By Caleigh Sturgeon, Managing Web Editor
Field of Screams, “the area’s longest, scariest, most heart-pounding haunted hayride, chilling haunted houses, and haunted trail,” lived up to its name—except that it wasn’t exactly in our area. Nestled in Mountville, PA (about an hour west of Conestoga), Field of Screams boasts a Haunted Hayride, Frightmare Asylum, Nocturnal Wasteland, and a brand new Den of Darkness. A spread of food trucks, carnival games, photo booths, and gory actors fills the central grounds of the destination, while the haunted attractions surround. The abundance of thrilling options makes Field of Screams a perfect Friday or Saturday night destination, and in my opinion makes the long drive worth your time.
But if you’re pressed on time, or simply don’t want to have your wits knocked out of you four times in a row, I would principally recommend this year’s brand new Den of Darkness. A dimly lit haunted attraction filled with the perfect mix of strobe lights, ear-splitting sounds, and uneven floors, the Den of Darkness hosts a variance of scenes prime to make even the most stoic visitor recoil in fear. I would also endeavor to say that the Den of Darkness’s actors are the best on site—they corner you and probe you unexpectedly in a way that, while a bit offsetting, magnifies your scares by making the Den feel more like reality.
The other indoor haunted-house setup at Field of Screams is the asylum. While it’s difficult to compare Frightmare to the vast setup at more locally based Pennhurst asylum, Frightmare is the perfect destination for those afraid of blood, gore, passionate shrieks, and crazed eyes. Complete with butcher shops and torturing lairs, Frightmare asylum strikes terrifyingly enough to make any person wince at the shocks they hear reverberating in the walls.
Of course the hayride is a must for any haunted excursion. It is fall, and what better way to enjoy the change of season than to plunge face-down into a pile of hay, shielding your screams from the actors that climb aboard the tractor. Field of Screams’ ride takes visitors through a series of scenes, each with its own theme, music, displays and crazed actors. Whether your fear is clowns or chainsaws, there is bound to be a scene or actor that terrifies you.
The Nocturnal Wasteland is the attraction I would drop if pressed for time, at least for those who dare to be scared. Or else, visit the Nocturnal Wasteland first as a warm-up because I found the Wasteland the least scary of the attractions. A “haunted trail”, the nocturnal wasteland is a corn maze that during the day actually serves as a “family fun” maze. At night it is converted into a series of scenes with actors that pop out from the corn stalks. A must see in the Nocturnal Wasteland: a crazed electric factory with bursting sparks and shrieking sounds.
So next time you’re considering another trip to Bates Motel, make mom and dad, or one of your friends, drive you out to Field of Screams. I wish you luck in the Den of Darkness.
Caleigh Sturgeon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.