MIDDLETOWN — Only the bravest of the brave dare to meet face to face with terrifying zombies, backwoods cannibals, creepy evil clowns and chainsaw-toting killers.
Tonight, Sept. 11, Land of Illusion Scream Park will open for its 23rd season. Things will look a little different this season, with some new COVID-19 guidelines in place, including timed entry into attractions, social distancing in lines and mask-wearing recommended.
The Cincinnati Circus will be on hand this weekend to kick off the new season with fire performances and aerial acrobatics.
Here’s what to know to plan a night that will turn into a nightmare:
About Land of Illusion
The Land of Illusion started with a small haunted trail in the backyard of this wooded property in Middletown. What started out as one small, scary trail run on extension cords has evolved into a 140-acre haunted scream park. It is now the largest haunted theme park of its kind in our area with individually-themed haunted attractions.
In the summer, Land of Illusion operates a waterpark, Aqua Adventures, and during the holidays, a drive-through lights display.
Killer Klowns Haunted Maze: These aren’t the clowns you’ll find at a Ringling Brothers circus, that’s for sure. Get ready to weave yourself through this seemingly never-ending psychedelic maze with black lights and bright, funky neon colors. You’ll come face to face with creepy cackling clowns around every dark corner in this “fun house.” Several blend into the scenery until it is time to get you. At least one is dying to pull your hair out strand by strand. Warning: If you have a fear of clowns or get a little claustrophobic, stay away unless you want eternal nightmares!
Temple of Terror Haunted House: Think “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” in real life, only scarier. In this attraction, you’ll work your way through pitch-black tunnels and come face to face with mummies, skeletons and ghouls no matter where you turn. Your head will spin, the floor will literally come crashing down on you and you will want to escape this temple as quickly as humanly possibly!! There is nowhere to run.
Phobia: This haunt plays on popular fears, whether they be spiders, bugs, or enclosed spaces.
Middletown Haunted Trail: Take a roughly 40-minute walk through the woods and come face to face with chainsaws, blades and more. Beware. Someone — or something — will be waiting for the perfect moment to scare the holy heck out of you. These two chickens opted out. Note, this attraction is open Fridays and Saturdays only.
Dr. Psycho's Haunted Estate: If you like the thought of weaving through a labyrinth full of the mutilated "bodies" of mental patients, laughing "corpses", rats and buckets of blood, this maze is for you. But it was not for us.
NEW: The Historical Mystery Mansion: This mysterious dark ride has decades of history, cobwebs and dust packed into each twist and turn.
NEW: Big Mama’s Revenge: Legend has it that Big Mama has tormented souls for decades. She escaped from Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate and will do her best to trap you in an ever-lasting, dreadful labyrinth.
Some things to know to best enjoy your Land of Illusion experience:
- Face masks are recommended for all guests and employees within 8 feet of guests are required to wear masks. Social distancing signage of 7 feet is required in lines and waiting areas. Timed groups will keep guests spread apart in attractions. Read all COVID-19 policies here.
- Fast Pass will move you to the shorter, faster line. When you add on the purchase of a Fast Pass, you may use it at every haunt. It gives you quicker access to attractions. Totally worth it.
- For the grown-ups, calm your nerves before you enter the haunted attractions with a cocktail at the Voodoo Lounge.
- Hide your terror at all costs. Trust us on this one. The characters feed off your fears and will gravitate toward you and menace you by name if they can figure it out.
- On that note, don't let anyone in your group call you by name.
- Children: yay or nay? There is no official recommendation on appropriate age for this destination, however, keep in mind that Land of Illusion is not for the faint of heart. The park is full of guts, gore and blood. Many events include strobe lights, fog, chainsaws and other loud noises — not to mention creepy creatures creeping up on you from all angles. Parents are advised to use their best judgment as to how well their child would handle the experience.
- Walk behind someone much braver than you at all times. Don't be afraid to grab onto that person and leave claw marks.
Land of Illusion
8762 Thomas Road, Middletown, Ohio.
(513) 423-9960, www.landofillusion.com
Open now through Nov. 2 on every Thursday and Sunday from 7-11 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
$50 – Friday and Saturday night general admission
- $75 – Friday and Saturday general admission plus fast pass
- $40 – weekday pass
- $54 – weekday admission plus fast pass
- $20 - single attraction passes
A Haunt Family of 4 Season Pass is $299, a Haunt General Admission Season Pass is $99 and a Haunt VIP Season Pass is $199.