This attraction was reviewed on October 19, 2018 by .

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Final Score: 7.8

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In the Appalachian foothills of Hocking County, Ohio is an abandoned zip lining park that has since become populated with monsters and crazies ready to pounce at unprepared hikers who dare to wander onto their haunting grounds. Wicked Forest is a half-mile haunted trail in one of Ohio’s largest and most impressive forests, but the home-y chalet nestled into the trees at the base of the hill belies the threat of ghouls that could be hiding behind any tree, or in any abandoned camp once their hay wagon brings you to the top.

The hills are alive, with the sound of screaming. No kids, you won’t find the Von Trapp family here but, you will find a fun-loving bunch of mischief makers ready to give you a good fright in Ohio’s beautiful Hocking Hills!

Cast: 7.4

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Sadly, Wicked Forest seems to have fallen prey to an epidemic we have noticed sweeping Ohio haunts this season- reliable volunteer workers are becoming difficult to find and keep. While a good handful of actors did return this year to scare, there was a noticeable lack of monsters on the night we arrived and while the rain may have been partly to blame, it was sad to see such a truly excellent haunt understaffed.

The actors they did have put in the work of two, though, and most of them made a strong effort to follow us through portions of the forest that might have felt a bit ‘dead’ otherwise.

Costuming: 8.01

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Wicked Forest’s costumes are beautiful, handmade originals. With the exception of one actor in a Predator mask and plain black clothing, every costume was a stunning illustration of the character being portrayed. The makeups were delightful and the masks were all worn well.

The most marvelous costume we saw was on the ticket taker at the haunt’s entrance, whose face appeared to be ghostly pale in normal light, but illuminated with an impressive skull design when she stepped under a black light.

It is quite apparent that their wardrobe and makeup departments take extra care with the actors who are going to be stationed in well-lit areas and they have the skills to carry off impressive, detailed looks.

Customer Service: 8.55

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GPS will take you to Wicked Forest’s front gates, but depending on the direction you’re coming from, the lighted archway might be a bit before or after where your GPS says it is. That is because the ticket office, which is situated a ways back from the main road, is what the navigation software is looking for. As long as you pay attention to where you’re at, it shouldn’t be a problem. Portable stadium lights illuminate the parking area, and even in the rain, there were no large puddles or nasty ruts in the road to get hung up on.

Once we reached the waiting area, we were greeted by friendly security staff, who directed us to the ticket line, which is located in a climate controlled cabin filled with photo ops and a hard working bunch of admissions staff that keep the line moving quickly. They even have well maintained FLUSH TOILETS here, which is a rarity in the haunt world, and we very much appreciated it. Once we left the building, we waited with other guests around a cozy campfire while the next tractor came to take us up to the entrance of the haunt itself.

Keep in mind, this is an outdoor trail and as such, it can get a little slippery in the rain. It seemed well maintained, but there were a few questionable spots. One of which was a muddy patch with no protection to keep you from possibly tumbling into the creek bed on your right.

Atmosphere: 8.4

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Cir Chris, a delightful queue line actor and one of our favorites, milled around the queue line entertaining guests with his friend Mimi as we waited in line to get into Wicked Forest. He was giving out high fives left and right to patrons who chatted with him and generally keeping the mood light and fun.

Laser lights and fog danced around the clearing at the top of the hill while appropriately Halloween-y classic rock hits blared out for us to sing along and dance to.

Special Effects: 7.15

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Wicked Forest is a haunted trail quite literally in the middle of nowhere and as such, they were not big on sound effects or animatronics. While some lights were plainly out in the open, a few of them were hidden in the knotholes of trees or shielded by camo netting, which added a very spooky filter. We would have liked to see a little more lighting on the pet cemetery scene, which was very well done but just a little hard to see.

We were even offered refreshments halfway into our trip by a seedy-looking bartender handing out samples of ‘Blood Lemonade’ with the promise that in about 45 minutes, we’d look just like him. We learned from another ghoul working the midway that the blood they used is fresh squeezed from whatever the werewolves leave behind. Nice.

Theme: N/A

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Wicked Forest doesn’t follow a single theme.

Scare Factor: 7.13

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The soft sound of rain hitting the leaves above hushed most other ambient noise and allowed enough confusion in the dark that even if we heard an actor coming, we couldn’t tell which direction we were going to get hit from.

As we stated before, the actors made the best of their small numbers and stuck around for longer than was comfortable after their initial scare in order to keep the mood. There were a lot of new additions this year, including a school carnival and a ransacked campsite complete with tents and an abandoned car. The werewolves at Wicked Forest are our personal favorites, and we were really glad to see that they returned this year. We still aren’t sure how they manage to make those inhuman noises or how they move around the way they do, and we kind of don’t want to know. Some Halloween magic is best left a mystery.

Entertainment & Value: 8.43

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Tickets to Wicked Forest are just $12, and improvements in the off-season added about 5 minutes of walkthrough time to the haunt. This gives Wicked Forest a value of 1.67 minutes of entertainment per dollar (above average) with the 20 minutes that it took us to navigate the dark woods.

They have VIP fast passes available for $17 and even offer $10 tickets for military and first responders, or for groups of 12 or more. The entertainment you get for your money is a fabulous deal and Wicked Forest is an absolute must-see for haunted trail fans.

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