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 22, 2021 by Team Houdini.

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Final Score: 8.31

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The fair is an enjoyable time with fun, food, games, lights, and entertainment. Don’t forget the killer clowns, poisonous preachers, hillbilly cannibals, mad scientists, and other crazy carnies. Wait you don’t remember those last bits? Well, things are a little different here in West Alexander. The Scare Fair offers a unique fair experience, trading in the fun and games for fear and frights.

Scare Fair keeps it old-school with retro callbacks to films and haunts of the past with a charismatic, creepy, and cheesy feel (In a good way!). Some familiar sights return as well as some new surprises all providing a fun and scary time.

Cast: 8.5

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Scare at the Fair had plenty of characters, we counted 30, with each section feeling thematic characters who added much authenticity to the scenes. We encountered a family of relentless rednecks, two thieving thugs wielding bats, a nasty nun, a pythonic preacher, a shocking serial killer, scared sufferers, gauche ghosts, crazy chainsaw-ers, a singular scientist, and calamitous clowns.

These monsters did a good job of providing shock tactics as well as common and unconventional dialogue. The preacher, with snakes in hand, advised that ‘if there is sin in your heart the snakes will find it’ he asked us if we ‘wanted to be saved’ but when we advised we were probably too far gone, he quickly replied, ‘everyone can be saved, even if it’s for dinner’ then wished us luck and sent us on our way. He did a good job coming off as the stereotypical revival tent healer.

The mad scientist is a one-man show in his ‘laboratory of curiosities and oddities.’ Not only is Dr. Jo Bob one of the most energetic and talented actors of the night but he is also one of the creators of the spectacle. He is funny, frightening, and fast, appearing several times throughout this lab. He enjoyed showing us his creation and I am not talking about the awesome haunt but the abominations he is creating as well as drinking some radiant liquid to help his glowing ‘complexion.’ The clowns were some of the best we have seen and I have seen enough clowns this season. A surprisingly predominantly female clown posse filled the final act of the show. Before we could enter we could hear laughing and giggling. One female voice said ‘Clowns I smell chicken’ followed by yummy noises. As we made our way through the clown mocked and tormented us. With creepy voices and even altering the way they moved, which made them stand out.

Even those actors who did not have huge dialogue did a great job. The girls chained up in the barn could be heard yelling for help as we were walking up to the barn. The older farmer, who had the girls held hostage, was intimidating as he yelled and threatened the girls with a cattle prod. The individuals with the chainsaws did great surrounding us and making us feel trapped.

At one point in the night, we were even asked about our car’s extended warranty by one well-hidden creep, these people are everywhere. Another cast member scared one of our team and said ‘he flinched’ later if he says he wasn’t scared he is lying he flinched.’ Both are great examples of the kookiness inside this haunt.

Scare Fair does a great job of balancing scares with humor which makes for a unique experience and an entertaining time.

Costuming: 8.21

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Costuming seemed to step up a notch at least in the makeup department. We noticed makeup seemed to be on a more professional level with more details. An exceptional character was a clown with black and white clown makeup with blood on her face however she was missing an eye. She also had in some sharp pennywise-looking teeth. The other clowns had on some good traditional clown makeup or masks with matching costumes. Each clown looked different and unique which was appreciated. Most of the masks we saw were clown-related but we did also see Michael Myers, and a bat/gremlin-type mask that looked great but hard to describe. Doctor Jo Bob had on goggles, a white coat, and a Texas tie. The old farmer had on traditional overalls and a flannel shirt.

Costumes were nothing extravagant but fit the scenes and characters well. The masks looked original, and the creative makeup was a great improvement. All of them provided a creative and authentic vibe.

Customer Service: 9.1

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Scare Fair is easy to find with GPS. Although there has been increased traffic it may be better to take the Claysville exit, as we did. Once at the fair there have been some traffic changes due to the increase of haunt space, so, follow the signs and drive slow. Parking is in the same area as it was in the past if you have visited before, don’t worry if you haven’t, the parking attendant will direct you where to park.

We did not notice any safety issues outside of the norm for a haunt. The parking lot is in the grass so it was a little muddy this evening as we had had rain most of the day. The waiting areas are covered but there are short walks from building to building and you may want to take an umbrella on rainy nights. The staff was friendly and welcoming as always.
Their website provides a good amount of info including the yearly story explaining the haunt. They are also active on social media and post updates regularly including the tip about the Claysville exit.

Regarding Covid, they are following local guidelines.

Atmosphere: 8

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As we pulled up we could see a ghost projection on the side of the pavilion, creepy music was playing and fog rolled out into the main walkway. This evening seemed a little less energetic than last year with fewer line actors but the clowns that were wandering around did a good job. The showrunners advised they do have more line actors and roamers between buildings on Saturdays, and from some pics I saw on social media that appears to be accurate. All in all, it does have a haunted fair feel that had us excited.

