Immerse yourself in a world where killer clowns, zombies, werewolves and chain saw-wielding masked men are real and lurking in the dark.
I brought my boyfriend with me to review the Haunted Swamp in Twin Falls, Frite Nite Creations Haunted House in Twin Falls and the Burley Straw Maze. I wouldn’t advise entering these haunted places alone. Bring a friend — it’s more fun — and don’t be surprised when the screams you hear are your own.
The Haunted Swamp
We showed up a bit early and chatted with some of the actors gathered around a fire at the Haunted Swamp. I thought this might take away from the scare factor, but I was wrong.
Dress warmly, because this haunted swamp is out in a field. You will pass actual bubbling streams, hear a train whistle in the distance and see smoke rising from factories on the industrial side of town. It all adds to the storyline that a toxic spill has caused the haunted happenings at the swamp. Sturdy shoes are a must as a pair of witches light the way with flashlights for groups of seven to 15 people.
In this swamp you’ll find things that shouldn’t be there, like an elevator to hell and a spinning tunnel. They are all meant to disorient you before you walk into darkened areas and rooms. One room was full of glow-in-the-dark Jason masks hanging from the ceiling. Watch out: Some might be occupied. You might find yourself guessing whether your group is still intact as you witness werewolves attacking a young girl.
The coolest and most terrifying parts of the swamp are the unexpected. Things that seem like mere props may turn and follow you, and for a split second you just might think you are falling 20 feet into a pit. And when the chain saw-wielding man emerges from the bushes, don’t walk — run.
Where it is: The Haunted Swamp is at 646 South Park Ave., Twin Falls. This attraction — the swamp version — replaced Magic Mountain’s Haunted Forest outside of Hansen.
Cost:Children 11 and younger pay $7; people 12 and older pay $10.
Hours: 8 p.m. to midnight Oct. 19-20 and 26-31.
Frite Nite Creations Haunted House
When you first walk in, menacing, glowing words scrawled on windows and doors tell you to turn away. If you enter, be wary of the clown room. Strobe lights may make you notice the clown slowly walking toward you from a darkened corner. But he is only a diversion so you can’t see the other.
If what you can’t see won’t hurt you, then try feeling your way around inside a maze in the dark. As the walls and turns grow tighter and smaller, be prepared for what the light may bring.
My favorite part was the graveyard outside. All looks quiet, but werewolves, zombies and creatures are good at hiding.
As we entered the shed I could hear the hum of an idling chain saw. As soon as we came to the exit, it roared to life — causing me to pick up pace on the slippery straw, pushing my boyfriend out of the way, as I raced through the narrowing bale-lined path.
And though you might find yourself laughing at how scared you just were, be prepared to squeeze your way back into the dark maze again. Each weekend the haunted house morphs as the scares are changed. So come back if you think you’re brave or lucky enough to visit twice.
Where it is:Frite Nite Creations Haunted House started out in James Holt’s driveway 10 years ago, and every year it gets bigger and spookier. For the past two years the haunted house has been at Kimberly Nurseries, 2862 Addison Ave. E. in Twin Falls.
Cost:Admission is $9 for 13 and older; $7 for 12 and younger; and $6 per person in a group of eight or more.
Hours:7-11 p.m. every Friday and Saturday until Halloween, and 7-10 p.m. every Sunday. Open 7-10 p.m. Halloween night.
Burley Straw Maze
Test your skills at the Burley Straw Maze, made with 1,166 straw bales stacked 10 feet high. On Mondays and Wednesdays it is a regular straw maze, perfect for families and young children. But on weekend nights, the turns and corners are filled with ghoulish creatures.
You could bring a flashlight. But what would be the fun in that? For some people it takes only 20 minutes to make it all the way through. It took us almost an hour. Just when we thought we were on our way out, it turned it out we’d gone in a circle.
At first the sounds of a chain saw chased us out the entrance. If you find yourself coming out the same way you came in, you can turn around and try again. We soon found ourselves teamed up with a group of three boys also making their way through the dark. We formed a short bond: five doing whatever it took to get past the clowns, Saw’s Jigsaw and a creepy girl in a nightgown. So try not to panic when you find yourself alone, split from your group, as the creaks of the stilted creature with the maniacal laugh close in on you.
As you make your way to the exit the monsters become more abundant, making it harder to leave.
Where it is:500 S. 845 E., Burley.
Hours and cost:The maze is closed Tuesdays and Thursdays, but does take appointments and is open for groups and parties.
• Hours for the regular straw maze are 5-10 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays through Halloween. It’s $7 for 12 and older; $5 for ages 5-11; and free for children 4 and younger. The regular straw maze is also on the weekends before it gets dark, but once the sun sets the ghouls come out.
• Maze hours are 5 p.m. to midnight Fridays and 3 p.m. to midnight Saturdays, and it’s haunted after dark falls. The haunted maze is $9 for 12 and older; $7 for 5-11; and free for 4 and younger.