Lehigh Valley Screampark (Orefield, PA) is a relatively new “scare-park” attraction that has overcome significant challenges in its early lifespan, including a devastating fire last season, rising again to establish a sound foundation for future growth. Due to the destruction caused by the fire, Lehigh Valley Screampark embarked on an initiative to essentially “reboot” it’s already embryonic attraction, and they have accomplished a great deal of success under challenging conditions, that with a few operational improvements and continued investment, will hopefully become one of the best attractions in the region and a must-see show.
Hollow of Horror Hayride
“Hollow of Horror Hayride” is the starting point and a classical haunted hayride attraction featuring a variety of diverse Halloween/horror-inspired themes. Thematically, the attraction plays to the core fears and phobias of most guests, including scenes such as a “cemetery,” “bio-hazard/containment scene, “hillbilly refuge,” “swamp,” and “carnival/clown tent,” which generally are found in most haunted attractions. The hayride itself, is best described as “developing” with some great atmosphere, use of lighting but in some cases build qualities and scenes which fall flat. Some of the set designs look somewhat amateur as opposed to others, and scare performances are variable in terms of quality. However, it is important to note that this is a newer hayride and a sound foundation. With some improvements associated with timing (for example, one scene where a “fortune teller” dances way too long, making it difficult to scare and others that move too quickly), and theme alignment (for example, why use the music to the movie “Halloween” for no reason), can improve this attraction almost overnight.
There is good early direction, though, and signs that this attraction will quickly become first-class and scare-focused. The finale (which features some of the strongest acting and surprise) featuring clowns and a rather aggressive conclusion is fantastic and brings an exciting conclusion and actual “scares” to the hayride. Without spoiling creative and aggressive use of the “chainsaw” theme juxtaposed with a dark carnival is unique, to say the least, and a genuinely memorable experience. We also liked the sense of “danger” associated with the seating arrangements on the ride (with feet hanging off the side of the wagon), which adds a level of surprise and unpredictability to this attraction. Overall, this is an excellent start for a newer hayride, and continued growth and improvements will grow into a must-see experience.
“Condemned” is one of the most surprising indoor haunted attractions of recent memory. A classical “haunted house” set upon the backdrop of a cornfield, at first glance, looks like an impressive “façade.” However, what is inside is one of the most detailed “classical” representations of a “haunted” house that defies expectations for a new attraction. Each room is themed to feature the “home” of those that survived the ominous “fire,” and attention to detail is impressive, to say the least. Effective use of classical-scare techniques such as tight spaces, periods of complete darkness, and actors that tell stories bring a multifloored haunted mansion to life. The intense attention to detail can be felt in each room, from the “living room” to the grotesque kitchen and basement filled with the atmosphere of death; this is a first-class designed attraction.
Guests have to duck, navigate mind-altering levels of floors that seem to move, and walls that crooked, disorientation that adds dimension to one of the most impressive indoor attractions in recent memory. While heavily detailed, the experience can be improved by training the actors to not engage and move along with those guests that like to “ruin” haunt experiences. On our visit, we were with a group that thought it was funny to make jokes and insult the performers. Defining rules and removing guests who act as though they are a part of the show will help those who pay enjoy the actual performances. Despite these operational hiccups, the attraction’s quality and design were first-class, a tribute to the classic “haunted mansion” style attractions that are now atypical and filled with intricate details, disturbing imagery, and overall quality performances.
“Operation Biopurge” is a post-apocalyptic war/science fiction/mutant style themed walk-through attraction that combines elements of a “war” on the bio-infestation with some of the scenes that at times feels like a B-Movie come to life but still is an enjoyable experience that adds diversity to the “scream-park concept.” While somewhat barren of “scare-performers,” there are some really unique set designs and props/animatronics, including a “mad doctor” and his “scientific experiment” that is inspired by Frankenstein, thematic rooms that fit the “militant” theme, and de-containment Thematically solid, with an effectively designed outdoor maze, with a few more performers and continued technical and scenic upgrades “Biopurge” can quickly become as impressive as “Condemned” and continue to add the diversity associated with quality “scream-park” experiences.
The Final Word
Lehigh Valley Screampark is an excellent evening of Halloween fun embracing diverse scares, building a foundation for a potentially world-class “scream park” experience. Featuring three-core diverse and largely well-designed/unique haunted attractions, an extensive midway with food options DJ (which we would hope would play more “horror music” than techno), pizza, and even craft beer. Various “scare performers” roam the midway, and this attraction has genuinely embraced the foundational style of a quality “scream-park” experience. Impressive artistic and creative direction is already evident. With a more refined operations plan and timing, this attraction is well on its way to making significant waves in the industry. A developing haunt, yet ahead of its refinement time, we recommend you support this attraction and enjoy a night out at the Lehigh Valley Screampark!
Get your tickets now: https://lehighvalleyscreampark.com/