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Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 9, 2015.
Final Score: 8.59
Bull Run Farms is in their 26th season of putting on the Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog for Lebanon, Ohio! For the 2015 haunt season, they’ve made many new changes to both attractions while keeping some of their key features, like the harrowing hearse, calamity-inducing combine and, of course, the cavernous plunge into the Bog. Climb aboard the Springboro Haunted Hayride and behold an assortment of new scenes and characters, electrical and pyrotechnic special effects and REAL vehicle chases as you wind through the corn and conifers on brand-new wagons with built-in effects of their own. Then, descend into the Black Bog, where the assumed safety of the wagons won’t protect you from the various creatures and things that “go bump in the night!” The latter will be the least of your concerns. If you’re looking for a family-friendly haunted attraction with a little something for everyone, then be sure to visit Bull Run Farms’ Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog this season!
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 8.62
Black Bog: 8.56
Around 70 actors assume their various positions along the Hayride and Black Bog trails on a typical night during “haunt season.” This number is a slight drop from last year and, combined with a small increase in both attractions’ lengths (see “Value” below), we did encounter a few “dead spots” where no actors were present in both attractions. We got a mixed batch of dialogue from the actors on the hayride, mainly depending on whether or not they boarded the wagon. The ones that DID hop on with us tended to be more verbal and interactive versus the characters that stayed on the ground and chased after the wagon, who were limited to short phrases and growls by default. The witches and the junkyard workers were among the most believable and had the most things to say during our ride! Although, we couldn’t get through without being cursed by a voodoo guy and chased by a unique, junkyard welder. The creatures we crossed paths with in the Bog seemed to be less intense in general, as quite a few of them resorted to no dialogue with creepy stares or simple (yet ear-piercing) screams as we encountered them. However, an equal number of the Bog’s actors did have scene-related scripts that intensified their characters and made for some good performances! The Skinner and the Bogeyman were undeniably the two scariest characters on the property, while the scarecrow, vampires and the elevator attendant were also very believable. The “sliders” were unexpected, given their location, but delivered some good scares and definitely had intimidating demeanors!
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 7.98
Black Bog: 7.7
Several good costumes were noticed in both attractions this year! Since Springboro uses a “worst fears” theme throughout both attractions, you’ll find everything from clowns and werewolves to voodoo people and zombies during your visit. The Haunted Hayride had a few original characters, including a couple of junkyard mechanics, a welder, and a werewolf with a unique weapon, given his species. The wolf, along with the witches and headless horseman, were noted as having some of the most notable costumes during our ride. The Bog also sports an assortment of classic and unique characters, including an elevator attendant, a clan of vampires, a unique greenhouse creature, clowns, the “Skinner,” “The Bogeyman,” and more. Even the vegetation was jumping out at us! The “sliders” were a nice addition and their black, leather apparel added an extra layer of “scary” to the scene they were in. This attraction seemed to have a few more thoroughly-crafted costumes, when compared to the Hayride, and rightly so considering the closer encounters we experienced. Unfortunately, we did encounter a few characters that weren’t as elaborate and some that were simply wearing hoodies with masks in both attractions. Around 5 makeup artists help get the actors ready each night and they’ve also got a couple of “self-serve” booths where the actors can do their own makeup. Special guest Ben Peter from FaceOff is stepping in this year to help with some of the cast’s makeup as well! As a result, we did notice a few superb makeup applications during our visit. It was hard to see some of the costumes due to the dark areas where we encountered them and, in one particular area, we noticed sharp teeth and horns protruding from an actresses head! Unfortunately, it was too dark to see her other details.
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 8.52
Black Bog: 8.77
Customer Service: 8.68
You’ll know you’ve arrived at Bull Run Farms when you see their black-light-lit “Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog” sign at the end of their driveway along with the bright, parking lot light. Speaking of parking, no fee is charged for using their massive, grass lot where multiple flaggers help keep things flowing smoothly. If you’re simply dropping off a group, they can assist you with that as well. Multiple decorated burn barrels help light the way and, combined with the owners’ well-decorated house and nearby hearse, reinforce the fact that you’re at the right place! The ticket booth and line entrances are clearly labeled and easy to find. Multiple friendly, helpful and professional staff members are stationed throughout the queue areas and more can be found in the concession barn. Brand-new wagons were constructed for this year’s Hayride and seemed to be very safe with steel-reinforced rails and lit stairs for loading and unloading their victims… err, customers! The ride was smooth in general, except for a few rough spots when crossing the creek, but nothing that was unsafe by any means. Our trek through the Bog was equally uneventful, but watch your step when climbing the few sets of stairs and ramps that are present. When that malevolent time comes and it’s time to leave, there are lit, flashing arrows pointing towards the exit of the parking lot, which is nice, as its location isn’t clearly known to newcomers that don’t already know where it is.
The Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog take place at Bull Run Farms, which is pretty evident upon arrival. Parked in front of the farm house was the haunt’s hearse, letting us know haunt season was in full swing at the farm! The atmosphere at Springboro is very family-friendly. There isn’t any scary décor in the central area besides the entrance to the Bog’s queue area and, instead, you will see traditional fall décor consisting of pumpkins, corn stalks, etc. The screams emitting from the Hayride’s woods, engine roars, and the red, glowing eyes of the tractors helped in growing our anticipation to hop aboard the ride! The queue area for the Bog was accompanied by the custom, aforementioned sign that led to a darker waiting area than the hayride. You can tell that the Bog is a more sinister attraction just by standing near its entrance!
Special Effects: 8.81
Springboro creates and builds many of their own special effects, so it’s likely that you’ll encounter plenty of things you haven’t seen anywhere else. First off, we’d like to start by giving credit to those behind the addition of sound effects to the hayride in a very unique and effective manner! No matter where we were along the hayride, or what scene we were in, realistic sounds of the wilderness filled the air the entire time! Authentic sound effects were also encountered in the Bog, especially in the cave area, along the overgrown walkway section and throughout the toxic region. Appropriate lighting was encountered in both attractions, although it was a bit dark in some areas which made it difficult to see some of the character’s attributes. Some of the effects that we crossed paths with on the hayride involved irate vehicles, a live horse, giant, distinctive scare crows, fog, smoke, poppers, real explosions and effective usage of Co2! Within the Bog, we started off with what they referred to as a “normal” ride that lead us down to their other effects which were comprised of caverns, a disorienting vortex tunnel, realistic dwellings (with curtains blowing in the windows), a man-slicing saw, an eerie graveyard and more! In contrast to the Hayride, the Bog’s sound effects were effective, when heard, but basically non-existent in a few areas.
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 8.97
Black Bog: 8.64
Springboro has hand-picked a collection of classic scares that spring to life right before your eyes, and boy did they pick a variety this season! They have also thrown in some of their own originality in with these frights, so you just never know what they may throw at you! After you leave Springboro this season, you may be checking under your bed orin your closet more often! Both attractions followed this theme very well, although we did come across a few things in the Bog that seemed a bit out of place. Some of the fears that they preyed on include arachnophobia (fear of spiders), witchcraft, vehicle pursuits, being eaten alive, coulrophobia (fear of clowns), nyctophobia (fear of the dark), arsonphobia (fear of fire), claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces) and you will even come face-to-face with the Bogeyman himself. It’s true; he does exist! And, apparently, he has a strong desire for small children.
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 9.13
Black Bog: 9.09
Fright Effect: 7.97
Overall, we believe that more scares and scare techniques continue to be found within the Black Bog. However, more distractions were used on the hayride this season and, when combining those with its more aggressive finale, the Hayride has received a bit of a higher score in this category this season. Some of the different types of frights that we encountered on the hayride include a headless pursuit, multiple chainsaw confrontations, creepy glares, run-ins with classic fears, unexpected explosions and we were even hunted down by multiple vehicles! Some of the creatures residing within the wilderness also menacingly stalked the wagon, which had us all wondering what they were up to. Some of the various scare techniques that we came across while roaming the Bog included more disturbing stares, additional stalkers, unnerving sounds, ear-piercing screams, pitch black areas and multiple confrontations with monsters who made our review group’s skin-crawl as we tried to make our way out of their scenes as fast as we could! They even tricked us into doing something that made one of the creatures go berserk; if you fall for the same trick, you will know its wrath too!
Springboro Haunted Hayride: 8
Black Bog: 7.94
General admission prices at Springboro continue to remain the same as previous seasons at $12.00 per attraction or $22.00 for combo tickets. Our group was on the hayride for 21 minutes and it took us another 20 minutes to traverse the bog, giving us a total of 41 minutes of entertainment! This brings their value to an aggressive 1.86 minutes of entertainment per dollar spent! Group times will vary for the Bog depending on how fast you run or how long it takes you to escape the creatures within! It is becoming harder and harder to find entertainment that serves the whole family, but we think Springboro is one of the haunts that still does. Since you have the option to only purchase tickets to one attraction, it makes it easier on the wallet if you only want to go to one. There were quite a few younger children in line for the hayride, so you may consider taking the little ones for a spooky ride this Halloween season. If you’re looking for something darker and more personal where the creatures will get closer to you, then give the Black Bog a try. Either way, make your way down to Bull Run Farms’ Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog this season for frights with the whole family!
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