Halloween Blitz Day 7: Field of Screams

I love Halloween attractions because unlike bars they’re creative and unlike museums and concerts they’re interactive. So this year I’m doing a Halloween blitz! The Events INSIDER team and I are visiting 28 attractions in 10 days, going indoors, outdoors, and as far away as New Hampshire and Connecticut. Click and scroll to the bottom to see my list of 160 Halloween attractions and more creative October events than anyplace else!

Day 7: Wednesday, October 30, 2013. Our group returned to Rhode Island to see Field of Screams.

Field of Screams, West Greenwich, RI (3.5 stars)

Field of Screams in Western Rhode Island shares the same difficulty that Dark Manor has in Eastern Connecticut: it is far from a population center. But it’s heartwarming to see a family farm transformed into a Halloween attraction. Everything at Field of Screams is clearly the result of passion rather than commercial interest. Speed pass tickets are available to get you to the front of the line.

The farm had a haunted house, a hay ride, another haunted house with 3D effects, and then a forest of haunted Christmas trees, complete with skeleton Santa.

Our favorite was the hayride, because going out into nature at night is the best, but the actors did not seem to know what to do. They climbed on top of the hayride and walked amongst us sometimes quietly or with humor instead of scarily. It’s possible that they were busy watching their step. One ghoul apologized for stepping on our feet. We have seen silent or uninspired acting before that didn’t add to an attraction, but this unfortunately was one of the few Halloween destinations we went to where the acting seemed to actively detract from the experience. The mood was more celebratory and the actors clearly wanted to entertain rather than to scare — and the crowd was totally up for that. Unfortunately, this did get in the way of the ride being scary, and the humor was ad libbed rather than planned in advance, as though the actors were tired of trying to scare people and were making it up. (This was my experience at the Witches Woods hayride at Nashoba Ski as well.)

The evening sky was beautiful to look at, out on the hay ride in the fields, but diluted somewhat by the laughing teenagers and the joking of the actors. Unfortunately, there were too many undirected lights at the farm and the hayride did not venture out far enough for us for the stars to pop out perfectly as they had at Charmingfare Farm. So it was fun to be out at nice under the sky, in nature, but there was too much energy in the group for it to be peaceful.

Kudos to the actor playing The Devil. The highlight of the hayride was when we drove into a barn and stopped for a demo and animatronic scorpion to greet us and invite us to come along to hell. Also kudos to the little girl who go into line and followed me for a minute before I turned around to talk with my friends and found her silent eerie face instead. Yikes! Also a big thank you to the girl who entertained us by standing on a ladder and pretending to be a disembodied head all night. Now that’s a tough job.

The decorations in the attractions were basic, each entranceway between haunted house rooms hung with a torn sheet or tablecloth as a separator. There were some special effects such as a vortex (where the room seems to rotate) and a giant animatronic demon that we recognized from Haunted Acres in New Hampshire.

There is plenty to see and do at Field of Screams, and the hayride and few special effects were delightful, but generally speaking, not scary and lacking in a sense of theatrical set design and acting. It was a good effort for a farm to have four attractions but it did not quite get to the 4-star level. I’ll give Field of Screams a solid 3.5 stars, which puts them above the local Spooky World (Terror in Rhode Island) but beneath other attractions such as Ghoulie Manor if you are willing to travel. Check out the farm now that Christmas is approaching. Big John Leyden’s Tree Farm sells trees!

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