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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Something wicked this way comes.

Ah, there's nothing like the sound of chainsaws in the evening...

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday, to the point where I begin planning for it in July or August, and this very spirited season wouldn't be complete without a dose of blood-curdling screams - coming from my own mouth. When our friends at Double JJ Resort invited us to experience their newest set of haunted attractions this weekend, Kelly and I jumped at the chance.

We arrived in Rothbury when the sun was just beginning to set on this quintessential fall day. (The leaves, on a side note, are currently stunning and at a solid 65% color change.) Things at the Wicked Ranch don't start creeping until the dark settles in, so the last few moments of light were spent exploring this West Michigan dude ranch... or perhaps we were just putting off the inevitable scarefest we were about to enter. The ranch is incredibly picturesque, from the Thoroughbred Golf Club to the sun-kissed fields where the horses peacefully cantered about.

Dusk finally gave to the dark, and we made our way to the first of the three attractions.

Town of Terror (terror terror terror.....)
Skull Rating: Four out of Four Skulls

Set as a linear maze of ghost town scenes, the tone of the Town of Terror was set in its first terrifying moment: a heavy knock to enter and the door slowly creeping open. We screamed within the first minute, and Kelly hence kept herself firmly attached to my side, hands gripping my arm.

Each destination, from the opening jail cell to the brawling bar and ethereal graveyard, was set with actors and laced with not-so-obvious thrills, twisting inside and out. We left the Town of Terror in a full sprint with hearts racing. I overheard one young kid call it awesome as he excitedly hurried to the next attraction.

Nightmare at the Bunkhouse
Skull Rating: Three out of Four Skulls*
*Many say this was the scariest attraction of all. Kelly and I were in fact terrified, so much so that we laughed the entire way through. With that in mind, it could easily be a four skuller. 

As we made our way to the Nightmare at the Bunkhouse, four screaming preteens came barreling out - yes, barreling. We talked to another couple from Grand Haven who couldn't make it all the way through. Screams echoed from within, and we found our steps growing smaller and slower with anticipation. Kelly then attempted to make a run for it, and we spent ten minutes debating our blog responsibilities. Did we really need to go to each attraction? Sigh. Yes. 

The first room of the bunkhouse is equipped with black and white checkered walls and strobe lights. My heartbeat rose to a dizzying extent, and the mind-bending antics continued throughout. It became pitch black, and we, admittedly uncouragously, tried to enlist the help of ghouls; they never broke character. The traditional haunted house thrills didn't elicit as many screams as the completely black, close-quarters that caused your imagination to create all sorts of creatures that are far worse than anything reality could actually produce.

The Wicked Woods
Skull Rating: Two out of Four Skulls


The mile-long hayride is perfect for the little ones. It's not too scary, and each spooky scene comes with plenty of warning from the trailer's spotlights, illuminating and directing your attention. Double JJ sprinkled the trail with reminders of its dude ranch traditions as cowboys on horses made several appearances. 

The night was crystal clear, and the quiet of Rothbury gave way to stunning views. Honestly, I was more enthralled with the horses (ponies!) and stars than the frightful feats around us. It was worth it for the ride itself.  

Double JJ put on an excellent scarefest that blew us away. They successfully transformed a whole part of their property into a complete haunted adventure. We give it a total of four out of four skulls; it was scary, entertaining, fun, and friendly! Way to go Double JJ, and thanks for having us!

You could be a winner!
If you want to experience the ghoulish sights of the Wicked Ranch for yourself, today could be your lucky day! Log on to the West Michigan Tourist Association Facebook page, and leave us a comment about your scariest West Michigan Halloween memory. We'll select one winner of a ghoulish pair of tickets on Thursday, October 14.

For more spooktacular Halloween haunts and events in West Michigan, visit WMTA.org. The Wicked Ranch is open Friday - Sunday with attractions opening at 7:15 pm.  Each attraction is $15, two for $20 or a Scream Pass to all three for $25. 

Happy haunting, West Michigan!



High five,

-Shannon

2 comments:

Type-Type Intellect said...

wow girls the blog looks great. keep up the nice visits to all of your wonderful members!

West Michigan Tourist Association said...

Thanks, Type-Type. We're definitely enjoying spending time with the members and sharing our various adventures in West Michigan. There is certainly never a dull moment!

-Shannon