The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab is a priceless gem among haunted attractions. We believe that it is the currently longest continuously running haunted attraction in the US, marking it’s 40th season this year. When we visited it last year we were so struck by it that we gave it our “National Treasure” award.
The Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab has stood the test of time so far, and we hope it continues for a very long time into the future. All of the best things about it, it’s “old school” style married to “in your face” scares still makes it a haunt that can’t be missed.
While there wasn’t a huge amount of changes this year from last year (I’ll explain that in a second), we felt like they had managed to tighten up a really great experience into an even more brutal and great time.
There are 2 separate buildings with 2 different focuses (the Schoolhouse and the Lab),and both take up the insides of real former Schoolhouse and Lab. This lends and authenticity that only Eastern State Penitentiary and other haunts of this sort can provide. As you can imagine the schoolhouse goes though every area of a high school you’d expect (and some you wouldn’t), while the Lab has every type of evil experiment, aliens, and any and all kinds of scientific based scares. The top of the Lab, where you peer down into a 5 story exploded area is just unbelievable. Also, the Tesla coil is terrifying in it’s enormous lightning display.
There was also some treats on sale between the buildings :)
One of the most fun things for us was the ability to go behind the scenes this year and see something attendees never get to see: The backstage area. Not only have they created a spectacular haunt, but the crafting of their actor passages and corridors is incredible. Inside the haunt you never notice these bridges and other sections, but we were able to look down upon whole scenes and watch the actors work together in perfect harmony. We were even invited to be inside some of the sets to look at them close up–and were even inside with one scare actor who did the “van attack” scene while they were doing their act. Watching people jump and scream “Oh Hell No!” was phenomenal.
David, Amy, Cindy, Fred, and the rest of the crew were wonderful to speak to and gave us a huge amount of insight into the history and running of this haunt. We want to thank them all for their time.
We do have some very sad news to report though. Don, the original creator and co-owner of the haunt, passed away earlier this year. We were very fortunate to speak to Don last year when we visited, and he had a depth of knowledge that is unsurpassed in this industry. David, our guide this year (and Don’s son-in-law) told us that Don was able to create whole scenes with just a pencil and paper, that would translate perfectly into reality with no changes needed. Don could visualize and live the haunted experience in a way few could. His loss is a huge blow to the industry, and of course his family. The whole team at this haunt though operate as one family, so they all came together to make sure that the haunt continued this year, and in our opinion, were able to maintain and even increase the quality (an effort we can’t even begin to imagine and in a timeframe unbelievably short).
This is a bit of a spoiler, but expect us to have a special award coming this year-a first of a new series to honor industry giants.