Thanks for sending this in, Frank!
Thanks for sending this in, Frank!
So yeah. I do this thing where I review hundreds of haunted houses and a lot of people like to read about it.
I know it’s 2015. This is for last season. I do these before the following season because of 3 reasons:
1. It’s my blog and I can do whatever I want.
2. The best haunts are really the ones that last the test of time.
3. I’m generally way too tired to do them in November after many consecutive weekends of doing +-10 haunts per weekend.
I don’t do the same awards every year necessarily. There are different types of haunts and it’s unfair to directly compare them to each other because often they are trying to accomplish different things with their haunted attractions. I look at all of the haunts that stood out and create an award that tells you WHY. This isn’t to say that other haunts that I did aren’t good enough to rank an award. If they got an award last year and only did iterative changes for this year they didn’t get one this year again.
You’ll want to read through that and my review page because there’s a lot more great haunts than are listed here on this page.
That said, here’s who stood out this past season:
New Jersey: Lake Hopatcong 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House – Halloween Spirit Award
Lake Hopatcong 26th Annual Halloween Haunted House is a small, local haunted house staffed by volunteers from the local school blew us away. It was fun and exceeded our expectations immensely. Read my review here.
Pennsylvania: House in the Hollow – Best Standalone Haunted House
New Jersey: Haunted Scarehouse – The Innovation Award
Haunted Scarehouse is doing things no one else is doing with technology. You can buy photos and videos of you in the attraction at a very reasonable price via an app that they made themselves. Read my review here.
Pennsylvania: The Freak and Funhouse – The Holy Fucking Shit Award
Normally I don’t put profanity on things like this so that they can be shared to a wider audience. In this case it doesn’t matter because is the title of this award offends you, you aren’t the customer for this masterpiece. If you’ve ever been here you’ll know that this award is exactly true. What I love about these guys is that they are politically incorrect and proud of it. Their work has a classic feel to it that surprised and amused Harknell and I the entire time. Read my review here.
Pennsylvania: Dorney Park – Best Theme Park Halloween Experience
Pennsylvania: Halls of Horror – The Brutality Award
The Brutality Award is reserved only for the most brutal. To get it you have to totally brutalize both Harknell and myself – which is incredibly difficult to do since we know all the tricks.
GUYS. The next time someone makes a movie like this CALL ME. I’M IN. Just let me shoot guns with my boobs or something ridiculous.
This is the best thing I have ever seen in my life.
In my series of fails when I try to be a girl, I took a day to go into NYC last weekend to a spa. I’ve heard great things about spas and facials, but have actually never tried one so I decided to try Mario Badescu for a basic facial and skin are consultation. It’s only $65 and people seem to love them so I figured, “Why not?”
I have mixed feelings about the whole experience. I told them that I had never been to a spa before but they didn’t really explain that much. They also didn’t ask me up front about any allergies. The facial itself was nice enough – they basically assess your skin and tell you what they see that needs to be treated. Since its winter it was no surprise that dryness and fine lines were a thing – that’s actually my main concern. My face has been getting killed by this winter.
They did some random shit that I guess was cleansing and then steamed my face and did what they call “extractions”. That’s basically them manipulating your face to get rid of any junk in your skin. It’s a bit painful and I am not sure if this is actually good for you. I’ll have to ask my dermatologist when I see her next. Then they do a face mask. They upsold me to a brightening vitamin C mask as well which was an additional $35.
The problem I had with this is that, while the whole experience was actually pretty cool, they didn’t explain that much to me about what they were doing, what they were using, or what I should expect and do afterward. I found out through google after I got home that apparently I wasn’t supposed to wash my face that night but oops – I had already.
The entire process actually made my face more irritated and more hydrated and nice in equal measure in the first day and better on the second and third days. I read that this is normal, but again, I’ll have to ask my dermatologist if this is actually a good idea. Regardless I wanted to try this at least once in my life.
The skin consultation was good except for one thing – I clearly said that I was highly allergic to avobenzone and oxybenzone (chemical sunscreen), but they didn’t seem not know what that was or have the ingredient list on hand. As nice as they were, I left the shop with a sample kit that included – you guessed it – avobenzone sunscreen in the ingredients.
It’s a good thing that I googled the full ingredient list before using it. On the bright side, they were friendly and the sample bag they gave me was huge and even included stuff for Harknell.
