Editor’s note: Throughout October, Josh Shaffer is reviewing some of the Triangle’s haunted attractions. This is the third: Clayton Fear Farm.
I could stand the crazy carnival music, shrug off the shrieks coming from the cornfield and endure blackness darker than a goat’s insides, but I knew Fear Farm involved a new level of horror when a worker there sized me up and warned, “Hold onto your glasses.”
Next thing I knew, I was crawling on all fours through a pipe, squeezing hunched over through some sort of tunnel and dropping down what felt like a 20-foot tube into hell’s basement.
At one point, navigating the Slaughter House with fists clenched, I ran smack into a lumbering creature that looked like Frankenstein’s ugly brother but turned out to be my own reflection in a haunted house mirror.
No one in my family would join me at Fear Farm, which I consider the Triangle’s scariest attraction, so I got paired with two high school girls. We quickly got separated in the dark, and when I finally staggered into the light, they exhaled in relief.
“We thought they took you,” they said.
Regular readers of this column may recall I braved Fear Farm seven years ago, describing “chainsaws close enough to smell the gasoline.” It has only grown scarier as I have aged, and any detail described here falls far short of what’s waiting to jump out in the Clayton moonlight.
In the Triangle’s marketplace of britches-soiling terror, competition runs stiffer than a corpse’s leg. From what I’ve seen, nobody puts on a bad show. But to me, Fear Farm remains the baddest ax murderer in the police lineup.
The scare score
Fear Farm rates 4.5 hockey masks out of 5, the highest so far. Having survived other haunted attractions, I’ve developed a tolerance for creatures that scream in your ear. I’ve seen enough clowns to fill a haunted Humvee. Fear Farm still left me shaken. I think the difference is that many of the haunts are made out of actual agricultural buildings. It feels rickety and authentic.
The vexation value
A $27 ticket buys a trip through all seven attractions – more expensive than most haunts in the Triangle but not the priciest. That ticket buys a dark walk, a slaughterhouse tour, numerous other Halloween houses plus a 20-minute hayride. Fear Farm gets added props for having a 40-foot wagon, which seats dozens and keeps the long lines moving.
Too creepy for kids?
Absolutely. Fear Farm recommends ages 12 and up. But any 12-year-old better come equipped with a steel spine and a change of pants.
For all near-sighted, bespectacled dads, a glasses strap is recommended.
Clayton Fear Farm
Location: Fear Farm is at 1620 Loop Road in Clayton, not far from U.S. 70.
Cost: An all-inclusive ticket costs $27 and single ride tickets go for $13. Group rates can apply.
Hours: Opens at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays until Oct. 29, then both Oct. 30 and Halloween. Closing times vary. See www.claytonfearfarm.com.
Josh’s tips: Crowds are thinner on Sundays. Arrive early and take the hayride first. Don’t wear anything that might be easily dropped or caught on stray objects.