Spook Hollow – Full Review

Spook Hollow is a Haunted Attraction located in Marquette Heights, IL.

613 LaSalle Blvd, Marquette Heights, IL 61554
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Haunt Type(s):

Multiple Hauntscharity-haunt1HauntedHouse1HauntedTrail


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Free Parking, Restrooms/Porta Potties On-Site, Gift Shop/Souvenirs, “Old-School” (Low Tech), “Hi-Tech” Attraction, You will NOT be touched, Uncovered Outdoor Waiting Line, Indoor/Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on October 16, 2021 by Team White City Devils.

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Final Score: 8.57

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It has been two years since we last stepped foot in Spook Hollow. Unfortunately, the global pandemic put a pause to their 40+ year running streak as they canceled their 2020 season for the safety of their staff and customers. However, we were excited to hear Spook Hollow would be open for the 2021 season since it is a tradition to start there during our Central Illinois trip.

Spook Hollow is a non-profit haunt led by the Marquette Heights Men’s Club of Central Illinois. With three attractions for the price of one ticket and 100% of the proceeds going back into the community, it is no wonder their customer attendance is always record-breaking. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Cast: 8.15

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Since Spook Hollow is a non-profit haunt, the cast consists of volunteers. While some actors were seasoned, proven by their dialogue, a few did not have the classic “wit” that experienced haunters commonly express. Though there were a few lurkers, screamers, and actors with dialogue, you can tell every one of them had a lot of fun doing what they were doing.

Within the three attractions, the first attraction is inside. The MC Manor inhabited a few occupants that roamed around, disturbing the trespassers that dared to show up. They intended to creep out anyone passing through, and they sure nailed it. The actors were more of what we’d call “lurkers” with not much dialogue, but with a bit of help from their paired-up animatronics, they were able to deliver more fear.

The second attraction consists of a very vaguely lit trail with the forsaken residents of the small town roaming around. The trail leads up to a cemetery filled with gravestones and some beautiful angel statues. Though positioned in graceful poses, it became clear that they were alive once we approached, with one jumping towards us and one closing their bible. Upon entering a small mining cave, we were met with a miner most unpleasantly as they uttered the words “watch your step” as he lit his flashlight on his face. It was nice to see that not all scares were jump scares, which effectively made us nervous. We want to shout out to one actor during a swamp scene that was small enough to hide under the fog. This little creature from the lagoon indeed kept to his role and was tall enough to stand a bit above the mist. A traveling circus called Wicked Widows Mysterious Midway greeted us with various sideshow characters. A tarot card reader read us our fortunes by telling Mario he was looking at an adventure involving death and I was a queen that keeps living my life. A bit unsettling since we had a long drive home after this!

In the third attraction called MC Nightmare, we met a few disgruntled workers losing themselves and leaving their worksite in shambles. Though it was loud, and dialogue may not have been the best place for it, the actors did a fantastic job jumping out from dark corners or activating a small noisy prop.

Overall, for how big this haunt is, we feel there could have been more actors and more dialogue to enhance their characters and how they tie to the story. Nonetheless, the scares were there, and we realized the creepiness.

Costuming: 8.06

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Spook Hollow has a few different scenarios throughout all three attractions, which makes sense as to why they have a variety of costumes. However, what made their outfits complete was how their makeup (or masks) showed the pain they had gone through.

In MC Manor, we saw the actors roaming around in clothing with distressed looks and face makeup that gave them that supernatural appearance. These helped the actors blend in with their surroundings while they wandered the halls.

We came upon a few miners from the Crescent Coal Company dressed in jumpsuits and wearing hard hats on the trails. We saw a cemetery with beautiful angel grave statues down the path until they jumped down and revealed they were truly alive. Their outfits were convincing, and the dark helped hide anything that showed it was an actor and not a statue. We also did see some street clothing that was a bit humorous. Our team leader loves to wear Dixxon flannels, and we found an actor with a similar pattern and color. The actor did not break character but eerily said, ‘Brother?’ and showed an immediate connection.

