Scare Fair tickets start at $30 without any discounts. Upon arriving, we didnít see anyone paying full price. Scare Fair has partnered with many online deal sites to offer half-priced admission and it seemed that everyone in attendance had purchased one version or another. This wasnít surprising, as the entrance just south of the airport on Sunset wasnít lit very well and isnít likely to attract drive-by traffic.
Reaching the ticket booth, we were a bit let down. We were expecting a little bit more fair from the Scare Fair. When we think fair, we think corn dogs, caramel apples, and crooked carnies. In the outdoor portion of the event, there was little to do aside for the main attractions. A caricature booth and a psychic were about the extent of the offerings. Also disappointing was the Terror Track. Billed as a haunted go-kart attraction, the only sign of Halloween we found was a string of fake cobwebs along a fence. Inside, things were livelier as Naomi Grossman signed autographs and posed for photos with American Horror Story fans. A few steps away, another crowd gathered around The Last Ride, a claustrophobia-inducing simulator that recreates the experience of being buried alive.
Scare Fair boasts that you will only have to wait in line one time before going through both of their haunted houses. They accomplish this by having the exit of the first feed directly into the start of the second. Itís a nice idea, but weíre not so sure that it saves any time. Scare Fair arranges visitors into small groups -- in our case, four -- to navigate the houses. If youíre familiar with other haunted attractions, youíll notice that this is a unique approach. Most haunts utilize a continuous, slow-moving conga line through their houses. This allows for higher capacities, but at the expense of show quality. Youíre not going to be scared by a monster jumping out at you if you just saw him get the guy three places ahead of you in the line. Scare Fair holds the line until things are clear before sending you through. The result is a much more interactive and personalized experience. The monsters, freaks, and zombies not only pop out and scare you, but follow you around.
While waiting in the fifteen-minute line, we watched the antics of a couple costumed characters. An evil looking clown scared small children while a guy in military gear and a gas mask did his best to rock out on electric guitar, ignoring his underpowered sound equipment. The entertainment was welcomed, but we would have liked more. Louder sound, some fog, and a bit of liquid courage would help set the mood for the scares ahead.
The next two paragraphs contain details regarding the haunted houses. Skip past them if you donít want to spoil any surprises. Just start reading again after the second image below.
The first house, Coulrophobia, is a Halloween staple. Who isnít afraid of clowns? Add 3D glasses and effects to the mix and youíve got a carnival of chaos. Unfortunately, this house didnít live up to the hype. It was fun while it lasted, but just as we turned a corner expecting an offer for free windowsill painting, we instead found the end. At first, we thought we had accidentally stumbled through an emergency exit door. That wasnít the case. We had traversed the entire maze in about a minute. As we removed our 3D glasses, we moved on to Nightmares, the remaining house. At least we didnít have to wait in line again.
Nightmares was a huge improvement as it was much longer and contained larger sets. Unlike the single theme clown maze, each room here had a different nightmare-based theme. A shrieking host at a dinner party from hell, a classic Frankenstein scene, and a chainsaw-wielding maniac hidden somewhere in a dark room full of smoke were some of the most memorable. Our favorite was navigating through a sea of body bags hanging from the ceiling. Just as we were trying to guess which of the suspended moving corpses was real, a surprise came out of nowhere to make us all jump. Most frightening was the very creepy, all black creature that wouldn't leave us alone.
Scare Fairís houses work well because of the actors. Weíve been to haunted houses where the monsters within are lazy, leaning out for a quick scare or giving a less than enthusiastic scream. The performers at Scare Fair were giving it everything they had, and they made the event a lot of fun. The personalized attention you get by going through in a small group allows Nightmares to compete with bigger budget houses that contain larger and more elaborate sets. Everyone exited (most sprinted) either laughing or screaming; thatís the sign of a good haunted house.
While Scare Fair isnít without its flaws, itís a lot of fun. With lower prices and shorter lines, the event is a welcome replacement for the recently shuttered Goretorium. This season, weíve also seen The Screamont Experiment and Dr. Havock's Sideshow Curiosities fail to return, proving that haunted attractions often donít last. We hope to see Scare Fair return next year and itís worth checking out now just in case it doesnít.
Sin City Scare Fair is open nightly from Thursday, October 24 through Halloween. For more information, visit www.sincityscarefair.com.
Editor's Note: VegasChatter received complimentary admission to this event, but our opinions, as always, remain our own.