‘Tis the season for screams and scares!

The IndyMojo.com Spook Staff have been busy checking out central and southern Indiana’s best haunted attractions to help you find a haunt that matches your intensity preference and budget.

Here’s a summary of our 2014 reviews; click through to read all the details.

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Feair Fair: Where Your Worst Nightmares Come To Life

Unlike many local haunts offering combo tickets for multiple themed attractions, Fear Fair is one single haunt, but it’s so damn good you won’t need to seek anymore thrills… if you even make it out alive.

  • Seymour, IN
  • Actors DO touch
  • General admission: $20; fast pass (WORTH IT!): $25

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Run For Your Life: Review of Nightmare on Edgewood

Consistently ranked one of Indy’s premier haunts, if not the top-dog, NOEW offers a smattering of freaky frights that will probably hit home with even the bravest soul. Ranging from demented clowns to cannibal butchers, this haunt promises certain fright to anyone who enters.

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Actors DO touch
  • General admission: $20; fast pass: $30

 

See also: Behind the Scenes at Nightmare on Edgewood


 

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Mike Kaiser’s Poor Farm: Central Indiana’s Best Haunted Corn Maze

Tall stalks of corn offer adequate cover for the countless actors wielding chainsaws throughout, waiting to jump out when you least expect it. Different types of indoor stations along the way create a sense of smothering stuffiness, contrasted by the vulnerability of walking through a corn field – something you simply can’t experience in the city. If you run from a monster in a corn field, you really have nowhere to go.

  • Franklin, IN
  • Actors DO NOT touch
  • $10

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Scarevania: Muncie’s Own Devil Rejects

Scarevania upholds a no-touch policy but that doesn’t mean they won’t interact with you. Those who aren’t scaring are clearly pissed off or mentally disturbed and they’re keenly aware of your presence.

When we entered the haunt an immediate assault of all senses immediately began: blaring death metal music, shrill screams from all angles and enduring performances that felt authentic as we stumbled by, totally in shock of our surroundings.

  • Muncie, IN
  • Actors DO NOT touch
  • $12

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Get Your Money’s Worth at Cedar Rock, the Midwest’s Longest Haunted Trail

Set back in the woods and over a mile long, this haunted trail and its two other attractions really created an immersive and erie experience with plenty of scares and surprises. It was thrillingly nerve-wracking sliding down narrow, winding hallways with the Walking Dead theme playing loudly on loop and zombies growling in my ear the entire time. The maze isn’t hard, but that’s a good thing since it’s a real challenge to solve puzzles with a biter breathing down your neck.

  • Jamestown, IN
  • Actors DO touch
  • $25 combo ticket; $17 haunted trail only; $36 fast pass

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Indy Scream Park: Scares Around Every Corner

With a whopping five haunted attractions (three indoors and two outdoors), Hollywood-quality props and production, and a carnival-themed Monster Midway Indy Scream Park is a haunt enthusiast’s playground.

  • Anderson, IN
  • Actors DO NOT touch
  • General admission $28; fast pass $44

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Scaring for a Cause: Haunted Angelus House

The Haunted Angelus House is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it is also relatively family friendly. There were terrifying moments that may, or may not, have involved evil clowns. Also, some of Hollywood’s scariest bad guys were seen thoughout the place. However, it was not pants-wettingly horrifying, so take that into consideration when planning.

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Actors DO NOT touch
  • General admission $20; child’s ticket $10; unlimited entry for one night $30

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Kokomo’s Twisted Darkness Lives Up To Its Name

The first half of Twisted Darkness lives up to its name, winding attendees through dimly lit hallways, tunnels and dungeons. Some actors stalked us as we moved about in the haunt, while others played their role from their distinct room. We especially loved one particularly flexible patient in the psych ward portion of the haunt.

  • Kokomo, IN
  • Actors DO NOT touch
  • General admission $15; fast pass $25

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Hanna Haunted Acres Introduces Hooded

The aptly-named Hooded requires a signed acknowledgement of the risks involved in the unique do-touch haunt that puts patrons in an opaque hood, robbing them of their ability to see. Stumbling blindly through a possessed dungeon of death, victims must feel their way out via a rope that leads the way.

  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Actors DO touch in Hooded; DO NOT touch in all other attractions
  • Combo pass – $29.00 at door or $27.00 online; fast pass – $40.00 at door or $38.00 online
  • We recommend taking advantage of Hanna Haunted Acre’s online-only tickets for a single pass to Hooded or the haunted hayride.

 

 

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On any standard night in Broad Ripple, it is normal to see a staggering, mindless patron wandering the streets, however that normally isn’t at 7pm. That will be the case on October 25th as the streets of Broad Ripple will be overran with mindless zombies. That’s right – Indy Mojo is bringing back the Broad Ripple Zombie walk benefiting Gleaners Food Bank.

Matt Ramsey falls victim.

Matt Ramsey falls victim to a truly terrifying zombie.

The outbreak will begin in the Kroger parking lot at 5pm and with a number of festivities before the walk actually begins. As in years past, Gleaners will have a truck setup to collect the food donations for the walk. Walkers are asked to bring five lbs or 10 cans of food to donate; for this, they receive a Zombie Walk t-shirt (while supplies last).

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The horde begins to amass last year prior to the walk.

Live music from Rudy Kizer will provide the soundtrack to the day, while The Tricoci University of Beauty Culture will on site to helping turn everyone into zombies. Also returning this year will be a number of fire spinners providing “hot” entertainment. All of these activities will keep the adults entertained while waiting for the walk to start, however the Mojo crew has something in store for the kids as well.

Zombie Group

Survival for Zombies is best achieved in a group. Bring your friends!

This year a new addition to the Zombie Walk is the Zombie Carnival. This event will feature a number of traditional carnival games, but with a zombie twist. Everyone participating in the games will receive a raffle ticket that will be used to win one of three grand prizes.

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The terror becomes real.

At 6pm everyone in attendance will be invited to participate in a truly special event: a glorious zombie wedding that will unite two undead for all of eternity. Bring a handful of brain chunks to shower the bride with!

After the walk is finished be sure to swing by Hopcat, one of the walk’s sponsors, for good food and drinks.Immediately following the zombie feast, all zombies are encouraged to attend the Zombie Prom at The Vogue Theater (21+ only).

If you can’t make it to the prom, head south to Nightmare on Edgewood where any costumed zombie that mentions Indy Mojo will get $5 off admission. Read our review of Indy’s most intense haunt here and check out our special behind the scenes interview with our favorite haunt in town here.

RSVP and engage on Facebook here.

Zombie Walk Poster 2014

noewIndyMojo’s #SpookStaff moseyed down to Nightmare on Edgewood last Saturday evening, and they left feeling eerily elated, and satisfied. Consistently ranked one of Indy’s premier haunts, if not the top-dog, NOEW offers a smattering of freaky frights that will probably hit home with even the bravest soul. Ranging from demented clowns to cannibal butchers, this haunt promises certain fright to anyone who enters.

"It" will get ya!

“It” will get ya!

Situated on the grounds of an athletic compound, this haunt boasts several different components throughout the set-up. This writer can’t give it all away, because the surprise is half the fun, but a few juicy tidbits will be shared. Sections are aptly titled anxiety-inducing names like “Pandemonium”, “Hysteria”, “Old School Fright”, “Schizophrenia”, and “The Last Ride”. Each different portion of the haunt is unique, and each one has its own distinct frightening element. However, one theme remains constant throughout the experience: the scarers can touch.

Not only can the scarers at this particular haunt touch you, but they can also poke you with their machetes, run forks across your throat, and shove you into walls. After experiencing this, this writer will never go to another house where they CAN’T touch you. Its friggin’ awesome. It adds a completely new element to the scare when someone pops out of nowhere and grabs your shoulders. All illusions of safety go out the window, and the sensory scaring begins.

Winding through pitch black mazes, avoiding killers reminscient of “The Purge”, and being caressed by Freddy Kreuger are among many of the memorable events from NOEW. This haunted house is a beastly one, and probably not the best pick for those that are faint of heart. Here’s what the rest of IndyMojo’s #SpookStaff had to say about it:

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Mike Myers & Freddy say “Hi!”

Gwen StaffNightmare on Edgewood has done it again! This haunt stands out due to the pure terror of being touched while winding through the twists and turns of its wicked attractions. Edgewood consistently reinvents their ghoulish sets and employ actors who truly love the thrill of scaring the guts out of people. My favorite was a room that everyone was shut in to and nobody truly knew what was going on. - Gwen

dan2I liked that at Nightmare on Edgewood patrons were turned around in the haunt, as well as had to crawl through a portion of it. They were also able to touch us, which made things seem realistic. No one was safe – whether they were in the front or in the back! - Dan

 

Danielle Staff 2Old School Fright was the clear winner for me at Edgewood this year. The addition of multiple new scenes and rooms, as well as elaborate new lighting effects, took the production to a whole new level. The monsters inside of Old School Fright were especially touchy, which left me paralyzed in hysterical laughter as I repeatedly brushed away Freddie’s metal claws and worked to escape the clutches of a curiously friendly psychopath who wandered with our group for a significant amount of time. - Danielle

 

Nightmare on Edgewood

Indy’s Most Intense Haunt

6004 Camden Ave

Indianapolis, Indiana

Note: #SpookStaff recommends not using GPS, as you’ll end up in a nearby neighborhood. From 465, take the East St. / 31 exit and head south. Turn left (east) onto Edgewood Avenue and look for the haunt on the right (south) side of the road.

Regular Admission: $20

(includes Schizophrenia, Pandemonium, Hysteria and Old School Fright).

VIP Fast Pass Admission: $30

(includes all four haunts mentioned above, plus The Last Ride, and shorter wait times)

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Read our special behind the scenes interview with Nightmare on Edgewood here.

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Year after year, Nightmare on Edgewood lives up to its claim of being Indy’s most intense haunted house and the 2014 season is sure to be no different.

This year the haunt is longer, stocked with new special lighting effects and boasts significant updates to the clown-themed Schizophrenia and the dark maze Hysteria. Nightmare on Edgewood has even increased their staff by 20 people, bringing their total headcount to an astonishing 70 workers.

I had the opportunity to stop in at Nightmare on Edgewood on the afternoon of their opening night to speak with co-owner Kevin Cook. With just hours to go until the first patrons of the season showed up at their gates, Cook was called to the front for our interview via walkie talkie from somewhere deep inside one of the haunted house trailers.

Several minutes later he emerged with beads of sweat dripping from his forehead and streaks of fake blood on his forearms. His brother (and Edgewood co-owner) Paul walked by us with a cinder block in his hands and his head down to the ground as he worked on a waiting line corral.

It quickly became evident that their work is never done. Driven by passion, not profit, they thrive on hearing people scream, cry or laugh and do all they can to make sure their patrons are scared- or at the very least having fun. As it turns out, there’s a lot that goes in to making that vision come to life.

Construction & Logistics

Planning for each new season begins immediately after closing for the previous year. Since Nightmare on Edgewood uses the Edgewood Athletic Association to hold their attractions, they cannot have access to the site until August 1st, at which point they have six weeks to build mostly from the ground up until the fire and safety inspection. After inspection, they have two additional weeks until opening night to finalize and make adjustments as necessary.

The fire inspector walks the haunt from beginning to end to look for things like a smoke alarm installed every 25 feet and a fire exit every 50 feet. He triggers smoke alarms, makes sure exit lights light up, and confirms that everything is backed up by a battery. The entire process takes between one and two hours and even includes pulling things off the walls and setting them on fire.

“Everything has to be flame retardant, and that chemical also has to be mixed into the paint that goes on the walls. A lot of people think you can just throw it up and open the door. There’s a lot more to it,” Cook explains.

Bringing the Haunt to Life

How does one go about planning the layout of a haunted house? Cook says he used to draw everything out to spec on graph paper, but learned over time that it never turns out the way he plans and eventually abandoned the precise plotting. Now, when has an idea, he jots it down as a guiding concept and lets it come together freely and naturally. Pandemonium, the outdoor crate maze, is an example of this phenomenon.

Long-time fans of Nightmare on Edgewood will be pleased to hear that staples like “the bus” and “the house” are still part of the experience, and Cook says he’s OK with that level of familiarity in the haunt because it’s something people look forward to seeing.

“It flirts with reality. They don’t know if it’s really a haunted house anymore.”

Nightmare On Edgewood is also one of the few haunts in the area with a unique do-touch policy, which Cook says has always been the haunt’s rule, despite the occasional complaint.

“We weigh our options that we get way more people that want that than don’t. We hang signs to make it clear that you’re going to get touched. That’s the scare factor. That’s why people come.”

