Trail of Terror – Full Review

Trail of Terror is a Haunted Attraction located in Wallingford, CT.

60 North Plains Highway, Wallingford, CT 06492
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Haunt Type(s):

Charity HauntHaunted Trail


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Paid Parking, All-Outdoor Attraction

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This attraction was reviewed on September 29, 2018 by Team Old Crow Hollow.

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Final Score: 8.57

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A seemingly neverending series of walkways, small houses and every type of character you can imagine is what makes up the extremely well-detailed Trail of Terror. Every square inch of this trail is immaculate, and not just with a pile of stuff but with appropriate objects and theming that adds to the overall credibility of the scenes. There are lots of movie characters in here as well, including the Halloween house, an It house, The Purge, and impressive Jeepers Creepers areas. They also utilize all the space within the fenced in area to create a dizzying series of twists and turns through all the various themes.

Overall, it’s just a really enjoyable trip through so many different worlds, movies, and nightmares that it just provides all sorts of Halloween-type thrills.

Cast: 8.35

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There are a lot of cast members at Trail of Terror and they are all volunteers! Our interaction with the cast began when the Sanderson Sisters popped out of their house in the queue line to entertain the crowd along with some other entertainers. There are a lot of great actors here that really bring their characters to life, even if they are well known like Pennywise, Michael Myers, and other familiar characters. These actors were even the right size to properly portray these monsters!

The frustrating recurring theme with the cast, costumes, and scares was that it was inconsistent. There were some really awesome folks in here, super believable, and then others who seem to be just there. It somewhat takes away from the fine work of the major characters and regular ones like the girl with her throat sliced that was really convincing. But, overall, they really make the place come alive.

Costuming: 8.23

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There were a lot of spot-on costumes that were super detailed and authentic. Especially the movie characters including Pennywise and the Jeepers Creepers guy. Most look like they just stepped out of the movie. Again, it was a bit inconsistent as some of them were just general costumes. Makeup was the same. Some designs were really fine and detailed work while others consisted of very basic or almost no design. They actually use a lot of masks here, both for the practicality of not having to apply makeup to the large cast every night, as well as to accurately portray the movie characters who are mostly masked. The masks here though are not just out of necessity, but also serve a smart purpose. Given the mostly darkened areas of the trail and houses, makeup would get lost and unseen unless they were right up in the guests’ faces. The masks actually allow the characters to stand out and be identifiable. A lot of the masks create good profiles in the dim light.

The few really featured makeups, like the throat slashed girl, are really very good, like stop in your tracks and step closer to take a better look good. I would like to see where that could go for this attraction if they put in more scenes where makeup could be used and shine through. It would provide another element to this excellent show.

Customer Service: 7.73

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While the staff here was extremely friendly and helpful, there were some customer service issues here. Parking and finding the Haunt are not among those though. There is a huge paid parking lot here for $8 right next to the woods the trail inhabits. So that part is easy but then you enter a dark, winding trail in the woods just to get to the main entrance. This does create an unusual and extra-atmospheric element before you even get to the gate but the downside is that you better have a flashlight out or a cell phone as it is dark in there, and there are numerous roots. Just be aware if you choose the path and watch out for roots and such or you could take a tumble like one of my teammates did on the way in. If you want to avoid this, my advice is to go out the parking gate and walk down the paved road like you do when you leave, it’s much safer. It’s also really dark in other areas so keep your hands out in front, and watch your step. They did fix a lot of the elevation changes here from last year.

My other biggest recommendation is to stop somewhere to use the bathroom before getting there. There are some when you exit the attraction 45 minutes to an hour later, but there was only one porta potty at the entrance to the trail and one at the entrance to the Haunt.

For those who would like to enjoy something to eat, the Trail Grub will be stationed on property offering chili dogs, nachos, candy, beverages and more.

