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Team Scary Potter and the Hauntwarts Express reviewed this attraction on October 23, 2015.
Final Score: 8.09
Welcome to Camp Spookynaw, Oxford, PA’s haunted attraction. Featuring three different chilling experiences – Shriek of the Scarecrow, The Witches and Wizards Tour, and Beneath Cabin 13, Spookynaw’s twisted tale of an evil witch who has trapped the campers in eternal nightmares unfolds before your eyes. Can you save the campers? Are you brave enough to defeat the witch? Can you awaken the last dragon protector? Head out to Camp Spookynaw this Halloween season and prepare to do battle.
IMPORTANT NOTE – We did not experience the hayride or portions of the Tour during our visit (an explanation is presented in the Customer Service section), but we have done our best to evaluate the sections that we did get to experience.
The cast of Camp Spookynaw really surprised us – even considering the circumstances in which we encountered them, most of the actors were very enthusiastic and persistent. Our enigmatic guide, Seraph, was equal parts charming, helpful and mysterious and definitely buoyed the experience for us. We were incredibly grateful to have her with us. Of the actual haunt actors, our favorite duo were the pair of patients introduced to us by the camp doctor. Melissa and her nameless partner in crime were quirky and entertaining, a couple of unique characters. Our banter with them surpassed the standard “boo and you’re done” quality of most haunted actors by a mile. (PRO tip – ensure that you pack an extra pair of shoes when you visit Spookynaw or you may be continuing your evening barefoot). The remainder of the actors were all sufficient in their menace, with a particularly effective werewolf standing out as especially potent. Also, the actor portraying “Granny” gave us well-appreciated shivers, and the actress in Agnes’ room was very convincingly creepy. Overall, a really adept haunting crew.
Again, makeup, masks, and costuming were definitely better than what we had expected from a smaller attraction. We saw several very demented masks that impressed us. Many of the more interactive characters had simple outfits which were appropriate for their roles. There were a few skimpy makeup jobs, but in whole, costuming was efficient and effective.
Customer Service: 0
Well, frankly, this is a mixed-bag. We arrived at 10:30 on a night that that they were supposed to be open until 11:00 to find that they were not open (and had already been closed for a half-hour). It is understandable that on a slower night it is less profitable to remain open, but there is no mention on their website that they may decide to close early on these nights (mind you: it was a Friday, during the busiest stretch of the season that we visited). “Camp Spookynaw Is Open from 7:00pm to 11:00pm on all Dates” certainly sounds set-in-stone. Popular haunted attractions receive visitors from hours (or more) away; imagine how frustrating it would be to drive two hours to visit an attraction and show up on time just to be told that the haunt spontaneously decided to close early that night. We were hugely disappointed and put-off, to say the least.
ON THE OTHER HAND, all of the employees and most of the staff were INCREDIBLY gracious and helpful to us – because of this, we were able to experience a large portion of the Tour (though not the hayride). Many of the actors stayed around and gave us their absolute best performances (it showed!); the man working the gate was extremely diligent in his attempt to get us into the attraction and we appreciate that beyond measure. To all of the actors, if you should ever read this, we say “THANK YOU.” You are literally the best, and the grace and respect that you showed us is a clear indication of the high caliber of individuals employed by Camp Spookynaw.
I, honestly, have no idea how I could possibly accurately score this category, so it will get an N/A. A big 0 for circumstance, and an 11 to the actors (especially Seraph!) and gate gentleman who saved the night for us! Thank you!!
“Spooky” certainly defines the atmosphere quite well. The dark trail, guiding us from cabin to cabin, was an imperative chaperon, ushering us along from nightmare to nightmare. The ambiance was perfect for the type of attraction that Spookynaw tries to be.
Special Effects: 7.56
Honestly, most of the major special effects seemed to reside in the sections of the attraction that we didn’t experience. From what we did see, though, the camper’s sleeping quarter section (not to give anything away) was very well done – simple, but effective, and the scope of it thoroughly enhanced the creepiness of the experience. There were several other interesting animatronic creatures that we saw – Granny’s friend and the demon in the bed-maze area we traveled were both well done. Set design was fairly weak in many areas with a lot of sparseness to prop placement, but this was largely overcome by the quality of the actors’ performances.
In theory, the storyline that is explored throughout the witches and wizards tour is a great idea – the evil witch casting a spell on the campers, locking them in nightmares, with us, the interlopers, responsible to assist in saving the day. This is a significant detour from the standard “Clownhouse – a house with clowns”-type of generically-themed attractions, and far superior. Because we didn’t get to see a decent chunk of the tour, though, things didn’t quite gel as well as I had hoped or expect that they would with the full experience. I considered abstaining from voting in this category, but, honestly, even with what we did see first-hand, the story made enough sense and was enjoyable for what it was. Understand that it’ll probably be even better for you than this score indicates.
Fright Effect: 8.14
If at first you don’t scare, howl, howl again. That was definitely the dictum in play during our visit. Most of the monsters that crossed our path redipped into the terror pool a few times over, unflappingly seeking out a successful scare. It’s hard to find fault in fervor like that. Team Scary Potter is not an easily-startled team, but several well-timed startles did jostle us successfully – I’m looking at you, Werewolf! There wasn’t a huge variety in the types of frights that rained down upon us, but what did manifest was very-well executed by the actors.
A ticket for all three attractions is 30 dollars; 25 for just the walk-through and Beneath Cabin 13, 15 dollars for the hayride alone, and 40 for a VIP pass to all three attractions. I can’t speak to the hayride, of course, but we apparently experienced a majority-chunk of the other two attractions (all of Cabin 13, I believe). While we did have a good time, and the attractions were enjoyable and creepy, the asking price seems really high, especially when compared to other attractions. While Spookynaw has certainly put together an interesting experience and done pretty impressive things with a clearly-limited budget, a 30 dollar ticket price puts them level with or higher than most big-budget, more elaborate haunted attractions. Spookynaw has a definite appeal, and at a more modest asking price, I could whole-heartedly recommend a visit, but 30 dollars? Sheesh. Still, if you’re in the area, you’ll definitely have a good time if you head out to the Camp this season. There is a lot to like about this unique haunted experience, we just wish the price tag were a little more representative of the scope of that experience.