What's the history of your haunt?
We began our haunted attraction 22 years ago at our New England family Christmas Tree Farm. We decided to try a new idea that we learned at a Farm Bureau Meeting called agritourism, a new concept of bringing folks to a farm for entertainment and experience. We had our parking, and a tight group of willing friends to try our hand at producing a Haunted Hayride through the Christmas tree fields. We were quite unsure, as were our early guests, of exactly what this new type of live entertainment would be. Some of those early years may have actually produced the most blood curdling screams to date.
It was simple times. We had farm machinery and tools, huge bonfires, strobe lights and fog machines, the darkness, and the ever quintessential sounds of chainsaws ripping through the night air. And folks had a great time... They laughed and cried and screamed and wanted to ride it again. We knew then we were on the right pathway. Interestingly we actually never knew there were others out there doing the same, and never knew of the Haunt community that would have been great support during those early growth years. Many years later we have a successful haunted farm with multiple attractions and a large seasonal October staff that dwarfs our Christmas staff. And though the production and preparation has evolved in so many ways, we have never forgotten those early years when it was our greatest wish to take our unsuspecting guests on a moonlit ride through our fields and hear them scream immersed in a world that we created.
Tell us what inspired you to get involved in haunting
As Halloween and horror film lovers we naturally loved the marriage between live entertainment and the art of the scare. It’s not always easy to scare all of our guests, some attend our farm to watch others get scared, and that’s okay. We believe everyone wants to be entertained. And we love the challenge! We take months planning how to provide an evening full of a variety of sights and sounds that will stay with our customers long after they leave our farm. Many years later we will meet past actors or guests that tell us coming to our farm in October have been some of their most cherished memories. We created a family and we created a tradition. It may be unique and misunderstood by some but we have met some of the most wonderful people and had some of the most rewarding experiences in this crazy business of haunting. Today I cannot imagine our lives without our farm haunt community we have created. It is these incredible and talented people that bring us the energy and passion to strive and for greater sets and scares for them to haunt in.
What's the most exciting new concept or area you're adding or incorporating in your haunt this year?
Once again we are building to new heights. We have redesigned the start of the hayride with a new barn scene of EPIC proportions. We will be kicking off this season in a big way adding more sound and special effects that we hope will delight our guests. It’s all returning to our farm roots this year on our hayride but brought with even greater focus on leaving a big impression on why a farm is not just a place for wedding photos. Our trail is additionally growing with an all new attraction... A TWISTED fun house. Inside will be far more than the clowns. It’s all so exciting seeing it come together and we can’t wait for them to visit us this October!
Why do you attend HAuNTcon?
We attended our very first HAuNTcon in Houston, TX, years ago and went to all the classes and tours. We loved the entire experience and made lifelong friends throughout the haunt community through this show. As the Haunting industry grows, it is important to remember we can all learn from each other and we all have so many different things to offer. HAuNTcon gives us all that platform that we need to connect face-to-face with both the home haunter and professional large haunt owner. We can ask the questions, and get the information we are all looking for to take our haunt to the next level. At HAuNTcon it is possible the home haunter has even more ideas how to create a scare or prop that we may never have imagined. The group classes have been informative in many areas and we have always learned something we could use. We have purchased many masks, costumes, and props from the showroom over the years. We are so passionate about this convention and each year we bring as many of our staff as possible with us. We recognize the immense growth they have achieved in recent years, and we look forward to all that lay ahead for HAuNTcon 2019! We know that the best is yet to come!