Texas Haunts – Haunted House And Halloween News and Reviews

Screams Halloween Theme Park Review

02.10.2023 (11:15 pm) – Filed under: Screams

Screams Halloween Theme Park 2023

Score 10 out of 10

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Phone (972) 938-3247

Location: Screams is on FM 66, 1.6 miles east of I-35, in Waxahachie. The address is 2511 FM 66 Waxahachie TX, 75167. Screams is about 30 minutes south of downtown Dallas and downtown Ft Worth. Screams is just off of I-35, on the Scarborough Faire grounds. Directions to Screams are here.

Screams has five haunted attractions this year: Terra Mythica Castle, Bootlegger’s Bayou, Klownz in 3D, Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse Trail, and the Times Up Maze. In addition to the haunted houses, Screams has two additional walk through attractions, Cool Ghoul Boolevard, and Rottingwood Cemetery. Hell Dolls provide entertainment on the main stage. Merchant’s Row has Scary-Oke. You can go through the haunted houses and walk through attractions as many times as you want. Fast passes are available online and cut the wait time in line for haunted attractions significantly on crowded nights. Fast passes can be purchased here. Parking is free.

The walk through time is 10-15 minutes per main attraction, except for the maze, which can take over 20 minutes. The combined total walk through time for all five main attractions is over an hour.

Hell Dolls is a 30 minute show made up of acrobatics, fire swallowing, and fire twirling. The Hell Dolls are made up of three stage performers, and much of the act involves synched routines with all three performers working with fire simultaneously. I’ve never seen anything like Hell Dolls and you currently have two chances to see them nightly, at 8 and 10. Check their schedule in front of the main stage early in the evening as it may vary later in the season. Their link tree is here.

Rottingwood Cemetery is a walk though attraction at the park entrance. It’s expanded this year and will usually have actors in the area. It’s well decorated and is a good way to begin the evening. It looks great once fog machines cover the area.

Cool Ghoul Boolevard is a walk through light show, with synched music. It’s very photogenic and looks good at either twilight or in the dark. Take a right at the park entrance and look for the lights just before Headless Horseman Tavern.

For the second year in a row, Screams has increased the number of actors roaming the park. There is a great deal of variety this year, with a vampire, grave digger, two clowns, two undead Victorians, a carnival MC, a ghoul, a boogeyman, and a couple of stilt walkers. The stilt walkers get the biggest reactions from crowds, but they all do a good job of entertaining guests and livening the mood.

There are 6 pubs and taverns at Screams this year. The pubs and taverns all accept credit cards.

Headless Horseman Tavern is a great place to drink and relax, with friendly bartenders Jamie and Kesha. Located between Klownz in 3D and 13th Hour Bakery, Horseman has covered seating overlooking a creek. Cool Ghoul Boolevard is next door to the tavern. You can find sangria, Ace Pear Cider, milk stout, Brut champagne, several types of beer, and a variety of wine at Headless Horseman. In addition to a creek view, this tavern has a great view of 13th Hour Bakery, shops, and the end of the long Screams graveyard.

Full Moon Bar no longer has food, but it still has a full bar, with plenty of covered seating, and eerie mood lighting. Full Moon is located at the far end of food court, between the pizza place and Morgue Tavern.

Morgue Tavern is between the west arch and the food court, and has sangria, plus a selection of beer.

Taboo Tavern is at the back of the food court, next to hot dog sales. Taboo has a variety of beer, hard cider, and wine. There is covered seating next to the tavern, with a nice view of Times Up Maze.

Spider Web Pub is now located next to 13th Hour Bakery and features four types of frozen drinks on tap, margaritas, blood orange ritas, lavender ritas, and hurricanes. Spider Web also has beer, and jello shots.

Bag of Bones is close to the entrance of Terra Mythica Castle and has beer, hard seltzer, blood orange ritas, and hard lemonade. Pretzels are available here.

Roaming vendors have jello shots in syringes.

The full list of all alcohol offered at Screams is below. Remember that not all of these will be offered at each pub.

