Maniacs in the Woods – Full Review

Maniacs in the Woods is a Haunted Attraction located in Warren, OH.

2619 Hoagland Blackstub Road, Warren, OH 44484
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Haunt Type(s):

Charity HauntHaunted Trail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, You will NOT be touched, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, All-Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 2, 2021 by Team Cleaverland.

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Final Score: 7.89

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You’ll never guess what we found at Maniacs in the Woods, so we’ll just tell you.

There were Maniacs! In! The! Woods!

And we had a fun time meeting them and running from them! This is an all-volunteer charity attraction in Warren, Ohio (near Youngstown) benefitting a local Boy Scout troop.

We were impressed with the quality here. They’ve been around for five years. They know what’s in their wheelhouse and they deliver a creepy trail with solid scares and a good deal of inventive fun.

And, of course, this should go without saying; but what a seriously great name for a haunt.

Cast: 8.31

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We thoroughly enjoyed the all-volunteer troupe of local high schoolers.

There were nearly 30 of them, which seemed like plenty, but we were told there are sometimes up to 40 actors. The night of our visit, though, was the coordinated homecoming evening of most schools in the area, so they were down a bit. Many more of them and we might have felt completely overwhelmed!

We loved the mute clowns outside the trail. They pantomimed their thoughts through actions and gestures very effectively. And that happened on the trail, too:

While there were some screamers and yellers, there were also a couple of whisperers and a great many who didn’t make a sound but threatened with proximity, physicality (no touching), and/or sinister staring. Just like the quiet super-pro actors at Netherworld!

Setting the tone in the very first scene, Krampus materialized out of the woods, swooping around and brandishing his horns. After the initial shock, the holiday haunter was joined by another ghastly goon who appeared with the same mysterious suddenness.

Soon after we had a pack of four or five creatures pursuing us into the dark, the most persistent being a ghoul rattling its chains on the ground. Another dynamic duo was the shotgun shack crazy lady who did indeed wield a shotgun and was shortly joined by a witch for a scarily threatening encounter.

Soon enough we encountered a couple more clowns, a towering skeleton, a chainsaw operator, a plague doctor, an undead pirate crew, and a tall, convincing Michael Myers. That’s some good variety!

Costuming: 7.93

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Costumes were fairly basic, with a few exceptions, but nothing that distracted from the experience.

This was one of those places that makes its darkness work for it by encouraging suggestiveness from the patrons’ own expectations. Sometimes it’s scarier not to see completely what is confronting you and your mind’s eye has to fill in the details.

That said, the outside clowns, Krampus, and the skeleton giant looked great, and Michael looked just right. Faces seemed to be pretty evenly split between masks and paint jobs.

There were a couple of instances where actors wore hoodies or sneakers, but even that kind of worked for the milieu here. It contributed to the ‘are the freaks from that movie The Strangers following us?’ vibe.

Customer Service: 8.64

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The attraction was not tough to find. GPS directioning was straightforward and there’s a flashing sign out front. Lots of parking space is on a standard asphalt lot, the benefit of being next to a park.

We are maniacs for real live bathrooms at haunts. So nice having access after a couple of hours in the car. Being park-adjacent, this place had ’em! There’s no website, but apparently, these woods are WiFi-friendly as you’ll find these Maniacs on Facebook and they’re quite responsive.

The food folks and staff members are very friendly types, which you’d expect at a charity place. Maniacs and their potential victims can work up an appetite. They’ve got you covered here with a food stand doling out hot and cold drinks, and substantial snacks like soft pretzels and hot dogs. We chowed down on a pepperoni roll and it was yummy!

The trail is quite dark in spots. The way forward is often marked by glow sticks on the ground. We found it hard a couple of times to pick up the next move, and one of those times a monster pointed the direction for us. (Of course, this is part of and enhances the ambiance and special effects, too!)

The normal obstacles of an outdoor trail like roots and uneven ground are in play. Good footwear is certainly recommended. Don’t be one of those doinks who show up in crocs or flip-flops. You’re making it way too easy for the maniacs to catch you!

Atmosphere: 5.08

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Well, here’s where the attraction falls a little short compared to most other places. There’s not too much going on here besides the dark and foreboding environment, unlike many haunts these days that fully have embraced the dance club way of doing things. But hey, it’s called Maniacs in the Woods, not Maniacs at the Disco.

