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Oklahoma Haunted Houses have grown over the years to feature some really amazing haunted houses some of which have been featured on Travel Channel. Several years ago when we visited haunted houses in the Tulsa, Oklahoma the haunted houses in Oklahoma seemed to be around every corner especially in the Tulsa, Oklahoma area haunted houses are very popular form of entertainment and more haunted houses in Oklahoma can be found at Hauntworld.com. On Hauntworld.com you will find every type of haunted houses in Oklahoma from a haunted hayride, haunted house, Halloween Attractions, ghost tours, to paranormal ghost hunting. Read all about the best and scariest haunted houses in the state of Oklahoma here at Hauntworld.com. Oklahoma has some of the biggest haunted houses in cities like Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Lawton, Broken Arrow, Muskogee, Woodward, Oklahoma.
When looking for a scary or the best haunted house in Oklahoma look no further than the area of Cleveland, Akron, Toledo and Columbus, Oklahoma because this is an absolute hotbed for haunted houses which would also include the Akron area. Oklahoma has more haunted houses than almost any other state in America, and not only do they have several haunts but they have some of the best found anywhere. Oklahoma has many cities with great haunted houses especially Oklahoma area which has more of the top rated haunts than any other city in America.
Do you want to know what we feel are the best haunted houses in Oklahoma City? Do you want to know the Scariest Haunted Houses in Tulsa? You will find Oklahoma haunted houses here at Hauntworld.com We want you to share your experiences on our Facebook page.
Creepy Prairie Ghosts of Oklahoma
The Spooksville Triangle
For more than 100 years, residents of Oklahoma have been front-row eye-witnesses to one of the strangest and unexplainable phenomenon in the entire country: a triangle of eerie spook lights that runs 20 miles on each side stretching from Joplin, Missouri to Columbus, Kansas to Miami, Oklahoma known as the Spooksville Triangle. A few of the most famous spook lights include the Hornet Spooklight (located on the Devil’s Promenade) and the Miami Spook Light.
The story behind the Miami Spook Light dates back to the late 19th century. Legend has it a mother sent her young daughter out one foggy night to look for stray cows from their farm. The mother gave the girl a lantern and sent her off, only to never see her again. The mother searched for her daughter night after night until she allegedly went insane with grief – the Miami Spook Light is said to be the light of her lantern, searching for her lost daughter.
Want to see the Spooksville Triangle yourself? The area is intersected by Highway 44 and several smaller roads that make viewing the unexplainable lights possible.
The Haunted Stone Lion Inn
Formerly used as a funeral home, the Stone Lion Inn was converted in a small bed and breakfast. With charming rooms, delicious cuisine, and even murder mystery weekends, the owners soon realized they were playing host to more than just their guests.
Strange occurrences have been occurring at the Stone Lion Hill for years: the owners have reported hearing footsteps up and down a staircase at night and a door somehow being open and closed. In fact, the footsteps could be heard during a specific time of night, between 10 p.m. and midnight. The owners would also clean up their children’s toys and neatly put them away in a locked closet on the third floor every night, only to wake up the next morning and find them scattered all over the floor. Legend has it the ghost is that of the 8-year-old daughter of the original owners, who died of whooping cough in the early 1900s.
Book a room at the Stone Lion Hill and you may just be privy to some of the bizarre happenings known to occur at this haunted bed and breakfast.
Located in the town of Konawa nestled in central Oklahoma, myriad ghost stories and old legends haunt the Hart Cemetery. Perhaps the most popular is the story of the school children that still haunt the cemetery. In the back corner of the cemetery is an old school house that dates back to the 1800s. Legend has it all the school kids were killed in a horrible, gruesome bus accident during the early 1900s. Visitors claim to have heard children playing and talking at night in the cemetery even though there is nothing there.
Oklahoma's Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! Hauntworld.com rates and reviews the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America! Trail of Fear Haunted Screampark is located in Lawton, Oklahoma which is a haunted house in Oklahoma City. Please share this page and leave your reviews of one of America's best and scariest Haunted Houses. When you find yourself in Oklahoma go to the Trail Of Fear.
