Haunted Beacon Corn Maze – Full Review

Haunted Beacon Corn Maze is a Haunted Attraction located in Renfrew, PA.

231 Beacon Road, Renfrew, PA 16053
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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, “Old-School” (Low Tech), You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 9, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 7.8

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Tucked away north of Pittsburgh, in Renfrew, Pennsylvania, lies a fifteen-acre haunted corn maze and house. It is part of The Beacon Hotel Restaurant and Bar and this is the first time we have seen a haunt connected with a restaurant. The Beacon has a rich history established in 1942. In 1995, it was remodeled to the restaurant and bar it is today. Shortly thereafter adding the haunted cornfield.

For over twenty years The Beacon Haunted Corn maze has provided a larger-than-life corn maze with a different design each year. (Per the request of the haunt, this will be a spoiler-free review, so not our normal detailed evaluation.)

Cast: 8.1

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On the hayride, to the cornfield, we encountered six devilish characters who decided to join us on our ride. A mix of clowns and cowboys intimidated the passengers using looney laughter, scary screams, gravely glares, and maybe a chainsaw.
We encountered roughly 60 actors this evening.

In the corn maze, we were nearly devoured by 50 creepers. (Side note, per management, there were around 60 actors in the maze that evening. We did not travel down every path so there is no way to provide an exact count. However, this seems accurate as we counted 48 actors.) A cornucopia (I’ve been waiting to use that pun) of characters were sprinkled throughout the maze. There were screaming skeletons, dead denizens, masked monsters, tall terrors, short shockers, comic clowns, glowing ghouls, laughing lunatics, and many more.
The majority of the actors provided jump scares. These cornfield freaks used the corn advantageously to provide jarring jump scares. These actors were exceptional at popping out of the cornfield unexpectedly. We had a few stalkers and a few blockers stopping us from proceeding.

The most unusual interaction of the night, and possibly of the season, was the ‘I Want It That Way’ (by the Backstreet Boys), Karaoke session. I guess when you are sitting out in the dark, in the middle of a cornfield for hours, you need to find new ways to entertain yourself and those around you.

The small group of actors we encountered in the haunted attraction did an excellent job. A demented doctor told us to ‘take a seat’ as her patient shouted, ‘Save yourself!’
We would have liked to have seen a little more interaction and character development with the actor’s beyond ‘boo scares’. As the actors all seem to be in their teens we felt they did a great job of providing good, unexpected scares. Their enthusiasm and dedication were remarkable. We did catch a few actors on their phones in the corn maze. In a dark maze, a cell phone screen looks extremely noticeable and gives away your hiding spot easily.

Costuming: 7.5

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Costuming seemed to be hit and miss. We saw good costuming by those on the hayride such as realistic cowboy dusters and hats and some well-made clown costumes. Inside the cornfield, it was a mix of costumes, dark clothing, and hoodies. To the untrained eye if you are not paying attention most costume details besides the masks and makeup could go unnoticed. Due to the darkness of the maze and the actor’s quick actions with some staying well covered in the corn it is very hard to see the full extent of the costumes.

The majority of characters had masks on in varying from, and there were some monstrous to light up masks, especially the red fiery mask we saw.

Customer Service: 9.13

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We had no issues arriving at The Beacon Hotel using GPS. As you arrive you will see fires set on the side of the road, lights and signs, as well as people directing traffic, and other parking attendants.

We received excellent customer service from everyone we encountered. The ticket booth attendants, gatekeepers, assistants at the hayride stations, security, and management were all super nice. For a corn maze, the trail was pretty much level with little issues. They did provide us safety warning numerous times on what not to do in the maze. The haunted house is a tighter fit with a lot of decorations but we found no issues walking through.

The Beacon Hotel has a website for their restaurant, inside there is a link to their haunt page providing current info. They are also on Facebook.