I’d like to get my skin in better shape than it is now after being attacked by Winter and I don’t yet have a Go To routine. My dermatologist is awesome but Dermatologists aren’t always into various daily skin care issues. I find that they generally seem to focus on treating skin conditions rather than anti-aging and maintenance – at least in my experience.
I tried the stuff Mario Badescu gave me and while it made my skin feel more hydrated, I had a weird warm feeling on my face that signals that I am allergic to something in it so I switched back to my regular Cetaphil and Oil of Olay for the time being.
The jury is out on if spa facials are a good idea or a pile of ballhockey. I definitely enjoyed going but the redness afterward and the fact that Mario Badescu swas so lax about allergies and explaining what was going on makes me think that I am going to try Kiehl’s next. I definitely would return here, though.
I fail so hard at being a girl. Back to the normal plan:
Every year when we do the haunt tour there naturally are about 3-5 that we do on the last weekend of the season. Since these reviews will be used by my readers to discern their next year haunting plans and the OniHaunts Awards aren’t done until next year we Livetweet, instagram, and Facebook them. I don’t tend to rush the full review out because they are perfect for people to read now when they are starting to think of this coming year. Especially in this year’s case we had multiple really terrible things happen to us in November that hit us very hard and threw us off here.
That said, it’s time to get all of the writing up now.
We had the opportunity to check out The Freak and Funhouse on November 1st, their last day of operation. Given that it’s literally in a house on a street we had no idea what to expect when we went in.
Oh boy were we in for a surprise.
Here is Harknell getting our tickets:
There’s a general rule in haunting. The less corporate the haunt is the more interesting it tends to be. I’ve done so many corporate and non corporate haunts. If you find the person whose haunt is off the beaten path and didn’t spend a ton of money on digital marketing you’ll find yourself a unique and special treat. Those guys are generally doing it for the art behind it first and foremost and are not following stupid and boring trends.
I am actually pretty sick of your typical corporate chainsaw chase. Some do it well, but when you go to as many as I do you recognize that many use the same shit that they bought from the haunt trade show with no alteration or originality. Copy / paste. Copy / paste. It can be good and every area needs a big haunt, but a single impressive prop does not impress me on it’s own.
I have a well-documented love of the art and creativity behind these attractions. I love how things are put together. My bias is that I am far more impressed with something bizarre that I have never seen before than any expensive purchased prop.
The Freak and Funhouse is as of this writing the absolute weirdest and most different haunted attraction I have ever been to in my entire life. Holy shit.
I am not using hyperbole there. Dude. This shit was weird. Nothing is normal or standard in here – and that’s a GOOD THING. Harknell and I absolutely loved everything. I think we walked out of there like this:
Me: “What the fuck just happened?”
Harknell: “I…have no idea.”
Us: “That was fucking awesome!”
You get to walk through various vignettes which include a funeral parlor, gypsy sisters, rednecks, a death camp gas chamber, Frankenstein… you name it. You might have to do a funny dance or interact with the actors or you might have to crawl through a tunnel. They aren’t trying to brutalize you or torture you, but they will try and freak you out.
The actors are HYSTERICAL.
This attraction gets my wholehearted recommendation, but I have to note a couple things to you in order to do my job right across a wide readership of different tastes and situations.
If you have mobility issues this one might be difficult for you. We did have to crawl through 2 narrow tunnels. Just phone them and ask in advance if this is a concern.
If you are easily offended or even remotely the type of person who gets angry when people aren’t politically correct this is not the attraction for you. You absolutely must understand what they are doing creatively with this one before bringing your whole family here.
They state it up front – their objective is to offend you, me, and literally everyone who comes into this attraction. This is a teen and older attraction. They intentionally are doing scenes in here (such as the death camp gas chamber) that other haunts will not touch. If this is not for you, don’t go. We understood exactly what they were doing and what we were paying for. The idea was to be offensive and comedic. They achieved this (see photos on their Facebook) and we were laughing the entire way through.
What we loved about The Freak and Funhouse is that they are not politically correct. They aren’t like anyone else. Imagine if someone created their own genre of haunted attraction and just did it with no reservation or apologies. That’s what this is – and it’s fabulous. They clearly state in many places that the idea is to offend everyone and they do it in a funny way that I felt was both responsible, inspired, creative, and well worth your time.
The Freak and Funhouse is just a few minutes from Halls of Horror so these 2 haunts together make the perfect night out. I know we will be back to both for sure.