This seasonal Halloween event near Columbus, Ohio is known for its shocking scenes and gore. The Haunted Hoochie haunted attraction at Dead Acres has been a source of controversy due its graphic depictions of suicide, torture and murder. Behind this adult-oriented Halloween experience is a family business that has operated for generations.
Fran Bar Park
Dead Acres is held at Fran Bar Park, a place that outside of the Halloween season is run as a family-friendly business. Fran Bar Park came about when Tim May took over his grandfather's old farm. May's grandparents, Frank and Madeline Dixon, had run a haunted hayride with their friends on the farm every Halloween season since 1954. Tim May began working for his grandpa's haunt since he was a teenager in the early 1980s. When Frank Dixon passed away in a tractor accident, Tim and his wife Cheryl took over operation of the farm, transforming it into family attraction featuring a petting zoo, camping, live music, paintball and other recreational activities and areas. The haunted hayride, which had fallen by the wayside after Frank Dixon's death, eventually made a comeback before the decade was finished.
The Haunted Hoochie
For the 1990 Halloween season the decision was made to switch from a hayride to a walkthrough attraction. The new attraction, called The Haunted Trail made use of a small trail on the property. The Haunted Trail, while a success, only lasted for one season before being replaced with the larger and more gruesome Haunted Hoochie walkthrough attraction in 1991. The new attraction had inventively gory scenes spilling gallons of fake blood and bringing screams and giggles to its thrilled (and at times disgusted) audience members. The Haunted Hoochie was a great success. Eventually, Tim May moved the attraction from the trail and into an old barn, making it a two-story indoor attraction. In 2003, the haunted attraction was expanded into a larger event called Dead Acres, but the haunted attraction maintained the name Haunted Hoochie.
Over the decades the Haunted Hoochie has developed more and more ways to shock customers. It wasn't enough to just have a maniac with a chainsaw, the Haunted Hoochie rigged their chainsaw maniac to swing from a rope and fly over the customers' heads. The scenes graphically depicting the birth of a demon baby (a procedure that involves a mallet) and a zombie committing suicide by shotgun blast to the head have brought some criticism for being extreme and tasteless. However, the condemnation of the appalled has only served to draw curious crowds to come witness the extreme haunt at Dead Acres for themselves.
Bad Trip in 3D
Added to Dead Acres in 2009, the Bad Trip in 3D haunted attraction takes visitors on a nightmarish psychedelic journey. Visitors don 3-D glasses and make their way through an indoor maze full of trippy three-dimensional decorations and effects. In its halls and rooms, evil clowns and maniacs stalk the customers through a hellish vision straight out of the 1970s.
Dead Acres Today
The efforts of the cast and crew at Dead Acres have brought the Halloween event national attention both as news stories about its controversial nature and in the form of recognition from the haunt industry. It has been named as one of America's best haunted attractions by numerous magazines including Hauntworld, Haunted Attraction and Fangoria.
Visitors to Dead Acres should take into consideration the graphic nature of the event. Dead Acres is not intended for young children or for the easily offended. For further information on Dead Acres, including pricing, hours and dates of operation and further warnings about what might happen to offend or injure you, visit the Dead Acres Web site (see Related Sites below). Out-of-town visitors should take note that the Country Inns & Suites hotel not far from Dead Acres on East Broad Street offers a shuttle sevice to the event for their guests.