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Seacoast Scene – Special Halloween Ethan’s Adventure

Where I went: My friend Amy and I went to Haunted Overload (20 Orchard Way, Lee) to experience an outdoor haunted attraction. Haunted Overload is different from a haunted house because it is an outdoor trail that takes you through several houses and other creepy locations. The attraction won the ABC television competition The Great Halloween Fright Fight in 2014.

What it is: A $25 ticket gets you access to the full haunted trail experience. Guests walk for 20 to 30 minutes through a trail of terrifying themed location with unsettling and unrelenting pathways connecting the various locations. Visit for dates and times.

My Experience: Before we even checked in, Amy and I were clutching each other; as we were trying to find the line to get out tickets checked. there was a half human, half monster that paced up and down the line on its arm stilts. When I went to get a closer look with my phone, it snapped at me and the whole line jumped back.
The main entrance area is an eyeful of production design that let’s everyone know right away why Haunted Overload has gained national attention. A massive skull, larger than a house, overlooks the pumpkin lined waiting area. The skull is so large it makes the surrounding woods fade away and we felt like we were in a Halloween village. The waiting line passes several other larger-than-life structures, including a pumpkin man, taller than the trees, that looms over the crowd and guards a stone castle that funnels the guests into the trail.

The castle’s gatekeeper was a Marilyn Manson-esque pale-faced woman with an undead cat on her lap. After a short chat with the woman, her zombie cat awoke, snarled at us, and we entered the trail.

A green-lit tunnel, growing impossibly narrow, was the first thing we saw. And at the end of the tunnel, waiting patiently, was a silhouette of a crouched figure that we were clearly going to have to confront before we could pass. Just as we got close enough to touch it, it jumped up, screamed and pointed us to the trail.

There was a terrifically troubling amount of jump-scares throughout the haunted trail, but I particularly appreciated the mini world building that the designers had dreamed up. Each themed hut had its own story and unique inhabitants. The first location, for example, was a demented take on a carnival tent. Seemingly lifeless acrobats hung from the ceiling of the tent and suddenly sprang to life just as Amy and I had decided they were fake. Carnival music swirled around the tent as various carnies approached us and spoke chilling things into our ears. Then a harlequin jumped down from her perch with a bucket of her own guts to show us before we pushed open the exit flap of the tent. “Come on, it’s a delicacy in France,” she said as we left.

Between locations was a fenced-in dirt trail that zig-zagged through the woods. The wooden fences were about 8 feet tall so we couldn’t see much outside the dirt path. But the trails are no place to feel relieved because cage headed, nuclear waste ridden, woodland wanderers waited around random corners. And the worst part was we couldn’t tell which stoic figures leaning against the fences were real. I accepted that the only way to find out who was real was to wait and see which ones woke up and followed us down the path.

With our arms interlocked, Amy and I hobbled through each haunted location. It seemed to me that each location was more dilapidated and scary that the last. Starting with a mansion, which acted as its own mini haunted house, we made our way down into a hut filled with children’s toys and populated with seemingly inept caretakers who continued to torment our thoughts with scary details about what had happened to the last visitors.

The scariest location for me was an unassuming wooden hut whose inhabitants were mostly dead. Bodies hung in dirty potato sacks from the ceiling and the corners of the hut were too dark to see. Suddenly, we felt the caretaker of the building approach us from out of the darkness. Then we heard a chilling sound fill our ears: a chainsaw starting up. I lost my sense of direction and pulled Amy into a dead end. The bodies clobbered us as we swung around and tried to find the exit. The chainsaw got closer and felt like it was going to cut the hairs standing up on the back of my neck.

The trail went on and on, each location with its own unique theme, as the forest people kept us moving forward.

Who should try this: Anyone who thinks haunted houses are too short or not scary enough. You can also take kids (and anyone who doesn’t like to be terrified) during the day when there are no monsters or ghouls around for a $5 Day Haunt.

Ethan Hogan

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