Hysteria at Connors Farm the Best Halloween Attraction in Massachusetts (5 stars)
by Johnny Monsarrat
In 2016, Connors Farm is again the best in Massachusetts with their extensive attraction. It's based at a real family farm with three attractions.
Even before you begin, buy hot apple cider or farm products in the general store. They have Bob's BBQ Pit, where you can eat a real dinner, or get some fried dough, popcorn, or cook smores over a charcoal pit fire. During the day, they have apple picking and pumpkin picking, and a daytime corn field maze.
Take a photo in the giant, oversized chair that makes you look tiny. Or ride the mechanical bull. Can you beat my record? It's about 3 seconds!
Everything about Connors Farm is fantastic. Let's start with the main attraction, Hysteria.
Hysteria is a haunted woods walk and corn field walk. The woods are naturally beautiful and spooky in the nighttime. You will never be confused about where to go because the paths are lit well enough to see. And they've gone to great lengths to take all the obstructions out of the paths, so you can't possibly trip in the dark.
Hysteria is a blast. They had a surprisingly large number of actors, with some really good acting, where the monsters will play out a scene for you instead of just shrieking. And the actors are smart enough to not just scare the first people in line. They'll wait if it's bunched up. Also they had great costuming and makeup, even when you got up close to them. It's at least a 25-minute attraction, with a lot of original concepts. Our favorite was the Alice in Wonderland theme, and we spotted a legit grandma as one of the actors. I can only hope that when I'm older I will be cool enough to spook people in a Halloween venue!
You go underground, through a corn maze, and even get onto a school bus, exiting through the back. Kudos to the guy with the supernaturally long arms. We of course loved the "vortex", the spinning room that makes you feel like you're tilting and falling over, but you don't. I was sad that the pagan sacrifice scene was gone from my last attendance, and there was no dramatic "stage play" type scene to replace it, but I suppose they're just trying to keep it fresh every year. They have spooky fog everywhere.
Then try the Zombie Paintball, where you sit on a flatbed truck and get driven through a corn field. The ride was shorter and with fewer zombies than I remembered it in the past, but to be fair it was the last ride of the evening, so I assume there's normally more. The attraction was still great fun and we had what seemed like unlimited paintballs to shoot. Thank you so much to the actors who stood in the cold allowing us to shoot them!
Finally, their daytime corn field maze becomes a Halloween maze at night. It isn't spooky, because there are no actors -- they save that for their other attraction, Hysteria. So it's just a nice nighttime walk around a corn field. Bring a flashlight or buy one at the general store.
It's not a completely perfect experience. You should definitely buy the VIP tickets, but there seemed to be some confusion. I should be able to pay more and get sent to the very front of the line. But the VIP at Hysteria only lets you skip the short initial line, but then you get thrown into a very long line along with the non-VIPs who paid less. Hmm. Also, just as in my last review in 2013, we checked the toilets and they were destroyed by toilet paper in a way that makes me think that staff do not check them hourly as they should. (Is anybody reading my reviews?)
Danvers is far enough from Boston that the stars shine brightly in the night sky. While the Haunted Farm does not have expensive production behind it, with few animatronics, the creativity is fantastic.
Three years ago I gave Hysteria a 5 stars plus ranting, but this year I'll give this attraction a well-deserved, but not quite as good, 5 stars out of 5. They take the edge again for #1 best Halloween attraction in Massachusetts.