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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Haunt Type(s):

Escape RoomHaunted House


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This attraction was reviewed on October 23, 2020 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 8.28

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West Alexander Scare at the Fair was a surprise hit with Team Houdini last season, so, we were definitely excited to return this year. Sticking to the old-school haunt style, Scare Fair is a pretty unique haunt. It is located on a fairground that is used year-round, therefore, every year, they have to completely tear down and reset for haunt season. This is a daunting task especially when they only have three weeks to set up. That means we get something a little different each season.

This season WASATF has a robust story to coincide with their haunt theme, Alien Cannibal Hillbilly Virus Outbreak. The full story can be found on their website. It is one of the most in-depth and fun haunt theme narratives I have read. ‘The Alien Cannibal Hillbilly Virus Outbreak of 2020′ or ACHV-20 for short. Some haunts have been afraid to touch the virus theme but WASATF puts a fun spin on it, tying the complete experience together in its tale. We recommend giving it a read before entering the haunt. It sounds like a plot out of an old, cheesy, 80’s sci-fi horror film’ and we love the concept. But how well did they bring it to life?

Cast: 8.43

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Considering the haunt is named Scare at the Fair you can expect to see clowns’ lots of clowns. All kinds of clowns. Big clowns, tall clowns, mean clowns, and meaner clowns. These cannibalistic clowns are everywhere. This is probably the worst haunt to go to if you have coulrophobia (why not just call it clown phobia?) I digress. The clowns will be out in full force as soon as you pull up to purchase your tickets. They were walking up to our car staring in the windows, they circled our vehicle as if they were determining the best way of attack. We noticed other clowns roaming the area as well.

When we parked, a young girl was taking orders for food and snacks, she was accompanied by a man in a traditional 1500 plague doctor costume. He told us he ‘was instructed to wear a mask.’ It was a suitable quip.

Inside the first haunt section (there are three buildings with multiple themes conjoined by one narrative) we encountered the most variety of clowns we have seen at a haunt. After all, this is Scare at the Fair and we are in the big top area. The clowns provided mainly jump scares with quick loud bursts of energy. ‘Hello!’ rang out of the darkness, in a creepy clown voice, as we wandered the halls. Looney laughing echoed throughout providing an offset feeling. Some clowns did an excellent job of remaining still blending in with the animatronic clowns in the area. Some had little hideouts they waited in until patrons arrived. Then they would spring out with their weapons resembling clubs, hatchets, and knives. Other clowns had the traditional horns that they would sneak up on us with, then emitting a loud honk to surprise us. Some others just silently followed us around the captivating carnival. We only encountered one character with dialogue in the first area. Santa, (and a very spine-chilling one at that) asked us to sit on his lap as he laughed. It felt quite disturbing. The clowns held quite a few surprises for us and played their parts well.

The second area, just like last year, is the smallest. It contained the least amount of performers, however, it held the best performer of the night. We were welcomed by the scientist’s assistant and she directed us into the waiting area. Inside we met the doctor himself (also the owner) as he surprisingly burst into the room. He was quite mad. He looked and acted the part. Over the top and demented, but not overacting the part. He did an excellent job of providing entertainment and scares. He had lots of dialogue and interaction with us. He also popped up several times throughout giving us a good surprise, as well as making the interaction in the house feel denser. The other three actors played the patients of the doctor, providing more jump scares with screams and begging us for help.

The final area held the most actors, more than the previous two areas combined, housing about 26 bodies. Inside we met a mix of carnivorous clowns, hungry hillbillies, a living poignant pigman, vicious vegetation, a brackish butcher, scary school girls, and valiant victims. The majority of these actors provided more jump scares with screams and yells. A few clowns were playful with a ‘Peek a Boo.’ The pigman and three schoolgirls did a great job of appearing like inanimate objects and then coming to life when we least expected it. The hillbilly cooking provided some good dialogue that helped his buddies land a surprise assault on us. The group of young actors did a great job with high-intensity acting and an unanticipated aerial scare. The butcher also provided some intense dialogue as we made our way past.

