Because we enjoyed ourselves last year, my sister and I decided to attend Maris Farms Harvest of Terror in Buckely, WA again for this Halloween season. Needless to say it was a very different experience than the year before. You can read my review from last year here.
You might recall in that previous review I talked about how crowded the event was. Man, forget what I said! That’s nothing compared to arriving late on a Saturday evening! Parking was packed and the lines were ridiculously long. The ticket line stretched down the exit lane for traffic, which made things awkward for cars trying to leave and people waiting to get their tickets. It was enough to make my sister and I spring an extra $15 for the fast pass so we could skip the rest of the lines inside the event. It’s a wonder no one got run over.
One way to avoid this fiasco is to purchase your tickets online. Definitely something to consider if you can’t get there early.
If I come there again I won’t be making the same mistake. My advice? If you plan on going, do your best to go on a Friday or Sunday and get there early. Going early in the season doesn’t hurt either.
After we finally got our tickets, my sister and I decided to go through the monster safari first. Sis was really looking forward to shooting up the zombies again this year. However it was dark out and crowded, so we got ourselves pretty turned around and walked toward an unhaunted corn maze before we managed to correct our path. They either need to set up some larger, more legible signs or perhaps create a map.
The monster safari, where attendees get to shoot at zombies with paintballs, has been expanded from last year, and I must say that the sets look better as well. Walk towards the safari and you’ll hear a mock emergency broadcast warning you about the zombie apocalypse. The main line had a screen playing scenes from the Dawn of the Dead remake. My favorite set while on the safari was the church/graveyard scene where an undead couple was getting married.
Many people complained that they ran out of paintballs halfway through the safari. This wasn’t a problem for me because Sis and I had both sprung $5 for extra and I conserved my ammo throughout. I even had some left over! If you plan on going through the safari definitely consider taking one of these two strategies.
We also stopped at one of the concession stands to get some water, but it took forever because there was only ONE person working at that particular stand. I felt somewhat sorry for that woman cooking, cleaning, and taking payments all by herself. While the ticket lines and the haunt itself are adequately staffed, they could really work on making sure all aspects of their event are covered to ensure a better experience.
After that we went through the haunted maze, skipping the line that was wrapping around the building. I enjoyed our walk through, even though we kept running into other people. This brought down the scare factor for me, but is was still entertaining to see people turn into total chickens.
Many of their set were rather impressive too. There were several times that I blurted out a ‘whoa!’ at some the effects they pulled off. A toxic waste dump that glowed a bright green was our personal favorite.
Being an outdoor attraction, they’re not as technically proficient as Kitsap County Haunted Fairgrounds, but theirs is much longer to walk through and their creativity shows.
Overall my sister and I enjoyed our time at Maris Farms, but the event could be improved with better crowd management and clearer directions. The popularity of this event is clearly rising, so those who dislike crowds should arrive as early as possible, go on off-peak days and consider buying their tickets online and/or paying for the express pass.