Special Effects: 8.09

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Scare Fair is an old-school, lower-budget, non-profit, volunteer haunt. It is a labor of love for the creators/organizers, Rich and Tom. On top of that since the fairgrounds are used throughout the year and summer the haunt needs to be completely taken down each year and then reassembled. That means each year we get different set designs and or redesigns of previous sets.

Scare Fair is bigger than ever with an expansion utilizing two additional locations, on the grounds of a stable and a dairy barn (I believe). We enjoyed both new additions, the stable area felt and looked like a real stable, mainly because it was. Inside it was dark, dirty, and gritty. The detail was minimal but the intent was clear with girls hanging from chains and minimal lighting; it had a serial killer feel. The second area had a greater impact. Again it seemed very simplistic but the feeling it gave was a very cinematic feel. The long, straight corridor provided a straight visual of everything up ahead, however, it was filled with fog and a backlight making it difficult to see what was ahead. An additional lighting and thunder system made the area feel even more dangerous not to mention the Nightmare on Elm Street theme moving through the hazy air. For a moment we were hesitant to progress forward as we were so taken back at the surroundings which after 16 haunts a season isn’t an easy task. We also noticed that as we moved between these sets they had eerie music playing giving a nice effect during the downtime.

The original three pavilions are still in use but they switched up some things this season. One pavilion had a more classic haunt set up, with a haunted house, swamp, church, and apocalypse area. Then, we had the laboratory of oddities with creatures and aliens, and finally, the fair filled with clowns. The sets have great design and details; inside the haunted house realistic brick paneling line the perimeter, hanging on these walls are creepy pictures, a fireplace with fire glows in one corner while an animatronic old lady rocks back and forth. The swamp area had a greenish light, plenty of fog, a rickety bridge while a soundtrack of crickets, wind, and howls rang out. The laboratory had mixed areas of dark tight areas and colorful glowing areas. One scene had a nice use of black lights where certain specimen popped in their jars. Props of combined humans and creatures gave a unique feel as did the aliens. The clown area also utilized black lights along with lasers and other colorful lights. Returning clown props from the past return such as the animatronic Pennywise and clown play area. Clown music blasts throughout giving a frantic feel.

The details in the sets, great sound, and quality lighting bring each area to life with a unique feel and immersive experience.

Theme: N/A

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Since Scare Fair offers so many different scenes we can’t fairly provide a score on the theme this season. As mentioned, each location has a theme or scenes. The stable, dairy barn, and fear do fit the location. If you do go to the website there is a story that ties each area together that we recommend reading.

Scare Factor: 8.09

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Scare Fair lives up to its name providing scares via startles, screams, air cannons, props, visuals, dialogue, and good acting. Most scares were unpredictable with actors popping out of several unsuspecting areas. One area had a creepy hillbilly with a pitchfork who popped up behind us following us before we realized it. The visual effects of the dairy farm made it hard to see where actors were hiding providing anxiety to the scene. Dr. Jo Bob got us several times with jump scares as he ran through the lab, and the clown’s gravely voices and strange motions provided an almost unnatural effect.

We were also glad to see a unique finale that ties into the classic film Killer Clowns from Outer Space.

Entertainment & Value: 8.29

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Scare Fair is open Fridays and Saturdays in October from 7-11. Tickets are $15 for adults, 18 and under pay $8. Scare Fair is also the only haunt in the area that offers repeat trips at only $5. They also have a 5-minute escape room for $5, if you escape you do not have to pay admission to the haunt. It took us about 15 minutes total haunt time, this does not include our time walking between areas. This puts the minutes per dollar at 1, which is a little below the average of 1.36 that our team has seen this season.

Scare Fair proves you don’t have to have expensive sets to have a scary and fun haunt. It keeps true to its retro haunt charm giving a feel and looks of how haunts used to be in the ’90s, with maybe a little more detail and inspiration from old cheesy horror films. Each year I try to make an analogy for Scare Fair, I compared it to a classic car, an old movie, and this year I am going with a vintage video game. It is nice to sit down on the couch and fire up the Xbox or PlayStation and play some Fortnite. Its bright colors, great visuals, and fun gameplay are all enjoyable, but there is a satisfaction of going back and replaying an old game from your childhood. The nostalgia you get from setting the channel to 3, blowing in the Super Mario cartridge, popping it in the NES, and watching Mario run across the screen is like a time machine taking us back to a simple two-button game that you could play for hours and hours. It’s a great feeling just like Scare Fair and it’s something we don’t get anymore. Nowadays most haunts are trying to go bigger, more extreme, or outdo one another while Scare Fair is happy with who they are and what they have accomplished focusing on fun and entertainment over flash and excess.

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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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