Deep into the woods of Boone Hall Plantation, a night of terror awaits those who dare to enter. Boone Hall Fright Nights returns Sept. 24 with new twists on familiar attractions that might cause the bravest guests to shrill.
“Some people scare easier than others, but everybody gets entertained,” said Ryan Neal, the event director for this popular fright fest.
Guests will spend the evening navigating their way through three main attractions, including a sinister hayride, haunted lodge and ominous circus. There is nowhere to escape the fear once guests enter the gates as creeping villains lurk in the shadows waiting for the perfect scare.
The hayride might appear to be the attraction most suitable for the weakest guests. A comfortable nighttime ride on a tram full of eager onlookers seems like a safe bet. However, the Sinister Cinema Haunted Hayride provides no relief from the terror of the night. The two-mile long trail – a notable extension compared to last year’s hayride – weaves through abandoned movie sets that are more action-packed than the films themselves. The advanced technology throughout the attraction provides a multi-sensory experience for the guests: touch, sight, smell and the overwhelming sense of fear.
“We never get a tram where people aren’t coming off laughing, screaming, crying,” said Neal.
The Lodge at Willow Ridge was once a place of respite among nature. However, those who enter will need a place to recover after discovering what haunts the halls. The long-forgotten hunting lodge allowed creepy creatures of nature to take over and become one with the lodge. The walls of the lodge have come to life and leave guests questioning if what they saw was true or imagined.
“You never know exactly what you're going to run into inside of there, especially since it's been abandoned for so long,” said Neal.
Entering a dark circus run by tormented Freaks seeking vengeance is not for the faint of heart. The most technologically-advanced attraction at Fright Nights features impressive sound design and laser lights, but these chaotic distractions only make the guests more vulnerable to a scare attack.
While the attractions have been taken up a notch this year, Neal and his team made an effort to improve the overall experience.
“It’s the quality that Fright Nights is known for, but more of it,” added Jim Westerhold, the general manager of Boone Hall.
There are more food vendors, including typical fair food like kettle corn, cotton candy, burgers, topped fries, funnel cakes and freshly squeezed lemonade. Guests can listen to live music while enjoying their food and drinks. Additionally, there are more hayride trams to keep the lines moving, and there’s no lack of entertainment for those waiting in line as live actors will continue to scare guests.
“We're doing everything on the back end to give people a great experience,” Neal said.
It takes a skilled team to bring South Carolina’s largest multi-attraction haunted event to life. From carpenters, painters and artists to electronics technicians, lighting and sound designers and landscapers, there is a diverse skillset required to pull off the event. “It’s such a tremendous effort and everyone has bought into it,” said Neal.
Tickets are sold online only at boonehallfrightnights.com. General admission tickets are $35 and include entrance to all three attractions; the $60 VIP ticket gives access to expedited lines that reduce wait times. There are no individual attraction tickets. Boone Hall Fright Nights is open every weekend from Sept. 24 to Oct. 30. Visit the website to see specific dates; it’s recommended to purchase tickets in advance because it’s expected to sell out.