When it comes to getting scared senseless at a haunted house during Halloween in Pittsburgh, it is safe to say that Angie and I are not rushing to volunteer.
To put it bluntly, we don't really care for horrors, frights, or bumps in the night even when we know what is about to happen. The best horror scenarios to us are left to the movies- ones that are contained to a DVD, shrink wrapped in a case, and on the back of a store shelf far, far away.
But when Hundred Acres Manor came knocking and asked if we wanted to visit their haunted attractions just south of Pittsburgh for a review, we were in. Well, I was at least, and Angie came along kicking and screaming all while threatening to fake a heart attack to get out of it.
As it turns out, the reason we don't really care for haunted attractions is not because we don't like being scared (I may be speaking for myself on this one), but rather no one has done a good enough job to date to make us excited to visit a haunted house in the first place.
That is, until now.
Six Haunted Attractions at Hundred Acres Manor
One of the highlights of Hundred Acres Manor is that it is home to six uniquely themed haunted attractions. Some themes are recurring from previous years, while others are rotated out for new features each season (generally one or two change every year).
During the 2017 season when we visited the attraction list was the following:
- Dead Lift – A haunted elevator at the start of your visit to the manor.
- The Host – A plague themed haunt in the streets of old London.
- Torture Tank – A dive into the realm of human torture.
- Vodou – A deep south, bayou themed haunt where aptly named “stitchers” are after your body.
- The Breach – An alien-esque inspired attraction focusing more on ambiance than shock.
- Hallows' Eve – A more conventional haunt featuring scenes from classic horror genres.
The manor itself is set up in such a way that guests wind their way from one haunt to the next over the mile-plus long course, and the various themes present themselves as you go with no respite from the scares of the last area.
Outside of the line at the entrance, which we'll talk about in more detail below, the overall experience at Hundred Acres Manor lasts about 45 to 60 minutes.
The first thing you'll notice after entering the manor is the attention to detail. The attractions themselves are designed with such fine detail in order to enthrall you, engage you, and shock you at just the right time.
If I had free reign of the haunted house, and was promised not to be stalked by a knife wielding maniac the entire time, I probably could've spent three or four hours just looking at the designs- they're that good.
In The Host, for example, we caught ourselves admiring the complexity of the London scene so much that the infected residents caught us by surprise several times.
In The Breach, we found ourselves so engrossed in the backstory (insofar as a haunted house has a backstory) that the scares and surprises were only just minor part of the overall experience.
And in Vodou, well, that one was just down right intense and is something I'd rather just leave for the movies (but the water element of this one was simply fantastic).
As someone who prides himself on never being startled during haunted attractions (a gift and a curse), the fact that the haunts got me to jump no fewer than a half dozen times is a testament to their quality. As for Angie, on the other hand, we lost count of how many times she jumped during the six attractions as the ghouls took a particular liking to her fear from time to time. On our way out she had some choice words I can't publish online about me asking her to do things like these for a review.
A good scare indeed.
We do have to admit that a number of the shocks we encountered were best tailored to the front of a group, but the manor does have many spooks in store for those in the middle and back as well to ensure that no visitor is safe.
But really, if there is one thing you need to know about Hundred Acres Manor, it is that it is full of over 100 highly motivated individuals who do their best to scare the living daylights out of everyone who walks into their domain, and they're quite good at it. Throw in that the manor itself is a work of art in its own right (and a non-profit donating all proceeds to local charities), and you have a spot that will have you returning time and time again for a journey into darkness- if you dare.
We'll leave it to you to find out what else this haunted house has in store for you when you visit. You'll thank us for not spoiling it later.
Are VIP Tickets Worth It?
During our visit we were fortunate enough to receive VIP tickets from the folks at Hundred Acres Manor. These tickets cost an extra $15 per person (in 2017) and give you front of line access to enter the manor.
We were originally going to visit on a Saturday night to put these tickets to the ultimate test; however, due to an unforeseen schedule change we ended up at Hundred Acres Manor on a weeknight the week before Halloween and quite literally walked right in as soon as we arrived.
This is important because while we do not think the VIP tickets are entirely necessary on a weeknight (when the manor hosts roughly 1,000 guests in an evening and an average of 30 minutes waiting), it is likely the front of line pass could save a substantial amount of time time waiting during a weekend visit (where they host upwards of 6,000 in a single night and the wait varies from one to three hours). But as the attraction itself features all six haunts in succession, rather than independent lines for each as is the case at other spots nearby, the idea of having to wait for entry could be a whole lot worse.
The sounds of the screams from inside only heighten the anticipation while you wait for your
death time to enter.
When it comes down to it, Hundred Acre Manor hit a high bar for us in terms of high quality production, many scares, and an overall thrilling ambiance. Although we're not really haunted house fans in our own right, we can certainly see why this one should be on the radar for those who are, and we look forward to what they bring out in the future… if Angie ever recovers, at least!
Hundred Acres Manor is located at 1 Hundred Acres Drive in Bethel Park, PA- just north of South Park. They are open on weekends from early September to the end of October and on select weeknights in October (schedule likely to vary year to year). General admission and VIP tickets can be purchased online for use on any date in the season, and is highly recommended to save a bit of time when you arrive. The manor is also open to the elements at times, and operates in inclement weather.
We'd like to thank Hundred Acres Manor for inviting us down to experience the haunted attractions. As always, all opinions are our own. Photos included in this post are a mix of our own (outdoor scenes) and stock images from Hundred Acres Manor that we are using with permission.
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