Category: Oni’s Favorite Things

2015, Attractions, Daily Real Talk, Halloween, Haunted Attractions, Oni's Favorite Things, Real Talk

DAILY REAL TALK: The no BS / no lies list of the Top Haunted Attractions on the east coast

You might have figured out that I go to a lot of haunted houses. 4000 miles of them every year to be exact.

I was tired of the BS online where scare actors from this haunt or that haunt would post fake reviews in order to sway customers incorrectly to their event.

I am the equalizer. I cannot be bought because my money comes from outside of this industry. I will not review someone who tries to bully me into lying to you.

Here is my early 2015 list of what haunted attractions I feel are a cut above the rest. These are the places that I recommend to friends when I want to be sure they will have a foolproof great night out.

The front of House in the Hollow, Bucks County, PA
The front of House in the Hollow, Bucks County, PA

NOTE: These are listed in no particular order. I can’t choose a favorite or rate one over another. They all bring it. Being on this list is like winning the Olympics of haunted attractions. Also I haven’t yet gone to all of these this year yet because even though I helm (Re)Generation Who, I do not own a TARDIS. Shows can change year to year.

1. Field of Screams – Lancaster, PA: FoS always delivers a brutal, high energy evening of 2 haunted houses, 1 hay ride, and 1 outdoor walkthrough. The midway (which is free to enter) is full of food and entertainment and second to none.

2. Pennhurst Haunted Asylum – Spring City, PA: Pennhurst has a modest start in 2010 but has grown to be one of the most brutal haunted attractions in the world. They always deliver. Hard.

3. Hotel of Horror / Altered Nightmares – Saylorsburg, PA: These guys are ART. Brutal, deranged art. When you go through this one you’ll notice something different than everyone else and that includes scareactors who are given the freedom to create complex backstories to their characters. You won’t find Boring Chainsaw Man #6 here. That guy will have a name and unique elements about him. These guys are always on point. The also have a museum of macabre historical mortuary equipment on site.

4. Reaper’s Revenge – Scranton, PA: We are currently working on this review right now, but we were absolutely blown away by them. They have literally the best hayride I have ever seen. Each attraction is staged elegantly and the actors are beyond fabulous. Never before has a single haunt been a contender for BOTH our Brutality AND Innovation Award at the same time. WOW. I did not expect that. This is the kind of haunted attraction that someone in my line of work hopes to find but rarely does.

5. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride – Glen Mills, PA: Bates Motel practically defined the standard that the bar is set at in haunts. Each attraction is tight. From the staging, to the scares, to the funny elements in each where they, mess with you. And yes, they can touch you. You’ll experience a haunted hayride, a corn maze, and the Bates Motel itself.

6. Halls of Horror – Palmerton, PA: Halls of Horror has the kind of brash IDGAF that I appreciate. Don’t go here if you are sensitive and don’t bring kids. They are on the batshit crazy side and they don’t care who they offend. And THAT is why I love them so much. This year we will try Blood Experience where we will literally get covered in blood as we go through.

7. Busch Gardens Williamsburg Howl-O-Scream – Williamsburg, VA and Tampa, FL: Busch Gardens Williamsburg is more on the “something for the whole family” side, but that’s not a bad thing. This year they jacked up the intensity of their event with 3 new haunted houses that are aimed at haunt fans like myself. We were impressed. The review is currently being written. The best part is that you can bring the non-haunt fan of your family and they will be perfectly happy taking the shows and immersive dining experiences external from the haunted house. Everyone wins. The Tampa location is normally more intense and aimed at teen+. We always enjoy it.

8. House in the Hollow – Bucks County, PA: These guys did somethign no one else did. They build a high tech haunted house that changes it’s path per night and integrates you into it. I have never in my life been so impressed with the craftsmanship of an attraction like I was here. Anything from flying ghost effects to moving passages – I can only compare it to a more scary Disney’s Haunted Mansion, which is was clearly inspired by. (Aren’t we all?)

9. Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA: A haunted house inside a historical prison. If that weren’t enough, it’s near a ton of great restaurants and you can tour the prison during the day. Always solid.

It looks like Pennsylvania is leading the pack. It must be something in the water. Read my full Haunted Attraction Review page for more reviews of haunts on the east coast. If I haven’t reviewed yours and you feel you deserve to be listed with these big dogs you can invite me to review your attraction by sending me an email from the top nav bar. You’ll get an honest and fair review that helps you and the fans from me, an acclaimed Marketing VP who runs her own events and knows her shit.

General, Oni's Favorite Things, Oni's Life, Rants, Style

Marriage tips on my 10 year anniversary

Today I have been married to Harknell for 10 years.

Here are the best tips for marriage that I can think of in my personal opinion:

1. Don’t get married for the wrong reasons and settle for a jackass.

There are a lot of bad reasons that people get married. Concerns over being too old, concerns no one better is out there, or simply idiot rutting in a night club. These situations ultimately lead to relationships that aren’t sustainable.

You have to be on the same page for what you want in life and be ready to fight for whatever that is together. Your spouse should be just as good of a best friend as a spouse. When I am working long hours he’s doing our laundry and making dinner. When he’s working, I make dinner.

(I don’t do laundry. I ruin laundry. Trust me. I’m not allowed to do laundry anymore.)

