This year, as Field of Screams celebrates its 25th anniversary, it held a special press night to showcase its attractions. I knew my nerves couldn’t handle much, so I recruited my son — now in 10th grade. He said his sister would hate it and want to go home (and apt assessment), so I let him invite his friend Ben. They would be our guinea pigs, our attraction raters. Their hearts were strong, and they were seemingly fearless.
We at Central Penn Parent provided the boys with a 1-5 “Freddy” ratings scale for the attractions, with 1 being Freddy from Scooby-Doo — not very scary at all — and 5 being Freddy Krueger from Nightmare on Elm Street.
Nocturnal Wasteland. A winding, narrow walk through the woods, this attraction will also take you indoors, into old buses, through brief tunnels and along wire fences. Around every corner there are new frightful scenes (and creatures) waiting for you.
My son: 1
Note: My husband and I also walked the Nocturnal Wasteland and I was thrilled at how well I handled it (i.e., not crying by the end) until I saw my son’s ranking of its scare-factor. Don’t believe him. It was dark and long with plenty of creepy creatures and jump-scares. I’d give it a 4.)
Haunted Hayride. It’s a 20-minute hayride that is creepy from the get-go (those evil clowns will climb on board and get in your face) and just gets scary and at times, gruesome, as it heads on down its route through the cornfield.
My son: 2
Note: My husband and I joined the boys for the hayride. I liked it, preferring to see the ghouls and scares coming at me. And riding in relative comfort.
Den of Darkness. This three-story haunted house is filled with terrifying rooms, hallways and narrow passages — which you will be crawling through. The gruesome monsters and undead are waiting at every turn and in every hidden nook.
Ben: 5. “Really scary.”
My son: 5. “Freddy Krueger scary. The scariest.”
Frightmare Asylum. A four-story haunted house with psychotic doctors and patients. There are mutated insects and reptiles and a creepy autopsy room, pitch-black hallways, and lots of truly frightening stuff.
Editor’s son: 4
Ben: “Nocturnal Wasteland, because it reminded me of my favorite game, Stalker.”
My son: “The Haunted Hayride, because I got to sit down.”
What attraction freaked you out the most?
Ben: “Frightmare Asylum, when I had to go through the cushions.”
My son: “Den of Darkness because of the confined spaces.”
What advice would you give to a friend going to Field of Screams for the first time?
Ben: “Be wary of the people in front of and behind you, and be wary of loud noises.” [Editor’s note: I concur. Consider earplugs.]
My son: “Don’t run. And watch your head even more than your step when going through the various attractions.”
Final words: Both boys said they had a blast. And both agreed that Field of Screams is not for little kids. It is a scary destination even while waiting in various lines, as clowns will come after you (and all characters can touch your hair, your face and your ankles and will tap that chainsaw on your back as you’re fleeing). Know your teen, and what they can handle.