Atmosphere: 8.6

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Okay, here’s where the scores go up and Trail of Terror is really strong. The atmosphere is so spot-on and authentic with the tall trees all around you and rising high above you. They do a masterful job of just closing off the outside world completely. By having every area highly detailed and themed you are never taken out of their world. I’ve been there twice in two years and I still never know where I am on the trail in relation to anything else. Oh, and they change like 85 to 90% of the trail every year. There was so much that was new, or changed or moved. It just creates such a strong atmosphere that is comprehensive and complete.

Special Effects: 9.08

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I don’t care what anyone else would say, there is no chance that anyone in the country does sound effects better than Trail of Terror. No one. The sound is everywhere, matches the scenes, sets up the atmosphere, sets up what’s coming next and encompasses you where you are. It’s just phenomenal.

Their other special effects including animatronics, fog, lighting, etc.. are all well placed for that scene and theme, and are very effective. A lot of that was cool moments, but generally they just enhance the scene, the set design, the characters and it all adds to the fullness of the experience.

Theme: 9.15

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Rather than following one theme, Trail of Terror has all of them. Literally every theme you can think of is in there. By keeping their scenes short you are constantly changing from one theme in one area to another but they also keep the characters and themes contained to just that area so that it makes sense as you wind your way along. I think that is a smart way to do this so it doesn’t become a chaotic mess of random creatures and themes all over the place. Everything is there, but everything is where it belongs.

Scare Factor: 8.33

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Trail of Terror is not an overwhelmingly terrifying place. It’s almost family friendly but with just enough dark edge for me to say maybe not for the younger kids like preteens. What it does is wear you down and get you through attrition. The walk is almost non-stop except for a very brief break in the middle if you want to take it, so it’s 45 minutes of jump scares, movie characters in your face, and just the unknown rattling your nerves. That’s where they get you, repeated scares coming early and often. Like everything here, the scares are a cumulative and full picture concept. They want to scare you all the way through from beginning to end and they do a good job of it!

Entertainment & Value: 9.2

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While there is not much entertainment on the outside, inside the Trail is incredibly entertaining and really fun if you enjoy seeing the sets and the different worlds they created or recreated directly from the big screen.

There is no way you won’t be entertained with all that goes on here, and for the price of a $20 general admission ticket (timed tickets), it is absolutely a steal as this trail took us around 45 minutes to navigate this year! You can’t really get a better deal, which is one of the reasons the crowds are so big here. If there are any tickets available after their timed tickets are sold, they are $15 each but they are limited and the Trail strongly suggests that you purchase a timed ticket in advance.

If it’s a traditional, Halloween scare experience that you’re looking for, this is the place!

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Guest Reviews
Guest Average: 8.63 out of 10

Ashley – 10/10October 12, 2018
The Trail Of Terror Hass to be the best Hall I’ve ever been to because they are actually on theme …show more with everything, their make up does lack a little bit But they are always to the point and on character. When I first went there two years ago I was so amazed by the clown with the blue mohawk on top of the Porta potty hitting it with a hammer to scare the customers, or the clown with a very colorful hair into t but they are always to the point and on character. When I first went there two years ago I was so amazed by the clown with the blue mohawk on top of the Porta potty hitting it with a hammer to scare the customers, or the clown with a very colorful hair and too-too walking around. All of the trail is in our walk-through and decently priced for tickets I would 100% highly recommend this want to anybody because it is just that good

Tristan – 10/10October 14, 2016
Best haunted house in the state! Hands down… Go online and get your tix bc you don’t wanna miss …show more this place!

Phil Anderson – 9.52/10October 4, 2019
I like this one more and rank it higher than Scare Factor. This haunt has been around for years, and …show more every year it’s a little more refined. There are some really terrific people who go all out to put this one and it really shows. The atmosphere just leading into the event, the snaking line where you get glimpses and lots of sounds of the haunt, and are broken up in to stages, are a great set-up.

Once you’re inside it’s long, scary, fun and detailed. The scares can really get you, and the bits of humor you get out of some actors are often perfectly timed.

If you look elsewhere this haunt is frequently ranked as one of the best in the state, or even the northeast, and there’s a reason for that. It may not be the very best, but every year they do a great job with a very well run, plenty scary haunt.

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