Haunted Overload (5 stars)

When you visit a Halloween attraction, you expect to see a skull. What if the skull were the size of a four-story house? Haunted Overload has the most artistic and overwhelmingly huge props and sets that I have seen in reviewing 30 Halloween venues in New England. Everything is original, not purchased, and built from wood to gigantic sizes, with fog and lasers adding to the effect.

You arrive and can shop the farm stand, where they have apples, cider, baked goods, and maple cream soda, the world’s best soda. Then you walk through the woods admiring the dioramas around you. You’ll see a 40-foot pumpkinhead, a slightly larger clown, plus a 4-story building filled with Victorian era menace. Along the path, actors jump out to scare or startle you, or come on Fight Night Lite which is less scary and safer for little kids. Or come during the daytime when there are no actors and it’s completely non-scary.

There’s really nothing like Haunted Overload, so I can see why they won the The Great Halloween Fright Fight on ABC in 2014. That being said, the dioramas are so tall and well-lit that there is a lot of lighting around and they’re too distant from visitors on the ground to startle you. So it’s more awe-striking than scary. This year I was pleased to come on Fright Night Lite so that I could really admire the displays without the actors distracting me. You need to get comfortable standing to the side so that people behind you can pass through, but it’s worth it.

The woods path is clear of obstructions, so there is no danger of stumbling as you are mostly looking up, up, up, and it’s so smooth that it’s even handicapped accessible (which may vary on weather conditions).

Two years ago, in my last review of Haunted Overload, I confirmed that they had plenty of actors, but they were rarely given lines or theatrical scenes to play out. Also, there was inadequate spacing of people, or maybe just our always stopped to admire the displays led to some bunching up, making it harder for actors who scared people in front to startle those of us behind.

The attraction is certainly a contender for best in New Hampshire or best in New England! However, the experience is only 35 minutes, and there is two benches at the farm stand but because of lighting — a campfire would be nice — there’s no place to hang out with friends. Plus, as mentioned earlier, it’s more incredibly amazing than incredibly scary. As a result of these things, Haunted Overload is not quite the best in New Hampshire or best in New England. But it remains a “must see”, 5-star attraction that will overload you with visual joy.

I recommend seeing both Haunted Overload and but combining the trip with either Haunted Acres or Fright Kingdom, which are nearby, on the same night. That makes it even more worth the trip just over an hour from Boston.

Haunted Overload, in Lee, New Hampshire is at www.hauntedoverload.com.