Scare at the Fair – Full Review

Scare at the Fair is a Haunted Attraction located in West Alexander, PA.

116 US-40, West Alexander, PA 15376
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This attraction was reviewed on October 11, 2019 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 7.64

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Well kids, let me tell you a story about haunted attractions. A long time ago haunted attractions were started by small volunteer groups such as The United States Junior Chamber (Jaycees), volunteer fire departments, Boy and Girl Scouts, and even some churches opened ‘Hell houses’ which showed what happened when you ‘sinned’. This was a way to provide teens something to do other than cause havoc on devil’s night and Halloween. These were primitive in design but they paved the way for professional haunts.

Scare at the Fair in West Alexander was started in 2013 by the West Alexander Fire Department and the West Alexander Agricultural Association. They wanted to provide a haunt for the community as there were no haunted attractions nearby. Scare at the Fair is now strictly run by first responders (fire, police, and ems) and their families. It is 100% volunteer, and nonprofit.

Scare at the Fair has a few downfalls to deal with. They have a three-week time frame to set up their attraction and they do not have the budget that other more known haunts have. Thankfully, they do not let that hinder their creativity and passion. Ingenuity and good acting provide a wonderful old-school experience. It pays respect to the ‘OG’ haunts and proves that it’s possible to have big scares without big money, big sets, and big toys.

Cast: 7.77

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Some people cringe when they hear volunteer cast. Especially today, when most haunts pay their actors causing volunteers to become less popular. We have seen a recent trend this year with haunts having trouble getting paid actors to perform well. Back in my day, all haunts were volunteer. I would have jumped at the chance to get paid to scare people. Luckily for us, the actors at Scare at the Fair brought it.

We ran into about forty thespians during our exploration. The haunt is broken up into three buildings. We would have liked to have seen some more clowns in the clown area, first building, and some additional haunters in the dark area, second building. The third building was packed with over twenty characters roaming the area.

The contemptible clowns crept through the creepy carnival stalking us relentlessly. They did not provide much dialogue besides boos, bangs, and creepy laughs but they were chilling. The second building offered two actors who also provided boo scares.

As mentioned above, the third area provided the most performers, interaction, dialogue, and distinctiveness of characters. We encountered a group of family members who ran a butcher shop along with there soon-to-be-victims. The victims screamed in terror as the butcher welcomed us and asked us to stick around. There was also a contortionist wearing a black and white-skinned outfit. She did not say much but her movement was incredible. Watching her bend in half made my back hurt. There were several drop-down windows hiding screamers. They popped down so quick it was hard to see them. Another girl in a wall asked where we were going in an unnerving voice. A cell held several female prisoners begging for help. A crazy doctor was offering us brains and hearts, then we got a good scare from an individual hiding low. The Voodoo area held a young girl playing with her Voodoo doll. A Voodoo priest stopped us and provided some great off-the-cuff conversation that was hilarious.

All the actors played their parts well even the younger ones. It was nice to see more dialogue and adlibbing. It definitely added authenticity to the haunt.

Costuming: 7.88

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The costumes were descent. There was nothing too exceptional and I would guess that they were mainly store-bought items. It all felt genuine and fit the characters. With the other effects in use, we did not find the costumes distracting or anything that stood out negatively.

The characters were wearing items that are typical with their appearances. The clown costumes looked accurate as well as the masks. The butcher had on a bloody smock and the doctor had on a white coat. It was hard to see what the drop-down window characters were wearing. It looked like some had good bloody makeup and some had masks. One area I found slightly askew was the prison cell. The girls had on what looked like hospital gowns??? The spandex costume the contortionist wore was a stand out as it looked like her skin was removed and you could see the muscle. The makeup of the Voodoo priest was excellently done. The Voodoo priestess had a southern dress with her hair in a bun and skeleton makeup on that looked befitting.

The costuming was good enough to keep us drawn in but we didn’t see anything extremely fresh or completely original that stood out.

Customer Service: 8.72

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Searching Scare at the Fair West Alexander pulled up the location easily. Our GPS led us directly to the fairgrounds with no issues and it was a very easy drive. Plenty of parking and parking attendants were available to direct us.

Most of the safety issues are on par with other haunts. Dark areas and fog make it difficult to see. The claustrophobia area had a few tight places that us bigger guys had some trouble getting through and could be a potential issue. However, it made me feel uncomfortable and I liked it.

The staff did a great job from the parking attendants, ticket takers and management. They were all very polite and courteous.

All information can be found on their website. The site is pretty basic and provides the information needed. As the site is plain, I had the assumption that the haunt was going to be bland. I think a revamp of the website would draw more attention.

Atmosphere: 6

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Upon arriving at the fair, we could see a few decorations by the ticket booth. There were some characters walking around waiting to scare patrons. There was not much else to get us in the mood for the haunt. Some additional outdoor d������cor and music/sound effects would be welcomed. We were happy to see actors working the outside of the haunt.

Special Effects: 7.87

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Surprisingly for a small budget, three week prep time, the workers put a good deal of effects and detail into the haunts.

The circus/clown area was decorated like the big top. Carnival music filled the air. Clown faces were painted on the walls. Animatronic clown carousels with miniature clowns made us feel uneasy. Flashing colored lights spit across the walls and floor. One room was full of fog and offered a cool effect with a green laser making a mini vortex. As we looked through the dense fog, mannequin bodies lined the walls. It was hard to tell if the silhouettes were people or just mannequins. Air canons and loud noises provided jump scares at unsuspecting areas. An ‘Area 51’ section housed some little grey men and a huge clown animatronic. Some may find it out of place but I had an idea where it was heading. I won’t spoil the finale.