Ace Pear Cider, Left Hand Milk Stout, Paulaner Oktoberfest, Ziegenbock, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, Dallas Blonde, Estrella Jalisco, Bishop Crackberry Cider, Deep Ellum IPA, Pumpkin Cider, Spaten Oktoberfest, Mango Cart Cider, Neato Bandito, Budweiser, White Claw Black Cherry Hard Seltzer, and Karbach Cerveza Especial

Non-alcoholic beer offerings

Wines & Champagne: Brut Champagne, Alexander Valley Chardonnay, Cupcake Muscato, Ferrari Carano Fume Blanc, Rebellious Red, and more

Specialty Drink:  White Zinfandel-Peach Sangria

Jell-O Shots:   Cherry, Lemon Lime, Coconut Lime

Full Liquor Bar and Specialty Cocktails over Ice:  Hurricane Margarita, Blood Orange, Spiked Lemonade

Remember that last call for alcohol at Screams is 11:30!

The main food court at Screams has pizza, hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, corn dogs, turkey legs, sausage on a stick, BBQ sandwiches, nachos, fajitas, Frito pies, grilled cheese sandwiches, elote, Bubba’s bacon, plus a wide range of soft drinks and bottled water. Covered seating is available in front of, and behind the food court. The food court accepts credit cards.

Snow cones in several flavors are available next to Time’s Up Maze, behind the food court. Kettle corn is offered between the main stage and Zombie Wasteland. Both the Snow Cone and Kettle Corn vendors accept credit cards.

13th Hour Bakery, located across from Cool Ghoul Boolevard, offers great cookies, cakes, and pastries, Beef and Cheddar skulls, Buffalo Chicken Skulls, jalapeno cheddar bread, stuffed croissants, Terrormisu, pumpkin spice cake, and Zombie Fingers. Drinks available include hot tea, milk, hot coffee, cold brew coffee, hot chocolate, frozen chai, and iced green tea. Specialty drinks mixing cocoa or coffee with flavor shots are available. There are eight flavor shots to choose from, and you can have them added to any drink. 13th Hour now accepts credit cards.

Two snack shops with candy, soft drinks and water, are located close to the entrance and exit for Cool Ghoul Boolevard.

The Screams souvenir shop is located close to the park entrance, across from Rottingwood Cemetery. It has Screams t-shirts, hoodies, beanies, water bottles, bottle openers, wine and coffee tumblers, shot glasses, and more.

Shops at Screams are found on the row between Rottingwood Cemetery and Terra Mythica Castle, and close to Cool Ghoul Boolevard. A psychic with tarot and palm reading, a horror movie coaster shop (Creepy Coasters), Cowgirlz Candy, Serial Creations, Rugged History Beard Company, Chained Reaction jewelry, and Dead Dave Designs are located on the row of shops past Rottingwood Cemetery. The Cauldron Corner (witch and Halloween decor) is on the walk to the food court, across from Terra Mythica Castle. Next to Cool Ghoul Boolevard is Whimsical Way, with holistic products.

Games at Screams include Heads and Hoops, zombie paintball, mallet test of strength, and axe, knife, dart, and star throwing. Games are cash only

There are ATMs located through the park, though most places at Screams take credit cards. One is in the souvenir shop, another is located next to Taboo Tavern, and a third is next to Scary-oke, on the side of the building. Screams has flush toilets between Terra Mythica Castle and Scary-oke. Porta potties are located next to the entrance to Cool Ghoul Boolevard, at the entrance to Terra Mythica Castle, at the exit for Terra Mythica Castle, and by the exit for Cool Ghoul Boolevard.

 

Review

Terra Mythica Castle

Terra Mythica Castle is the largest of the attractions at Screams. It’s a realistic looking castle that is also an attraction at Scarborough. Terra Mythica is also by far the most photogenic attraction at Screams, so be sure to have your phone ready for pictures when you get into line.

Close to the entrance you will find suits of armor, the castle fireplace, and paintings of the family of the castle. Witches appear next. You can tell that witches figure prominently in the story of Terra Mythica, judging by the actors and props. Once you get by the witches, it’s on to the spider bridge, filled with cocoons. From there the path leads to a swampy forest, then down into the castle dungeon. The forest is perfectly lit and has eerie sounds. It’s also a great place for actors to hide. Props in the dungeon are elaborate. The dungeon goes on for quite a while. You get the impression that the people who owned the castle before the witches had lots of enemies to lock up. After the dungeon the path leads into the catacombs below the castle. I love the hallway to the catacombs with red lighting and deer heads on the walls. The catacombs are the creepiest part of Terra Mythica. You’ll find great detail in the walls in this area. Everything looks ancient and diabolical. As you near the close of Terra Mythica, you’ll encounter the three witches who took over the place. There is an interesting dragon animatronic after the catacombs, shortly before the open air finale of the haunt.

