Greetings fellow intrepid travelers,
Thanks for joining me again this week. By the time this post comes out we'll be mere days away from the spookiest time of the year.
Yes, Halloween. The perfect time of the year for scary movies, haunted houses and of course boatloads of candy.
I had never been to a Haunted House before so when I say I had no idea what to expect when signing up for the Texas Terror Trail, I mean it literally.
But I've always wanted to visit one, so when I heard about this popular Halloween time attraction here in El Paso, I was excited to give it a try.
The Terror Trail itself is set up in a field usually reserved for paintball. It covers a lot of ground so the people setting it up have a lot of room to work with. They take full advantage of that fact to create a sprawling haunted house with multiple rooms and a ton of hired hands hidden throughout to provide jump scares for participants.
Technically speaking, the trail is located in Canutillo, so it was a bit of a drive to get out to it.
My brother and his girlfriend were going to meet me out there. But they ended up running late, meaning I got to the parking lot ahead of them and had to wait alone in the dark for them to show up. It sounds scarier than it was, I was in my car with the doors locked. (Better safe than sorry). Still, I think it was a pretty spooky way to start the evening.
There is a short walk between the parking lot and the front of the trail, lit only by a few dull electric lights. I have to hand it to the decorators, they did a great job with the ambience of the scene. Even the area where participants had to line up to wait for their turn to enter the actual "haunted house" was set up to offer scares.
As we stood in line, zombies moaned at us from the other side of a plastic net. (The screen that separated those in line from the Zombie adventure. Don't worry I'll get to that.) A frighteningly dressed clown went up and down the line, honking a loud horn and scaring anyone not paying attention to where he was at. There were even coffins and a stockade set up so people could get some photos.
We actually had fast passes so we didn't have to wait long before we were at the front of the line. We got a brief run down on the rules, explained by a very entertaining gentleman at the door, and then we were free to enter.
The first part of the walk was set up outside. Here in the desert, the winter weather hadn't quite caught up with us, so the temperature was cool but in a refreshing way. There were a few jump scares but for the most part it felt like a nice leisurely walk under the stars. This might be because I was at the back of the group and all of the jump scares were focused on those at the front. It's less scary for people to jump out at you when you know where they are hiding. Though I did have fun watching the guys at the front get scared over and over.
The next part of the trail was a little more disconcerting. There was this big door we had to go through as, what I can only assume was a witch, told us to proceed with caution. Then we were forced to cram into this tunnel that had cobwebs hanging from the ceiling. The tunnel led to this set of rickety sounding stairs, leading us downward into complete darkness. The ceiling on the stairs was just as low as the tunnel itself so I had to stoop. It was worse for my brother who is 6'3, a good six or seven inches taller than me.
The next few rooms went by in a whirl of dreadful ambience, very well thought out sets, and of course, well timed jump scares. There was so much inside that I simply can't describe it all, but I do want to share a few of my favorite parts with y'all.
The first room that really stood out to me was a room where a giant of a man stood at a table, chopping something to pieces with a butcher knife. He didn't do much else that stand hitting the table with his knife, but the set was filled with dread, and we were given the feeling that the guy was definitely not a friendly grocery store butcher.
This was confirmed as we exited the room and something came flying over to us from the hands of the butcher. Being the stupidly curious person I am, I stopped to examine the thing he threw and saw it was a shoe. A child sized shoe. One a toddler might wear. Kudos to the guy who thought up that little element. It was subtle but it told a terrifying tale.
The second room that really forced me off balance was a room lined with wooden pallets, the kind used to deliver heavy items on trucks. Behind the pallets a handful of costumed workers shouted and tried to scare us as we passed through. It wasn't the pallets or the workers that were the most off putting though. It was the strobe light set up in the room.
Trying to walk through strobe lighting is a lot harder than I would have guessed it'b be. It felt like I wasn't gaining any ground, even though I was definitely walking forward. It reminded me of those bad dreams where you're trying to get away from a killer but can't seem to move forward though you're running with all your might.
My favorite room, though, would have to be (what I call) the Twilight Zone Tunnel.
Stars whirled around the path in a dizzying dance as we passed through, looking a lot like the opening credits of the old series, The Twilight Zone. The tunnel itself was set up around a short metal bridge so that the lights could go all the way around us as we walked forward. You'd think it would be beautiful but walking through it was so disorienting that the set up crew had actually put in a side path that allowed participants to go around the room instead of through it.
There were many other great rooms but again, it's take too long to share them all with you, and anyway, I'd hate to ruin your fun should you get the chance to visit one of The Terrors Trails many Texas locations.
Suffice it to say, I had a lot of fun inside and when we got back outside, the scary clown was there to chase us away from the exit like a sadistic demon.
Our night didn't end there. We still had the Zombie Adventure to try out.
Once again the people in charge of the site's set up did a fantastic job of setting the mood for us participants. We were given our weapons (laser tag guns) and a run down of the disaster that had unleashed the zombies into the field we had to traverse.
We then ran through a deserted paintball field led by our commanding officer, a terror trail guide, as we fought off approaching hordes of zombies. The time went by quickly, no lives were lost, and we ended up in a disinfection chamber (a room with a fog machine). I had a blast.
My experience at the Terror Trail was great. The people in charge did a great job designing and executing the different scenes, the actors were all 100% into their roles, and the overall experience was exciting and fun.
Ten out of ten ghostly screams, would visit again, and I'll definitely be recommending it to friends.
Have any of you been to the Terror Trail? What about other haunted houses? I'd love to hear your scary, or even funny, stories of haunted house visits.
Have a safe and fun Halloween.