By Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — In the industry, a park with a grouping of attractions is called a “theme park,” but when that park is filled with haunted houses and spooky shows, it’s known as a “scream park.”
That’s exactly what’s opening this weekend in Noble at the Thunderbird Trail of Fear Haunted Scream Park, 14501 E. Etowah Road in Noble.
Bob Wright, co-owner and co-creator, said this year’s park is kicking off with several terrifying and thrilling attractions. The park opens at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and continues Oct. 18-19, 24-27 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 2.
“We really attract people of all types. It really just depends on if you like to get scared and have a really good time,” Wright said. “Even though we’re a family friendly event, that does not mean we’re not scary or gory. We just don’t do anything sacrilegious.”
Wright said one of the things that separates his company from many haunted parks is that each attraction at the Trail of Fear has a singular theme or a central, focused story.
This year’s haunted house, the Hackensaw Haunted Hill, centers around a cannibalistic family, the Hackensaws, who prey on trespassers. Wright said the entire back story is published at trailoffear.com.
Each character at the haunted house also has a developed character. During training, Wright said actors are trained extensively on the “psychology of fear.”
Actors are taught how to profile each patron to determine the most effective scare tactics and are then encouraged to incorporate sight, sound, smell — and sometimes humor — to spook their guests the most.
“Yes, chainsaws are scary, but if you do something different with your chainsaw and play on those psychological factors before the chainsaw happens, it’s 10 times as scary, and that’s what we do,” Wright said.
Additional entertainment at the park includes the Crispy Family Carnival, an authentic troupe of sideshow performers. The carnival is performing several themed shows with acts like sword swallowing, fire eating, knife throwing, contortion and a 18 and older burlesque show.
General admission tickets are $15 and include the Hackensaw Haunted Hill and one of two carnival shows. An additional Crispy Family Carnival Show is available for $10 per person Friday and Saturday nights for ages 18 and up. Valid ID is required for the additional show.
The ticket booth is open nightly from 6:30 to 10, with gates opening at 7 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased at trailoffear.com. Parking is free.
The park is a part of the same company that has been hosting the Trail of Fear Haunted Scream Park in Lawton for the past 16 years.
Wright said the Lawton park has several themed attractions, including a children’s section, and they introduce new attractions every year. The Noble property will follow the same formula.
Though ensuring each guest gets a scary experience is a top priority, Wright said the park takes safety seriously. Off-duty police officers will be available on site.