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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 6, 2012.
Final Score: 8.89
Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog located at Bull Run Farms is in their 23rd year of business for the 2012 season! During the summer, a kids summer camp called Discovery Farm takes place here but when fall approaches, the farm turns into a darker place. Scarecrows begin to come to life, headless men ride horses, and many different creatures diverge into the 60 acres of Bull Run Farms and wait for you! Don’t let this fool you though, there are plenty of frights and sights for all ages. Springboro Haunted Hayride prides themselves on remaining a kid friendly attraction. A tractor will lead you and your friends/family on a journey that will submerge you into the dark and awry paths within this haunted farm. On the other hand, the farm’s other attraction, Black Bog is moderately scarier than the hayride. You will venture by foot down into these marshy bottom lands only to discover that the things which appear to be inanimate might really be much more alive than you think! If you are looking for an attraction suited for the entire family in southwestern Ohio, make sure Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog are on your list where they will be waiting to scare the ‘yell’ out of you!
There are 100 paid employees that make up the characters, tractor drivers and other staff running the attractions at the farm. This dedicated cast has several ‘zone leaders’ who are responsible for making sure everyone is up to date on safety, scaring, and training before the haunt season begins. You won’t see many movie monsters here. Most of the characters are original, which helped in making them believable and staying in context with the theme. All characters and creatures we encountered on the hayride seemed to make sense with the theme but some weren’t as interactive as others. From time to time we would be rolling through a scene and they would jump on the wagon to warn us of something or tell us what they were going to do with us, and abruptly jump off the wagon and head back to their scenes. Others would run around the wagon, jumping up on it multiple times, and continued to chase us as we started to approach the next scene making these actors more memorable and interactive with everyone on the wagon. Characters we came across in the Bog were more intense, but some of them needed stronger dialogue which would help to improve this score. Several of the actors just stood there or hit their weapons on something when they could have had strong dialogue to intensify their characters and become more interactive with the group. Michael Myers was a very memorable character at this attraction since his build was perfect for the part and he held a knife to several of our group member’s throats. Some of the other memorable characters were the headless horseman, combine driver, the bush, Mr. Moss, Scarecrow who was sneaky with his scythe, Hillbilly announcer, and the frantic elevator attendant.
Costuming is a mixture of both made and purchased and later modified attire. Most of the costumes throughout the attraction had great attention to detail, even the machinery drivers! Most of the costuming is original, which helps bring the characters and their scenes to life! Makeup is applied in-house using a combination of airbrushed and traditional features. Masks were also present where needed and helped us identify the characters that were using them. Some of the costuming, makeup and masks could’ve used a bit more detail, but this could possibly take the attraction past the point of being family-friendly, so they’re not intended to be as scary looking as possible.
Customer Service: 9.08
As you approach the farm, small signs can be seen at stops and intersections pointing you in the right direction. Once you have arrived, staff with lighted wands will wave you towards the parking area which is a large, dark, grassy field. Parking is $2.00 per vehicle and several portable restrooms are located along the driveway from the parking area. As you wait in the ticket line, unique entertainment is provided by amazing bikers performing stunts on competition-style platforms and ramps! Friendly staff can be located at the ticket booth and at the entrance to each haunt in case you have any questions. The Black Bog is the only haunt that is navigated on-foot, but all stairs, steps and uneven ground are painted fluorescent colors and well-lit for easy visibility. The Haunted Hayride is obviously a hayride that takes you through the woods and across several creeks. The height of the railing on the wagons seemed to be a good middle-point between keeping customers safe and allowing the actors to be able to jump over them with relative ease. However, be assured that all safety codes and inspections are up-to-date for the 2012 haunt season! Across from the ticket booth is a very large barn where concessions can be found offering food, drinks, t-shirts, and plenty of covered seating!
