It never ceases to amaze me what random things you can find on Facebook. I happened across a post in a local group about a one night only adults only scare event a very short drive away from me in rural Lincolnshire. Whilst I love the large scale, big budget events that we have all around the UK, I always have a certain fondness for the smaller events that also take place, but perhaps fly under the radar a bit. Finding out about one so close was right up my street.

Red House Farm in Waddingworth run a number of seasonal events, including a maize maze, pick your own pumpkins and one each for Easter and Christmas as well as the family run farm. This year they have branched out further offering Scarefest for two nights, one adult only and one for families. Booking was by phone only and handled professionally, including follow up calls when changes due to COVID came up.

The event cost £10 for entry into the scare maze, food and a drink. Pre-restriction this was going to include hot food and alcohol, but had to be changed to non-alcoholic and included the introduction of time slot bookings. Refunds were offered if you didn’t like the changes. COVID precautions for this all-outdoor event were good. Face masks needed to be worn in the Kettle and Cake café area and around the firepits. Hand sanitiser and NHS QR code check-in on arrival, plus everyone I encountered in the maze were wearing masks. At check in at the fair-weather café you also have a number of rules to read.

I was in one of the earlier groups, so once darkness had properly descended, I was instructed to proceed to the entrance leaving a good amount of time after the three groups ahead of me had gone through. The personal nature of the batching whilst warming around one of the firepits was a nice touch, especially after hearing some of the scares from a distance.

The main part of this event was inside the venue’s seasonal maize maze, but this time in almost complete darkness. You are advised to bring your own torch, which I did, but was hesitant to use, preferring to soak up the creepy atmosphere of the maze in the dark. Personally, I didn’t use it until I was ready to leave the maze, but I did see other groups lights as I was moving around and occasionally inadvertently scaring them as we briefly crossed paths.

In darkness the maize maze was suitably creepy and the occasions when I did meet the denizens of the maze impactful. Some effects worked better than others depending on your distance from other groups. There were some nice bits of theming in key parts of the maze and the use of the familiar to me, bird scarers was a nice touch. The lack of any ambient noise or soundtrack worked well in cranking tension as it was easy to hear other groups screams seemingly close by, but given the nature of the free-roaming maze a fair walk away. A particular personal highlight was the creepy clown girl who got me good on multiple occasions.

One of the instructions before you start was to get a word from each of the creeps you met through the maze and eventually rearrange the words in to a phrase, I managed this, but it didn’t seem to have any appreciable payoff. The actors did a good job of revealing the words in their own unique style. Once I had the phrase, I wasn’t sure what to do next and decided to leave the maze, some 40 minutes after entering through the only way I knew, the entrance. Despite entering fourth, I think I was the first to exit the maze, leaving the groups before me in the maze. Some fresh blood was entering as I left, and as I went to get my very tasty sausage roll and pumpkin muffin, the pre-entry area around the firepits was nice and lively.

Scarefest at Waddingworth was a nicely enjoyable event. As much as I hate comparisons it’s fair to say this isn’t a large, long running event like we usually review. It’s in its first year and from what I experienced I’d love to see it return, ideally with a few easy tweaks and changes that could massively improve the experience.

Kudos to all of the team involved in putting this altogether at Red House Farm, Waddingworth. A thoroughly charming, well run, smaller scale Halloween scare event that I hope returns and continues to go from strength to strength over forthcoming years.

Author: Steven