The most terrifying haunted destination in New England

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Haunting your dreams. (Photo by GQ Photography)

By Tava Hoag

It’s that time of year again, with changing leaves and cool nights, scary movies make their debut on TV, and Halloween stores fill up with costume buyers. Candy is given out left and right, and jack-o-lanterns appear on front porches.  Halloween is creeping just around the corner, but in the meantime, what can you do to get into the Halloween spirit? If you are looking for a scary and fun night out with friends, consider going to Spooky World’s Nightmare New England, where you’ll never grow tired of being scared.

Nightmare New England and Spooky World forged together in 2009 to create a “spook-tacular” scare park with 5 chilling attractions, the most notable attractions being the Monster Midway and live entertainment. This haunted destination has even been voted the best haunted house in the world for 2013 by “Top Haunts Magazine”, and according to the magazine’s site it is, “The largest and most terrifying haunted destination in the Northeast.”

They are located off of Charles Bancroft Highway in Litchfield, New Hampshire but have also opened up a venue in Rhode Island. They start their scare season early, on the last weekend of September and are open every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and some mid-week nights up until Saturday November, 8. Ticket sales begin at 6:00 pm and end at 11:00 pm on weekend nights but the park does not close until the last group has gone through all of their haunts.

When purchasing tickets guests have two options, the general admission ticket which includes all 5 haunts or the VIP ticket which allows visitors to explore the haunts more than once, skip the long lines and are granted access to the Carnival Midway which includes, Go-Kart rides, mini-golfing and batting cages. To find specific prices check out Spooky World’s official website, you can also visit local Dunkin Donuts to pick up $5 discount coupons.

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Too intense? Try zombie paintball. (Photo by GQ Photography)

“The cool thing about Spooky World is that your night can be as scary as you want it to be.” said Troy Howlett, a frequent customer at Nightmare New England. “If you aren’t crazy about going into the attractions there are other things that you can do, such as zombie paintball, tarot readings, or even dancing to the music that the DJ plays by the fire pit.”

Concessions are also featured near the fire pit with all kinds of crowd favorites, like candy apples, hot cider, apple crisp, fried dough, French-fries and chicken fingers to name a few. There is plenty to do, so even people not interested in being scared can enjoy the fun atmosphere in Litchfield. “I was too nervous to go in to the attractions so my friends went and I enjoyed my night by the fire pit, the monsters aren’t allowed near there so it was a safe environment for my scaredy-cat self.” commented Kyra Fasano.

The Monster Midway is always a hit with the guests. This is where you can interact the most with the gruesome monsters and experience there best tactics. They come at you when you least expect it and if you try to run they will chase you. “My friend even had one wait outside of the port-a-potty to shock me and it definitely worked!” said Howlett. It’s also dark in the Midway with the minimal amount of light possible and foggy so that you don’t know whether the figures coming towards you are horrific zombies or fellow visitors.

The attractions are well done and are prone to change from year to year. There are 5 of them and it’s important to note that no matter what, the actors inside cannot touch you; they can get as close as they want, but they cannot touch you, and vice-a-versa, you cannot touch them. Each attraction has a back story and first theme is Freak Show 3D, where patrons are brought inside one big fun house with mirrors, techno-color lights and crazy, gruesome clowns, and are given 3-D glasses to make the experience even more psychedelic.

The next is called Raven’s Claw which is outside, guests walk deep into the woods and through a cemetery surrounded by crypts, tombstones and “freshly dug graves”. Zombies lurk in the shadows of the trees and corpses deliver screams to all the guests. Raven’s Claw is set on a natural landscape alongside the Merrimac River.

The Colony, was a crowd favorite this year and even recommended by some of the monsters themselves. Customer, Briahna Gilchrest said, “The Colony was the scariest thing I’ve experienced in my life, there were some parts where I thought I would die of fright it was crazy how at every turn they got me even though I knew it was coming it never got old!”

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Once a performer, always — pre and post zombification. (Photo by GQ Photography)

Brigham Manor tells the story of the notorious Bishop family of Litchfield, NH. This family was feared by others and often strange things and disappearances happened around their farm. This attraction was newly constructed for the 2013 Halloween season and it’s a very morbid and decrepit looking house, made even more inviting by the loud scary music, changing colored lights and monsters that meander around the entrance.

Lastly is the newest attraction Carnage, which features rot, decay, and filth with no place to hide from the scavengers, your only option is to run! It has been described as, “a nightmare you cannot wake up from.”  It is full of tires, abandoned burned cars and trucks and many hiding places for the dead.

What really makes Nightmare New England Spooky World so worthwhile are the actors, they are absolutely amazing. The makeup is phenomenal and makes everything look and feel more realistic. The acting is out of this world, they all stay in character no matter what and you can become entranced with their performances.

“This year I watched a girl foam at the mouth, twitch and stagger as she walked all night long, she was my favorite monster of the bunch.” said Gustavo Quiros, an annual visitor to Spooky World.  The monsters are not supposed to talk to the visitors but I was able to get a zombie to give me a quote, “I love working here, it’s always so predictable scaring people but never the same because every person can react differently. It’s satisfying at the end of the night to know I did my job well by making people scream.”

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Trick or treat! Monsters or just misunderstood? (Photo by GQ Photography)

This “spook-tacular” venue even hosts events throughout the scare season, this past weekend they had a Zombie Charge, and actors chased runners through the attractions scaring them as they ran for their lives. The next event is on Saturday, November 8 and is called, “Lights Out” where all of the lights are turned off and customers are challenged to make it through all 5 haunts with only a glow stick to navigate. All of your darkest fears will be realized. Can you do it?

This Halloween season take a chance, visit this truly terrifying place and experience the shrieks and screams that these monsters can give you.

“I go every year and it always does its job scaring the sh*t out of me!” said Gilchrest. Attached are some terrific pictures of some of the monsters you will encounter on this journey, for more information log on to Spooky World’s website, http://www.nightmarenewengland.com/, read all of the amazing reviews and watch some gut wrenching trailers!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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