Terra Mythica has detailed decor and props. The orangish lighting  throughout the castle is ideal, with some red lighting mixed in. It really looks like an old decrepit castle that has been taken over by evil forces. Actors are in every part of the haunt. There are hiding places everywhere, so you never know when someone will appear. Actors at Screams all do a wonderful job, but actors in Terra Mythica have a lot to work with in terms of surroundings. It’s great to go through Terra Mythica on a slow night so that you can take your time and check out the detail along the corridors. If you attend Screams later in the season, try going through twice.

Bootlegger’s Bayou

Bootlegger’s Bayou is fun from beginning to end. The outside of the house looks the part, run down and creepy. Hosts interact well with the crowd, sizing people up for butchering (a cannibal family owns the house) while discussing the best way to marinade bodies. Upon entering, you meet Mama, the head of the family. Before Mama gets too far from her chair, you’re off to explore the dilapidated old house, but look out for family members hiding in the clothes ridden hallway after Mama’s room. If you think you aren’t too tidy, take a look at the kitchen and bathroom in this place. It must have taken a lot of work to make rooms look this foul. On the other hand, the dining room looks pretty good. People may be the main course, but it’s like something out of Cannibal Good Housekeeping. The bedroom is also the dollhouse, and has a peculiar odor to it. If dolls freak you out, this is a room to hurry through. Given the family diet, it’s no surprise that they have a slaughter room. Having to move between wrapped up bodies is a nice touch. Any good country cannibal house has a parlor, but the sewing room was unexpected. My favorite part of this place was the porch area. It’s very quiet in this part of the attraction, with cricket noises as the sound effect. If you expect a chainsaw at the end of haunted houses, you won’t be disappointed. I’m not a big fan of chainsaws, but this one is appropriate.

The actors in Bootlegger’s are completely in character. Perfect accents and attitude. They really know how to get after guests and keep them moving. They are also good at making you think they are props until the last second when they jump out at you.  One actor toward the end of the house stood out because, though she never said anything, she had way of staring at you that made you want to move away as fast as possible. Great timing from all of the actors in this house. I went through Bootleggers four times this weekend, and I will be back for more later.

Klownz in 3D

Klownz in 3D is longer this year. An additional outdoor area has been added to the end of the funhouse. There is a mostly new cast of actors working in Klownz, and their enthusiasm takes over the place. The placement of actors helps, with an actor around every corner, and in areas where guests are looking at animatronics and props. Clowns in the small maze with ribbons hanging from the ceiling mixed in very well with their surroundings. Having an actor at the end of the vortex tunnel, by the steps down, was almost a cheap shot, but it was fun. Overall, the actors in Klownz had as high an energy level as I’ve seen in a haunted attraction.

Klownz looks great, the neon paint has been updated and seems more vibrant this year. The clown props and artwork are great. The three headed clown creature that makes it seem like you’re looking into a mirror as it moves toward you was interesting, but the hallways top this attraction. One hallway has clown props moving back and forth, out of windows, with an actor hidden in the area. Another hallway shakes as you move through. I’ve always liked vortex tunnels, and having an actor and a spinning prop after the vortex tunnel was a good combo. A motion activated fogger toward the end of Klownz was a pleasant way to end the house. It’s easy to go through Klownz more than once since the actors are having a good time and the props and paint are fun to look at.

Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse

The Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse Trail is darker this year, literally. There is a new location for Zombie Wasteland in 2023. It’s switched places with the maze, and is now between Klownz in 3D and the main stage. This is a quieter part of Screams, and it works well for the overall atmosphere. You’re in an area that has been destroyed by zombies, so it’s fitting that you don’t hear noise from outside the trail. It seems that there are more actors in the trail this year, but it may be that the same actors are able to scare groups in multiple parts of the trail due to the trail’s new layout. Actors keep the pressure on, always jumping out when you’re distracted by something else. One thing about an attraction this dark is that there is no end of places for actors to hide.

Red lights give Zombie Wasteland great mood lighting. Fog and creepy sound effects are well used to add to the ambiance. Physically, the trail looks great, with burnt out vehicles and evidence of battle dotting the landscape. The setting has a rustic feel. Maybe this was a military base in the country? Barrels that may contain the source of the zombie outbreak cover one part of the trail. I liked the detail in what appears to be an overrun field hospital, and actors in this area were very energetic. The skeleton town toward the end of the trail is a nice touch. Zombie Wasteland Apocalypse is perfect for the cooler nights ahead.

