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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 11, 2013.
Final Score: 8.92
Springboro Haunted Hayride has been terrorizing Lebanon, Ohio since 1989, and 2013 is no different! This year brings several new surprises to both of the attractions that you can find at this one location. Climb aboard the Haunted Hayride and experience what lurks in the woods and fields that hide behind their seemingly-innocent barn and farmhouse. Then try your hand at navigating the Black Bog, where you’ll get a more up-close and personal experience with the monsters as you walk the spooky trail! For two great attractions at one ‘killer’ price, then make sure that the Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog are on your list of attractions to visit this haunt season, where they’ll have ‘…centuries to discover what makes you scream!’
An average of 75 (combined) paid actors can be found throughout the attractions at Springboro. Each of the actors went through ‘scene training’ before the season began in order to discover which scenes would be best for them for providing scares to customers. On the Hayride, many actors boarded the wagon and made valiant attempts to be interactive with everyone! However, there were several ‘dead’ spots where additional actors could have provided some effective distractions and scares. Some of the most interactive actors were the hillbillies (one even told us a joke), the circus ringleader, and the ‘crazy lady,’ while the ‘voodoo lady,’ the ‘horned, red guy’ and Michael Myers proved to be very believable! The Black Bog seemed to be where more of the most interactive characters were at Springboro. Some of the dialogue we heard included poetry from the priest, freaky noises from the zombies and even instructions on how to make ‘the best’ barbequed human skin! But some of the dialogue wasn’t as theme-appropriate, like asking us why we were taking so long, referring to other groups catching up, and also shooing us along in order to keep other groups from catching up. One actor never said a word to us, which seemed odd given his character.
Makeup is taken care of by 4 of the haunt’s artists, some of whom can be seen (also in makeup) working the concession stand after exiting the Black Bog. We noticed a few of the actors wearing colored contact(s) which added a sinister element to their characters. We also learned that the many masks we saw while touring Springboro are a combination of purchased units and ones that are made in-house by the haunt’s staff and actors. The main downfall to the score in this category is that several actors were spotted wearing street clothes and/or incomplete costumes, which took away from their realism and believability factors. However, many of the other characters’ makeup and costumes were well-applied and complimented their characters and respective themes. The most memorable costumes were worn by the ringleader, headless horseman, priest, human-flesh-cooker, the pig, Moss Man, the zombies and Al Canib.
Customer Service: 9
Once we got close to the haunt, we noticed several signs leading us to the attraction and a black-lit sign illuminating the driveway. The parking lot is a large, grassy field that’s big enough to handle the busiest of nights and free to use, but there was only one large light illuminating the area, which made for some dark spots further away from the ticket booth. However, multiple flaggers help you find the best spot in the lot and flashing arrow signs show you how to get to the exit once you’ve had all the scares you can take! The queue area between the haunts is clean, paved and spacious, which proved to handle the crowd well during our visit. We did notice some music playing near the queue area for the hayride as well as in the concessions area, which is in the haunt’s very large, authentic and well-decorated barn. The music we found most interesting, on the other hand, came from the in-costume bagpiper that we heard occasionally working the crowd; after all, Halloween partially originated in Scotland. Also in the barn was a TV where customers can watch people going through the Bog’s vortex tunnel. The haunt’s hearse was located in front of the farmhouse, but there weren’t any lights shining on it, so it was difficult for us to check it out. Credit cards are accepted at the ticket booth and glow necklaces can be purchased there as well. Because both haunts are outside attractions, we didn’t notice any applicable emergency exit signs, but our group WAS provided with two scares on stairs in the bog, which is a partial reason for the drop in score for this category. Finally, one of the best things we liked about walking the trail was that there was a lot of mulch in place on the dirt sections of the haunt, which made for easy and smooth walking without fear of tripping on tree roots.
The signs, hearse, orange rope lights, pumpkins, corn stalks, farmhouse, barn and silos let us know we were at a farm which, during the Halloween season, means hayride! Seeing the actual tractors and wagons leaving full of people and coming back empty let us know it was the Haunted Hayride. Music was heard around the hayride queue area as well as in the barn, but the selection of music seemed as though it was more for entertainment purposes, rather than being Halloween- or haunt-related. Sound effects were heard in both the Black Bog and the Hayride, but some of the dead spaces on the Hayride could’ve been broken up with some haunt- or theme-related sound tracks. However, we noticed very few quiet spots on the trail, which increased the score for this category.
Special Effects: 8.9
The scenes and special effects at Springboro are aimed at bringing out everyone in your group’s fears at some point during your tour of these attractions. On the Hayride, you’ll find live animals, multiple types of junk vehicles, a saw mill, medieval gallows, cemeteries, flame-throwers, scents and more! In the Black Bog, you’ll experience an elevator, ‘ceiling scalps,’ electric pops, a vortex tunnel, plenty of fog, and of course, much more. Now we can’t give everything away, but we CAN tell you that there are a few special effects in these two attractions that you just won’t see anywhere else! While most of these effects were used well, they lose points for lack of theme originality.
While no specific theme is followed in either, you’ll find a variety of classic scenes and even some originals as you attempt to make your way to safety! Both attractions feature many characters and scenes that can be found at other haunted houses only with a different spin on each of them and a few original characters, scenes and themes that you won’t find anywhere else. Because of this and the fact that each of the characters and scenes made it easy for us to tell what they were supposed to be, Springboro’s score remains high. Expect the score in this category to increase with originality.
Fright Effect: 8.5
We actually noticed better hiding spots on the Hayride than we did in the Black Bog, which is quite impressive. But because many of the actors on the trail weren’t hiding, the element of surprise wasn’t utilized very well and distractions were not taken advantage of, the score in this category suffers. However, we did encounter multiple intimidating vehicle pursuits and were touched by chainsaws and knives during our visit, which intensified the scares in their respective scenes. We were also followed by several of the actors throughout both haunts, threatened with a scythe-wielding scarecrow, and discomforted by evidence of foul play with a victim stabbed on the floor begging for help! Scares were directed towards everyone in our group, which also raises the score in this category.
Each attraction at Springboro lasted close to 18 minutes, totaling at around 36 minutes for both haunts. Each attraction is also equally-priced at $12 or combo tickets can be purchased for $22… at $2 savings right off the bat! Even at $12 for 18 minutes of entertainment for one attraction, customers will definitely get what they pay for! Now take 36 minutes for $22 and you’ve got over 1.5 minutes of terrifying entertainment per dollar spent, which, combined with what we experienced inside each attraction, justifies the high score for this category! Expect the score to increase as the other scores increase in the future and be sure to visit Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog this season!