Words and Photography by Ellie Logan
The Halloween haunt season is over and now the holly, jolly holiday season is upon us - but that doesn't necessarily mean that the screams and chills are done just yet. Tales of Terror, a new haunted trail in the Orlando, FL area, is taking over Warrior Sports Park from Friday, December 9 to Sunday, December 11.
During this limited-time event, you can expect to find local vendors to help you accomplish some last-minute shopping, food, and photo ops, including Krampus. On December 9 and 10, the Boozy Cauldron will be on hand to enchant, entertain, and perhaps even terrify guests who are 21 and up with an immersive cocktail experience centered around Krampus to help usher in the holiday season. Boozy Cauldron performances are a separately-ticketed event and tickets can be purchased on their website, http://www.boozycauldron.com
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The Tales of Terror event is topped off with a holiday-themed haunted trail that, much like the star that adorns the tops of so many trees this time of year, is sure to be the highlight of the event. The trail, titled SANTA'S SUMMONING, leads you through a dark, twisted story about a family whose children just could not wait for Santa to come and decided to bring him to them by performing a summoning spell that they found, where else, but on the dark corners of the Internet. Did these children get their holiday wish, or did they unleash more terror than their family home could handle?
The trail begins as you enter through the front door of the family's home and the scares start almost immediately. As you travel deeper through the maze-like corridors of the trail, the scares get more intense and the visuals grow darker and more mesmerizing. Before you know it, you're in a maze of toys, though something about these toys feels more sinister than innocent. It's up to you to find your way out before it's too late.
During our preview of the trail, we were informed that only about half of the scare actors were in attendance for what was essentially a dress rehearsal. With information like that, it's easy to assume that it would feel lacking or like there would be noticeable holes in either the scares or the story, but that was simply not the case. The scare actors are terrifyingly engaging and the more you interact with them, the more you learn about the story as it pertains to the particular scene you're in. Even with only half of the expected scare actors, the Tales of Terror team provided me with a scary, fun, and unforgettable experience which included getting invited to family dinner, nearly becoming a toy thanks to some very deranged elves, and a walk through some thick fog that would make even Halloween Horror Nights jealous.
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One important thing to note is that there are two versions of this particular trail; the standard version and the higher intensity version, which is rated R and also comes with the understanding that the actors may touch you during certain parts of your journey through the story.
My personal favorite part of this trail, aside from a very creative jump scare towards the end, is the option to interact with the actors and really have fun with them as you wander through the scenes. This is such a small detail, but it reminded me a lot of immersive theater events I've gone to in the past, such as SLEEP NO MORE and DELUSION.
I would absolutely recommend this event if you're looking for something that's equal parts Halloween haunt and holiday spirit or even if you're just looking for something new and different to do in Orlando.
For tickets and more information, visit their website at http://www.talesofterrorhaunt.com