The Haunt and Forest of Fear are hair-raising Halloween attractions


I am a newcomer to all things haunted, scary, and ghoulish. Before this year, I had continuously wimped out and shied away from the spine-chilling activities that the month of October brings. This year, I put on my brave boots and stomped onto Halloween territories; I was fresh meat for the fear-eating businesses around Grand Rapids.

After managing to make it through this year’s IT in theaters, I decided that maybe, as a high school senior, it was about time I made it to a haunted house. My first excursion of the month of October was to The Haunt. The building was just like how my friends had described it as– just a big warehouse. Walking up to the ticket booth, I was greeted by clowns and zombies. I really started to think of running back to my car at this point. Yet, my friends dragged me along. After paying a hefty general admission ticket of twenty dollars, we entered the decorated building.

Once inside, we waited in line for about fifteen minutes; it was a little tiring to stand around. But the customers waiting in line were pleasantly surprised by a trio of hip-hopping ghouls dancing. It was fun and unexpected– like what was to come. Entering the actual Haunt attraction, I was huddled up in a square of my friends. As we went on though, I wasn’t so much scared. I was more entertained. The scares became tiresome and predictable, but the structure and the scenery of the haunted attraction were enrapturing.

I walked through a creepy forest, tall pines, a deep dark cave, bedrooms, kitchens, and a trippy clown maze. The clown scares were the most engaging. Provided with glasses that made the flip reinvent illusions come to life, clowns popped up from all corners and looked wavy in their bright costumes against the black light.

Coming out of the clown maze, we were greeted with the infamous Haunt photo-op. This year, we were placed in front of a giant- and I mean ginormous- creepy clown.

A couple weeks later, I headed on over to The Forest of Fear. I was filled with courage after surviving and nonchalantly walking through The Haunt. The Forest of Fear had a whole new, and much spookier, vibe. The Forest of Fear was located in the middle of the woods near Davenport University. The seclusion gave the haunted attraction a real-life horror vibe.

Bundled up in our big coats, hats, and gloves, we waited in the short line at closing time at 11:00. General admission was a well worth ten dollars. Once we passed the ticket booth, we headed to the real line in front of a huge screen. While the wait was long, it was entertaining. Halloween music played over the loudspeakers, and old, eerie cartoons were illuminated over the screen.

We edged closer to the front of the line, and once we got there, we were shuffled into a large box about the size of a cubicle. We were immediately shut in the box and greeted by a devilish clown who cornered us while we tentatively listened to the instructions of the attraction. The recording rambled on about not touching the actors or the props as we anxiously awaited our release from the box.

Waving goodbye to our new clown friend, we followed the tiki torches into the deep dark woods. Our walk of terror was first started by having ghoulish girls and zombies pop out of the brush unexpectedly. There was also a school bus at the beginning of the woods, but I had my eyes shut tight as I walked through the aisle way. We then walked through many sheds filled with chains, little girls playing hide-and-go seek, and strange body parts in mason jars. While all of the sheds and huts were uncomfortably evil to be in, the real fear lied outside.

The most terrifying and thrilling part was being chased through the woods. When you saw a character up ahead on the path in the shadows, there was always an uncertainty of how close they were going to get to you, what they would whisper in your ear, or how far down the path you would get.

Both The Haunt and The Forest of Fear were hair-raising. And as a newcomer to the Halloween season traditions, I was pleased and entertained. The Forest of Fear had a spookier aura; there really was a fear of real danger lurking in the woods.