The last haunt of our 2022 Michigan haunt tour was Awaken Haunted Attraction in Leslie, MI. Awaken is a unique indoor and outdoor experience with four main attractions! It actually feels like more since all trails lead to and from their OG haunt, Awaken. You start in Awaken which leads into Terror-Phobia, then you're back inside Awaken, then you head outside into The Forgotten pallet maze, which flows into the trail Tenebrous, briefly back into The Forgotten, to then end where you began in OG Awaken. Phew!
Awaken's original house opened in 2016, but the team continued building to become the multi-attraction, indoor/outdoor haunt they are today. Awaken also offers an escape room and just added paintball, Dr. Cyclops Escape Room and Dead On Paint Ball! That's a lot of haunted bang for your buck!
The outside of the building gives no clues as to what lies inside and beyond, but it's a good thing that most of their queue line is located comfortably inside. On a super busy night you may have to wait outside in their covered overflow line for a little bit. There were no actors roaming either the inside or outside queue area, but they had lots of TVs mounted to keep us entertained while we waited inside.
The Awaken experience began pretty immersively with an intro video about Area 56, the secret government facility we were visiting as test subjects… er… guests. After watching the video, we were ushered into a waiting area with a German doctor who scanned us searching for potential mutations in our DNA. The larger group was separated into smaller test groups and each of us had to nervously wait until the doctor received a call allowing our entry.
After that buildup, Area 56 did not disappoint! There was so much going on in this highly detailed alien test facility! It was a barrage to the senses… the sights, the sounds, the SCARES!
Terror-phobia was next, and this was the only 3D black light experience we had in Michigan. There were no rooms in Terror-phobia, it was a twisting and turning series of hallways that was covered floor-to-ceiling with scary clowns and eyeballs. The artwork was skillfully done but a little repetitive.
We then found ourselves back in the original Awaken house, but this portion was very different than the first. We entered into a very cool, VERY CREEPY attic space! The detailing, fx, and animatronics in this room alone were enough to keep us oohing and aahing for awhile, but we continued on our way. Everything in this house seemed to be alive and malevolent from the clothes hanging in the closet to the old appliances in the kitchen.
The Forgotten pallet maze felt a little... forgotten. We could hear the sound of pigs but only encountered one boar-person who did not even attempt to scare us. Due to the lack of actors we encountered, this space felt more like a queue line and less like an additional attraction, but that is probably not the norm.
The pallet maze led to Awaken's outdoor trail, Tenebrous. This trail was supposed to take us through the remnants of an uninhabited town - old buildings, junkyards, graveyards, to name a few scenes - but the best part is there were a few inhabitants left, and these guys were CRAZY! Have you ever seen a horse-cycle? Well, we have and could have bought it for the low, low price of a femur. HAHA! To finish out the haunt, we then ended up back in the building, but this time in an abandoned town then a carnival freak show.
Awaken had a varied cast of characters throughout their attractions. We encountered doctors and scientists, clowns, boar people, and generally crazy people. Our scare actor experiences also ranged. Several were extremely engaging, some were only short interactions, and a few were there only to provide the jump scare, but our favorites were all in Tenebrous!
Costuming, masks, and makeup were all well done, nothing was super elaborate but always appropriate.
Awaken had none other than the Terrifier himself aka Art the Clown, David Howard Thornton, as their celebrity guest the night we visited. He had a table set-up across from Awaken's merch shop and was taking pics and signing autographs. We took a moment to say "hi" especially since he had recently been a guest on our friend's podcast, Pillar of Thriiler.
In addition to regularly having special guests during haunt season, Awaken also hosts off-season events. On Dec. 9th and 10th (2022), Awaken will present their Christmas event, Jingle Hells. Evil elves, Krampus, and a "somewhat adequate Santa"?!!! Sign us up! Also, you can be married by the original Michael Myers! Did you know that Tony Moran is an ordained minister? Well, he is and you can be married by him, in his Michael Myers costume, and in front of Awaken's Myers family's front porch facade!
Go visit Awaken for the Hollywood sets and fx in the haunt, for its side attractions, off-season events, to get an autograph from a horror industry celebrity, or, hey, get married! Awaken has a little something for all horror fans!