To learn more about Oklahoma's Trail Of Fear Haunted Screampark visit their websit below:
The Trail of Fear is well known as Oklahoma’s largest and most terrifying haunted attraction, and it’s celebrating its 20th anniversary this October with some of its most hair-raising scares yet. In its two decades of screams, frights and chills, this successful haunted house has unnerved tens of thousands of souls brave enough to step foot on the haunted grounds in Lawton, Oklahoma just outside of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Today, the Trail of Fear is synonymous with that creeping dread as it crawls up the back of your neck when entering one of the haunted attractions. Twenty years ago, that dread was felt by father- and-son Robert Wright Sr. and Bob Wright Jr. as they were about to undertake a new venture. “We never thought we would be as big as we are. It just wasn’t something that was even in our minds at that time.”
Before father-and-son were in the business of scaring people senseless, Wright Sr. was trying to conceive and construct, with a group of fellow science teachers, a science discovery center in Lawton. Wright Jr. was working at a seasonal Halloween store in a local mall at the time. Wright Sr. raised the idea to open a Halloween store of their own to help raise funds for the science discovery center. But after a couple months of research, he proposed a different path to his son.
“My dad comes home one day and says, ‘Son, you love haunted houses, right?’ I said, yes, of course,” admits Bob Wright Jr. “Great!’...he tells me, because I just bought 40 acres. Let’s make this happen.”
That 40 acres, subsequently and aptly labeled the Trail of Fear, would, over the years, become the largest and highest rated haunted attraction in Oklahoma, but that first year was not nearly as special or as spooky recalls Wright Jr, “Our first year in 1998 we had a small hay maze and a 2400 sq ft tent. We just had one small attraction, and we sold maybe 300 to 400 tickets.”
The Wrights were onto something though, because word began to spread rapidly. More people showed up the next year, and the year after that, and the year after that. Five years into their venture,father-and-son knew they were onto something big.
“In 2003 or 2004 we realized, holy crap, what did we get into here?” Wright Jr. said. They had tapped into a growing cultural zeitgeist. “People want to be scared and they’re willing to pay top dollar and travel as far as they need to experience that anxiety and racing pulse. Most area haunted attractions were unassuming affairs with hobbies and pastimes for Halloween enthusiasts, but my dad and I approached it differently.
We’re literally put on an interactive theater show that people go on a horrific journey through,” Wright Jr. said. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve been successful on putting together such good shows. Our cast is top notch and we wouldn’t be much without them!” That philosophy led to the Trail of Fear’s dominance, not only Oklahoma, but throughout the region, as the must-see haunt.
For the last decade, it’s been named the largest and highest rated haunt in Oklahoma. In 2012, it was ranked one of the top 31 haunted attractions in the entire United States. In 2015, the Trail of Fear Haunted Scream Parks, including both Lawton and Thunderbird Trail of Fear, were ranked the third Most Extreme Scream Parks in the U.S.
After dominating the haunt scene in Southwest Oklahoma for more than 15 years, Wright Jr. could only see one future…EXPANSION! In 2013, he partnered with husband-and-wife duo Matthew and Elizabeth Achemire to open The Thunderbird Trail of Fear in Noble, Okla. “Matt and I have been friends for many years,” Bob Jr. said. “We had talked about expanding the Trail of Fear for some time. He had some acreage, so we finally decided…let’s do this!” Matt decided he was in a place in his life where he wanted another creative outlet, and Bob was ready to grow The Trail of Fear into a brand to be reckoned with in the Haunted Attraction Industry. “Brand awareness and brand growth are a couple of my main areas of focus,” Bob Jr. said. “The Trail of Fear is no longer just a haunted attraction. It’s now a brand that we’re growing.”
Hauntworld continues to watch Trail of Fear grow in success and progression. In 2012, it was ranked on the Top 31 list of ALL haunted attractions in the entire US. In 2015, both Trail of Fear Haunted Scream Park in Lawton and Thunderbird Trail of Fear in Noble were ranked third on Hauntworld’s Most Extreme Scream Parks list.