While still on the trail, we came across the sideshow circus midway. These costumes were very well constructed, thus reinforcing the traveling circus look. For example, a tarot card reader dressed in a gypsy outfit wore makeup that made her look aged but wise. Another memorable character was the bearded lady. She recognized our team leader as she pointed him out and remembered their last conversation, commenting how his beard is still trash. I could see her point since her beard was full and neatly trimmed.

Inside MC Nightmare, which is industrious, was filled with workers roaming around. The actors had donned either general labor attire or street clothes fitting the scenes we saw them in. They also had makeup that contoured their faces to give them a gnarly look.

Overall, for being a non-profit haunted house, Spook Hollow does great in transforming their actors with costumes and makeup according to their scenes.

Customer Service: 9.6

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When we looked up the website, we got all the information needed for our arrival. Tickets can be bought online with an added fee or on-site as well. While there are no time slots, the date must still be chosen, as Spook Hollow is only open for six days this season.

The GPS is always our best friend. However, as we got closer to the area, there were signs to assure us that we were going in the right direction. There were also park attendants in visible safety vests that led us into whatever parking lot was opened; we counted about three different lots walking towards the entrance. Just remember, look for the searchlight!

The security was very friendly as we approached the entrance; they even commented on how busy it was (with the idea of letting us know how good Spook Hollow is)! The ticket booth and ticket takers were also enthusiastic and welcoming.

In the indoor attractions (MC Manor and MC Nightmare), the floors were flat with no steps. Therefore, it was evident that both of these attractions were completely safe, even with dark rooms.

On the other hand, we had a trail that lanterns had purposefully illuminated. The trail is on uneven land, going up and down hills. I can’t lie; I was a bit out of breath from going up a hill since hiking is not one of the activities I do. However, the trail is fully marked, so there is no way anyone can get lost.

Atmosphere: 9.5

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The ticket line starts by the entrance of a baseball field; not much was visible here. Once tickets are purchased, the line begins inside an oversized garage that serves as the indoor waiting line. In the back, an actor is hyping up the colossal line with a few chants.

As we approach the front, the line passes by a gift shop with lots of Spook Hollow merch, such as hoodies, shirts, and beanies. Of course, what is Spook Hollow without the appearance of Scary Gary!? We managed to get a picture with Scary Gary under an old-fashioned weathered clock. The fa������ade to MC Manor is beautiful, showing a bit of foliage running down the walls. It shows the horrors that have happened inside.

There is a screen with the rules listed out, which I quickly pointed out that no profanity was allowed. We promptly released our profanity before entering.

Special Effects: 8.96

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Spook Hollow has been running for 40+ years, and that experience is evident throughout the haunt. The props, detailed scenes and lighting is proof of their expertise.

Inside MC Manor, most of the rooms feature taxidermy shoulder mounts of animals once hunted down. These decorations make it feel like you are inside someone’s home. In addition, some moving animatronics imply you are not alone. A nice touch of an ominous feeling is the lightning shining through. Finally, the walls in the rooms are decorated with torn wallpaper, as though many entities have taken over and never bothered to keep the manor clean. Though it is clear this is a home, these touches give you a sense that you have been removed from the everyday outside life. Instead, you’ve been transported into a manor with a troubling past.

The only lighting you get on the trail is from the lanterns that are placed not too close to each other. The natural lack of light from the woods and lack of music was a bit unsettling because we were unsure of what we would find next. The cemetery was also a bit uneasy without any lights. The headstones are perfectly placed and not close together, making it fitting since they are spaced out enough to seem like there are bodies buried underneath. The zombie crawling around does confirm those bodies.

Down the trail where the sideshow travelers are, the props in place to show this is a sideshow circus that’s a bit on the twisted side. An actor placed next to a board for his knife throwing game asked for volunteers to have knives thrown at them. You can tell by that board that he is a horrible shot by the many limbs stuck on there. Another grotesque game was called “basket case,” a basket shooting game, but the baskets were filled with severed heads. No, thank you, I will go on to the next game like the strength tester. There is, unfortunately, a head sitting on the area where the hammer goes. That meant it was time for us to leave.