Harknell and I each have the exact same priority – to help each other become better and to make art and events that help people. We also really like theme parks.

2. Looks aren’t everything.

Let’s be honest, guys. Everyone farts. Everyone gets sick. If you can’t bear to look at your spouse when they aren’t wearing $700 jeans or in a full face of makeup or whatever then that’s really the opposite of my reality.

3. Realize that you can’t change anything so you’d better love it.

One of the things we used to argue about was organization. I am very neat, Harknell manages his work with piles of paper from hell in boxes that I hate. After a certain point I didn’t get mad about it and it actually became something that made me laugh. It’s one of the reasons that I tell him that he, “…is a shit.”

Which he’s now adopted this phrase for me because I leave my shoes all over one area of the hallway.

Next thing we know we somehow turned the word “shit” into a term of endearment.

I realized that this was him. It wasn’t changing. Here, have your own area for your box piles and just keep it away from mine. These kinds of “annoying quirks” that I see some people focusing on in their relationships actually became bits of us that we use as an excuse to act like 5 year olds. Which brings me to my next point:

4. Argue well.

Harknell: “Move your shoes from the hallway.”

Me: “That wasn’t me, that was you.”

Harknell: “No, it’s you!”

Me: “No, you!”

Harknell: “No, you!”

Me: “No, you!”

Harknell: “No, you!”

*LOLZ*

We never argue because the way that we argue is so stupid that neither of us can take it seriously. It’s really hard to get mad when someone says in a funny voice, “You is a shit!”. In fact, usually laughter is the first reaction. Zero times would either of us do something mean to the other person unless you count passing loud gas in the middle of a conversation.

You basically have to love not just the good parts but the stupid parts.

Marriage isn’t about the good times. It’s about loving stupid shit.

2013, Maryland, Oni's Favorite Things, Oni's Life, Technology

Intervention 2013: Registration rate increases June 30 at midnight – book now!


I really hope you can come to my convention this year! Intervention (a combination of the words “Internet + Convention”) is the best educational conference for DIY creators PLUS a fun gaming con. We have people who actually do cool stuff teaching you how to do it and selling their wares. Harknell and I created the event in 2010, and this will be our fourth year running the event.

If you want to learn how to DIY with technology there is no better place. If you don’t create and just want to just see the brightest and best creatives and Thought Leaders there is also no better place to meet them and purchase their stuff!

We are “The Premier Showcase of Online Creativity”.

We also have one of the best Video Gaming rooms I have ever seen. Thanks to Wes Mason and his team we have everything from a Commodore 64 hooked up to a flat panel to the most recent gaming systems. We have just added an Ouya to the room this year.

We also have board gaming programming and tournaments!

You have just until June 30th at midnight to get the lowest price for tickets to the event so it’s in your best interest to act now. Not only do you save money but your registrations and donations help us make this happen!

2012, Oni's Favorite Things, Oni's Life

Oni’s Favorite Things – The Thanksgiving Turkey is somewhere over the rainbow edition

Oprah has a “favorite things” column, so if you want to buy a $3000 marble dachshund statue with a fireplace lighter in it’s butt she’s got you covered. I’m going to try and post a “favorite things” feature here that’s a little more realistic. All of these things I’ve actually purchased for myself or hope to purchase. If any are sponsor products that were gifted to me, I’ll let you know. Please note that I will only list things I legitimately like and would buy for myself.

1. Disney Sephora Collection Cinderella Compact Mirror – @20.00 @ Sephora.com and in stores.

This mirror is heavy, high quality, and gorgeous. It appears to be steampunk-inspired and doesn’t scream “DISNEY!!!”, so it’s perfect in my opinion even for those who aren’t raging Disney fans. It looks like an old-fashioned clock and opens to reveal 2 mirrors – a regular mirror and a magnification mirror. I bought 2. Unfortunately for you, it appears to be sold out online. There are still some in stores – just none in the Menlo Park Mall in NJ because I bought the last 2. :)

2. Ugg Gillespie Tall boots – $350 @ Ugg.com, Nordstrom, and The Walking Company

Cheap shoes are right out for me after multiple surgeries on my feet that leave me enduring chronic pain on a daily basis. My struggle is that there are only a few brands I can wear, and Ugg happens to be one of them. I wouldn’t be caught dead in the moon boots they make, but their more stylish line is one of my favorites. I really want these, but will have to save up! I already own the Jillians and love them.

3. Betsey Johnson Snowflake Earrings $25.00 @ Macy’s

I am an asshole when it comes to wearing earrings. That means that I don’t wear them but should because I have pierced ears. I can’t find a listing for these online, but I saw them in Macy’s the other day and will probably go back to get them.

4. Disney’s Haunted Mansion Hitchhiking Ghosts figurine – $104.25 @ Amazon.com

This one I won’t be buying because of the inflated price, but I still love it. I wish that Disney would make more high quality / not cartoony Haunted Mansion merchandise. When they do make it, it seems to be so limited that it’s almost impossible to get!

5. Disney’s Brave Marker Set – $14.50 @ The Disney Store (I found mine in the mall for only $10.00)

Why is a full grown woman excited about a marker set? I’m donating the markers to the Children’s Programming at Intervention in Maryland and keeping the case to hold my Copic Markers which is my favorite art supply. This case is 1/4th the cost of a marker case from the art store and…IT’S A BEAR!