Last week I attended the VIP opening of Tulley Farm's 'Shocktober Fest' Scream Park in Crawley. Every year, I love to get in the Halloween spirit by doing a haunted house live action maze. I've been doing them since I was young with my family who are totally and utterly scare proof, and despite my lack of courage and 'scaredy-cat' tendencies, I somehow can't stop going to them.

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There was absolutely no way I was going alone, however. I rounded up four friends as allies on Friday night (including Letters to Stateside author Lindsay) and we made our way up to Three Bridges on the train. We didn't know what to expect, and we were speculating all kinds of horrible things. Upon arrival, a van drove us 10 minutes into dark plush forests, farms and fog until we arrived at Tulley Farms. We were greeted by two massive flaming skull pillars and a gaggle of ushers directing us to the VIP lounge area.

Here, we feasted on snacks and 'punch' (mulled wine) while actors weaved through the crowd to get us in the spirit. After a few glasses of punch to ease the nerves, we decided to head out to the scream park. Our VIP wristbands meant we were allowed to cut the lines, but I was so scared, I dreaded getting into the houses faster and wished we had lined up so I had time to calm myself down and prepare. Our first visit was the Creepy Cottage. We pushed Lindsay to lead the group (as I mentioned, my family are scare proof, and she's my cousin) to which she happily obliged. As we made our way through the haunted home, actors dressed in tattered nightgowns, masks and spooky makeup jumped out as us from every crevice. At one point, one of my friends even fell over in shock. It was quite funny, but that quickly subsided as we were met with more jumping skeleton props and loud noises.

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From the Creepy Cottage, we also tried Hell-ements, Coven of 13, the Horrorwood Haunted Hayride, The Colony and the Chop Shop. The worst for me was Hell-ements, as they placed an opaque bag over your head while actors made noises in your ears and grabbed you unexpectedly. I liked the Horrorwood Hayride, as the showmanship of the 10 minute ride through the forest was outstanding. Characters popped in and out of the back of the truck to scare you, and there was always amazing props to look at on the path. There was even a lot of fire.

Between the fright, we did fun activities like pumpkin paintballing and 'corn shooting' (sort of like a 'potato gun' but with corn, and a field. It's the simple things). There were fair rides and food stands abound, and we didn't end up leaving until the last trains home. I'd definitely recommend heading to Shocktoberfest for some fearful fun this year!

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