Where I went: I traveled a couple miles inland to Lee to enjoy Haunted Overload at DeMeritt Hill Farm, 20 Orchard Way, Lee (hauntedoverload.com).
What it is: Haunted Overload is an ever-growing horror tour that takes over DeMeritt Hill Farm every October in an attempt to scare and entertain as many guest as possible in its few short weeks of operation. Twice voted as being one of the top 13 haunted attractions in the country, it brings thrill seekers and horror enthusiasts from all around New England and the country to this otherwise small corner of the state just a couple of miles down the road from the main campus of the University of New Hampshire.
There are three levels of fear to choose from while spending the day at the farm. The Day Walk allows guests to wander the path without the actors or sounds set to scare and is available Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for $6. The second tier of terror is their Friday Night Lite exhibit, which sees that the sights and sounds are up to par, but the actors and monsters are taking the day off. The remaining date for the Friday Night Lite selection is Monday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and will cost $14. These two options allow for those who are more faint of heart to stop by and enjoy the amazing craftsmanship of the exhibit without the scares. The third level is the award-winning, full-blown Haunted Overload display with sights, sounds and monsters lurking around every corner, which will cost $26 per person.
What I did: I love horror. Every October brings me the joy of being able to sit down and flip through the channels and binge-watch scary movies to my heart’s content, so having the opportunity to explore first-hand what it might be like to be at the front and center of one of my favorite types of movies really piqued my interest. That being said, I wound up opting for the Day Walk option. I did this for a couple of reasons, but the main reason was that I wanted to sample the tour before diving in on the main event.
Little did I know, the day that I chose to partake in this experience happened to be their annual trick-or-treating day, so my experience was partially tainted by families and children running through the winding maze of horror and digging into goody baskets while getting all hopped up on candy. (That being said, I might have partaken in the offerings as well.)
Choosing the day walk in terms of checking out the haunts was the perfect experience that allowed me to take in the full spectacle of the Haunted Overload. Without the anticipation of a monster hiding around the corner, I was free to enjoy the master craftsmanship before me and truly evaluate this haunted walk.
Without giving away too much and ruining the experience for interested readers, I will say I was fascinated and completely drawn in to the experience before me, despite the lack of horror that can be found through the nighttime experience. As I wandered the woods traveling from one themed segment to another, I was sucked in by unbelievably realistic and brutally disfigured props and sets around me. From a haunted house to a crooked carnival, a mummy room and more, I was struck by an unrelenting sense of anxiety and anticipation that, despite my knowing that there were no actors ready and waiting, still left an uneasy feeling in my stomach that left me thinking that something was going to jump out at me sooner or later. This, of course, never happened, but it left me ready to go back again for the full nighttime experience later this month before it is closed down for the season on the first of November.
Who else would enjoy this? The Day Walk is the perfect option for younger children who are able to comprehend the fact that the bodies and skeletons, blood and gore scattered throughout the walk are nothing more than props intended to entertain and scare. Braver souls can venture into the self-guided tour at night. Personally, I can not wait to return for the full experience, but I would not recommend this adventure for young children or anyone not looking to be pushed to their limits. I would advise interested guests to read the lore before venturing into the experience; it can be found on the Haunted Overload website and really help to set the scene.
— Andrew Clay