Nightmare Acres CT – Full Review

Nightmare Acres CT is a Haunted Attraction located in South Windsor, CT.

240 Governors Hwy, South Windsor, CT 06074
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Haunt Type(s):

Haunted Trail


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Paid Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Food/Concessions, You will NOT be touched, Original Characters, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line

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This attraction was reviewed on October 12, 2018 by Team Hallowoosh.

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Final Score: 8.52

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Wow, this place is a hidden gem if I’ve ever seen one! Connecticut seems to be stacking up the surprises this year. Nightmare Acres at Nomad’s Outdoor Adventure in South Windsor brings scares I didn’t think I’d ever see.

Tucked back into the woods beyond the zip line and ropes course is one of Connecticut’s newest and most elaborate haunts! Every inch of me knows that this will be a haunt everyone will be talking about in the coming years.

Up until 2017, Nightmare Acres operated in a corn maze and was conveniently called Nightmare Corn Field (because of the corn, I think). Now, in their second season deep in the woods, I can comfortably say they are well on their way to becoming one of New England’s best attractions.

Cast: 8.4

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They have a good crew of actors over at Nightmare Acres. I appreciated how they spaced them out based on their talents. The haunt started with a haunted house and almost every actor in there had some form of dialogue and was committed to their character. A few pop-out scare actors did their job before I ran into some more stand-out actors.

I loved Uncle Gus and his transformed school bus into a semi-functional mobile home. Everyone that came through got a piece of his mind, complete with insults and threats and plenty of hillbilly humor. He tried to convince me that I forgot to ring the doorbell before entering his humble abode, but I don’t believe him.

Eventually, I ran into Lacinda the Witch. She was practically a witch version of Uncle Gus. Constantly trash talking everyone that came through and threatening to cut off pieces of the guests to add to her stew or potion. The crowd somehow piled up high by this point in the attraction and there was easily 30 guests walking through her scene, but she didn’t let up a bit. Every guest felt her witchy wrath.

I can’t talk about Nightmare Acres without mentioning Peaches the Clown. They were one of, if not the star of the show. There were quite a few clowns in the carnival tent. Other than the contortionist (which was awesome!), Peaches made me feel like I was about to get murdered by an actually crazy clown. His laugh and movement made me move around him very carefully. I’ve seen a lot of clown-themed haunts and a lot of them bore me to tears, but Peaches, the contortionist, and a handful of other crazy clowns really made it one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve ever been too.

Costuming: 8.91

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There was such a wide variety of costumes and makeup that it was hard to tell if it was all designed by the same group of people. With the exception of maybe one actor in the haunted house, everyone else in the scene was more or less ratty-looking. Frizzed hair and dark smudge-type makeup with old and dusty or stained clothes.

Quite a few of the actors were in masks, but hardly any of them were of the cheap store brands. One masked actor got me pretty good with just a swift ‘Raa!’ and he was wearing an evil bunny mask. In my defense, I was focused on a cool-looking prop and he came out of nowhere.

I loved a giant deer/horse skull character who was seemingly fitting in with a scarecrow alley and then suddenly moved. On stilts and wearing a whole bunch of mesh and what looked like a real animal skull for a head, this was probably my favorite costume of the night. His master, it seemed, was some kind of witch doctor with a glowing orb in a staff. He was sporting a grand headdress complete with little bones all over it.

Much like the rest of the haunt, the clowns were a good mix of mask and makeup actors. Some had onesie clown jumpsuits, others with traditional carnie attire. I always find this to be an appropriate style for a clown theme since the vibe is always chaotic in nature, so the design should be all over the place as well. The multiple colors of a clown haunt suggest a feeling of acceptance, therefore the grease paint psychos and the hard plastic face shield psychos can all live in lunatic harmony (that was beautiful and you know it).

Customer Service: 7.87

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Nightmare Acres seemed to be catching no breaks when it came to letting people know where they were. I had never heard of Nomads up until a year ago. What I had no clue about was the fact that Nomads has 2 locations, with their main building being a family fun arcade center, and a little down the road was their outdoor adventure park.

Naturally, I walked into the main building thinking there was some haunt set up inside or around the facility. No one I talked to had a clue what I was asking for. Outside, I found a few workers from the warehouse on the other side of the building and figured to ask them… not expecting they would know much either. I explained to them how this attraction said it was located at Nomads and one of them recollected that they thought Nomads had another spot down the street.

Sure enough, I drove down the street to the next intersection, pulled into an almost empty parking lot, and noticed one guy in a folding chair wearing a reflective vest. If I didn’t know any better I would have just said, ‘There’s a weirdo sitting in a chair over there, drive away fast!’ But, I drove all the way there and was hell-bent on finding this place.

I pulled up to him, expecting him to stand up and greet me and tell me where to go, but he didn’t. After a few seconds of blank stares at each other, it literally took me these words to get a reaction out of him, ‘I’m assuming you are a parking attendee for an attraction that might be happening somewhere in this vicinity?’ and he finally stands up and says, ‘Yes sir, that’ll be $5 please.’ I almost lost it; I had to pay for parking to an event I still didn’t even know was a real thing. No surprise, Nightmare Acres was a very real thing and I ended up figuring it all out.

This year, I already knew where to go and a few signs posted in the streets helped as guides. Usually, they have a big banner posted on the side of a big wooden barn right on the main street. Unfortunately, it was stolen. But, they did have plenty of lights illuminating the parking area, pretty much the only thing in the whole area with any lights really. They even had a big ogre prop in the back of a pickup truck that showed me where exactly to go.

