Spook Hollow – Full Review
Spook Hollow is a Haunted Attraction located in Marquette Heights, IL.
613 LaSalle Blvd, Marquette Heights, IL 61554View All Details
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
This attraction was reviewed on October 27, 2023 by Team White City Devils.
About Our Reviews and Rating System
Final Score: 8.43
Final Scores – By Category
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Located in Central Illinois, we find Spook Hollow in Marquette Heights. Spook Hollow has been operating since 1973 and is run by the Marquette Heights Men’s Club of Central Illinois annually. This haunt is 100% volunteer-run and is known for giving back to the community. Every year, they impress with their great scenes in the Manor, an awesome trail that keeps adding additional scenes, and the Nightmare, which provides many fantastic tricks and props in an industrial setting.
Cast Score: 7.93
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As mentioned, this attraction is all-volunteer work which includes all the actors we had seen throughout the attraction. The age groups range from middle school to adults, and most of the younger actors use the volunteer roles more for school credits. We did not get a lot of acting interactions as much as we would have liked, as most of them were present in the room but would usually just look at us for the most part. There was one actor who would get some great scares out of us with his sudden movements and screams, and he did a great job of doing so. Another notable actor was the younger actor on the piano, who had more of a blueish Fats Waller vibe to them, playing away on the piano gleefully.
There were some good actors within the Spook Hollow trail as well, particularly the old sideshow performance scene. The Carney Talker gave a typical “step right up” speech that introduced other classic characters such as the Strong Man and Spider Lady. In another instance, an actor approached us and offered us some food called Susan, which was her insides. In the Asylum, which is a new scene on the trail, actors were screaming at the top of their lungs. While there was not much interaction, this is what I assume an asylum ward would sound like.
Most of the actors in MC Nightmare used environmental props to get scares, and it worked here, given this is more of an industrial-themed portion of the haunt. Along with growling, actors used sticks and such to bang on barrels or anything that could be used as a percussion instrument. Overall, we had some good interactions, but there is room for improvement.
Costuming Score: 8.38
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The type of costuming found here efficiently fits their respective scenarios. With the use of airbrush makeup, masks, and contacts, their characters are more defined and fitting in their scenes.
For MC Manor, the costumes done are collectively street (or home, in this case) garments. What sets them apart from regular clothing is the distressed looks that prove to be from a demented setting. MC Nightmare actors roamed in the dark corners, dressed in blue-collar costumes such as coveralls, overalls, and dirty work clothes. Combined with the dirty-like makeup, this is convincing of the industrial setting they are found in.
On the Spook Hollow trail, since there are a variety of settings, the actors were dressed according to their designated scenes. On the trail through the cemetery, there was a beautiful angel statue that came to life, wearing a costume that looked textured like stone and blended perfectly with the stone stand it was placed on. We also stumbled upon a butcher in the act, dressed in clothes covered with proof of foul play.
Overall, the costumes and makeup were quite convincing and fitting to their settings, and appropriately clothed for the colder temperature. The distressed airbrush makeup also helps with making every scene look wholly immersed.
Customer Service Score: 9.6
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Customer Service Review:
Independence Park is taken over throughout October to house Spook Hollow. There are plenty of lots to park at and plenty of staff in safety vests around to help guide guests to available spaces. When on the property, we noticed plenty of local emergency service workers also volunteering their time to be on-site in case any issues arise. Spook Hollow has a presence on social media sites and updates often.
Inside the attraction, both MC Manor and MC Nightmare are safely indoors with no safety issues. On the trail, the dirt path is marked to ensure no one strays off. While the idea is to create a creepy ambiance with little vision of the path, lanterns are on-site to guide the way. While there are a few slopes and uneven paths, there isn’t necessarily a significant risk of danger.
Spook Hollow is also known for supplying free ponchos on rainy nights. In past years, we have never had as much rain as we did this year, so we got to take home a complimentary free poncho!
Immersion Score: 8.73
Immersion Scores – By Question
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Walking up to the entrance, there are two 12-foot skeletons on both sides of an arch with “Spook Hollow” displayed in huge letters. This is the start of the path that leads to the ticket booth. Ticket information is available on their website, and it is a great storyline to read.
The covered queue line is inside a large storage garage that houses the MC Manor façade, which is the first attraction. While it was raining the night of our visit, inside, there were quick flashes to resemble lightning to give this haunting manor a sinister look. The queue line flows around to give customers different angles of the manor. The inside of MC Manor is just as it sounds like a manor but with a sinister twist.
The second attraction is the Spook Hollow trail, which may have been the darkest trail to have walked through. While there were different scenes throughout the trail, their respective themes were displayed with the use of props and actors. The trail does not lose its genuine feel since you continuously keep walking on this safely paved path throughout the woods.
The building outside of MC Nightmare is a factory that is inhabited by underpaid and overworked workers filled with old equipment. All the equipment inside keeps the industrial theme alive because it is authentic and mostly not store-bought.
Special FX Score: 8.94
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Special FX Review:
Given that this haunt has been running since 1973, the sets are stacked with an abundance of props. Sound effects are plentiful in their respective areas, and the lights are placed strategically to create confusion. In some areas, we even see some huge animatronics in addition to actors.
Right as you walk into the frunch room (yes, we are from Chicago), the cobwebbed-covered dim chandelier lights the room. The lightning also shines through the old curtains, and oldies music plays faintly through the radio. The walls are beautifully decorated with lots of taxidermy, and the wallpaper is starting to tear. The manor has the basic rooms a house would have, but something we won’t normally see is a decapitated head in the kitchen cabinet. This house is inhabited by something evil.
On the trail, we come across the cemetery with headstones and a small chapel in the middle of it all. The tiny chapel has colorful stained-glass windows that bring a sense of hope. The hope is quickly lost when we encounter a floating body that is above the headstones. Down the path, we pass by an abandoned tractor that is still working as we hear the loud honk coming from it with its headlights flashing at us. In another scene, we see a mechanic-like hut where tires are used to create the path. In general, the props used in the trail are something that would be salvaged in real life versus being bought, which gives it a more authentic look.
Inside MC Nightmare, the rooms and walls were covered with tools. The walls were rusty, and the tools were dirty and covered with cobwebs. Props were hanging down, which helped the factory feel tight. At a few times, we would stumble upon a moving animatronic, and an actor would come up while we were distracted to give us a great scare. There were also times when we would walk towards a disorienting light that the actors would use to their advantage to approach us close to our faces without noticing them. We must mention the truck scene that was seen to our right; as we were directly behind it, the reverse lights turned on, and the truck backed up. While the truck does have a safety bumper to stop it from hitting the customers, it’s not something you know at the moment.
Overall, we love how well the sets are displayed and how believable they look. We can’t wait to see what next year gets added on.
Scare Factor Score: 8.05
Scare Factor Scores – By Question
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Scare Factor Review:
As far as the scare factor goes for Spook Hollow, there were some scenes and moments where we got good scares. MC Manor has some great gory and gross props with sudden scares surrounding them. There is a dining room table with rotten-looking food on it, and it happens to second as a great scare we did not expect. The Manor uses dim lights to contrast a ton of shadows and darkness throughout scenes which also leads to actors being able to pop out.
The Spook Hollow trail provided the most opportunities for scares. We found some of the best ones are found within the graveyard. There are some great hidden actors throughout the cemetery, and they provide some fantastic scares. I appreciate the angel statues throughout the scene, which helped deliver the scares here. Other great scares here included the asylum scene (new to the season), which had some good acting scares as well. Within the MC Nightmare, we were given more old-school type scares including sudden bangs and loud noises. The actors here used props to bang and make sudden noises to give quick scares. The tight corners and high hiding spots work well to give actors an advantage. Overall, there are some highlighted moments to talk about for scares. As this attraction is a volunteer-based one, I think actor training could be tricky, which is why we are limited to actor-driven scares. I’m sure this is something the creative team behind Spook Hollow can work on when able.
Entertainment & Value Score: 8.13
E&V Scores – By Question
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The walkthrough of all three attractions equaled a total of 38 minutes, which is not a surprise since this is a lengthy and extensive haunt. This makes the MPD a 1.27, which is above average for the area. Spook Hollow is open for 6 days throughout the haunt season, the last three Fridays and Saturdays of October, which is a limited engagement compared to most attractions. It is worth the trip to the Central Illinois area to experience one of the older haunted attractions in our area. Spook Hollow is impressive for a volunteer haunt and provides a great show that has aged like fine wine.
Pics We Took From Our Visit:
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Guest ReviewsGuest Average: 7.86 out of 10
Brittany – 10/10 – October 18, 2019This was my first time at this haunted house, but definitely NOT my last. The wait time was very …show more
Joshua – 10/10 – October 13, 2018THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK IT IS SOOOO HIGH CLASS FOR AROUND 2000 DOLLARS A SET!!
Emily – 10/10 – October 21, 2017The best haunt in the area by far. There are so many great things to say about this place. Yes the …show more
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