The 2nd Haunt trip of 2020 brought me to the thumb of Michigan, near the small town of Caro, about 40 minutes east of Saginaw. Wicked Woods Of Terror, an outdoor trail with lots of small outdoor buildings and mazes, was the destination that evening. I hadn’t been there since the beginning of the 2017 season and was excited to see how they changed in the last 3 years. This haunt is literally out in the middle of nowhere, but I was staying at a hotel not too far away. Road closures and detours made the drive longer than I had anticipated, so what I thought was going to be an easy 40-minute drive from my hotel, turned into a 70 minute seventy pain in the buttocks. This area has a huge deer population and I actually came within 6 feet or so of hitting one while I was turning my vehicle around in haste because of a second road closure. Do be careful when coming here, it's pitch black on those backroads, the roads themselves are not in the best shape, and those darn deer!

Atmosphere

WWoT wasn’t too difficult to find with GPS (despite the detours), but it was hard to tell where the entrance and exit were as it was so dark and the signage for the entrance was quite small. Parking was free in a large grassy area a short walk to the ticket booth. The queue line was designed with colored lights on the ground which eliminated ropes and touch points. There was metal music playing on the sound system, screams off in the distance, and that feeling you get by being in the woods out in the middle of nowhere, all the right ingredients to get one excited with anticipation of the spooky times ahead.

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Costume Makeup

I thought the costuming/makeup was solid overall and some of the costuming was quite excellent. My favorite characters costume wise included; the 10 foot Krampus, the asylum patient wearing a straight jacket and cage around her head, the scarecrow, the rabbit, and “Disgusto” the clown.

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Actors

The cast at Wicked Woods was my favorite aspect of the haunt. The majority of the actors showed enthusiasm, energy, and they seemed to be quite comfortable in their roles. Some of the cast used extended dialogue, while others went for the startle scare and said very little. My favorite actors of the night were; the evil nun, the asylum patient with a cage on her head, the pigman, and the best of the bunch, Disgusto the clown, who keep popping up at different points along the way, usually getting a good laugh outta me. The cast really sold the show and all the actors here should be commended for a job well done!

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Trail Experience / Theming

The trail experience was quite seamless and smooth throughout my journey. The trail path is marked with colored lights on the ground, the same way as the queue line. This made it fairly easy to stay on the right path throughout my journey. I didn’t run into any other groups nor did I encounter any actors that weren’t ready for me when I entered their area. I liked how the trail was set up, which made it possible for some of the actors in the scenes ahead, to see me coming. They would often yell out to me, or taunt me, as I made my way to their area. I did notice some areas that were void of actors, but most of those were little dark mazes that don’t tend to have actors in them in the first place.

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Bang For Your Buck

General admission was $15 on the night of our visit and our total tour time was 22 minutes. This gives us an MPD score (minutes of entertainment per dollar spent) of 1.47 which is well above our gold standard of 1.0, so you’ll get excellent value for your money here.

SFX/Visual

This place doesn’t have the biggest budget, but they sure do a great job with what they have. The presentation of several of the scenes is much nicer than you’d expect for an outdoor trail in the boonies,. Some of my favorite scenes were the asylum, kitchen, dining room, and swamp.

Was It Scary?

Yes. The chainsaw guy had me running, some unseen character got me to jump in one of the dark mazes, but the best scare of the night was given courtesy of the pigman, good job sir! Although there are plenty of good scares to be had, this place would make a fine choice for haunt goers of most ages. It also had a high fun factor with great laughs and entertaining dialogue exchanges between some of the actors and myself.

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Did I Feel Safe?

Yes. Even though this is an outdoor haunt, every person I encountered was wearing a mask. The queue line is spaced out for social distancing, and colored lights on the ground were used instead of ropes which eliminated any touch points. Hand sanitizer was widely available, and I was informed that the staff here routinely disinfect high traffic areas.

Originality/ Creativity

Most of the scenes here are fairly typical fare for a haunted attraction, although there are a few things I have never seen at an outdoor trail before, but I won’t ruin the surprise for those that decide to see for themselves. Also, I thought the layout of the trail itself was unique and there are definitely a few characters that have their own originality about them.

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OVERALL

WWoT was absolutely worth the price of admission and the extra time it took to get there. This place has all the right ingredients for a really fun and spooky night! And you would certainly be hard-pressed to find a better value in the area.

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