Regarding COVID, The Beacon has enforced a strict mask policy for employees and customers. Masks are to be worn at all times but can be removed if you are social distancing in the maze. They were keeping groups to a minimum of six and seemed to be separating by the party. Our group of three was kept separate from other groups. As we went through the maze we only ran into one other group who hit a dead end. The Beacon also has hand sanitizing stations near the porta-potties. We also witnessed staff members reminding everyone to keep their masks on. With these procedures in place, we felt comfortable in the haunt.

Atmosphere: 8

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The first thing we noticed when we parked was a huge, white, screen with a neon green and blue bat flapping its wings. It also had the word ‘Beacon’ written on it. There is a bonfire lit with two fire dancers performing near it. We could hear ‘This is Halloween’ playing in the background. I think this is the first time I have heard a ‘Halloween’ song at a haunt. The ticket booth and concession area are also located beside the entertainment. Unfortunately, we did not see any line actors scaring the patrons while they waited.

The atmosphere felt like a mix of fair and haunt maybe leaning more to a fair but we were excited about our venture.

Special Effects: 7.2

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There is no denying that this is a corn maze. The corn stood high above us reaching out to the night sky. The moon and stars provide the bulk of light in the maze. It was quite a beautiful site that evening. For a moment when the screams stopped and the wind breezed through it was quite serene. Ahhhhhhhhhh!!! Someone screams in your ear and then you remember why you are here.

A few places do have occasional strobe lights or bright lights to help determine where you have been and to disorient your vision after finally getting your eyes accustomed to the darkness of the corn. There is no soundtrack unless you count the people singing Backstreet Boys with the actors. The screams, yells, and taunts from the actors ricocheted through the corn. The rustling from the corn creates a question of whether it is the wind or a person. As does the sound of your footsteps as you are walking through. There are few decorations throughout, no specific scenes, or settings in the corn. Although natural, or supernatural, it provides a realism that feels organic and frightening. The natural ambiance mixed with the actor’s ability to navigate through the corn proves extremely effective. Just walking through the corn at night without actors could give an apprehensive experience.

The Haunted House portion offers more to look at. A mixed bag of themes and scenes loaded with props and d������cor give plenty to look at. It’s not quite as intricate as other haunts, this attraction, to us, is more of an ‘add on’ feature. The main attraction is the corn maze the haunted house is there to provide supplementation and give a traditional haunted house experience.

Theme: N/A

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The theme is a haunted cornfield but what monsters would you find in a haunted corn maze? Well at The Beacon just about anything. So we are considering the theme a mixed bag, and for the haunted house as well, as they produced so many various characters.

Scare Factor: 7.34

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In the maze, the scares come from the actors as there are very few props. The actors are great at jump scares, attacking from in front, behind, above, and below. Stomping, growling, screaming and laughing when you least expected it. They come from everywhere appearing and disappearing quickly through the dense corn. Sometimes teaming together, surrounding unexpected guests. They block off paths to confuse guests. Others were good at navigating the corn stalks and appearing several times providing a staff that appeared larger in numbers. We did have a few stalkers too. We had a few times an actor rattled the stalks making us look one way so someone on the other side could catch us by surprise. It was all effective but we would have liked a little more acting variety and depth as mentioned. After the 20th or 30th scream, yell, growl, it does feel a little repetitive.

The haunted house added more prop scares and slightly more acting which was appreciated.

Entertainment & Value: 8.12

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The Beacon Haunted Attraction offered roughly 30 minutes of haunt time (we navigated the maze in 26 minutes) and 40 minutes total including wait times and a 7 minutes non-haunted hayride portion. At $20 for general admission that is 1.5 minutes per dollar of haunt time, which is above the average for the area.

They also offer a free bonfire, music, and entertainment. Concessions are offered at an additional price and their restaurant was open too. Online, I saw a haunt menu listed and we were excited to check it out but since it was so late they were on a limited menu. We did have a good burger and pizza before we left.

The Beacon Haunted Corn Maze and Haunted House have the largest haunted corn maze we have set foot in. It’s full of energetic actors that enjoy what they do, providing a scary fun time. It is easy to see why they have been around for over 20 years.

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