The Wrights and the Achemires knew the Thunderbird location needed an attraction that would hook people as soon as they stepped foot through its entrance…an attraction that would not only send them screaming back to their vehicles, but would compel them to tell family and friends. Over some wings and beer they brainstormed ideas for the theme of the new attraction, but it was Elizabeth who shouted, "Hillbillies! Cannibal hillbillies!" Bob Jr. knew just the attraction to build.
For years, the most popular experience at the Lawton Trail of Fear was the Hackensaw Haunted Hayride. Visitors wandered into the path of a cannibalistic family of inbred hillbillies with a taste for flesh and a penchant for striking fear into the hearts of their victims before they devoured their bodies. It was the single most popular haunted attraction in all of Oklahoma, and it was moving to Thunderbird as a brand new walkthrough attraction of pure terror with new characters, scenes and props. Renamed the Hackensaw Haunted Hill, the cannibal family was packing its bags and its spare body parts and moving north. The Thunderbird team felt it would be a great fit there, and they were right. “We started out with that single attraction and it has been a success for us ever since,” said Wright Jr.
The brand was growing. The Trail of Fear was no longer a regional haunt in Southwest Oklahoma. Word had spread to Oklahoma City. There was something terrifying, perhaps even evil, growing just outside the city. The dead are walking and crave the taste of human flesh. Unlike their inbred hillbilly counterparts, their taste cannot besated. “In 2015, we expanded to a second attraction called, The Rotting Dead Reckoning,” Wright Jr. Said. “It’s a ride through a zombie-infested area where you get to shoot at our Rotters.” That’s what we call them because zombie is a bad word here. We want to keep that word out of our vocabulary.
The undead plague continued to spread, spurred by the success of the Thunderbird Trail of Fear and the flagship Trail of Fear location. For the first time in Trail of Fear history, Thunderbird location surpassed the original as the highest rated haunted attraction in Oklahoma in 2015, with the original location ranked a close second. Wright Jr. knew his partners at Thunderbird were doing it right, so expansion was on his mind yet again. “The expansions are a significant part of growing the Trail of Fear brand,” he said. “It happened with the Thunderbird location, and it happened again in 2015, when I opened our third location, the NEW Dead Woods Trail of Fear in Luther, Okla.”
As ambitious as ever, Wright Jr. wanted to try something never done before, to his knowledge. The Dead Woods location’s The Rotting Dead experience ties in with Thunderbird’s The Rotting Dead: Reckoning as a two-part scream experience.
“In the opening attraction at Dead Woods, we have the rotting dead with a twist on all of the zombie apocalypse stuff going on,” Wright Jr. said. “We have this complete and unique storyline where this could be a safe haven in the woods from the rotting dead. If they make it to, or if they’ve gone through Thunderbird, they see the rotting dead outbreak. They come here to Dead Woods and they think they’re safe in a place that might not be safe. We may be the only haunted attraction in the U.S. that has two different locations with a tie-in with two attractions at those locations.”
After two years in Luther, Dead Woods Trail of Fear will move this year to the Adventure District in Oklahoma City, near the Oklahoma City Zoo and Remington Park. Along with the move comes a new business partner for the Dead Woods location, Adam Stephens. Stephens is new to the Trail of Fear family but has been friends with Wright Jr. for more than a decade. Stephens said, “I am happy to join the Trail of Fear team and looking forward to continued success as we bring a new level of excitement to the Oklahoma City metro area.” The new location will retain the tie-in with the Thunderbird Trail of Fear and could experience tremendous growth with a more centralized locale and perhaps the addition of a second haunted attraction this year.
“We’re very excited about moving Dead Woods Trail of Fear inside the Oklahoma City limits, to the Adventure District no ess,” Wright Jr. said. “It’s going to help grow the Trail of Fear brand and enable us to scare more people, which is what this is all about. Scare one. Scare all.”
