet, at the same time, they were some of the coolest scenes in the entire attraction. All in all, I feel safe saying the theme is well-played-out in the Compound. The Mansion uses theme better than most haunted attractions I’ve been to, but they quickly change the theme constantly throughout the house.
Fright Effect: 8.77
Every year that I go to Barrett’s I’m thoroughly impressed by the actors and the design of the scenes. This is one of the best years I’ve ever seen when it comes to character commitment and set details. Most rooms, both in the Mansion and outside in the Compound, seem to have a creepy character to distract me while a shocking character scares me from another angle. Even when an actor was alone in their respective scenes, it was never just a simple pop out, scream and walk away. If the actors aren’t enough to get someone’s attention, they have plenty of different special effects designed to creep you out in more ways than one. I can absolutely say that there is something frightening for everyone inside the walls of Barrett’s Haunted Mansion and Compound.
Standard ticket prices cost $30. The Compound will take about 5 minutes while the Mansion averages about 7 Minutes. This leaves the attraction with a MPD (minutes per dollar) rating of 0.4. Usually people spend about a dollar a minute. A rating of 0.4 means you are getting just under 30 seconds of entertainment for each dollar you spend. However, it is tough to judge when exactly the entertainment starts at Barrett’s. The free haunt at the ticket booth? The waiting line at The Compound? Even the waiting line at the Mansion can be great entertainment that, technically, you are paying for. Plus, the quality of the haunt I experienced is not to be missed and it can feel much longer than twelve minutes. Not to mention the amazing deal you can get on Sundays through Thursdays with their ‘Bite and Fright’ package. Choose from a variety of meals at the Abington Ale House and get a ticket to the Mansion, all for just $40 Dollars! Tax and tips are included in the $40!
Bottom line is that, although you may not spend too much time physically inside the haunted attractions you will enjoy yourself and be blown away by one of the best productions in all of New England.
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