Times Up Maze

Times Up Maze has been moved. It’s now behind the main food court and Taboo Tavern. I loved how foggy the area outside the trail was. The recurring theme of time is seen in clock graffiti through the maze. There are far more actors in Times Up than you will find in most mazes. They do a good job of hiding in the darker parts of the maze, especially at dead ends. Some actors roam the maze and give bad directions to the guests. The actor in the Yeti outfit stood out, for obvious reasons. It may take some time, but you will eventually find your way to the center of the maze, which is mostly fences that seem to run in circles. I tried looking for the exit along the edge of the maze, with no luck. I went into the maze twice, and gave up after 20 minutes, both times. The maze seems more difficult this year, but I think that the key is going to your right when you enter the maze, staying to the right, and going to the very back of the maze. That seems to be how people found their way out, without using the emergency exit.

 

General Info

The park opens at 7pm, and closes at 1am, but the ticket office closes at midnight. This is a massive park, so arrive as early as possible. I spent two nights reviewing Screams, to give you an idea of how much there is to do at this park. If you know that you will arrive after 9, you may want to consider buying a fast pass, especially if you want to go through the haunted attractions multiple times.

It helps to go through the haunted houses first, then eat and drink. I begin my night at Screams with Terra Mythica Castle first. This has the longest lines later at night, so see it early. When you enter the park, take a left past Rottingwood Cemetery, walk down Merchant’s Lane, and you will see the entrance to the Castle ahead. Once you exit the Castle, take a right, then another right and begin walking uphill, back to the shops. After a few yards you will see the entrance to Bootlegger’s Bayou on your right. This is lots of fun and also has long lines later in the evening. After Bootlegger’s, take a left, walk past the food court and games, and go into Time’s Up Maze. Once you are out of the Maze, walk past the food court, past the main stage, and look for the entrance to Zombie Apocalypse Wasteland. After Zombie Apocalypse, look for Klownz in 3D, which is close to the entrance to Zombie Apocalypse. After exiting Klownz, you will have seen all five major attractions and then it’s time to eat, drink and shop. On your way around the park you can walk through Cool Ghoul Boolevard and Rottingwood Cemetery.

Screams is on the Scarborough Faire grounds and is natural terrain, so remember to wear comfortable shoes, and don’t wear high heels. If the weather cools down, you may want to take along a light jacket, just in case. Wearing costumes, Halloween type masks, or face paint into Screams is not allowed.

 

Online Ticket prices are:

$42 General Admission for Friday ($45 at ticket office)

$52 general admission for Saturday ($55 at ticket office)

$30 for Friday fast pass ($33 at ticket office)

$40 for Saturday fast pass ($43 at ticket office)

$40 group tickets for Friday, $50 for Saturday. Parties of 15 or more to qualify. Online only.

$165 season pass. Available online only.

Buy tickets here

Ticket prices do not include taxes and fees.

Parking is free, courtesy of Legacy Chevrolet/GMC Waxahachie.

 

Summary

Screams is the only real haunted theme park in North Texas and is the best value around. At other haunted attractions, you drive to the haunt, wait in line, and spend 10-35 minutes inside. Then you leave. Some of the haunted houses in DFW are good, but Screams is the only place where you can go through each attraction as many times as you want, eat, drink, and shop. It is easy to arrive at 7 and stay until 1. I was at Screams this Friday and Saturday, arrived at 7 both nights, and left around 1 each time.  Another unique feature is that there is something for everyone at Screams. Even if you aren’t into haunted houses, you can have a great time in the park. You can fill your evening by having dinner, trying the various pubs and taverns, seeing Hell Dolls, shopping, playing games, and going through the walk through attractions.

Screams looks great in 2023, with a park redesign, new food and drink, and a great cast of actors. They went all out in preparation for this season, in record breaking heat, and their effort shows in the attention to detail in the houses, trails, and in the park grounds. Be sure to see Screams at least once this season, and remember, arrive early, and stay late!

I just checked the weather for this coming weekend, and it’s looks perfect for Screams. 82 as a high on Friday, with a low of 56, 72 as a high on Saturday and low of 52. There will be a nice Fall chill in the air on Saturday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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