WORTH THE DRIVE: Haunted ‘Town’ offering disturbing, next-level scares



A few years ago, Matt Hayden and his partner, who made horror props, leased the grounds of the Old West Festival, the annual Williamsburg fall festival that commemorated saloons and showdowns at high noon.

At first, Terror Town was an event within an event, an adult haunted trail cordoned off from the more kiddie-friendly Old West Festival.

“There were a lot of logistical difficulties in doing those types of haunts side by side,” Hayden said. “We saw how cool the storefronts are and thought about how we’d love to invite the Halloween spirit through the entire town. The (owner of the Old West Festival) was a one-man show and his kids were getting older. I think he preferred to spend more time with his children.”

Hence, Terror Town, located in Williamsburg, approximately 35 minutes east of Cincinnati in Clermont County. Here’s what to expect.



The Attractions

The Terror Town theme this year is a religious cult that wants to convert everyone in town and beyond to their “faith,” They will do this by any means necessary, through threats, force, and sometimes even the scientific method.

The Trail: The trail begins at a desecrated church, where the cult murdered and cursed the local priest. From there, you will proceed on a 30-minute walk through a field infested by the surviving zombies of the conversion and just the usual cannibals that you find outside any 19th-century American town.

“The trail tells a story,” Hayden said. “You’ll come to an asylum where scientists tried to convert people by lobotomizing them. And you’ll meet the cannibals, who are eating much better than usual since the cult came along.”

The Town: The fully functioning town of Bravado has three restaurants and two saloons. The former features live music, karaoke, and everything from hot dogs to rattlesnake chili and bison BLTs. The latter features alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

A large outdoor movie theater plays classic horror movies all night. There are 25 shops selling everything from Halloween accessories to occult trinkets to Native American artifacts to chocolate to health and beauty products.

Games include axe throwing, cornhole, horseshoes, pool, giant Jenga, darts, giant Connect Four, and the zombie brain smash.

Most importantly, the street is filled with all kinds of creatures that perform skits and interact with the guests. One of the most prominent is Zozo the Demon Clown of Ouija Board.

“Sometimes he’s jokey, sometimes he’s scary,” Hayden said. “One recent joke is that a DJ took his song request, but then just stood there because he doesn’t speak.”

The Town also has a witch hanging every night.

“She’s marched through the town to her execution,” Hayden said. “It’s very realistic. I was really disturbed the first time I saw it. Actually, I was disturbed the first half dozen times I saw it.”



Why Go?

“We think of ourselves as a haunted festival, not just a house, because we have the whole town to use,” Hayden said. “We really want you to spend the night with us. We work with professional actors, who work at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Every year, we work to find a natural escalation from the previous year. We take feedback from visitors and adjust. If they want more jump scares, we’ll do it. We’ll probably build at least two scenes while the season is going. We’ve already had to get rid of our Headless Horseman. The horse was easily spooked and bumped into a few of the guests.”

Scare Level

The Terror town scare level is intense and not recommended for anyone under 16 years of age. In fact, those who want an even more intense experience can purchase a red bracelet. That licenses the actors to involve you in scenes.

“They won’t touch you, but they’ll corner you, take you into an unmarked grave and tell you to get in it, or lock you inside a room for a few minutes,” Hayden said.



Best Time to Go?

According to Hayden, Friday nights are slower than Saturday nights, probably due to the time it takes most visitors to get to Williamsburg. Terror Town partners with three hotels and one bed and breakfast for those who don’t wish to make the long drive home late at night.

“It’s probably a 30-minute drive at the least for most people,” Hayden said. “Some people drive hours. So, I’m guessing on a Friday night, by the time you get home from work and get ready to leave, you won’t get here in time to enjoy most of the town. On Saturday nights, it’s a 2-3 hour wait for the trail.”

However, when you arrive, you can register for the queue and get a text when the wait is down to 30 minutes.

“In the meantime, you can have a meal, watch a movie, and play giant Jenga,” Hayden said.

Promotions and Deals

If you have access to REACH Magazine, Hayden said you can find all sorts of coupons, including buy 1, get 1 free, and discounts for military service members. There’s also a $5 discount if you get a weekend pass and a $20 discount for parties of 10 people or more.



COVID Restrictions:

Masks are required by guests and staff at all times inside the park. There is limited capacity in stores and saloons. Hand-sanitizing stations are available throughout, and high-touch areas will be cleaned regularly.

There are signage and markings for social distancing. Every group will pick one person to register on entering the park. Chairs in large common areas will be socially distanced.

A compliance officer and a team of staffers will be observing the crowd, issuing warnings when necessary, and responding to guests who display symptoms.

How to Go

What: Terror Town

Where: 1499 Greenbush Cobb Road, Williamsburg (located approximately 25 miles east of Cincinnati)

When: Through Nov. 14, 7 a.m.-2 a.m., Fridays-Saturdays

Cost: $25 (one night), $35 (ultimate horror), $45 (weekend pass)

More Info: 513-304-0444 or www.allhallowsevellc.com

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