Coolsprings Trail of Fear – Full Review

Coolsprings Trail of Fear is a Haunted Attraction located in Mercer, PA.

537 Franklin Road, Mercer, PA 16137
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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, Optional Games/Midway, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Indoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 24, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 7.79

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Coolspring Corn Maze and Farm Market is located in Mercer, PA. It’s a little over an hour north of Pittsburgh. Coolspring offers a fall festival with several fun activities in the day and at night, they are best known for their gigantic non-haunted corn maze that has run for 16 seasons. However, about 3 years ago, they have added the Trail of Fear attraction to their evening festivities and we were invited to check it out.

The Trail of Fear currently is not their main attraction. This is a (cue Dr. Evil voice) ‘mini’ haunt, an added attraction for the season. We clocked it at five minutes at a moderate pace. It really can’t be compared to other haunts at this time, but we are scoring based on our normal criteria and what we experienced, and not solely off of the length. If you are in the area or looking for a full evening of fun you should check it out while you are there.

Cast: 7.88

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Surprisingly, for a five-minute haunt experience, we encountered 22 actors inside. Some of them were playing double duty, popping out more than once, making it feel more like 30 actors. These numbers are closer to full haunted attraction numbers. They had one gatekeeper/line actor. This gentleman was a very jovial individual with a southern accent and a 50’s sitcom, Leave it to Beaver vibe. There was also a girl in all black sitting inside a ticket booth for the trail. She took your tokens and helped signal when the next victims would enter.

The actors did a good job of supplying a multitude of scares. There were men with chainsaws who would pop out quickly with saws blazing., clowns crawling low out of the corn, and a creepy ghost literally hanging around.

Some actors utilized dialogue such as the crazy girl who spoke in a British accent, the clown asking for change to enter the show, and the soft-spoken Wicked Witch that gave me the biggest scare. She asked ‘leaving so soon?’ ‘You must come back and try my potion.’

There were also silent monsters lurking around, aliens, a flying monkey, a jester, and two Amish children that creepily stared at us (think Children of the Corn). A comical pair of larger than life animals altered our path.

The majority of actors provided some type of startle scare, but the actors with dialogue did a great job staying in character.

Costuming: 8

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Costuming was also surprisingly good with some above-average costumes. We especially liked the large pumpkin head costume with its larger-than-life appearance and glowing eyes which made it an impressive sight. The clown costume, for the individual at the ‘ticket booth,’ was aesthetically pleasing. He also had giant clown hands adding to the overall effect. The alien’s masks looked familiar but realistic.

The costumes were fitting for the characters. The Amish children had traditional Amish garb, the jester had a normal jester outfit and hat along with a creepy clown face. Of course no haunt this season would not be complete without a pigman, 18 haunts and I swear everyone had a pigman.

The majority of characters had masks but we did notice the makeup on the wicked witch was nicely done. The traditional green face looked nice and smooth without blotching the makeup, it was not airbrush quality but very well done. We were very pleased with all the costumes we saw through the moonlit walk.

Customer Service: 9.38

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Coolspring Corn Maze was easy to find using GPS and was easily found on Google Maps. It is pretty much a straight shot up 79. A large display shows the theme of the corn maze and leads to the ticket booth. Inside as mentioned they have a plethora of fall activities. They also have concessions offering foods and drinks. Near the entrance of the corn maze is the line to the Trail of Fear.

All the individuals we met with were very pleasant and helpful.
Inside the trail, it is an all-dirt path. It is very level and we did not notice anything out of the ordinary regarding safety concerns. We did notice some muddy areas where hay was placed down to help with customers slipping.

Regarding COVID, all guests are required to wear a face mask, employees receive nightly temperature checks, sanitizing stations around the areas, social distancing, and enhanced sanitation. Due to these procedures, we felt comfortable proceeding.

Atmosphere: 7.5

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I am going to consider the atmosphere of the outside area of the haunt once inside the attraction area. Although the farm area does have a nice fall atmosphere.

Once in front of the Trail of Fear, you can hear a low track playing by the ticket booth with the girl in black. The ticket booth itself is decorated as well. A large stone sign stands above the entrance illuminated in red. Straw bales and large pumpkins sit outside the opening while screams and chainsaws flow out above the corn stalks. Simple but effective.

Special Effects: 7.51

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The trail takes place in a cornfield and the majority of what you see is corn. They do have a few scenes and special effects. They have effective use of colored lights, black lights, and strobe lights that add some pizazz to the continuous corn. Fog is also used in several places helping actors hide even easier in the trail.

Some basic poles covered in black material have pumpkins on top of them that provide an eerie look. The baby scene was original and weird, in a good way. We also liked the glowing archways that felt like they were shrinking, reminding me of the doors in Alice in Wonderland. The crystal ball had a cool effect that distracted me. They also had a mechanical hot walker, I had to look that one up, and it provided a feeling of slave labor. We did not notice any animatronics. The effects provided some additional visuals to break up the repetitiveness of the corn stalks. Simple and effective.

Theme: N/A

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Corn, pumpkin monsters, babies, witches, aliens, chainsaws, Amish people, this haunt is a mixed bag with no concise theme.

Scare Factor: 7.51

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A large number of actors kept the pace and scares strong. Almost all the scares were generated by the actors with the d������cor used as a distraction. Boo scares were pulled off pretty well as the characters could hide well in the corn mixed with the fog and light placement. Some characters wandered the trail in plain sight providing anxiety, making us wonder what they were going to do as we got near. The actors did a great job with timing. Especially the witch. As I was admiring the crystal ball the Wicked Witch had the perfect opportunity to get right behind me, as I turned around all she did was whisper to make me jump, as I was completely off-guard. This was a great mix of scares from this talented group of monsters.

Entertainment & Value: 7.95

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The Trail of Fear pass is $20, it includes the haunt, and one ‘extra activity’, pumpkin blasters or the Mechanical bull, and all of the general admission activities. General Admission offers the huge non haunted corn maze (day or night), Hay Ride, Indoor hay maze, Jumping pad, pedal tractors racetrack, 2-40 foot slides, and barnyard board games. We did not have time to partake in the activities but they did look like fun. Hopefully, next time we can try the maze. You receive a good deal of entertainment for your buck.

According to the site if you buy the $12 admission you can add the trail for $10. So it would be a better deal to buy the $20 pass. However using $10 for a 5-minute trail that comes to .5 minutes per dollar, is significantly below average, but they also have as many actors in a 15-minute haunt in that 5 minutes.

We were impressed with what Coolspring Trail of Fear had to offer. If you are just heading out to see the haunt and nothing else you may be disappointed in its length. However, if you are planning on taking in the other activities or live nearby it is worth checking out. We liked the setup and acting they had and hope in the future they can build this up bigger into a solid haunted attraction that can stand on its own. Coolspring has a lot of potential and I am interested to see where they take this haunt. They have proven they have quality over quantity.

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