525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles, IL
KC Scaregrounds was one of the enjoyable surprises of the 2013 season. Operated as a fundraiser for the non-profit Steel Beam Theatre group, KC Scaregrounds features something that no other haunts have - artwork designed by former Disney artist and St. Charles native R.J. Ogren. Not only that, it's also in 3D! We simply had to check it out, and we're glad we did.
Thus, when we were invited for a special pre-opening preview of the 2014 incarnation, we made a point of visiting. We're happy to report that KC Scaregrounds is just as good as last year, and it retains that Disneyesque feel that sets it apart.
Located inside the Kane Country Fairgrounds, KC Scaregrounds offers multiple rooms filled with 3D designs, varied themes, and lots of dedicated actors, all of which is designed to give visitors some unique Halloween entertainment.
Of course the main attraction at KC Scaregrounds is its 3D effects. While many haunts have 3D sections, none are as long or elaborate as KC Scaregrounds. The designs on the walls are eerily effective, causing multiple floating images in front of visitors throughout the entire haunt. Some scenes even have 3D effects built upon other 3D effects, so visitors can see multiple levels of dimensionality as they pass by.
For instance, there is a scene with a werewolf that has a full moon and a tree painted on one of the walls. The moon is easy to spot, but the tree is much more subtle, and it appears that the tree is both behind and in front of the moon, depending on how one views the artwork. Similar techniques abound in other rooms, making the rooms interesting enough even without actors.
But there are also some great actors and scenes as well. All of our favorites from last year remain, including the opening bridge sequence with beckoning ghost at the end, the creepy doll room, the Egyptian tomb setting, the cannibalistic butcher who wonders if he can lend us a "hand", and the rather spooktacular lady who asks visitors, in Spanish, where the dead children are. Why does she ask? Well, you'll just have to find out!
Additionally, there were some other very cool areas, including some excellent 3D rats on the walls accompanied by squeaking and scratching sounds (a nice touch that could possibly be replicated in different ways in other areas), a fantastic clown room with what looks like a funhouse mirror at the far end but which holds a clever surprise, and something we can honestly say we've never seen in any other haunt - a cat themed room with a creepy cat lady and dozens of moving and static Hello Kitty type toys moving and blinking at us from along the walls. It was unsettling and hilarious at the same time!
And perhaps that's how we can sum up our KC Scaregrounds experience - it's FUN! While there are some startle scares, and while we're sure that some younger people might find it a bit frightening, overall KC Scaregrounds is a family-friendly haunt (no gore, no intense in your face scares or actors) that the entire family can enjoy. Kids both young and old will enjoy the cleverly designed walls and sets, as well as the actors, all of whom are dedicated and obviously enjoy what they are doing.
If you're looking for something interesting to do this Halloween season, and you're not interested in going to a traditional haunted house because they are not your thing, give KC Scaregrounds a try. The atmosphere is warm and friendly, the people are dedicated to providing some fun, wholesome entertainment, and the haunt itself is very enjoyable, both as a visual and a haunted house experience. Plus, you'll be supporting a great cause in the form of the Steel Beam Theatre.
So pack the kids in the car (or a lot of friends), and head on out to KC Scaregrounds. Make sure you get there early, though, because the lines get long (as they should), and KC Scaregrounds doesn't offer a VIP skip the line pass (which might be a good idea). You'll love it!