Monday, October 26, 2009

Haunted Overload 2009

We did it. We experienced Haunted Overload this weekend.

The drive to its location at Coppal House Farm was the start of the attraction. Lonely roads with complete darkness behind us. We were fortunate enough to have our friend Jon driving us to the event so we could take it all in. He had gone last year and mentioned the incredible atmosphere of the tree-lined drive as you approach the farm. No fanfare, no oversized gaudy signs like I'm used to seeing in Pennsylvania for the local haunted hayrides. Just a small sign and a darkened bumpy approach. Some hay bales along the road. And a large unfortunate cracked pumpkin on the ground off to the side, showing some guts. I joked about us driving into Sleepy Hollow.

Jon was right. The approach to the farm told us that this wasn't a haunted attraction. It was going to be something special. No massive flood lamps for parking, just layers and layers of stars overhead, and a pale yellow moon. The tops of trees off in the distance were illuminated with blues, greens, and reds. Then the sounds. People screaming, laughing, and the most delightful (and tasteful) music and sound effects. This WAS going to be special.

A view from the parking lot as we approached.

We were welcomed by the kindest people and exchanged our online receipts for our tickets. Then we were directed to a massive cornfield off to the right.

We were greeted at the entrance of the corn and given some advice - don't forget to look up. Truly the coolest and most appropriate advice ever. The corn maze was beautiful. I've never been in a cornfield at night. And the rural surroundings, woods on every side of the farm, made this the most perfect way to prepare us for Haunted Overload. The maze releases you onto what we called Pumpkin Alley. A long straightaway of pure atmosphere - tons of jack o'lanterns (each lit with real flickering candles [I think that's VERY important to note]), bales and bales of hay, sticks, branches, cornstalks, old wooden fences, torches - and evil tree sentinels watching over us.

You could FEEL the scent of toasted pumpkin. I cannot express the emotions of standing there with Bean as we studied each carved face. Completely surrounded by Halloween.

Then I smelled the sweet smell of smoke from a wood fire. Up ahead, at the end of Pumpkin Alley, was the most disturbing prop - an old witch in a rocking chair, rocking quickly and eerily, as her steaming cauldron rested above a real fire pit of flame and smoke. Heaven. This has been something I've discussed often. I NEED to do this at my own haunt, and it was amazing to finally see the real deal. I spent WAY too much time absorbing this prop. The old witch in the shadows, rocking away impatiently, as her fire slowly burned down.

Image supplied VERY kindly by Eric at Haunted Overload (taken by Artifact Images).

I'll leave the rest of the event to your imagination, with some photos that Eric allowed us to snap.

He sent us VIP passes and gave us a personal tour after the last of the patrons dispersed. The guy is amazing. We were blown away by his energy and generosity. Being surrounded by Haunted Overload, you realize just how much this man loves Halloween. It's an over-sized home haunt, NOT a haunted attraction. I'd say that the word "Overload" in the haunt's name isn't in reference to the towering scarecrows and creatures, but rather the detail that surrounds you. It's impossible to take it all in. Eric is obsessed with the detail. It's everywhere. It's in the shadows. It's over your head. It's on your clothes when you get back into your warm car for the drive home.

To finally experience Haunted Overload. I never thought I'd be standing beneath those massive props. Can't thank Eric enough for giving us the VIP tour and hanging around after hours to chat with us. Such a pleasure.

If you live ANYWHERE near New Hampshire, and you love Halloween, you really must make the effort to see this event. This isn't just some empty "You gotta check this out!" This is from a guy that craves detail and worships Halloween.

Heck, we drove eight hours to see it.

Eric sent me these AMAZING images (taken by Artifact Images):

Buy Tickets Here.

(I snapped a ton of photos and will post them soon)


Jay's Shadow said...

Wow....I just found myself seeing all that you described. Sounds like a great experience.

screaminscott said...

I;m soo jealous! I have not had a chance to get to one Halloween store this year, much less a haunted attraction!!

And it's rained so much, no one is putting up their displays!

Devils Chariot said...

I have always loved haunted overload. I might get a chance to go there next year. yay! It's this kind of over the top gusto that inspired me to build my own props (oh yeah mr. rot too).

Damian Michael AKA HalloweeNut said...

Awesome! I've always wanted to see that event. Sadly, I'm stuck in Ohio, so I can't. :( But I'm you got to see it Rot. Sounds like it lived up to expectation!

joy said...

Thank you for the wonderful descriptions!! I live in boring Chicago suburbs. No one that I know of does anything thing like that. : ( (just the typical Jaycees haunted house) In fact I am the only one in my subdivision that even puts up a meger graveyard...sad to say.
So, please keep experiencing Halloween and then tell all of us in depth about it!!
Thank you!!

Grim said...

That is awesome. I don't live anywhere near New Hampshire, but might have to make that trip sometime after reading your description of it. All of those pictures are great, and I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been there.

The Gill-Man said...

Wow!!! I'm in awe, and I MUST find a way to make it to this one year! This is literally like something plucked out of my dreams...that Halloween world that I've dreamt of since I was a small child. Truly incredible, and thanks so much for sharing this experience with all of us!

Pam Morris said...

geez, I'd love to see this...the atmosphere itself is what is so enticing! you KNOW its going to be spooky! thanx for posting pics and looking forward to seeing more.

JHMDF said...

So fantastic.... makes me want to take a trip up north next year.

Rot said...

I can't count the number of times we stopped and said stuff like "Can you BELIEVE this?"

And there really was too much to take in on one visit. Layers and layers of Halloween. Everywhere you looked, tiny bits of detail surrounded by massive chunks of detail.

Eric Lowther said...

I'm glad you guys were able to make it to the show and enjoyed it. I busted my ass to make it as good as I could this year. I'm still bumming my lightning machine fried out right before the show you saw. It was the coolest effect when the trees lit up above and the red faces flashed as well. People told me they didn't notice and I guess that's true if you never saw it to begin with but it was one of my favorite effects for this year. I am a fan of both of your works so I thoroughly enjoyed our visit at the end. Thanks for the great review and have an awesome Halloween! I can't wait to see the photos of your new display.


Goneferalinidaho said...

That sounded amazing. I wish it wasn't on the other side of the country. Great pics too.

NoahFentz said...

Whoa! Blog Overload. Packed with Halloween goodness. Love the pics. Love the detailed descriptions. Felt like I was there too. Thanks for the post and sharing your travel experiences.

~Wendy~ said...

This looks awesome! Thanks for the great description of it also. Alas I am nowhere near New Hampshire this Halloween! As always I very much enjoy your posts!
Wendy for The Gothic Tea Society

Anonymous said...

Oh I went there last weekend!
I loved it. Its great to go with friends.
That green gas tunnel was amazing. I kept looking at things and asking, "How'd they do that?"

My favorite was probably the strobe light tunnel. It was so disorienting.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing that experience I have watched his haunts from here in Tennessee via his website and posts for years. I am going to fly up there next year and treat myself. Your description blows my mind it made my day today. Happy Halloween

Jim in Chattanooga