Niles Scream Park announces closure of Haunted Hayride, new attraction to take its place

Published 11:28 am Monday, April 1, 2024

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NILES — Significant changes are coming to one of southwest Michigan’s most popular fall attractions.

The park announced last week that it is closing its Dark Terror-tory Haunted Hayride effective immediately. In a social media post, the Scream Park said the decision was made due to changes in the economic landscape, evolving consumer preferences and unforeseen challenges.

“The decision to close the Dark TERROR-tory Haunted Hayride was not made lightly,” the post stated. “Since 1998, we have cherished the opportunity to serve our community and visitors alike, providing memorable experiences and fostering connections through a unique attraction. We felt it was necessary to provide transparency behind this very difficult decision as well as provide encouragement for your continued support and hope for its possible return in a different capacity in the future.”

The park, which celebrated its 50th season last year, boasts 44-acres filled with frightful sights that are rebuilt each year. The park is recognized both regionally and nationally as a top haunted house, having been recognized by Haunted Attraction Magazine as a “Top 31 Must-See Haunted Attraction.”

According to the Scream Park, the Haunted Hayride was the most expensive attraction to operate safely. The hayride owes its existence to a family who has worked with the park for more than 20 years and the time commitment that is required to operate this attraction is uncertain at this time.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to our loyal patrons, dedicated staff members, and all loyal enthusiasts who have supported this attraction throughout the years,” the post stated. “Your unwavering commitment and enthusiasm have been instrumental in shaping the Dark TERROR-tory Haunted Hayride into what it is today. We are profoundly grateful for the memories shared, friendships (or relationships) forged and the invaluable support received.

While this heart-breaking attraction closure marks the end of a chapter, it provides a beginning to many new opportunities. As we embark on this transition, we remain dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Dark TERROR-tory Haunted Hayride and exploring avenues for its hopeful return in a different capacity in the future.”

The Scream Park also announced that the Wicked Woods, an all-new attraction, will take its place this fall and offered a brief synopsis:

Shrouded in mystery and darkness, a secluded society dwells amidst the dense foliage and towering trees ruled by a tyrannical force of power with no bounds. The fragile balance of power is disturbed by those who enter from modern civilization and threatens to unleash unspeakable horrors upon the world. Those who enter must confront the darkness that lurks and the evil residing in the hearts of the inhabitants. Easily lost and condemned to wander forever, welcome to the Wicked Woods!”

The opening of the Wicked Woods is one of several phases that will commence over the next several years. 

“This new era will welcome opportunities to expand our Midway to accommodate our growth and provide additional memorable experiences at the Park. We remain committed to providing transparency and upholding our business model to provide you with never-ending change so that you have something new to look forward to year-after-year during your annual venture to the Niles Scream Park.”