View Full Version : Trip Report - Shocktoberfest and Eastern State Penitentiary

10-25-2007, 10:57 AM
We visited both Shocktoberfest and the Eastern State Penitentiary this week (2 Philadelphia area haunts), 10/21 and 10/24, respectively.

Shocktoberfest is actually located just outside of Reading, PA but is considered to be a Philly area haunt and one of the premier haunts in the region. It is interesting to lump and compare the Shock report with Eastern State Penitentiary as Shocktoberfest's main walk-through attraction is a mock prison. Thanks to a fantastic coupon found in a local Halloween store, we were able to use buy 1, get 1 free passes for all 3 attractions at Shock (Prison of the Dead, hayride and another walk-through, asylum something?). This ended up costing us $15.00 each and probably the best bargain of the season. They also have a new 'Club Shock' haunted nightclub that is open on the weekends for teens. This is housed within a tent, where they have also set up the hayride and prison queues this year. We opted to do the hayride first, and it was supposed to start at 7 PM. Around 7:20, the line finally started to move and about 10 minutes later we were on the wagon. The Shocktoberfest hayride consists of 3 large barns/sheds where the wagon pulls in, the shed doors close, and 'things' happen, as well as various outdoor scenes. It is a nice long ride. The first and second sheds are the most impressive, with incredibly elaborate animatronics and props for a seasonal haunt. The wagons used to run through a 4th shed, but for some reason this year the shed has been turned into an exit walkthrough type attraction at the end of the hayride. The outdoor scenes are ok, but nothing on par with the outdoor scenes at Bates Hotel or the indoor scenes within the sheds. The Prison of the Dead is a perfectly themed mock prison. They've pretty much got this place looking like a real prison with some cells that look like they really may have been there for years. What was this place?? The theme of the attraction is that you are a tourist to tour the closed prison where spirits of the prisoners are rumored to live. You board a 'prison' bus, which takes you over to the prison. The 'guard' lets your group in for your tour, and you walk through the building. It took about 20 minutes to get through there, mostly because of a slow group ahead of us. The scare level was relatively low due to the congestion of the groups, and there really aren't too many props, animatronics, etc. However, the atmosphere of the building itself is fantastic, and there are plenty of parts where you had to duck and walk through tunnels, etc. The third house which was the Asylum, was a rather dull 3-D walk through that is nothing on par with the other two Shocktoberfest attractions. I would rank Shocktoberfest a 9 out of 10.

We were able to get ahold of some comp tickets for Philly's Eastern State Penitentiary haunted attraction so we visited last night. It was pretty busy for a miserably rainy weeknight, so I imagine this place must be a madhouse on the weekends. We arrived at 7 PM, but were given a ticket entrance time of 8 PM at the box office when we exchanged our vouchers for admission tickets. However, the line monitor at the entrance let us in as soon as we arrived over there. The appeal of this attraction is just the fact that you are in an actual huge prison, which would be spooky enough at night without ANY kind of added scares of actors, props, etc. However, there were tons of actors staffed throughout the prison which made this an excellent haunt. You actually go through several different 'haunts' within the prison, but they are all connected one from the next. The only one that was a bit lacking was the 3-D walk through area which pretty much just had paint splattered on the walls and a few sliding portraits for actors to scare you. There were also plenty of those ducts (?) that shoots air out and makes an incredible noise. I HATE these things in haunts - they are not scary and are annoying, kinda like a female actor screaming in your ear. Anyway, I thought that this part of the haunt was really cheesy because the whole 3-D painted area didn't fit well with the rest of the attraction. However, overall this place is highly recommended and there is an interesting museum at the end of the attraction detailed the history of the penitentiary. Now I want to go back and take the daytime tour of this place. I'd give Eastern State a solid 9 out of 10, just not a 10 because of the 3-D section.