Michael Waterloo, FlipSidePA.com and Lebanon Daily News community content editor, goes behind the scenes at Field of Screams. Watch his transformation. Jeremy Long, FlipSidePA.com
Name a phobia – any phobia – and chances are you’ll encounter it at Halloween Park in York Haven.
Clowns, spiders, rats, zombies, ghosts, the dark, blood, needles, extremely tight spaces, getting lost and even being buried alive – you’ll experience it all.
And it all starts at Creekside Manor, Halloween Park’s main attraction, which has been newly renovated this season to include even more of your darkest fears, owner Stacey Eckenrode said.
Inside the building, which was once an old feed mill, you’ll find four floors of scares.
As the story goes, Creekside Manor is an old lab, where Dr. Stampfl used to conduct his experiments, according to Halloween Park’s website. His goal was to help his patients overcome their greatest fears by facing them in controlled environments. But the experiments became so extreme that his patients were often locked in solitary chambers with their worst nightmares for weeks.
Eventually, investigators found the abandoned lab and the remains of Dr. Stampfl’s patients who lived their last moments in horror. But to this day, it’s said that the spirits still haunt the house, trapped in their terrifying chambers.
When I first stepped inside, I was told the spirits in the house were awake, which was not hard to figure out with the screams and banging on the walls I could hear coming from the other side of the door.
But, against my better judgment, I went in.
I found that Creekside Manor isn’t your typical haunted house. Sure, it’s dark and eerie, and there are plenty of scares jumping out at you along the way.
But it’s actually more like an interactive show, and you become a part of the story.
As you go through the approximately 25-minute experience, you meet many different characters who all want you to experience their greatest fear in their chamber.
Without spoiling too many of the surprises, I’ll tell you that I was strapped into an electric chair simulator, played Jack-in-the-Box with a clown and survived the most terrifying game of peekaboo I’ve ever played, before becoming one of Dr. Stampfl’s patients at the very end.
But if you’re not scared of things like clowns and rats and needles, the experience can actually be pretty comical and fun to play along.
Halloween Park is also home to four other attractions: The Catacombs, Terror Behind the Doors, The Seven Gates and Insanity Island.
If you only have time for a few, put The Catacombs and Terror Behind the Doors at the top of your list.
In The Catacombs, which has doubled in size this year, you’ll walk through an abandoned mineshaft, encountering insane miners along the way, before you reach The Catacombs – a simulator where you’ll face your fear of being buried alive.
If you’re claustrophobic, you might want to skip this part of the attraction. But if you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll cram inside a closed coffin with your friends and spend the next three minutes in the dark, clinging to one another and awaiting your fate.
Don’t worry. Someone will eventually let you out.
At Terror Behind the Doors, you’ll get a similar thrill. But instead of getting stuck inside a dark coffin, you’ll get lost inside a pitch-black maze.
You’ll start in a room with eight identical doors. Only one of the doors will lead you out to safety. The other seven will lead you through a winding maze that will eventually bring you back where you started.
Find the right door quickly, and you could get out in five minutes. But if you get turned around, which is easy to do in a pitch-black maze where you’re bumping into the same people and everything looks the same, you could be stuck inside for half an hour.
And did I mention there are zombies running through the maze and taunting you at every turn? So, try to get out fast!
Looking for a less intense option? Try The Seven Gates or Insanity Island. Both are outdoor haunted trails, where you’ll see ghosts, cemeteries and escaped patients from Creekside Manor in the woods. But you won’t have to worry about anyone jumping out at you or having nightmares when you get home.
If you go
What: Halloween Park
When: Open 6:30 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 6:30-11 p.m. Sundays in October
Where: 100 Hykes Mill Road, York Haven
Cost: $33 for all six attractions
More info: Visit halloweenpark.com or call 717-324-7524.