Review: Harvest of Horror at Chamingfare Farm, Candia NH (3.5 stars for adults, 4.5 for children)
Last year, the team from Events INSIDER went on a 10-day Halloween blitz! In October 2013, I visited 28 attractions to bring you reviews and information on everything Halloween in New England. We went indoors and outdoors as far north as New Hampshire, as far south as Rhode Island, and as far west as Connecticut. Don’t forget to visit http://EventsINSIDER.com, where we list more creative October events than anyplace else!
Harvest of Horror at Chamingfare Farm takes place on a farm that’s open to the public during the day, intended for little kids. There you can pet animals and go on a hay ride. Unfortunately, we arrived too late to experience this daytime fun, but returned for “Harvest of Horror” in the evening.
The first attraction was a haunted hay ride, pulled by two draft horses. It was serene and incredibly beautiful to experience the woods at night like this. As we rode, we passed outdoor displays, some with one or two actors. Our guide AJ told us that they have tried adding more actors, but they tend to spook the horses. (It’s unclear to me how the horses could see so far behind them, and I think having more actors could possibly work, though.)
In the past, Charmingfare Farm has tried an adult attraction, but is now playing to its strength with children. So the ride avoided blood and gore, and was only somewhat scary. However, this is not a pure children’s event that will bore adults with bright lights and puppets. In fact, I thought it leaned a bit to the adult side, with occasional corpses, actors who didn’t hold back from jumping out of the dark, and a bloody axe. I was surprised (pleasantly surprised!) that none of the tiny kids, some as young as 3 or 4 years old, freaked out.
We then were led to the “haunted bog”, another ride where a tractor pulled us in little carts filled with hay. This was also a real treat, again with a few actors, but mostly displays of limited production quality. We ended up at a barn filled with hay bales creating a short maze with actors inside to scare us.
To this point, Harvest of Horrors seemed like a solid attraction that was just not edgy enough for me, but that wasn’t a failing: it was designed for smaller children. However, we then arrived at the cornfield maze and that was a blast. We were genuinely startled several times and walking under the night sky through a corn field is delightful. Tiki torches and a campfire led the way, which I suppose were safe enough. (If the field caught fire, we’d just trample the corn field to escape, exiting in any direction. No problem.) Apparently there was a bigger bonfire at the farm, but I think we missed it.
Finally, we discovered that a barn with animals to pet was indeed still open! We got to pet goats, a cow, a rabbit, and saw some llamas at a distance. Pretty great.
Having given Canobie Lake Park a high rating for their amusement rides, even though their spooky attractions lacked style, it would be mean for me to mark down Charmingfare Farm. It seems to be an ideal place to bring small children who can handle a real scare (not as lame as those “not so spooky” destinations where literally nothing scary happens and adults are bored). The night air and the trip couldn’t have been more beautiful, and we even got to pet some animals. We were able to spend plenty of time there, too. That being said, I couldn’t give it the highest marks with its current level of acting, staging, and costuming. For brave small children, call it a 4.5. For adults, call it a 3.5 for its beauty.
This review was from Events INSIDER’s 2013 10-day Halloween blitz, where we visited 28 attractions across New England. Visit http://EventsINSIDER.com, where you’ll find more fun Halloween and October events than anywhere else!