It was the second night of our 2023 North Carolina haunt tour, and the night was crisp and clear. The first haunt on our list for the night was Hollerin Haunts Hayride in Clinton, NC, and the vibe out there was DOPE!!!
First, we entered into their midway area which had a very young and fresh feel to it, almost like an outdoor lounge. A cool mix of pop, country, and dance music was being pumped through the speakers and a variety of actors were roaming the open grounds - tall creatures, all kinds of clowns, and none other than Freddy Krueger himself. But this Freddy wasn’t anything like the Freddy of our nightmares, this Freddy was the most dancin-est Freddy we’ve ever seen … out there getting it! Go Freddy, go Freddy… sooo much fun!
Hollerin Haunts Hayride features 3 separate attractions - The Darkness, NC Zombie Hunt paintball, and their main attraction and namesake, the Hayride. In addition to the 3 main attractions, their midway features tons of games and activities to keep you vibing all night long! There’s a stage for live performances, putting green and basketball shootaway games, concessions with all your fall carnival faves, plus a couple side activities including the newly added Last Ride which is a simulated coffin ride in the back of a hearse and two 5-minute escape rooms.
We decided to do the hayride first, but you can experience the attractions in any order you choose. From the moment we got on, we realized this was a hayride unlike any we’ve ever been on! We were seated on the actual bales of hay, which we LOVE!… you’d be surprised how many “hay”rides don’t actually utilize hay… but here’s what made it so different - there were no protective guard rails on the cart, and we were seated facing OUTWARD! Instead of the usual two rows of people facing inward towards a center aisle or everyone just piled in with no aisle, the two rows sat back-to-back! And since there were no guard rails, there was absolutely nothing separating us from the environments or the characters! We felt so exposed and vulnerable, and the actors definitely take advantage of this!
The tractor took us through multiple sets covering a range of themes - slaughterhouse, vampire castle, asylum, clowns, spiders, haunted house, Camp Crystal Lake, toxic dump. No cohesive theme connects the sets, but Hollering Haunts Hayride most certainly has all your creepy, traditional Halloween subjects covered!
These facades and building interiors were incredibly detailed! The castle was probably our favorite! But despite the incredible set eye-candy, the focus on this ride is definitely the actors! The number of actors ranged per set but they would divide and conquer as each worked their way around the wagon, giving every rider some personal attention. Sometimes the number of actors wasn’t enough to keep us entertained, so the stops felt a little too long.
The costuming always matched the theme, and there was a mix of masks and makeup but nothing over-the-top.
The trail between buildings was lined with corn stalks so tall and so close that they brushed against our knees as we bumped along, and they filled these in-between spaces with some gigantic-scale prop scares and interesting lighting along the way. Sometimes the actors would follow us down the trail away from their scene too!
We exited the hayride and were directed to another new addition, an optional haunted trail. With original characters like Carnie Carnivore and recognizable ones too, this trail was a chainsaw filled mix of indoor and outdoor spaces. It was a great way to travel back to the midway area for more scares! We’re looking forward to them continuing to build out this trail to maybe be its own separate attraction and level up the scares on it!
Next up, was The Darkness, and it delivers exactly what you’d expect from the name. The Darkness is a pitch black maze that forces you to feel your way along super tight passageways, while ducking, squeezing, and shimmying through. Flashcrackers and loud speakers were strategically placed to really throw you off guard!
Of course, because we are about that haunt hopping life, we didn’t hang out to do the paintball, but you definitely should! We noticed that, just like the hayride, Hollerin Haunts took a familiar concept and kicked it up a notch! The zombie-hunting paintball vehicle is a double decker! Talk about having the high ground advantage! The vehicle is equipped with a whopping 36 paintball guns and lit with black lights, so it glows in the night.
Hollerin Haunts Hayride was the only hayride we did on our 2023 North Carolina haunt tour and what a great experience it was! Hollerin Haunts Hayride is a much newer attraction than the others in NC, but there is great vision out there, so we cannot wait to see this haunt continue to grow! Hollerin Haunts Hayride will definitely have you hollerin’, so bring the whole family and make it a full night of Halloween fun by experiencing everything HHHR has to offer! It may even take you two trips to do it!