From a distance, things appear to be dimly lit as the lights cast shadows onto the big white farm house that sits near the entrance of the ticket booth, making this an eerie place to look at as you pull in. The attraction’s hearse is parked in front of the house giving it an even creepier look. The haunts are actually located on a farm making this an excellent enhancement to the theme and since this is a family friendly location, there aren’t many scary things going on to get you prepared for what you may encounter. As we approached the ticket line, various music tracks were playing, but Halloween-themed music would help make the atmosphere even more suspenseful. However, you will notice hay wagons loading and unloading riders, and a hillbilly announcer who gives you a heads up on what the rules of the ride are, which make you anxious to start your trip. Sound effects were used in various areas throughout both attractions and most were actually real sounds coming from vehicles, flames, weapons, chainsaws and farm machinery! Recorded sound effects were also found in between scenes in both haunts which impressed us because not many haunts do this in between sets, but it helped hold the suspense from one experience to the next. Another great aspect to their atmosphere is their huge barn where the concessions are located that is nearing 150 years old! This adds the final touch of authenticity to the attraction and is something you won’t find at many other haunted houses!
Special Effects: 8.82
Special Effects used throughout the attractions are both built and bought. Unlike indoor attractions, they have the advantage to use motorized effects that you will experience on your journey including their 5 to 6 tractors they normally run a night! This haunt also used effects we haven’t seen before such as their live horse and deuce-and-a-half military truck to their rustic combine, double flame thrower, and bridge-covered paths through the marshlands. The realistic details found in each scene shows the amount of time spent and is inspiring for a haunted hayride and trail. Many other impressive things can be seen at this attraction including a very vertiginous vortex tunnel, hearse in the air, cave tunnel, unnerving elevator, and a hearse you must crawl through! Most of these elements were effective on their own but more distraction from some of the cast members or multiple vehicle chases at one time would help improve their scariness.
Each attraction at Bull Run Farms has it’s own unique theme. Springboro Haunted Hayride is a family friendly attraction, therefore the theme is just that, a haunted hayride. As you are guided through this one mile journey, you will come across witches, maddened machinery, a junkyard that isn’t just what it appears to be, and much more excitement! Your trek through the Black Bog will be a bit more in-your-face and represents creatures you would expect to find in the marshy, less traveled areas of a farm. Both haunts are located on a real farm which adds authenticity to the theme as well as the Bog actually being in a wooded, marshy area. Though most of the scenes and characters were in context with the theme, there were just a few that didn’t make sense to us such as the Drag Queen in the Bog and the elevator that takes you to the cave although it still was quite an experience!
Fright Effect: 8.4
Though the hayride is a family friendly attraction, don’t let this fool you! Unlike the Bog, you will experience this journey on a safe hay wagon where the actors are not allowed to touch you, but still get very close! They use a different approach in providing scares such as frantic chases by a human-harvesting combine, a headless horseman, and other intimidating vehicles to wicked stares from wretched witches and sudden explosions. The Bog is traveled by foot, making this attraction even creepier than it sounds! The actors within these marshes are more intense and in-your-face than on the hayride. They proved to have excellent hiding spots to provide our group with scares and occasionally touched us with weapons which made the experience more penetrating! Areas with little to no characters were still encountered in both attractions but most of these areas were accented with creepy sound effects and lighting. Every now and then they would catch us off guard as we approached what we THOUGHT was dead space which made many of the scares harder to predict and provided distractions for the upcoming sets. The hay wagon moved at a steady pace on the night we visited this attraction which probably aided in a lot of the characters not being able to interact with most of the people on the ride. However the characters we encountered in the Bog didn’t just go for the front or back of the line, they went for all of us which provided scares to everyone in our group!
General admission tickets for Springboro Haunted Hayride are $12.00 and $10.00 for the Black Bog. Combo tickets for both attractions can be purchased for $20.00 saving you $2.00! During our visit, each attraction took around 20 minutes, making these tickets a great bang for your buck! However, once you include the $2.00 parking fee, your combo ticket doesn’t really give you a discount at all, but each attraction is still a very good value at their separate prices compared to other haunts in the area. Be sure to check their Facebook page for any discounts they may be offering. Entertainment offered at this attraction can be enjoyed by the whole family, so plan to jump on their hay wagon for the 2012 season!