All of the actors are volunteers and some are on the younger side but all showed great passion and zeal this evening. They did a great job mixing jump scares with the more veteran actors providing deeper dialogue and personality.

Costuming: 8.08

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We appreciated that, from what we saw, the actors were all wearing complete costumes. We did not notice any blatant street clothes that felt out of place. If there were they did a good job of hiding it. The plague doctor had on an intricate costume, all black with a hat. Santa had a traditional Santa costume on although it looked a little disheveled. The mad scientist had on a lab coat, an apron (he was doing some dirty work), and goggles. Hillbillies had on normal overalls, the schoolgirls had on normal school outfits, and the butcher had on a bloodied apron and hairnet.

Maybe more than half of the actors were clowns. They all appeared to have different masks and costumes, nothing looked repetitive. Traditional clowns, scary face clowns, pointed nose clowns, red nose clowns, we even saw a Jigsaw-looking clown. The masks were of decent quality. I do not think there were any custom made masks, mainly store-bought, but they weren’t cheap quality masks either.

Customer Service: 8.95

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WASATF was easy to find on Google Maps. We were able to find the area quite well. There were plenty of signs leading you to the parking area. When you pull up to the ticket area two young ladies will sell you tickets and provide instructions for parking, exiting, and how the wait works this season. Once you purchase your tickets you will be directed where to park. After parking, a young girl and the plague doctor asked if we wanted to place our order for food. Once it is time for your group an escort will arrive at your car and take you to the haunt. Everyone was very accommodating.

We did not notice any red flags for safety. Nothing out of the ordinary haunt concerns, darkness, and tight areas. This year due to COVID they eliminated most of the tight areas.

As mentioned, plenty of info is available online and on social media.

Regarding COVID, Scare at the Fair has taken the following precautions: all guests are required to wear masks, tickets will be purchased from their vehicle, guests will remain in their vehicle until they are escorted to the haunt, and concessions can be purchased from your car. They offered burgers, chips, soft drinks, hot drinks, and more. A drive-in horror movie will be available while you wait, increased sanitation, temperature checks of staff, widened paths, elimination of tight spaces, and actors stay in the same area and costumes. With these precautions in place, we had no reservations about attending the haunt.

Atmosphere: 8.25

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Scare at the Fair had planned to make some changes to the outside area of the haunt this season but due to COVID, they could not make those changes, maybe next year. We did enjoy the new setup for COVID which probably provides the safest way to have a queue line. The added movie helps keep customers busy and being able to order food from your car is another great idea.

Once we headed to the haunt we noticed some eerie music playing. Clowns were stalking the area. These changes did get me more in the haunting mood.

Special Effects: 8.1

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This year, due to COVID precautions, some areas had to have an increase in walking area. This was not a drastic change but I feel they may have had a few fewer scenes than last year. I don’t think it was that noticeable though as there were plenty of new scenes added and there never felt like there was any downtime.

WASATF has a mix of some very basic scenes with dark walls and scene setters, and then some very elaborate scenes like the swamp and mines. I imagine this is due to time constraints. Nothing was too noticeable to pull us out of the engagement.
The big top area was decorated like a classic circus tent with striped walls. It contained a picnic area with a giant singing rat, which was quite comical, and several large clown animatronics. The playground scene returned but slightly different as the area was more open than I remembered, but still provided an interesting effect. Another interesting room appeared to be a backstage area with black lights and several mannequins that glowed. The Christmas scene with its creepy elves seemed a little out of place, especially with the alien that popped out. We liked the effect of the blue icicle lights mixed with the greenery and fog that gave a cool effect to the forest area.

