South Florida Finds was invited to a behind-the-scenes tour of the 4 haunted houses for the 2015 Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds. This spooky experience is recommended for children over the age of 12 years old and for adults. Since all children are different, parents with less squeamish children may be considering it for their under 12 year old child and parents of anxious teens may be wondering if they are "ready" yet.
Below is our review of each of the 4 haunted houses. Keep in mind we went without many of the volunteer and paid costumed actors in place so it was significantly LESS scary than the actual haunts would be live.
If you are considering haunted houses for your child in the future, we recommend taking a behind-the-scenes tour first so that anxious children get to see the strings and tricks before hand. They may still be scared the night of the event but may recover quicker from the experience (don't want a week of nightmares!).
For a deal on entrance + all 4 haunts, see if this Groupon Deal is still active.
**Remember: If at any point you want to exit, just let the closest actor know and they can get you out the safest and quickest way. DO NOT run all the way out as you could injure yourself or others with you.**
Our vote for the best-themed haunt with the scariest sets and characters goes to Memento Mori designed by one of the longtime crew members at Fright Nights. A couple of the actresses were in full make up for the walk-through and were quite convincingly scary. If you only have 1 haunt to do, make sure you see this one! The haunt uses only 1 strobe light experience (the other houses over use it) and didn't have any absurdly loud noises.
Memento Mori- After a year of slaughtering in a South Florida hotel, two murderous sisters relocate to the enchanted streets of New Orleans. Peddling witchery as their wares. Deep in the bayous of Louisiana, the common grounds of voodoo and witchcraft, where spells are a part of the religious culture. The two girls take part in a voodoo ceremony, where they find their new “identities”. They learn the ways and the various spells, hexes, curses and fixes. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIp4o5Kh4-s
Our next favorite haunt was Meadow Lakes which also had a cohesive set of scenes and had some pretty creepy rooms. We liked the use of doubling back on the same scene from a different angle which was slightly disorienting and confusing. The bathroom scene was expecially nasty but we just can't stand nasty bathrooms so even without the gore it was scary! There were loud noises and strobe lights were used quite a bit. This haunt also used quite a bit of painted mannequins in addition to the costumed actors.
Meadow Lakes- Nestled quietly against calm waters, Meadow Lakes quickly became the last bastion on Earth amidst global chaos brought on by an unknown virus. While the lakeside community nervously looked on as the turmoil unfolded, Sector Four staff worked at a feverish pace to secure the last stronghold in their control. Established to combat the looming threat, its concrete walls which seemed to stretch upwards infinitely, a large titanium door strong enough to withstand a nuclear blast, and guard towers littering the perimeter, Sector Four officials were confident in their ability to contain and reverse the virus. Soon, however, the community of Meadow Lakes began to experience civil unrest stemming from what seemed to be random attacks and mysterious disappearances of friends and loved ones. As the air became contaminated with a thick smog of fear and paranoia, cracks began to form in the once impenetrable walls of Sector Four... Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8elejxaMdU
Animal Farm uses the most volunteers of all of the Haunts and is also well put together thematically. This outdoor haunt leaves you exposed to the elements so it could be wet or muddy. The loooooong walk through the winding junk car lane will surely be flanked on all sides by scary characters that pop out at you and can imagine quite a bit of running in there. There seemed to be quite a few zig-zag walks throughout and it definitely is bigger than it seems to be from the entrance. Not to be a Nervous Nelly but this haunt just made me think someone might get injured or slip if conditions are wet. It didn't look like it has secret doors or passages or surprise windows like the other haunts so you may be able to anticipate the scare better in this one. Some of the costumes we saw behind the scenes looked pretty scary for this haunt. It also uses plenty of strobe if that is a medical concern for your family.
Animal Farm- There's a fine line that separates man from beast, the opposable thumb and the supposed conscience for example. Either way, deep within lies a soul that can be easily filled with the deepest hatred and darkest intentions. You are part of this dichotomy, and the time has come for the animals to rise up and reclaim their place at the top of the food chain. The Animal Farm blurs the traditional roles of the monster and the master. Humanoids, freaks, and half -beasts roam the trampled acres and await your arrival. You will be judged, placed and processed because you are the meat. Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I03hp4WyDB8
The last haunt is Beyond the Gates which seemed to have just about every scary thing you could imagine all shoved in to 1 Haunt: scenes of the underworld, spiders, haunted halls, house of cards, and more. It seemed like it needed a bit of editing or help connecting the scenes to each other. The entrance gives you 2 paths...one involves squeezing through an inflated tunnel. If you are at all claustrophobic, don't do it. It's not a short walk so you will be squished for quite some time before you get relief. Also we just imagined how many germs were sliding across our bodies from all the people who went before us. That made it the scariest. The ground was uneven in spots and there were plenty of loud noises.
Beyond The Gates- There are certain times when the veil between our world and the underworld are very thin and we may see a glimpse of the other side. A darker side... a shadow seen out of the corner of your eye, the door that creaks open without warning, the feeling of something watching you, sounds of footsteps on the floor or nails scratching at the bedroom door. There are many things that we see with our eyes that the human mind cannot comprehend. Most often these occurrences are ignored or rationalize for comfort sake. Only a very few among the living possess the esoteric knowledge of the creatures beyond the gates. For everything that goes bump in the night resides in a parallel dimension. Only the eyes of the dead can truly see where nightmares and fairy tales are born! Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mZ6KdWrZV0