It was $3 for parking, which I am never a fan of, but it is what it is. They were parking people in what used to be their corn maze last year. It looks like they completely demolished the field.

Atmosphere: 7.6

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Nightmare Acres is unique in a way that is very unintentional. The parking and ticket booth and waiting line area offer hardly anything that suggests this is a haunted attraction experience. The banner on the side of the barn (had it not been stolen) would have been the only clue that there might be some kind of Halloween-themed area close by.

A waiting line was formed almost right where the ticket booth was located. The main entrance into the park was a dark hole in the tree line where I could barely make out any light inside. The only thing I could make out was the few survivors that slowly walked back into the light. It’s creepy and awkward at the same time. On one hand, you have no idea what is to be expected in the total darkness and the fact that hardly any sound is echoing through the woods is concerning. On the other hand, we can see the people coming back out of the woods not looking like they just came out of a haunt.

Once I was let into the woods, I saw all the ropes course platforms and ladders hanging above me. This was obviously a great place for something terrifying to happen, but nothing came flying down at me. Further and further into the trail with little to no light, I started to make out where all the fuss was and, just then, I was startled by a giant explosion coming from that area.

The excitement came back and I found the main area where the haunt was. For a moment, I thought that the whole attraction was going to be a long walk through the woods. Then the creepy music and pumpkin displays came out of nowhere. To begin the haunt, I had to walk into a shed that actually looks and feels like some crazy maniacs might actually live in it. Considering it’s in the middle of the woods, it made it feel that much more real.

Special Effects: 9.04

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First thing I heard at Nightmare Acres was a very loud explosion. I actually thought maybe something terrible just happened. Later it was confirmed to me it was just a giant air cannon (or a ‘duck cannon’ I think). It was funny, though, because a whole group of girls who were standing in line behind me heard the blast and, just like an acapella group, they all went ‘Oh Heeeeeeellll nah!’ at the same time.

This attraction didn’t rely on special animatronics at all. I think the only one I could find was a screaming baby in a crib, and I’m not so sure it was an electric speaker doing the screaming because it sounded very real, if anything… very different and not distorted.

There were a few spots in the carnival tent where fog played a major role. Laser lights and dance floor lights illuminated my surroundings and made it feel very claustrophobic and freaky… especially when the clapper lights went off. It felt like electricity was smacking me in the face for ten seconds.

Theme: N/A

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Nightmare Acres doesn’t seem to follow any particular theme throughout the attraction. Not even so much as an introduction into the scenes. It would have been nice to hear a little dialogue about why all these disgusting deadly people roam the woods out there, but like most places, I was to leave it up to my imagination.

They did have sections that were elaborate enough to let everyone know what they were. The house that we started out in was definitely a haunted house all the way through with a living room, kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms, even an attic. Then, I was on to a creepy Greenhouse that seemed to last forever in comparison to most greenhouses I’ve gone through. The mechanic/junkyard, the witch hut and the carnival all followed their own theme very well. I knew for certain what kind of area I was in well before I entered them. The ‘What’ is figured out easily; the ‘Why’ left much to be desired.

Scare Factor: 8.74

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One of my favorite things about Nightmare Acres was their ability to take this classic, New England haunted house style that I’ve seen so many times before, and give it a look of realism. I see many haunts using chipboard for walls. More often than not, they’ve painted them all black or all white, but easily I can tell they are just cheap pieces of shredded wood walls. I could still tell that Nightmare Acres uses the same type of material, but it came with a feeling as if this is what a real home would look like if it was made of this wood. It made me step back and think for a second, and certainly made me think that maybe there are some real crazies in these walls.

The actors did a great job of providing at least some sort of entertainment to everyone around me. Most of the time, it was a great scare that consisted of utilizing their height or some kind of prop. One thing is for sure, I did not expect to see this kind of dedication when I pulled into the parking lot. They do a great job.

Entertainment & Value: 8.68

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General Admission tickets are $15 each. They do charge the Connecticut event tax, which brings it up to $16.50. It took me close to 30 minutes to walk through the whole attraction. This gives Nightmare Acres a minutes per dollar (MPD) value of 1.82, which makes Nightmare Acres one of the best-valued haunts in all of New England! I consider myself lucky to get a minute for every dollar I spend, but this is close to 2 minutes for every dollar. Although, we aren’t considering the $3 parking fee and, even if we were, it’s still a pretty good value. Plus, that’s only for one vehicle, so make it worth everyone’s while and load up your whole crew!

A food truck was there offering some classics, but also some greek options as well. They provided a free tarot card reader and a few photo opportunity areas with a haunted shed and some kind of pumpkin coffin pillar display.

In all, Nightmare Acres gave me the impression that they know how to keep this thing going in the right direction. I know they will continue to grow year after year. They cleared out a lot of space deep in the woods just to make this event happen and they’ve got the drive to make something much bigger. This place is one to keep an eye on!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 7.38 out of 10

Bryonne – 10/10October 20, 2018
Scariest haunt I’ve seen yet

Andrew – 9.3/10October 13, 2017
Amazing haunt. So many great actors. Bit of a wait, but so worth it. Not for the faint of heart or …show more children.

Phil – 9.21/10October 12, 2019
I agree with all The Scare Factor wrote in their review, however, customer service was fine, and the …show more place was easy to find in 2019 with a big sign and plenty of lights.

Best thing about this haunt is the price. It’s one of the better haunts in CT (which says a lot), and at $15 a screaming deal. If you are on a tight budget and can only afford to go to a couple, or just one haunt, this one should be on your radar.

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