In the 2nd area or the ‘Research and Detention/Decontamination’ area (RADD for short), it seemed this area was more of a dungeon with some shady things going on by the mad scientist. It had a dungeon-like feel with cages holding the detainees. The laser fog wall was a cool effect. This also housed another great scene, the Alien Autopsy scene. A life-size grey alien was being dissected just like the popular 90s found footage special, anyone else remember that? Flashing lights and sounds of electricity shot around the room. The design was quite interesting as it gave the actor the ability to ‘pop up’ several times in different areas. I don’t believe the CDC would have approved but we did.

The final and largest area contained the largest variety of rooms. The mine area was loaded with spiders and it provided a more claustrophobic feel. The swamp was another favorite with vines hanging down, realistic sounds, and water under the rickety bridge that sunk as you walked on it, all providing great immersion. We wish we could have spent more time looking around at all the details in this room alone. The taxidermy or trophy room was another very interesting and detailed area. Another area, although it did not have much d������cor had cool artwork painted on the walls of a traditional ‘Halloween’ scene. As mentioned, a few scenes were a little underdeveloped but overall the attention to detail was there.

Sound and music were played throughout the haunt and according to the theme. Whimsical clown music, banjo tunes, intense scores, even some Johnny Cash can be heard. Scary sounds mixed with realistic effects helped in making the scenes come alive.

The overall set design was well executed with good use of sound and lighting. Props were used well, too. They’re not overly reliant on props for scares but they did assist in certain areas as well as adding as a distraction for the actors to make their moves. We were enticed by several interesting props such as large clowns, aliens, skeletal creatures, giant spiders, and many more.

Theme: 9

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As mentioned the theme is ‘The Alien Cannibal Hillbilly Virus Outbreak’ and you should read the full story on their website or Facebook. I will give you the cliff notes. The government has issued an emergency, a deadly virus has been detected in the area. A spacecraft landed at the fairgrounds releasing a fog containing a deadly virus. It infected the crew setting up the haunt, the performers at the fair, and local backwoods folks. The infection made people violent and some even mutated. These patients attacked the residents spreading the virus. Some have taken refuge at the fairgrounds, some have escaped into the mines and some have been captured to be tested.

Through this tale, they have provided a point for each area of their haunt including some characters and props. We enjoyed the story and looking for all the Easter eggs through the haunt. It was a creative way to have a variety of scenes but have a cohesive story, even if it is a little over the top. The story may be a little ‘spoil-ish’ or heavily foreshadowing but it does tie everything together with great detail. I suggest giving it a read either before or after your trip.

Scare Factor: 8

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We were pleased with the number of scares that WASATF squeezed in. They do not focus on one type of scare but a mix of all scares keeping guests guessing on what will happen next. Screamers, lurkers, stalkers, gigglers, gazers, and boo ‘scare-ers’ are all around. Some characters had basic dialogue and others had heavy amounts of dialogue. Everything came together, all providing different dimensions of fright.

Entertainment & Value: 8.15

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Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for those under the age of 18. They do not provide VIP passes but they are the only haunt we have seen that offers repeat trips for $5 a trip. So if you missed something or want to be entertained again, you can pay $5 bucks to experience it a second time, which is a cool concept. You could see it twice for the average price of a haunt! It took us approximately 15 minutes to get through which puts it’s at one minute per dollar of entertainment, a little bit below average.

The escape room is closed this year due to COVID. You also get a movie on the big screen while you wait for no additional fee. Speaking with the owners, they are hoping to extend the haunt for next season and we can’t wait.

West Alexander Scare at the Fair is not the most elaborate haunt in the area. Considering they have a 3 week set time when most haunts work year-round on their haunts, it is impressive the amount of detail and design they have in place. What’s great about WASATF is the fact that they are an old-school haunt and they do not try to shy away from that vibe. It’s great to see a haunt can have nice set pieces, awesome acting, a full plot, and still feel nostalgic. I’m excited to see this haunt grow and evolve but I hope it keeps its ‘cheesy’ feel, and I mean that with the deepest of admiration. Like a classic B-movie (Killer Clowns from Outer Space), a little dated, a little over the top, a ton of fun, and you will sit down to watch it again and again.

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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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