Operating A Haunted House

Cook and his brother are the type of guys who can walk through a commercial haunted house alone and not flinch, which is why one might assume they would both be actively involved in scaring the hell out of their customers. It turns out that their role is just as crucial as the actors, albeit not quite as glamorous.

“We just run around and fix stuff, relieve people for bathroom breaks, or let them take a smoke break. We’ll dress up occasionally and bounce around in the line and have fun with it, too. But believe it or not, when it’s open, stuff breaks. Lights go out, bulbs break, somebody runs through a wall. We kind of run around and do chaos control. It’s pretty hectic.”

Kevin and Paul are very serious about providing an experience that is both terrifying and fun at the same time.

“If people come out of the haunt and there’s one certain room that I get a lot complaints that they didn’t like, we change it,” Cook says, and quickly adds, “… outside of crawling, because everybody complains about crawling.”

Crazy Customers & Scaredy Cats

Cook shrugs when I inquire about over-the-top customers and runs through a list of predictable situations they face every year: customers resentful towards the fast-moving VIP line, patrons with uncontrollable reflexes that throw punches at actors, high school kids that act tougher than they are, and the occasional threat to sue (usually over a splinter or fake blood on a t-shirt). Annoying? Perhaps. A big enough problem to prevent them from operating again? Unlikely.

“We do get a lot of people that quit, usually in the clown area. We usually have between 100 and 200 people that quit over the course of the season. And it’s not all kids; a lot of adults quit, too.

We get a lot of girls that just sit in the corner and don’t move. The good thing about the do-touch policy is that our guys can just pick them up and take off with them to make them move on to the next room.”

The Attractions

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This year, Cook & his brother relinquished creative control of the neon clown haunt to local artist Steve Stephens. Indianapolis residents who have been to the eastside’s Bat Cave batting cages & mini golf will recognize his unique art decorating the walls of this haunt. Unlike Cook, Stephens drafted the big top themed layout and design of Schizophrenia on paper first, then brought it to life with impressive drawings, gallons of glowing paint and a whole lot of devious handiwork.

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The only outdoor haunt at Nightmare on Edgewood, Pandemonium has expanded to be twice as big as it was last year. The haunt’s inhibiants , inspired by The Purge, are hungry for a fresh kill.

Edgewood’s characters are given creative freedom to make their roles uniquely their own – an effective approach that works especially well in Pandemonium.

“One thing we do different from a lot of haunts,” Cook explained while standing next to an abandoned car that acts as the centerpiece of the Pandemonium haunt, “is we don’t give a script. We don’t say, ‘You’re gonna stand here and you’re gonna say this.’ We have 13 people in this area; last year there were only five. I brought them all out here and I said, ‘This is what I want: someone here, someone there, someone there; make it work however you want.’”

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This pitch-dark, feel-your-way-through attraction has been a staple of the Nightmare on Edgewood haunt for years and that’s something that won’t be changing any time soon. Always mindful of providing the best experience possible, customer feedback has played into some notable changes to Hysteria in 2014. Expect the difficulty level to be toned down a few notches, as well as a break from the darkness that’s sure to tickle your senses, thanks in large part to the contributions of art designer Paul Lanner.

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Perhaps the most elaborate haunt at Nightmare on Edgewood, Old School Fright literally puts you shoulder-to-shoulder with all the classic characters you love to hate. Cook notes that the attraction has more props than usual, all of which are operated by the actors (as opposed to timed sensors) for optimally timed scares.

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After a successful first run in 2013, this 4-D ride will return for another year at Nightmare on Edgewood. As detailed in our 2013 review, “Patrons undergo a simulation of being buried alive in The Last Ride. After taking a surprisingly comfortable seat inside of a specially-outfitted coffin, the lid is closed and the pitch-dark ride begins. Without their sense of sight, patrons rely on sound, scent, and touch to keep their sanity as they endure the unique ride.”

Nightmare on Edgewood

Regular Admission: $20

(includes Schizophrenia, Pandemonium, Hysteria and Old School Fright).

VIP Fast Pass Admission: $30

(includes all four haunts mentioned above, plus The Last Ride, and shorter wait times)

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For more scary fun, check out these websites for like-minded haunts:

Indiana Haunts

Indy Haunts

Read our full review of Nightmare on Edgewood 2014 here.