The expansion and success wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of the father-and-son Wright duo and the lessons they’ve learned during the last 20 years. They’ve always operated under the idea of actors and performances first. They believe if the cast and crew is not stepping up their game or doing their jobs the whole experience will fall apart, no matter how much money is invested in props and decor. “You can have the best looking haunted attraction in the world and it won’t mean a thing if you don’t have the actors to support the look. It’s not going to be effective. That’s why we invest a lot of time and resources into our cast.”
Character is an important emphasis for the cast of each Trail of Fear location which is why The Trail of Fear locations lean heavily on their cast to give their best performances each night. They bring in directors and coaches to help the cast adapt to the style needed to work in a haunted attraction. Wright Jr. believes there’s much more to their jobs than running at people and screaming insanity. “There’s a lot more improv involved in scary acting than one might think,” he said. “Each actor really must get into the character and think on their feet when dealing with crowds.” Once the nature and setting of the story is established, the actors are encouraged to come up with their own individual characters and justifications for the haunt. Some actors become veryinvolved in the creation of their character which can really have a positive impact on their performance each night. “Very few outside the haunt will ever know their backstories,” Wright Jr. said, “but by engrossing themselves in that character, it helps each individual put on a fantastic show. I have worked with a lot of casts over the years and the system we have created seems to work really well. Without the efforts of our awesome cast we really would not be where we are today.” Many cast members at each location volunteer numerous hours, blood, sweat and tears into making the shows and characters happen.
The idea of having a story behind each attraction is one that father and son adhered to in the early days of the Trail of Fear’s formation. Many haunts don’t focus on storyline but the Wrights always wanted to have an ongoing reason for what the people are experiencing.“In the beginning, it was mostly my dad and I coming up with this stuff ourselves,” said Wright Jr. “As we’ve grown, we put together creative teams made up of people from each attraction consisting of managers and people who volunteer a heck of a lot of time. That’s how we come up with the unique and original storylines. We don’t copy movies. Our characters will never be found in film. We create all new experiences and each one is unique to its specific location. I am really proud of our cast and crew at all three locations. They really pull together to create a fantastic show for our patrons.”
Those experiences often rotate out after a while, ensuring the Trail of Fear is constantly fresh and constantly scary no matter how many years one returns. Even after two decades, the Trail of Fear is as frightening as ever and it’s going to be even more spooky this year to celebrate itsmilestone anniversary in Lawton. In addition to the Cirque de Morte and The Experiment, two long- standing experiences that have left thousands shaken, the Lawton Trail of Fear is upping the intensity with a new attraction…Psychotic Nightmare. “It’s going to bring everything in your nightmares to life,” he said.
The Lawton Trail of Fear will also introducing a new, reservations-only Escape Room experience. More details will be forthcoming. Tickets will go on sale in September. The Wrights promise a unique experience that you won’t want to miss. Following the Trail of Fear season, the escape room experience will become a permanent, year-round fixture. This year will also see the introduction of a new interactive theater experience, Surviving the Apocalypse. The comedy-infused interactive production will host a minimum of two nightly shows each evening the Lawton Trail of Fear is open.
The show can be considered a humorous take (or guide if you will) on how to survive the apocalypse. The Haunted Midway with our carnival games and inflatable rides for children and families will also make a return, but Wright Jr. described this year asthe year the Trail of Fear brand is going back to its roots. For the 2017 season, its mission is to put a serious level of fear into the Trail of Fear. Now more than ever, Lawton Trail of Fear, Thunderbird Trail of Fear, and Dead Woods Trail of Fear won’t be for the faint of heart. “We’ll still have things for families and kids that aren’t scary,” said Wright Jr, “but we’re absolutely going back to our roots and doing whatever we can to raise the level of anxiety, uneasiness and terror in each of our haunted attractions.That’s what makes us number one.”
Even with the focus on fear and terror, the Wrights never forgot why they undertook this venture 20 years ago. They always held onto the desire to be good stewards within the community and to offer residents a fun, interactive experience they couldn’t find anywhere else. That they have not only endured but thrived throughout the last 20 years and have expanded into a brand makes Wright Jr. even more thankful for how far he’s come, especially with his father at his side. “It makes me feel great,” he said. “I’m so grateful to have been able to do all of this with my dad. What I value most is knowing that this is something that we did together not only as business partners but as father and son. I wouldn’t trade that feeling for anything. Now, if only I could get my daughter involved.”