Along the trail, there were a few dark rooms. This area was also a maze made up of black walls and a single light that paved the way. Though simple, it was scary enough to cause us to question if we would ever find the exit.

MC Nightmare is a heavy industrial setting. Entering, you see a few oil drums placed to make a route. The sounds you hear throughout the haunt are tools the workers use, like drills and electrical components. We couldn’t help but notice some pieces that were either laid out or placed on the walls were salvaged tools that eventually were left never to be used again.

Overall, MC Manor and MC Nightmare had some beautiful d������cor that created the story of the “town in disarray” noticeably well. But, on the other hand, the trail is simplistic enough to leave you in your thoughts to wonder what you will come across.

Theme: 7.3

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When browsing the website, the “About” section provides the theme. We recommend checking this section out before attending.

Sir Osiris founded a mining company on this land. He also built a town for the employees, which included a new factory for the mining, a cemetery, shops, and a mansion at the edge of town for himself. A worker he hired as his right hand named Montgomery Crescent (MC) took over the business and mansion after Osiris’ untimely and questionable death and renamed the built house MC Manor.

MC proceeded to mistreat the workers, and eventually, the town could not take his abuse anymore. They locked MC in the wine cellar of the mansion, where he ultimately died. The workers celebrated for getting rid of MC’ or did they? Terrible things started to happen all over town, including the collapse of the mining tunnels. Factory workers began to perish, and everyone in town followed the same fate. The manor is said to be haunted by MC and that it has awoken whoever occupied the nearby cemetery. The factory was left unattended as the workers started to lose their minds.

Spook Hollow did a fantastic job immersing you into this forsaken town. However, we do wish the actors had more of a dialogue to play out the story.

Scare Factor: 8.27

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Be afraid, be very afraid. Guests should not take this slogan lightly. You will be immersed in the terrors that this town has gone through with the natural darkness of the forest, loud sounds, and beautifully detailed rooms.

Though we have been here before, it is always a surprise not knowing what will be coming up in these dark hallways. Being the shorter one, I always place myself at the front of the line to see everything. No matter where we were, the actors were able to pick on us at any given scene. On the other hand, when there weren’t any actors around, the pitch-black mazes on the trail were dark enough to create a sensation of paranoia.

The rooms were loud enough to give you a sense of chaos stirred up by the spirits, especially when paired with the dim lighting. Actors were able to hide in dark corners and leap out unsuspectingly. The actors effectively used the props to distract us and scare us from different angles.

Spook Hollow did an excellent job in scaring us as a whole and using every use of scares there is.

Entertainment & Value: 8.53

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What we liked about Spook Hollow is its use of space. It was practical to use part of the forest for the trail to add to the whole attraction, along with the two buildings. Although, I did start to feel a bit of a burn towards the end. I think I will start wearing a pedometer.

General admission is 30, and fast pass is 45. Fast pass is known to reduce the wait time by 2 hours. The total walkthrough time for the three attractions is 23 minutes. With minutes per dollar at 0.77, the MPD dropped slightly from 2019 due to the price increase. Nonetheless, Spook Hollow is undoubtedly worth the trip and money and helps the community in the process.

Be afraid, be very afraid!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 7.86 out of 10

Brittany – 10/10October 18, 2019
This was my first time at this haunted house, but definitely NOT my last. The wait time was very …show more minimal, even without the skip the line pass. They had people walking around scaring you, snacks, and things to watch and look at. Got more than my money’s worth between the three attractions for the price of one and how long the haunt lasted. It was actually very scary, and I was cowering in my boyfriends back the entire time. Awesome job, and happy 40th birthday!

Joshua – 10/10October 13, 2018

Emily – 10/10October 21, 2017
The best haunt in the area by far. There are so many great things to say about this place. Yes the …show more wait was long but well worth it. The old creepy house had my group screaming in fear. The trail is crazy scary too. There is just to much to talk about. If you get the opportunity to check it out you definitely have to.

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