Haunt Review: HAUNTED OVERLOAD

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Last year, Craig wrote to you about our experience attending Haunted Overload. Last year’s event had a few downfalls due to weather, but I decided to give the event another go, and I’m glad I did.

Cobbled by a group of amazingly talented designers, builders, and artists Haunted Overload in Lee, New Hampshire is a spooky and silly haunted trail for the family that will make you wish it was longer than a 30-minute walk in the dimly lit woods.

I arrived shortly before 8:30 pm where I parked in the furthest parking area; A horse pen repurposed for the evening. Judging by the number of people I drove by and the distance to the line, a reasonable walk, I could tell I was in store for a busy and long night ahead.

Unlike last year, the night was a perfect 60 degrees with no wind which allowed waiting in the two-hour line much more enjoyable. The long and windy line was decorated even more than last year with more scareactors, tall scarecrow lanterns, a dark wooden tent to cross under, and a selfie station when you first arrive with extra lighting to take photos with or without the wandering actors. 

Halfway through the line, rounding a major turn, I was captivated by a gigantic lizard wood sculpture, the Raven and his nest, and a large structure referred to as “The Crematorium”. All mainstays from the previous year, but with the craftsmanship put into these; one can hardly complain. Knowing it was only a short wait after, I could hardly wait to reach the end of this line.

Passing through the Crematorium, a wave of grinning, grimacing, and gruesome faces greeted me from the pumpkin patch. A stone-faced castle in the short distance, and a tiny shed to the left of its entrance. Watching over the land was the pumpkin king as tall as the trees around us; clearly there to keep us in the Halloween spirit.

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Before I entered the castle, I looked back and to my left to find that the shed I mentioned above was the merchandise table; This struck me as odd for two reasons. First, it seemed out of place and completely missable if you were focusing more on the castle. And secondly, if I haven’t gone through the trail yet, I’m not sure I would commit to buying a shirt before experiencing the event.

Two-hours and 401 words later, I am at the front of the line waiting the few moments for the group ahead to make some distance and to step through the curtain into the glowing green cone of light. Beckoned forward and directed by a hand from out of the darkness; the haunted trail had begun.

Much of the trail was the same from last year, but the first few things I noticed different was the number of actors coming from every direction; front, back, side, and below. Continuing along the path, while the various areas where the same, most of them had more decoration and special effects. I remember very distinctly from last year two maze-like hallways that had a few things hanging from the walls and ceiling and no actor around. This year, those same hallways had more and better decorations including fog and strobe effects to wade through along with actors to scare us in the right direction.

Moving along from set to set, the trail guiding me deeper and deeper into the chaos feeling tighter and more confusing with each turn. It was at this point that I thought I took a wrong turn. Luckily a well-hidden actor popped out for a good scare; affirming that I was heading in the right direction.

Finally nearing the end of the 30-minute trail, I started to think back to some of the sets and characters along the path. While this is in no way a complaint, because it was perfect lighting for a haunted event, I do wish I could have seen some of the character’s outfits and make-up in better lighting. Perhaps I will attend their daytime event as well next year for that chance.

All the actors did a great job on the night I attended. Ranging in different character personalities from goofy to scary, the actors gave their all whether they acted as a dressed up mannequin to jump out at you at the prime moment of deceit or a light-hearted character who converses with you in witty banter.

On my walk back to the car, I spoke with the couple that was behind me in line for their impression. It was their first time here at Haunted Overload, and while they didn’t like the two-hour line to get in, they very much enjoyed the event. We were all thankful for the line entertainment of wandering actors and grand sculptures.

Given the amazing amount of work over every inch of this event, I can say that I’m looking forward to visiting again next year. To anyone in the New England region, this event is high on my recommendations list. For more information visit their website HERE

Aaron Lemon 

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