Oklahoma Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! Hauntworld.com rates and reviews the best and Scariest haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America! Hex House is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hex House is one of the best and scariest haunted houses in Oklahoma. Read the full review and story of Hex House in Oklahoma. Please share this page and leave your reviews of one of Oklahoma's best and scariest haunted house. When you find yourself in the Tulsa area go to Hex House.
To learn more about Oklahoma's Hex House visit their websit below:
Hex House hexhouse.com , located in Tulsa Oklahoma, has long been known for being the scariest and best haunted house in Oklahoma but in recent years Tulsa Hex House has burst onto the national scene by receiving recognition as one of the scariest Haunted Houses in America nationwide. HauntWorld.com rated Hex House as one of the 15 Scariest Haunted Houses in The World – America’s Top Rated Haunts- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0uIhtoU4hE and Fox News ranked Hex House in Americas 10 Scariest Haunted Houses just to name a few. Hex House has earned its spot as one of the BEST Haunted Houses in America by providing a terrifying experience for its customers. Tulsa Hex House provides three haunted attractions in one location!
Hex House is inspired by a true story from Tulsa’s dark past. In 1944, Carolann Smith was sentenced to prison for holding two young women under a hypnotic or occult spell for seven years. The police investigation uncovered proof of bondage, spell-casting, mesmerism, hypnotism and a casket buried in the back yard. What these two young girls went through was truly chilling. See full story: http://www.tulsahexhouse.com/about WARNING: Today the Hex House is one of the most extreme haunted attractions in America (not intended for children). Tulsa Hex House is an intense multi-element, walk through haunted attraction. You will be fully submerged in an altered reality that is much darker and less predictable than anything you’ve seen before. As you make your way through the flickering haunted hallways and eerie ghostly rooms of Hex House, you descend from mere creepiness into a full-on, intense nightmare that you won’t soon forget. The gruesome sets have horrific detail. The Actors are allowed to touch you and are trained to truly suspend reality for a moment in time allowing you to experience what real terror is.
WestSide Grim is also inspired by a true story from Tulsa’s haunted past. In the early 1920’s Tulsa opened its first amusement park (Crystal City). It offered patrons Tulsa’s first roller coaster, boat rides, concessions, side shows, a bath house and dance hall. Back then, amusement parks had a seedy side. After dark, concessions sold bootlegged alcohol by the bottle. Vaudeville was the rage and drunken patrons crowed into the dance hall to get their eyes (and often their hands) on Can-Can girls brought in from around the world. Organized crime was prevalent and Tulsa was no exception. For nearly 30 years Crystal City Amusement Park provided West Tulsa with entertainment of all kinds. Rumors and gossip centered around Crystal City until 1950 when the dance hall burned down and mysteriously took most of Crystal City with it. Today Westside Grim is located near if not exactly where the dance hall was located in West Tulsa, and this haunted event is like no other. The haunt is occupied by the West Tulsa Bootlegger; Mondo Grim. Mondo and his band of henchmen come at you from every direction as you walk through the burned down remains of the Bootleggers House, Crystal City Amusement Park and descend into the dark world of WestSide Grim. Experiencing the realistic carnage that Mondo Grim leaves in his wake. WestSide Grim is truly WestSide Scary!
Rise of the Living Dead – Is an indoor walk through zombie apocalypse set in an urban environment. The set design is realistic and has an urgent heart racing vibe. You won’t see masks here. The makeup is amazing! According to Gene Watson, it takes several hours every night to do their zombie makeup, and I believe it. These flesh eating, brain seeking Zombies are a work of art!
We talked in depth with Gene Watson, owner and president of Tulsa Hex House to find out more about the day to day operation.
