Field of Screams: America’s #1 haunted attraction

Anna Dudas and Olivia Hetherington

Halloween is costumes, horror movies, haunted houses and a celebration of all things spooky. Field of Screams, an annual haunted house extravaganza located in Lancaster, PA, is the embodiment of this. It was named “Best Extreme Haunted Attraction” by USA Today in 2015 and has since lived up to its name. Field of Screams encompasses four intense haunted attractions: Den of Darkness, Frightmare Asylum, Nocturnal Wasteland and Haunted Hayride.   

We are not the type of individuals who particularly enjoy frightening things so when we were invited to attend this attraction by the owner of this event, Jim Schopf, we were hesitant but captivated by its thrilling reviews.   

“The attractions themselves are the best of any haunted attraction I’ve ever been to. So well made, fantastic lighting, costumes and animatronics. Wear things you don’t mind crawling in because you will likely be on your hands and knees,” says Neko F in a 5-star yelp review.  

Eager to see what the hype was all about, we began the hour-long road trip to our destination. At our first section, the haunted hayride, we were brought onto a tractor and taken through a variety of set pieces. At each stop we were bombarded by flashing lights, ominous music and dedicated actors who did not once break character. One set piece resembled a spider’s den with webs and dark lights. Another highlight of the hayride involved a group of actors dressed in pig heads with blood on their bodies, waving cleavers in the air all around us. We spent the entire time covering our ears, holding on to one another for dear life while the actors grabbed our bodies and screamed in our faces.

The bloody pig-headed actors screamed, “You will not make it out alive.” 

We left the hayride with the sounds of chainsaws ringing in our ears, unsure of what frightening adventures were to come.  

After the haunted hayride our next adventure was in the Nocturnal Wasteland, another outdoor attraction. At this attraction, we were forced to walk through pools of radioactive waste, climb over broken bridges and pass through a school bus full of fake dead bodies and dolls, taunting us with each step we took. Since it was nighttime, we were unaware of the actors hiding behind trees and swinging from branches ready to grab our arms and legs as we rushed through the petrifying twists and turns of the attraction with nowhere to escape.  

Coming from the unknown of the outside, we made our way to confined walls, strobe lights and utter darkness of this spooky attraction: The Asylum. The first room in the asylum contained an actor who was dressed as a doctor with guts spewing out of his throat. He and many other actors were extremely touchy and even pulled my hair back and proceeded to scream in my face. This was terrifying. As we traveled through the asylum we made our way through surgery rooms filled with dead bodies and guts. If all the bloody rooms and hidden actors awaiting our next step wasn’t enough, they concluded the attraction with a man holding a chainsaw ready to chase us out of the asylum.  

After a little break to calm down, we faced our final attraction: The Den of Darkness. The name is a perfect description due to multiple pitch black rooms. Halfway through the den we ended up on all fours crawling over dead bodies just hoping that no one was waiting around the corner to scare us. As we made our way through, you eventually got to the room with checkered walls and strobe lights leading the way. Similar to the asylum, the Den of Darkness ended with a small room that held one single man holding a chainsaw blocking the singular exit to freedom. 

Overall, Field of Screams has been named America’s #1 Haunted Attraction and has surpassed the name due to dedicated actors, scary sound effects and the suspense of the unknown. If you are looking for a fright this Halloween, check out Field of Screams, but be prepared to hear your heartbeat during every single step you take.