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Nightmare on Edgewood continues to be Indianapolis’ most intense haunt. Their unique do-touch policy ups the scare factor in a big way. Getting through four distinct attractions is no walk in the park at this haunted house, where every room presents a new challenge to overcome while being poked and prodded by monsters from every angle.

kristenIndy Mojo Spook Staffer Kristen Bond points out that Nightmare on Edgewood is not appropriate for young children due to the touching policy and aggressiveness of the scaring. But for adults, it’s often their favorite aspect of the haunt. “The fact the actors actually touch and sometimes shock you is perfect! There were many times I was actually frightened. There were a lot of actors hidden in random places to jump out when I least expected it instead of just standing in front of me making noises in my face.” Indy Mojo Spook Staffer Matt Ramsey agrees, “The use of little buzzers that shocked us in the dark, giving us a slight adrenaline jolt, kept us on our toes at all times. Lots of grabbing at our ankles and knees in the dark provided some extra jumps to our group as well.”

The opening haunt, Old School Fright, was my personal favorite this year, as my group chose to sacrifice me when a very large man blocking our path demanded someone get into his car. Before I could protest, I found myself locked inside of the car by myself in the middle of a zombie wasteland as I watched my crew file by one by one. I won’t spoil any surprises, but let’s just say I learned that I’d never be fast or clever enough to survive the zombie apocalypse. Kristen recalls, “It was great how they locked Danielle in the car and forced us to go on without her. We were all shocked and curious as to how long they were going to keep her there!”

Total blackout mazes appear to be a trend in local haunts for the 2013 scare season, but Nightmare on Edgewood’s maze, Pandemonium, has been a staple of their repertoire for years. Here, your group will twist, turn, and shuffle their way through a blindingly dark maze stocked with roaming creatures in nearly every corner. Kristen appreciated the difficulty of the maze and says, “I feel as though their pitch dark maze was much better than the Angelus House. We actually got lost a few times and it took us quite a while to figure our way out!”

Matt Ramsey also points to Pandemonium as one of his favorite parts of Nightmare on Edgewood.

ramzIt was very easy to get disoriented as we fought to stay together and at some sections bumped into another group that had entered the area AFTER us. Toss in some actors guiding us down the wrong paths to purposefully mislead us and you have quite an interesting situation on your hands.

 

The fourth and final haunt, Southside Massacre, is a startling adventure through a wrecked, bloody home that’s still populated with casualties of the carnage. As patrons come face-to-face with cold-blooded murderers looking for their next victim, real life suddenly feels like a scene from a horror movie. Skillfully built steps and ramps give the haunt depth and add to the authenticity of raiding one’s way through the aftermath of a gory massacre.

Ramsey commends the massacre’s maximization of space (there is never a sense of openness) and sleight of hand. He explains, “As I walk into a room, I typically give a quick analysis, looking for what’s real versus just a prop, and the Edgewood cast did a great job blending in. Either I couldn’t see them, or they disguised themselves really well. In one room in particular, someone was actually in the wall behind a prop, giving quite a surprise to people who passed it off as just another accessory to the room.”

New to Nightmare on Edgewood in 2013 is their 4D attraction called The Last Ride. For an extra $5, patrons can undergo the experience of being buried alive. After taking a surprisingly comfortable seat inside of a specially-outfitted coffin, the lid is closed and the pitch-dark ride begins. Without their sense of sight, patrons rely on sound, scent, and feel to keep their sanity as they endure the unique attraction. The line moves slow for The Last Ride, however, and while we all enjoyed the experience, The Spook Staff suggests skipping it if they’re backed up.

Indy Mojo Spook Staffer Cody Sammons is a long-time fan of Nightmare on Edgewood and declares,

kodamaThis place never ceases to impress me.  The whole journey through the haunting grounds was impressive, to say the least. The absolute best part about this place is the sheer enthusiasm that each individual involved portrays. These girls and guys truly enjoy giving their time to scare folks. This is one long thrill ride from start to finish. If you manage to go to just one local haunt this year, this is absolutely, hands down the best in the city. DO NOT MISS NIGHTMARE ON EDGEWOOD.

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Nightmare on Edgewood

6004 Camden Ave
Indianapolis, Indiana 46217

October 11, 12, 17*, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26, 31*; Nov 1* & 2

*optional “go it alone” nights

Regular admission: $20 (includes all four attractions but not The Last Ride)
VIP admission: $30 (all four attractions & skip the lines)
The Last Ride: $5