After 31 years, a portal to the Nether Realm has opened at Fright Farm.
Just 20 minutes’ drive from Morgantown, Fright Farm has long been a spooky staple for those who dare to be scared. It all began back in 1990, when Michael Rich got the idea to put the old house on the family’s Smithfield, Pennsylvania, farm to fun and productive use. “We all worked together and picked a theme and put together a haunted house,” Michael’s brother, Tom Rich, recalls.
Three decades later, the little family venture has become a big business, welcoming thousands of guests each Halloween season. “Every year, we change our theme completely,” says Tom Rich, now president of Fright Farm.
This year’s theme, “31 Years,” plays out in an all-outdoor 45-minute tour. From the Hayride of No Return to the Slaughter Grounds and Terror Maze, Fright Farm brings back more than 30 year of monsters and mischief makers who have called the hallowed grounds home. “They’re coming back to play,” says Melody Phillips, Fright Farm’s conceptualizer and show director.
The story goes like this: After 31 years, a portal has opened in The Mansion, leading to the Nether Realm—the dimension housing what nightmares are made of. That allows the evil mad scientist Mastermind to return, along with resident serial killer Rockwell Slayer and Rachel, a demonic little girl possessed by evil spirits. Several new characters have come with them to celebrate the most sinister of holidays with a Halloween feast. The main course? Your screams.
Alongside the ghoulish storytelling, Fright Farm is doing everything it can to keep guests safe, says Rich. In addition to all-outdoor haunts, only a limited number of tickets will be available each night. “Every single person that comes through our gate has to have a mask on,” Rich says, and customers and staff will be temperature-screened upon entry, too. Twelve security guards will patrol, making sure guests follow social distancing protocol, and hand sanitizer stations will be available before every limited-capacity attraction; even the hayride has been redesigned so it can be sanitized. And anyone who’s been to Fright Farm over the past 30 years knows one of the most important rules: You can’t touch the actors, and they can’t touch you.
“In the age of COVID, people need to have fun and a little taste of escapism,” Phillips says. “More than anything, I think that fear through entertainment is incredibly cathartic.”
Fright Farm is open Thursday through Sunday evenings through Halloween night. Purchase your tickets here.