Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail is open for the Halloween season, and it is awesome! The 2020 event features three haunted trails, a brand new light show, and walk-around scaractor interactions. Over the weekend, Orlando Decoded had the amazing opportunity to experience all of Sir Henry’s high quality entertainment, including its original storylines and creepy new characters. Let’s take a look at all of the pandemic-friendly fun Sir Henry’s is offering this year!
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trails
The Candy Tree
We started the evening at The Candy Tree, the first announced house for 2020. This story introduces disturbing new characters and situations for the Sir Henry’s event.
From Sir Henry’s Facebook Page: On the outskirts of the city, there was a small village. One resident, a child named Nathaniel Kane loved the wonderful sweets and treats his elder sister, the town baker, made for him. Since he was shy and tame in nature the local bullies harassed him. One Halloween they took him into the woods to a big tree and told him if he hugged it tight, he would get all the sweets he could handle. As he hugged it they tied him to the tree and stole his candy. The next morning the town was in chaos over the missing child. The bullies finally lead the town constable and family to the tree but all they saw were the fallen ropes and a shadow of what appeared to be a small child imprinted on the tree with candy wrappers scattered on the ground. From then on, the tree became known as The Candy Tree and every Halloween a heavy shadow loomed over the town. Children would come up missing and candy wrappers littered the ground they walked on. Legend has it that a mysterious shadow creature named Kane returns to The Candy Tree to hunt and eat trick or treaters that dare to venture near. How close will you dare to roam to The Candy Tree?
With such a disturbing backstory, I had high expectations for this house; and it definitely delivered! I was most impressed by the variety of set pieces and scenes. You really felt like you traveled from Nathaniel’s house, through the town, and into the woods. Since this trail is mostly outdoors, the “woods” portions of the maze felt incredibly authentic. Scaractors could really hide near huge trees and plants, and we had to navigate these natural features to complete the trail.
A backstory involving children is always going to add an extra level of creepiness. With all the actors wearing masks, it was difficult to tell if any of them were actually children this year. Nonetheless, knowing that these characters were written to be so incredibly young perpetuated some very disturbing imagery.
In accordance with pandemic safety measures, scaractors kept their distance. They definitely couldn’t get in your face like they might during a different year. Even with this restriction, however, they managed to provide several jump scares with props and other effects.
Marionette of the Dead
After The Candy Tree, my group decided to tackle Marionette of the Dead. As you can see in the picture below, this house has a BEAUTIFUL, funeral-home facade with “full-size” marionette puppets affixed to the outside.
This house has yet another SUPER CREEPY and AWESOME back story.
From the Sir Henry’s Facebook page:
The Schwartz Family Funeral Home has a few new tenets residing in its dark halls. A gang of misfits led by their schizophrenic master, Poppy, moved in soon after the funeral home was forced to shut down. Poppy considers herself an artist of grand proportions and the quiet and stillness of the empty funeral home is the perfect setting to throw herself into her work. She is fascinated with the theatre and puppetry, more specifically creating marionettes as life like as possible…perhaps a little too life like. She has decided to put on her next show detailing the tragedy of Sir Henry with the help of her crew. But Poppy has a love for the macabre and is obsessed with creating the most realistic puppets as possible. She began using the left-over body parts of the funeral home to build her creations, even digging up graves. But soon, that wasn’t enough to satisfy her artistic craving and she needed a new method to flesh out her vision. Poppy and her crew turned to snatching unsuspecting guests at their shows to mold into live puppets. Will you escape the show or become one of her puppets?
As the backstory implies, this house takes place entirely within the Schwartz Family Funeral Home. We’re not traveling to different locations as we were with The Candy Tree. This didn’t stop the house designers from creating incredibly detailed scenes and imagery. During the course of the trail, guests will explore virtually every nook and cranny of this house – including crypts, parlors, hallways, and work spaces.
The character of Poppy is fascinating. She’s obviously a dedicated artist, and her obsession with her work is palpable throughout the house. There’s an unsettling disconnect between her artistic visions and the reality of her creations that I LOVED! And we have to talk about the ODORS in this house — completely disgusting and wretched just as you would imagine a funeral home turned horror-puppet factory would actually smell.
