The New and Improved Haunted Isle: Is the Scare Still There

Photo Credit: Gianna Appi

Every year, September through October, the East Haven Trolley Museum holds an event called The Haunted Isle. The Haunted Isle is a spooky, outdoor trail, located in the woods, said to scare anyone who dares to enter. It’s filled with twenty different scenes, each containing actors and actresses in costume and makeup. This year, the Isle has a new owner, Mr. Kevin Lowenadler. The Isle was on the verge of closing when Mr. Lowenadler took the reins. Mr. Lowenadler’s reason for taking over the attraction is that he “[W]ants to see it continue; all of these kids have experience here. It gives them something to look forward to every year.” The Haunted Isle gets roughly 300 customers per night. Express tickets are limited and are sold nightly for $22 each. General Admission tickets are $13 online and $15 at the door. The Haunted Isle opens from September 27th to October 26th on weekends only.

Photo Credit: Gianna Appi

When I first arrived at the Isle, the line was fairly long, but everyone was excited to enter. Every night, the actors have a grand opening walk out of the castle to hype up the customers. When it was my group’s turn to enter, a friendly clown explained what the rules and expectations were. When we first walked into the castle, we heard loud screams and banging. We reached the Freddy Krueger Orphanage Scene, and one of the orphans wouldn’t let us pass. She told us that, “He’s coming,” and, “He can’t wait to see you.” This freaked out my group. As we continued walking, we reached the Decontamination Chambers. The lighting was neon and fluorescent. There were two soldiers leading the way through the toxic spills everywhere. We were brought to safety as we continued on our way to the next scene.

We opened the door to the next scene and saw a Purge member holding her knife ready to attack. We had to pass by her slowly to make sure she wouldn’t charge at us. We were about to leave the Purge scene when a man opened the door with a loud chainsaw, chasing us throughout the rest of the scenes. We made it towards the end and entered the Candy scene. It smelled like Starbursts and other candies. The scene was also dark but filled with bright candies painted on the walls. We thought the room was empty, but suddenly, the Candy Lady emerged and yelled, “Want some candy?” We jumped with fright and made our way out of the scene as quickly as possible.

The scene I enjoyed most was the Asylum. The acting performance was spot on, and it felt as if we were in a real sanitarium. However, some of the scenes didn’t have any actors. It was disappointing; I was hoping for scares after scares. The graveyard scene was another one of my favorites. It was really scary to watch as zombies were hanging out of the graves reaching to grab us. One scene everyone gets excited for each year is called “The Dark Room.” The Dark Room is a pitch black scene where we had to find our way out by just feeling our surroundings. This year, they changed up the scene and added neon lights. I was disappointed when I found out the room was no longer pitch black. It didn’t seem scary anymore. However, through the very end, all of the actors ensured that my experience was full of fright.

The other customers at the event had a very interesting point of view of the Isle. Attendee, Amanda Bartlet, thought that, “The clowns were pretty good. I liked the smells in the candy scene. The hospital [scene] did a really good job.” Although she had an overall good experience, Amanda mentioned that, “It was congested; the group in the front and the group in the back were right on each other.” Amanda said she would rate the Isle a 3.5 out of 5. Another customer, Lynn Richfield, had similar thoughts. Lynn claimed that, “The customers should’ve been spaced out a little more. Maybe the actors could’ve held up the groups more.” Similar to me, Lynn also liked the Asylum/ Hospital scene. She also enjoyed the Decontamination Chamber and found the scene, “visually cool and pleasing.” Lynn said she would rate The Haunted Isle a 4 out of 5.

Overall, The Haunted Isle was very scary; I would rate it a 4 out of 5 because the acting performance was amazing. I’m not one to get easily scared, but I will admit they made me flinch. I think the Isle could improve on the scare factor in regards to the acting, but all in all, they did a very good job. I would recommend going to the Haunted Isle for a good scare, but be cautious with children under the age of 10. It may be too scary for kids, so enter if you dare and be sure to get your tickets quick!

Link to website to buy tickets: