Team Zombillies reviewed this attraction on October 7, 2016.
Final Score: 8.22
Springboro Haunted Hayride & Black Bog is just one of those destinations that really brings out the fall feeling when you arrive. This haunted farm is family friendly, so you can bring the whole crew with you! This is their 27th season of providing scary entertainment to Lebanon, Ohio which is about 40 minutes northeast of Cincinnati. There are two attractions to be experienced here: The Springboro Haunted Hayride and the Black Bog. The hayride is the more child-friendly spook tour on the farm. Many kids and families were lined up, waiting for their turn during our visit. This wagon ride offers a large variety of scenes, including a junkyard, saw mill, clown area, multiple vehicle chases and more. The Black Bog is a bit darker and consists of far more sinister creatures than we encountered on the hayride. This is a haunted trail that you must traverse by foot, so the beings within the fog will get a lot closer and personal with you. Each attraction has an affordable ticket price at $12.00 each if you can only do one, which is quite a bit cheaper than most single haunted attractions that we see at other locations. If you end up being brave enough to explore the Bog, watch out for the Bogeyman’ he might follow you home!
Black Bog: 8.24
The cast on the hayride was a pretty energetic bunch with at least one or two characters jumping aboard the wagon in nearly every scene we rode through! One of them even jumped off the top rail of the wagon! While most of the actors worked their way around the wagon in an attempt to get their scares, we did encounter a few that went straight for the ‘entertainment’ aspect by giving high fives, conversing with folks and waving after jumping off. Those that did go for scares seemed to initially try startling those on the front of the wagon first, but they generally always said something to those of us sitting in the back before their dismount back to their scenes. Effective and demanding dialogue was heard by a few of the characters, including the man with the sword and those in the junkyard, but the majority of them didn’t say much to us, so we aren’t sure what they said amidst all of the screaming parents and their kids trying to calm them down! Most of the scenes had two or more actors in them. Kudos to those driving the vehicles that came up and ‘made friends’ with the wagon; those were the most intense encounters that we experienced out there!
Black Bog: 8.34
The characters in the Bog were more interactive towards our group, but this was, understandably, much easier for them to accomplish since we were walking through instead of riding on a tall, moving wagon. A few of them had great dialogue and came off more as being realistic monsters rather than just actors and actresses. Some, admittedly, just gave us a quick stare with a brief wave or ‘Hi’ as we walked past, but others (such as the Bogeyman, the beings in the greenhouse, the elevator attendant, Skinner and the vampires) beckoned our attention with authority before reluctantly permitting our escape. A bit of advice: the creepy guy near the mausoleums doesn’t like it when you leave the doors open! Most of the scenes had at least one actor in them as well, but there were a few stretches where we didn’t see any and a well-placed character could’ve probably snagged a few more scares. Skinner’s intimidation and realness became even more apparent when we noticed his two pleading victims who even had their mouths taped shut and were bound by chains!
As of the time of writing this review, it has been a pretty warm haunt season… so costuming has been harder to tackle at some of the haunts we’ve been to. With that being said, when we noticed an actor climbing aboard the wagon with no shirt on and no paint or makeup (that we could see), this is the most logical explanation that we can come up with. Other actors were simply adorned with black cloaks, pants and/or hoodies to help hide their presence before attacking us, but most were dressed appropriately for their scenes and we’d even say that a few of them were rather elaborate (such as the man with the sword, his accomplice, the junkyard manager lady and the headless horseman). Other examples include the zombies with their fresh-from-the-grave, distressed clothing, the clowns who were vibrantly colored and the mechanics with grungy, old work uniforms.
Black Bog: 8.58
Generally speaking, the Bog’s costuming seemed to be much more detailed and intricate. A few of what we would call ‘good looking’ (scary) masks are used and really helped enhance the looks of those who were wearing them. Some really memorable ones were the Bogeyman, Skinner, the toxic crew’s gas masks, Dr. Frankie and Stitch and the Scarecrow. There’s a little bit of blood and wound makeup throughout the trail (especially on one victim that we saw in the mausoleum area), but it’s few and far between due to the family-friendly nature of the attraction. Aside from those instances, nearly everyone else had good and complete makeup work for their characters and nothing looked especially ‘cheap’ or rushed.
Customer Service: 8.68
Our GPS landed us right on target with where we were supposed to be and many parking attendants with lighted wands helped guide us to an available parking space in their large, grassy field. Parking was free, but not all of it was lit, so be careful when navigating this area. A blacklight-lit sign near the road confirmed this was our destination, but it can be a little hard to make out until you’re right up on it. You should still have little issue figuring out you’ve made it once you see the bright parking light off in the distance. As we made our way towards the ticket booth, we noticed several signs and ticket pricing options to help make things easier for their customers. Friendly staff members were found at the beginning of both attractions and inside the ticket booth in case you need to ask them something or contact them for any reason. The driveway and the common area between the entrances is all paved and both haunts were easy to get through; any unlevel ground and/or steps in the Bog were mostly marked with fluorescent orange paint to reduce trip hazards. Their large concession barn offers food, drinks and plenty of places to sit where you can watch a TV screen that shows dizzy customers as they stumble through the vortex tunnel.