This was my favorite of the three trails. While I experienced some of this trail’s physical structures during my run through its predecessor, Reaper’s Haunting, the Sir Henry’s team has redressed the sets in a way that communicates this very different and unique story. Speaking of the story, it really sticks with you even after you leave the event. I found myself replaying many of the scenes in my mind and wishing to visit this maze again long after arriving home.
This teaser video, published by Sir Henry’s, is a great representation of the disturbing imagery and costumes you’ll see in the house.
Our last house of the night was Midnight Slaughter – an intense, lights out experience that puts guests in the center of the action!
From the Sir Henry’s Facebook page: When famine struck this sleepy town, desperation became synonymous with breathing. The Brown family discovered success and wealth when they invented a special type of fertilizer to make their crops grow. Kidnapping and killing local passerby’s and drifters and using their body parts to enrich their land. They depended on amenity, but when their own daughter betrayed the family secret, the Brown’s were forced to take a more violent approach to ensure their survival. Guarded by the fortress known as the Brown Compound, they have unleashed a bloody massacre on any that stands in their way. And if anyone wonders into The Compound, either out of bravery or foolishness, you will find yourself trapped within an intricate maze designed to lead you to the slaughter. With only the light of the moon to guide you, can you escape the clutches of the Brown’s or will you too become food for the crows?
Sir Henry’s is not kidding when they call Midnight Slaughter a “lights out experience.” Visitors need to navigate the pathways using only the moon, stars, and other ambient lighting to find their way. While this artistic choice can make it difficult to see some of the action, the darkness adds to the creepy and spooky atmosphere. Additionally, traveling through these varied scenes in the dark creates a feeling of pursuit that puts us in the middle of the story. Since we are often encountering one or two scaractors at a time, we feel as if we are being “hunted” by the Browns as we try desperately to escape. Of course, the darkness can shroud our presence temporarily, but it cannot shelter us forever.
Courtyard Area and BRAND NEW Light Show!
In the center of these amazing houses is a large courtyard area with refreshments, walk-around scaractors, and a HUGE centerpiece. If you’ve been to Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail before, you might remember it – a statue of Sir Henry surrounded by fall and Halloween decor.
This year, however, the statue has undergone a MAJOR upgrade! Take a look!
In addition to the BEAUTIFUL pumpkin tree, there’s actually a light show, complete with fog, that occurs at periodic intervals throughout the night. You can see a taste of this in the video below:
Also in the courtyard area of the haunt, you can find walk-around scaractors ready to interact and take pictures. They’re maintaining a safe distance while still adding to the overall atmosphere of the event. You might even get a chance to meet Sir Henry himself!
Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail Pandemic Precautions
Of course, visitor and cast member safety is important to Sir Henry’s, and they’ve taken additional steps this year to both comply with CDC recommendations and protect everyone’s health.
These precautions include:
- All visitors are required to wear masks.
- Temperature checks will be conducted for all visitors.
- Markings within the queue lines will assist with physical distancing.
- Tickets must be purchased online and will feature a timed entry to reduce crowding.
- Visitors are pulsed through the trails with only their party.
- Concession sales will offer a mobile ordering option to maximize distancing.
Sir Henry’s also provides an innovative method for crowd control with their color-coded tickets! Each visiting party will be assigned a color. That color will determine in which order guests experience the trails, guiding visitor traffic and discouraging crowding in queue lines, house entrances, and common areas.
As someone who appreciates original haunts, this “Fear Park” is one of my favorite Central Florida Halloween attractions. The stories and characters are compelling. The sets are immersive, and their costumes are detailed. Additionally, each trail has a perfect combination of jump scares and spooky atmospheres to satisfy all kinds of haunt fans.
I highly recommend Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail. Each attraction offers a completely unique story and experience. Plus, these haunts are LONG! Each trail took us about 6.5 minutes to walk through. With the length of the trails, the quality of the scares, and the fun atmosphere throughout the park, this Halloween event is definitely worth the price of admission!