Three wandering clowns delivered a lot of silent entertainment before and after enjoying the trail.

For a bit of freaky fun, the light switches were enhanced by a skull covering (see photo) in those bathrooms we have already called out.

Special Effects: 8.02

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For a charity place, there was an awful lot going on effects-wise. This seemingly simple walk through the woods was enhanced all over the place. The very first set was neat but a little puzzling at first, a Christmas scene complete with stockings… as puzzling as that is, until Krampus showed up!

The lighting was effective. It spotlighted props and sets (misdirecting in some instances for a good scare opportunity), chased away the thick darkness in spots, and forebodingly called us forward when it came to the trailblazing glow sticks. Electric candle lights posted on a wooden bridge provided an eerie accent.

As with most trails, the walkthrough went into some basic structures. These were well designed and decorated. We walked past a ticket booth staffed by a zombie or skeleton puppet, can’t remember which.

An especially unnerving part of the trail took us through clothespinned sheets. This brought up any number of movie moments, including Michael standing in the yard in Halloween. Lo and behold, Michael showed up shortly thereafter.

It’s always nice to see that venerable chestnut, the ol’ honking headlights car gag. We feel fine calling it out here because we don’t think you’ll see it coming at all!

They even had a laser swamp here that was nicely executed. Some impressive puppets and props appeared throughout, especially the dark angel wielding a massive sword. Most impressively, a full pirate ship makes an appearance!

Sound effects were used sparingly — mostly by way of some recorded voice parts. Instead, patrons’ screams (plenty of which came from us) cut through the night, and in a regular cadence, the blat of an air horn announced another party starting on its way through the dark trail.

Theme: N/A

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The theme is that there are Maniacs! In! The! Woods!

Aside from that (a premise they really deliver on), it’s a romp through some scary woods via a series of horrific scenes and vignettes.

Scare Factor: 8.4

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Buncha high school kids at a charity haunt can’t scare us, right? Right?!

Uh, wrong.

We yelped and shrieked several times. They got us coming and going. An impressive variety of scare techniques were on display. It started with the woods themselves, dimly lit and mostly quiet until just the right moment. The silence, with only the sound of our shoes crunching leaves underfoot, was unnerving in spots.

Then, whammy! Someone shot out of the darkness for the scare kill. Only that wasn’t all of it, no sir. There were lurkers, chasers, tormentors. Michael followed us silently for a good long way toward the end. The cast knew these woods and picked their spots well.

One guy wearing a skull mask sat on his haunches looking like a prop. This actor sat very still, which initiated the routine ‘is that a prop or not?’ convo between us guests. We passed, looked back a couple of times, still sitting there looking forward. Looked again, the head was turned and looking at us. Looked a last time, the actor had vanished. Very cinematic, very scary.

The car gag mentioned in Special Effects got us good. Ditto the large prop-looking thing that came after us a good while after we had walked past it. That was a pants-peeing moment, followed by roars of nervous laughter. Excellently conceived, planned, and executed!

Like most of the scares here, it seemed well thought-out and designed. Clearly, there was a lot more going on here than ‘darkness scary, jump out and go boo.’ And it worked!

Entertainment & Value: 8.02

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Our run-in with these forested lunatics lasted 15 minutes. With a $10 admission ($6 for those under age 12), that calculates out to an MPD (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) of a healthy 1.5.

Worth it? You bet! That’s a bargain price for enjoying mutely threatening clowns in line, then an inventive and scary-fun trail, plus the chance to cram a pepperoni roll in your face right after. No joke, many larger pro haunts could take some pointers from these folks.

If you go in with the right attitude, we don’t see how anyone but a Halloween Grinch looking for a party-central atmosphere could be disappointed. They nail the important parts — it’s scary and fun. The trail is creatively designed and staged and brought to life by a crafty and engaging cast.

Go and enjoy. One more time: what’s in the woods? There are Maniacs! In! The! Woods!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.84 out of 10

Andrew – 10/10October 19, 2021
Amazing super fun for all ages i will definitely work here.

Aaron – 10/10October 2, 2021
Such a great time, for the price alone it’s worth it but as a grown man I almost peed myself. 8ft …show more tall creatures and chainsaws you’d never see coming. Horror from start to finish. We will be back year after year. Check these guys out.

Brian – 10/10October 17, 2020
Awesome time. So many scares and so well put together. Go check them out!!!!!

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