The second building was probably the weakest, as it only had two people. However, its main design was to assault those who are afraid of the dark. The first thing we noticed was the ghostly children’s laughter playing through the haunt as well as spectral music. Lights flashed on and off as we crossed a bouncy wooden bridge. An animatronic bride and spider are waiting for you to pass. Foam pool noodles were used as a distraction as we walked through the blackness. Air canons also provided jump scares in the pitch-black halls. The best effect in this setting was a holographic skull we have not seen before.

The third area provided the best sets in terms of detail and quality. As we first entered we navigated through a labyrinth of pallets and wood. Lightning lit up the slats giving off a cool effect. Then we were immediately thrown into the butchers’ shop. Fences separated us from the butchers and his victims. The backlights added a glow effect to the aprons and the masks worn by the actors. We walked through a hall with some burning coals and it actually felt warmer. Not sure if it was just our minds playing tricks on us or if there was an additional heat source. Either way, it was effective. The spider room was quite icky. The webs covered the walls and bodies hung from the ceiling wrapped in webs. The backlight made the white webs pop in the darkness. The matching sound effects were perfect and I cannot think of how to even describe them but it just felt like my skin was crawling! More air cannons were used for jump scares. Strobe lights illuminated a more traditional haunted mansion area with antique photos on the walls and a large gargoyle. The claustrophobia area gets pretty tight, especially for bigger guys. It is lined with squishy sheets so you are not rubbing against the walls. The prison area had a large jail cell that held the prisoners and an animatronic electric chair. The doctor’s office was decorated like a dirty office. A dead body laid on the operating table where the doctor was removing the patient’s organs. A trail of balloons lead us to an animatronic surprise. The Voodoo shack was well done with candles, skeletons of animals, a bridge, and swamp sounds in the back. The excellent lighting effect made this one of the best scenes in the haunt.
The detail put into the design, decoration, lighting, and music for each area was superb especially for a smaller haunt with limited time. It felt immersive and realistic.

Theme: N/A

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The haunt offered a mix of themes. The first area was a clown theme. The second was a dark theme and the third was a mix of everything. Therefore, we did not grade on theme. That being said, we did have a good idea of what the theme was for each room as we entered.

Scare Factor: 7.65

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The scare at the Fair lived up to its name and provided some solid scares. A mix of tactics were used to produce efficient shocks. As we were in a group of our own, they did a good job of targeting all of us. I cannot say if that would be the same for larger groups. Most of the scares were unpredictable, we did see a few coming but that is expected. We were also happy to see some attempted finales for each of the three haunts. Although they were basic and classics’chainsaw cough. We are glad they tried!

Entertainment & Value: 7.3

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We had a lot of fun at The Scare at the Fair. Solid scares were provided throughout all three buildings but the best was the last building. Scare at the Fair is an all indoor haunt (just a few steps between buildings) with a covered waiting area if the weather is bad.

It was nice to see some outside actors to harass the crowd but we would also like to see some additional d������cor, music, etc. to get people in the mood for the haunt.

They also offer an escape room for $5.00 that you can try while you wait. If you escape you can get a free pass to the haunt!

If you want to pay directly for the haunt it is $15.00 for adults and kids 18 and under get in for $10.00. If you really enjoyed it you can go back through again for only $5. This is the only haunt I have ever seen offer this cool benefit.

It took us 15 minutes to get through all three buildings. A little shorter than average, however, the crowds were smaller so we went at our own pace. That is 1 minute of entertainment received per dollar spent which is around average for a haunt.

Scare at the Fair may lack the budget and yearlong setup time that some of the larger haunts have, however, they make up for it with hard work and the love of the season and their community. I would not call this a family-friendly haunt but it is a haunt that younger children could attempt. It is not over saturated with violence and gore, it is a look in the rear view of the haunted houses that are often left behind. It’s like sitting in a classic car. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of today’s car but it feels good and everyone admires it when they see it. I am glad that there still are haunts like this around for people to still experience.

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 9.13 out of 10

Carrie Sanney – 10/10October 10, 2019
This is the place to go it’s awesome great time and love it I go every year and I enjoy myself every …show more time

Amber Scott – 9.5/10October 26, 2019
short wait times, cheap prices, awesome scenes, everything was great. I’ve been too MANY haunted …show more attractions/houses that cost way more and there’s no comparison! love that they separate groups so you don’t know whats coming next because of the group in front of you!

Dave smith – 9/10October 19, 2019
This was awesome. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a scare house. For volunteers doing all this …show more for the price, it was great and if it’s too scary someone will be very kind and escort you out safely. I would definitely go again but I would suggest the clostrophobia room be at the end so if you can’t go through it then you only missed one part. Definitely would recommend for others to attend.

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Past Awards

2022 Awards

Best Clowns (Given by: Team Houdini)

Best Finale (Given by: Team Houdini)

The Blender Family - Salem (Brin Hunter) / Skylar (Sydney Pochiba) / Sam (Corbin Riggle) (Given by: Team Houdini)

Dr. Joe Bob - Tommy Balistreri (Given by: Team Houdini)

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