If you live in, or are visiting, the central Florida region during spooky season you may know of a few Halloween event offerings brought to you by the big park guys. What you may not know is that central Florida also happens to have a few really great Halloween event options outside of the main parks.
Located in-between Orlando and Tampa in Plant City is one of the finest Halloween events around: Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail.
Sir Henry’s Haunted trail is a passion project that is managed by a small group of people who love the Halloween season and want to share it with you. Sir Henry’s is celebrating its 10th season of horror.
They have an assortment of activities to enjoy from frightful to challenging to whimsical.
For the fear-seekers they have 3 terrifying haunted trails: Moonlight Massacre. Tales of the Dead. Wicked Waters.
The plot of Moonlight Massacre is that a sheep farmer who was failing to make ends meat(see what I did there?) was promised by the disguised witch Beatrice an endless fortune. He agreed but then when the first full moon came, he was transformed into a wolf who went mad and started killing his own family and then the town.
This house had some great moments in it and it really felt like you were moving from Thomas’ house and then into the town. There were various house set pieces, a church, cemetery, a town’s center, and so much more. There were some very good scares in this house and I loved that the actors really made the story come to life as you progressed through the house.
The house of Wicked Waters tells the tale of Griselda as she haunts a swamp on the outskirts of a town. Griselda eventually finds a staff and performs a secret ritual to reawaken Beatrice who immediately raises all of the dead in the swamp who wreak havoc on the town.
Wicked Waters was probably the darkest of all 3 houses and it was a mix of enjoyable and just hard to see. I do think with it being so dark, they were able to scare me a little more in this house than in some of the others. There was a very intricate swamp scene that felt like you were moving around the edge of a harbor. Some of the scare actors in this house were able to hide in places you normally wouldn’t expect them to be which was a nice surprise!
Tales of the dead, tells the story of the tragedy of Sir Henry. The house once hosted Sir Henry and his wife(who was brutally killed). Now a days there is a legend that Sir Henry comes back to life to haunt the house every Halloween while hunting for his wife’s killer. You best not be caught by Sir Henry with blood on your hands, or he might think you killed his wife!
Tales of the Dead really was a beautifully designed maze that made it feel like you were traveling through a large mansion. You really got to see each of the rooms that you would expect to see in a huge house (servants kitchen, dining room, bedrooms, coatroom, etc). They had some great moments of distracting you so another scare actor could scare the living shit out of you in this house!
Even for the seasoned maze-goer these haunts have more than a few unexpected surprises. These haunted trails are impressive, especially given that the budget is so much smaller than the big parks, and yet they hold their ground and are just as good if not better. The artistry in the design and scare tactics are top tier.
Sir Henry’s even has their own cast of characters that have their stories told through the trails and in a book series trilogy available on Amazon, starting with Sir Henry’s Haunted Tales. The book series is a great way to delve in deeper to the characters that you’ll come face-to-face with. The series is available on Amazon, the author’s name is Amanda Rosenblatt. A portion of the proceeds go to Give Kids the World!
This year marks a new offering of: Legends of Halloween Haunted Hayride. To enjoy this attraction, make sure to get the All Access or VIP ticket option. You won’t want to miss this. Nothing quite feels like Fall as sitting on a stack of hay being guided through a gory, erm I mean quaint village and the perilous – I mean peaceful- woods. The hayride is about 15-20 minutes long, if you survive the journey of course.
If you’re up for a little bit of a challenge, there are two short escape games. Poppy’s Playhouse and Final Voyage. These are an especially great option of you’ve been curious about escape rooms but have never gotten the chance to try one out. Tickets for the escape games can be purchased on-site for $5 a person.
Perhaps one of the cheesiest, yet in my opinion one of the most amusing, unique offerings they have is axe throwing. Now don’t be alarmed, it is perfectly safe (even for youngsters) as it’s all plastic and foam. You get 9 throws for $5. It’s a great game that stays with the horror theme and makes for a fun little competition to see who strikes the bullseye best (and remember to not tick off that person in the future lest they turn their aim to a different target).
During the night you may find yourself a little parched or vigorously famished. Sir Henry’s has two locations for refreshments in their Food Court. One option is a fan-favourite: Smitty’s Original Hand-Dipped Buttermilk Corndogs. Get yourself a corndog a soda and watch the characters roam the town square. There’s also a shack-style stand, Sir Henry’s Spooky Eats, that has a wide variety of snacks and drinks. This year features 2 signature drinks that each come with a separate souvenir cup: an apple cider float or butterbeer (all non-alcoholic).
Another thing that sets Sir Henry’s apart from the rest is that when you come out for a frightening good time you are also helping out others. Sir Henry’s Haunted Trail benefits Folds of Honor. If you don’t know Folds of Honor provides scholarships to the spouses and children of America’s fallen or disabled military and to the families of first responders. When a copy from the book series is purchased a portion of proceeds is donated to Give Kids The World. They are a non-profit organization that gives critically ill children and their families cost-free wish vacations – a break from hospital visits and medical procedures to enjoy some magical family time with lasting memories.
Admission for the event is purchasable only online at SirHenryshauntedTrail.com and are time-slotted so as to help stagger out any crowds. If you’d like to maximize your time then don’t delay as time slots, and events dates, do sell out. Admission cost varies based on type of ticket chosen but starts at $27. The event is held on Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s through November 4th 2023.
Don’t delay in booking your visit, the biggest scare would be missing out.