“Being in the Haunt industry sounds fun, and it is. What most people don’t realize is how much hard work, man hours and sheer expense is involved. To be one of the best haunted houses in American takes commitment. We focus on three things. Quality of haunt design, staffing and promotion. Building a quality haunt and hiring talented actors isn’t enough. You must promote your haunt. We produce quality promotional material like our latest promo video: https://youtu.be/93hNhTvzstA
How many people does it take to operate Tulsa Hex House?
“We have over 65 actors nightly, 9 makeup artists, security, ticket booth, Sound and Lighting and parking lot attendees, so on busy nights our staff can reach triple digits.”
Why do you focus so much on make-up & costumes at your haunted house?
“We do go overboard on makeup and costumes. Our goal is to suspend reality for a moment and provide a truly terrifying experience for our customers. I think it’s hard to do that with a cheap costume and mask. We spend a lot of time on our makeup and costume but it pays off in the end for our customers.”
How important is the Hex House brand?
The brand is so vital we have it trademarked! Hex House is synonymous with horror, terror, fear, shock and panic. It isn’t enough for us to entertain our customers we scare them to create the most terrifying experience possible. We are intentional with everything we do.”
Where do you find all of those great haunt actors?
“Honestly they come to us. We have a great casting director (Steve Palmer) and a lot of veteran Hex House actors that are a wealth of knowledge. These guys know how to get to the fear of our customers, and once they get someone rattled they show no mercy. We have many customers that tap out and ask to leave the haunt early. We call that a job well done. The secret is that we are family and we love what we do!”
Why did you get into the haunt industry?
“I started off like most guys in the haunt game…simply going to haunted houses. I love Halloween and I would take my kids to haunted houses every year. I would always pick a busy Saturday night and go. I loved the long lines. It gave me a couple of hours to hang out with my kids when they were teenagers. It was an opportunity to be eyeball to eyeball with them for a couple hours before the haunt. They would be excited and apprehensive. It was great. Then after the haunt we would go eat and laugh about things that happened. I have five kids. The youngest is 7 and my oldest is 30. I get to spend a lot of time at Hex House with my kids. My son Nick is the General Manager and my other son Tanner works by my side and is instrumental in our success.”
Why is Hex House so successful?
“It’s our crew. They are dedicated to each other. It has been my greatest surprise. We truly are one big dysfunctional family! Our staff loves Hex House and they love working together. They feed from the energy and fear of our customers and provide the best haunt experience in Oklahoma.
For more information about Tulsa Hex House go to: hexhouse.com
Oklahoma Haunted Houses are some of the scariest haunted houses in America and its a state we have never featured a haunted house in Oklahoma until we discovered Trail of Fear located near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in Lawton. Are you looking to find the scariest haunted houses in Oklahoma then look no further than Trail of Fear in Lawton Oklahoma. Our team now brings you one of the scariest, best, and ultimate haunted houses in Oklahoma near Oklahoma City Trail of Fear! If you are looking for all the best and scariest haunted houses in Oklahoma visit our state page featuring all haunts from Oklahoma.
A scream is heard in the night. Shadowy figures pass through the darkness. Innocent victims make their way through a narrow path of despair and dread, looking for an escape from the nightmare. The poor souls have wandered into the madness of the Voodoo Bayou. A creature leaps out of the darkness and scares the visitors, ushering them on to the next stage of fear. They still have a long way to go before the end. Welcome to the Trail of Fear… Oklahoma’s LARGEST Haunted Attraction! The never-ending carousel of frights is a way of life for Bob Wright and the Trail of Fear haunted attraction. For 14 years running, the Trail is THE Oklahoma destination designed to test the limits of fear. Today, it is the top haunt in Oklahoma and one of the most popular in the Southwest United States. However, there was a time when it was nothing more than a small stop beside the road on Oklahoma 7 run by a father-and-son team that were still trying to figure out what they were doing.
“That first year in 1998 we had a small hay maze in a small 2,400 square foot tent,” Wright said. “We just had one small attraction, and we sold maybe 300 to 400 tickets that year.”?The idea of a Trail of Fear was hatched when Wright's father, Bob Wright Sr., joined with a group of fellow science teachers to open a science discovery center in the Lawton area. Wright Jr. had once worked in a small Halloween store in Lawton, so he thought it would be a good idea to spend some of that money to open up a similarly themed store to raise money for the science discovery center. There was nothing like it in town at the time, so the Wrights would be the first to jump on the opportunity.
