Halloween Haunts

Written by: Beau Brown

Everyone has heard of the clichéd haunted house, where you stand in a long line and then enter a dark hallway and journey through several floors of nonstop jumps and scares. There’s also the typical haunted corn maze, where you spend an hour or so trying to find your way out while being spooked at every twist and turn. Haunted hayrides are also a popular attraction during Halloween.

Have you ever wondered, “What if someone were to combine all three?” The folks at The Apple Cabin in Lodi, Ohio, are way ahead of you. The Nightmare in the Wilderness is a haunted hayride that leads to a forest maze filled with several buildings and outdoor structures resembling haunted houses.

Your experience begins at the ticket booth, where you can purchase one trip through the woods for $17; you can then revisit the attraction as many times as you’d like for $12 each time. After purchasing a ticket, you come across a tractor with a bed hitched to the back. The gated bed provides hardy seats made of hay for all of the victims as the tractor pulls them slowly to the entrance of the forest maze.

For those who fall victim to suspense, the ride to the entrance of the maze is bound to be one of white-knuckled trepidation.

“The maze hadn’t even started yet, and I already felt scared,” said Stephanie Bordash, a senior at Ellet High School. “It was so dark outside, and cold…Whether I was shaking because of nervousness or the weather, I don’t know.”

The expedition begins with a sudden stop and an eerie squeak as the gate swings open. A few “friendly” monsters greet you as you approach the maze, providing some relief for those who might be overwhelmed with anxiety. All in all, the beginning of the maze is tame, depending on your tolerance for haunted attractions. Then comes the time to plunge into the first building, at which point a familiar sight comes into view: nothing.

The upcoming maze puts you through several obstacles, including a few smaller, dimly-lit mazes in which the only way to find out that you are going in the wrong direction is to smack your head against a wall and turn around. There are also multiple outside attractions in the maze that are intriguing and creepy. The monsters’ acting is excellent and entertaining, and the special effects, scenery and props are convincing and exciting.

For the victims of The Nightmare in the Wilderness, the lighting and the organization of the maze seemed to be the most impactful of the spooky elements that went into the attraction. Most people really felt like they were in an alternate reality.

“I felt like I was in a dream the entire time,” Bordash said. “The lights, smoke and monsters combined made it feel like reality didn’t exist anymore.”

Many customers experienced a kind of thrilling confusion, such as Summer Gissendaner.

“The maze was really fun, and I really felt like I was lost,” Gissendaner said. “I was excited and frightened at the same time. It was actually sort of confusing.”

Laughter, screams, shouts, gasps and the sounds of pacing feet can be heard in the maze. If the goal of the team at The Nightmare in the Wilderness is to give their victims a sense of fear, fun and excitement, and a hint of deliriousness, then they execute their job appropriately. A great way to spend this Halloween is to visit The Nightmare in the Wilderness. That is, if you enjoy what is described in this review. Happy Halloween haunt-hunting!

The Nightmare in the Wilderness is located at The Apple Cabin at 7665 Lafayette Road in Lodi, Ohio. They are open every weekend in October from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. Adult tickets are $17 and child tickets are $12. Children under five can visit for free. For repeat visits, adult tickets are $12 and child tickets are $8.

Look forward to future issues of the Buchtelite for more Halloween haunts that are sure to scare.