Review: The “trilogy of terror” did not disappoint!
Arasapha Farm, located in Glen Mills Pennsylvania, is a true working farm that has been in the Bates family since 1952. The lovely farm house overlooking approximately 80 acres next to Middletown Rd (Rt 352) has a corner stone dating back to 1816. The name “Arasapha” is derived from Mrs. Bates great grandfather Abraham Blakeley’s fabric mills which produced Arasapha Farm, located in Glen Mills Pennsylvania, is a true working farm that has been in the Bates family since 1952. The lovely farm house overlooking approximately 80 acres next to Middletown Rd (Rt 352) has a corner stone dating back to 1816. The name “Arasapha” is derived from Mrs. Bates great grandfather Abraham Blakeley’s fabric mills which produced cloth of stripes, denim and ticking from the mid 1800’s to the 1940’s in Chester, Pennsylvania.
During the month of October, this quaint little farm is transformed into the wildly popular haunted attraction known as “The Bates Motel.” This destination boasts a spooky hayride, a creepy corn field maze, and of course the haunted hotel. These make up what ABC News referred to as a “Trilogy if Terror” in their 2011 online article highlighting the now famous farm.
This popular haunt (pun intended) has been nationally recognized and publicized for its huge seasonal audiences (estimated to be between 75,000-100,000 each halloweekend during the month of October,) fantastic props, costumes, and special effects, and well trained actors.
I was fortunate enough to attend their event on none other than All Hallows’ Eve this year, and like every other year I have attended, they did not disappoint.
I consider myself to be what you would call a “Halloween junkie.” Every fall I make it my personal mission to attend as many haunted events, attractions, festivals, etc. as humanly possible. Unfortunately, due to many personal engagements and commitments this October(most of them being the weddings of friends and family members, including one where I was on bridesmaid duty,) I was not able to hit up nearly as many as I would have liked to. I was able to visit Fright Factory in South Philly earlier in the month however, and that did not disappoint either.
As being a frequent attendee of these types of attractions I do consider myself to be a Haunted house and hayride aficionado. I’ve done all 13 haunts on 13haunts.com and then some. Most range from “here are some cute high school drama club kids in really bad party city makeup trying to earn a couple bucks” to “holy Steven Spielberg, these effects kick ass!” I would definitely say Bates Motel is closer to the latter of those two for sure.
What I always appreciate about Bates Motel is that you can tell they put thought into updating their attractions every year. Every time I return I see new and exciting set pieces, even better props and costumes with more intricate detail, and a nod to current pop culture (stranger things, anyone?) as well as references to classic horror films.
Don’t get me wrong I love all these, the good, the bad, the really bad, because to me they are all fun regardless. However, there is something to be said for a farm and whatever company(s) are involved in the huge undertaking of putting something like this together, where it feels more like visit to a Disney theme park, than a regular ol’ cornfield someone stuck some Halloween decorations in.
It was great to see the addition of the giant cave set that was part of the hayride. With working waterfalls, animatronic dinosaurs and monsters, a decent sound system, this part of the ride was the real “ooh” and “ahh” moment for me.
As someone who has been involved in theater my entire life, I can also appreciate the time and attention to detail it takes to dress a set that large, and to actually make the props look realistic and life like. The corn maze is where this aspect of the night really shines for me. Being able to walk thru at our own pace, I was able to really take time to look at items closely and appreciate all the fake blood, guts, and body parts in all their glory.
It is also great to see how the Motel has changed over the years and yet still manages to create a sense of nostalgia for me. I remember going into that building with groups of friends in high school, college and work friends, and now as an adult. The actors, make up, and costumes also seem to get better every season. Again, whoever is working on this behind the scenes, I applaud you, because everyone looked like they could have easily been extras on the set of The Walking Dead. I don’t know who your idols are, but you’ve done Greg Nicotero proud.
Though the trilogy of terror is done for the year, I strongly recommend putting this place on your fall favorites bucket list for next years. I know I will be back again, both to see what new and exciting things they have planned, and also to continue to relive the glory days of my youth.
Tips: bring cash- concessions are cash or a $10 minimum. There are also some photo ops you can purchase as well. Go on a week night when the crowds are smaller, and spring for the VIP (RIP? muahaha) pass, it’s worth it to skip the lines!
1835 Middletown Rd, Glen Mills, PA 19342
Check out all Arasapha Farms has to offer with their seasonal events.