“After spending a couple months researching how to do a store, my dad came home and asked if I wanted to do a haunted house,” says Bob Wright Jr. “I said great, I love haunted houses.” He had just bought 40 acres.
Since that time, The Trail of Fear has become an annual Halloween attraction in Lawton, opening every year except one. (Wright's mother died in 2001 and the father-son duo shut the Trail down for one year out of remembrance.) When it returned the following year, it was bigger and better than ever with the addition of the Werewolf of Copper Grove attraction. That was replaced two years later by the Hackensaw Haunted Hayride, a disturbing venture through a demented area controlled by a deranged group of inbred mutants lead by Mama Hackensaw. It was a stark contrast from the family-friendly horror nature of the original Trail of Fear. Wright also embraced the other end of the haunted house spectrum with a children-friendly Pumpkin Junction, which will make its return in 2012.
“By adding something darker, we could appeal to everyone,” Wright said. “That's one of the things that make us so popular. We appeal to people who are skittish as well as those that don't scare very easily. It's not that our darker attractions are necessarily scarier, but they're definitely more aggressive.”
A visitor traveling down Oklahoma 7 will no doubt recognize the Trail of Fear by the massive pyramid that towers over the attraction. Certainly a rare site, the three-story tall pyramid was incorporated into the original Trail of Fear attraction after Wright’s father built it to compliment the numerous Egyptian props the pair had in storage.
“One day, my dad calls me up and asks if I remembered those old Egyptian props we have,” tells Wright. “I told him I did, and he said ‘good’, because he just spent $12,000 building a pyramid.” The building is now assimilated into the Trail as The Pyramid of Doom alongside the Fantasy Forest.
The Trail of Fear is the oldest of all the attractions at this massive haunt location. One of the major misconceptions people have when they show up at the box office is the number of haunted attractions available. “People will say they want to visit the Trail of Fear, but we ask them which one and they don’t realize we have five, including Pumpkin Junction for the kids,” says Wright. “It’s something that we’ve added onto every year that we’ve been open.”
Aside from the classic Trail, there’s the darker and more intense Voodoo Bayou, which features the darkest and most gruesome scenes at the haunt. Creatures and psychopaths of all types wander the bayou preying on innocent victims that venture forth. This attraction is not suitable for children under 10.
Those fearful of clowns may want to steer clear of the Cirque de Morte – or embrace it fully. Featuring a winding maze of circus frights with demonic and evil clowns lurking around corners ready to frighten anyone that might dare to enter, the Cirque de Morte is one of the newest, yet most popular attractions.
For the past two years running, Wright has also brought in outside performances to compliment the Trail. In 2010, he showcased the Hellzapoppin side show, which featured performances from a large cast that defied dangerous odds to bring audience members thrills they could never find anywhere else.
Wright followed that up in 2011 by inviting the Crispy Family Carnival. A similar style side show, the carnival featured “circus freaks” and plenty of entertaining stunts. Bringing in unique performances each year is something Wright plans to continue doing in the future. “It’s been insanely popular for us and for them,” he said.
A major attribute to the huge success of the Trail of Fear is annual renovation. Wright is never content with resting on his laurels each year. He believes the reason many other haunts begin to lose popularity is simply because they become content with their product and with what they offer. The haunt eventually becomes stale and people stop coming because they know where the frights are going to come from. Beginning as much as six to eight months before the beginning of their haunt season in October, Wright and his cast members begin renovations and prepare to change up to 30 percent of the attraction from the previous year. “It’s definitely one of the reasons we continue to grow annually and why we’ve become as large and popular as we are,” he said. “We invest a large amount of money back into the attraction each year. Our customer will not see the same show each year.”