Springboro has more of a laid-back, fun atmosphere, so nothing was too spooky before we entered. The large farmhouse that greeted us, modern country music and rustic barn also made for a very fall-/farm-/harvest-themed ‘feel’ for the place. The haunt’s hearse was found sitting in its usual spot, in front of the house, but was a bit hard to see since it was sitting in the dark. Various fall decor and the facade of the barn and the Bog’s queue line help to further this haunted farm’s atmosphere too. Screams, horns, revving engines and other noises escaped from both sides of the waiting area and helped keep us wondering what was going on within the timbers of the land. The first attraction that we entered was the hayride and, as we boarded the wagon, ominous music was playing to help the creepy mood set in. This music turned into the rules of the attraction as we began our journey, thus increasing our excitement as we searched for the first thing that would try to jump out and get us!
Special Effects: 7.66
Many of the effects you will notice here have been custom-made in house, so you may not see anything quite like them anywhere else. Strategic lighting was randomly placed throughout both attractions and added a creepy glow to the effects that were illuminated by them, especially the green and blue ones!
Flames are a specialty of Springboro and you will encounter them more than once on their hayride. They startled us a few times too, so that’s even better! Vehicles are used to chase down the wagon as well as a horse, so you’re getting ‘the real deal’ here and not just some fancy props. The hellacious hearse that impeded on our journey this year actually shoots real flames from its exhaust, so be on the lookout for that! Special effects can be more difficult to pull off on a hayride because they need to be effective to an entire wagon-full of people rather than smaller groups, but Springboro has figured out how to overcome this with many of the effects they use. The wagon gets very close to many of the effects, or they get very close to the wagon, whichever one comes first. Some of the other items we saw during our visit were poppers, unique statues, a red, glowing ball, a saw mill, a flaming pumpkin and more! Oh yea, did we mention the sounds on the wagon? During our entire ride the wagon played music that changed when we entered the scenes, making to where it was heard the entire time. Now how cool is that? Not as cool as the chilling (literally) fog blasts!
Black Bog: 7.44
Back on the ground again, the special effects here were much different than in the Bog. The single effect that always sticks out to us the most here is their fog. It just floats through many of the scenes and hovers around in such a neat way that it seems real. We haven’t seen anyone else use it like this and we honestly don’t even know whether it’s all fake or not! The trail itself is also unique from all of the others we’ve been to. You don’t just walk through a bunch of trees and a dirt path here, you are either on a wooden path with railing, a cave, in a building or near their cemetery where the trees are actually curvingly-intertwined above the trail to form somewhat of a ‘roof’ over a completely-outdoor segment of the attraction! Other effects found on the trail include eerie sounds, a human-cutting saw, a school bus, tombstones, human bones, toxic waste, dolls, bunnies (or friends as we were informed), a spinning vortex and more!
Both of the attractions at Springboro offer such a large variety of characters, scenes, props and dialogue that they don’t really follow one common storyline. They prey on your fears and want to offer something for everyone, so you never know what you may walk up on (or ride by) next. Because of this, we are going to go with Springboro as having a universal theme this season. Most of what you will see are original characters and scenes that these masterminds have conjured up on their own. You will, of course, see some familiar characters such as clowns, vampires, zombies, etc., but they all act in their own unique ways and aren’t trying to portray anyone else but their own characters. We did come across the headless horseman, so be on the lookout for him too!
Fright Effect: 7.84
An array of frights can be found within the two haunts at Springboro. We still believe the Bog remains to house the majority of the startles, but the hayride still has its fair share of scare techniques as well. The scares still remain family friendly for the most part and this is by no means an ‘extreme’ destination. There were many children present while we were there. However, we did see a few enter the Bog and come running right back out, full speed ahead and nearly knocked one of us down!
Common phobias were thrown at us while we were aboard the four-wheeled frenzy, so there’s a little something out there for everyone to enjoy. Some of the actors jumped aboard the wagon, which made their scares more personal and believable. We had close encounters with several chainsaws as well as some quick-blasting substances that we are sure will send chills down your spine! Other surprises included, but were not limited to, threatening dialogue, poppers, a zombie chase, fire balls and multiple vehicle chases, including several that were rather large and these maniac machines actually bumped into the sides of the wagon! The Last Chance Gas Station had multiple surprises for the finale of the hayride.
Black Bog: 7.54
Overall, the Bog has more of a creepy atmosphere as its thick fog seeps out into the queue line and surrounding areas of the haunt. This just instantly had us wanting to stay on our toes when we entered and the fact that it was pretty dark a lot of the way through just added to that. We were actually charged by multiple creatures during our journey, so we didn’t know whether we should continue to stand our ground or let them mow us down! A couple of very legitimate victims and Skinner made us feel rather uneasy when crossing their paths. The loud boom in his scene is almost guaranteed to make your hair stand on end! Notable distractions were successful at catching us off-guard in the toxic waste area and the crew seemed to do a good job at directing their scares to both of us (there wasn’t anyone else walking through with us). A trip up a set of stairs as a loud buzzer awakened our ear drums was the conclusion of the Black Bog.
General admission to either the Hayride or the Black Bog are $12.00 per person. If you would like to visit both, combo tickets are priced at $22.00. Our total tour time of both attractions was 40 minutes (18.5 minutes from where the rules started on the hayride and 21.5 minutes in the Bog). That brings their overall value to 1.82 minutes of entertainment received, which is above average and a great value! Your tour time may vary from ours in the Bog, but that was with us walking through at a pretty steady pace and only stopping when the creatures forced us to. This is an attraction you can bring your whole family to, but we’d venture to guess that some of the younger crowd may chicken out on the Black Bog since it’s a bit scarier than the hayride. Regardless, even if you can only do one of the attractions, we think they are both worth the price of $12.00 each! You can come to this attraction and not need to worry about leaving for hours given their large concession barn and multiple, haunting activities’ what else do you need on a cool, October night?