Growing so large has not come without growing pains. Each year, Wright has needed to expand the parking lot. The Trail started out with a cast and crew of 12-15 people back in 1998. Today, it’s expanded to well more than 100 including make-up artists, safety staff, security detail, EMT/First Responders, and management. The amount of people who contact Trail of Fear with inquiry to join their staff each year is “crazy”. But fortunately those who do join the cast usually hang around. About 80 percent of the cast from 2011 have participated in previous Trail of Fear shows. It’s that kind of loyalty that Wright said has helped the Trail persevere. “Without our AWESOME cast,” he said, “the Trail wouldn’t exist. We have professional makeup artists, people that do acting for a living and people that just want to come out and have a good time and scare people,” he said. “It’s that kind of dedication that really help us out.”
One cast member called working at the Trail of Fear the best job one can have. “This is the coolest job I’ve ever had because I get to scare people,” he said. “I made a blonde girl cry on opening night. She leaned back against the fence and was screaming and crying. Now that’s a quality scare!” A true quality scare is something Wright and his staff strive for each year, and nearly every scare in the haunt is an original creation of Wright and his cast members. Visitors won’t see a Universal Studios horror creature popping out of the shadows during any of the attractions. Wright prides himself on offering original frights that visitors won’t be able to find anywhere else.
“A lot of our ideas come from our cast, and a lot of it comes from being creative,” Wright said. “It could be anything from books, movies, people we talk to or even going through other big haunted houses and seeing what they do and trying to do it better. We try to have something unique and do things that no one else is doing. That’s hard to do in this industry, in any industry.” Turning haunt inspiration into haunt innovation is another major attribute to the huge success of the Trail of Fear. Coming up with a quality scare involves more than just a creature jumping out of a dark room and yelling ‘boo’. Each of the haunt attractions at the Trail have scares that incorporate many of the senses – sight, sound, smell and feeling – to create a truly memorable set piece.
Wright said there are also breaks in the frights with bouts of comedy that often lull the visitor into a false sense of safety. “We don’t’ just scream at people because they expect that to happen,” he said. “Those people that are harder to scare will often be more susceptible when they’ve laughed at something. We do these subtle things so that we can suspend the disbelief. We want to make even the most skeptical person have a good time.”
While the Trail consists of five separate attractions, the entertainment begins as soon as visitors get out of the car. Each of the attractions are substantial. The Voodoo Bayou can take up to 45 minutes to complete, counting the hayride out to the bayou and back. While visitors are walking in between these attractions, several actors dressed up as horror staples like Jack the Ripper, vampires and psychos wander the grounds scaring people. Wright said it’s all about the ambience and keeping the spirit of fear alive, even when groups aren’t inside one of the attractions. “At times, we have long wait lines at our attractions, so there are actors out and about to give them a little fright,” he said. “Since we have a lot of people that come in from out of town and others with time constraints, we offer fast passes which allow guests to go to the front of the line. Without those, many people wouldn’t be able to enjoy the entire frightful experience that the Trail has to offer all in one night. There’s just so much to see and do.”
Outside of the individual haunt attractions, the Trail offers a souvenir store with t-shirts, hats and other branded items for souvenirs. A full restaurant, The Boo House BBQ, is also open on the premises serving barbecue, brisket, hamburgers, hot dogs and more. “It’s actually VERY good barbecue,” touts Wright. “And with the restaurant, we are able to offer a complete evening of entertainment from dinner to attractions and more.”
With the Trail of Fear still expanding in Lawton, Wright has already set his sights on another location for a second Trail of Fear near Oklahoma City. He hopes to have it open for the 2012 season. “Our constant expansion and the ideas we keep bringing to Lawton is what helped spur onward and think about a second location,” Wright said. “There’s just so much we want to incorporate, and now we do can do that with our Oklahoma City location. People should certainly look for the newest Trail of Fear location opening near Oklahoma City in 2012.”
Tickets for the Trail of Fear are $12 each attraction: The Trail of Fear, Cirque de Morte, Voodoo Bayou, and Crispy Family Carnival attractions. Or guests can buy a pass for all of the haunted attractions for only $30. Fast pass upgrades are $10, allowing people to move to the front of the lines. For more information on the Trail of Fear, visit www.trailoffear.com