5501 Park Place, Rosemont, IL
Screams in the Park is one of those haunts that we hesitated to go to, simply because right out of the gate the hype machine was in full force. That, coupled with the price of admission that was on the high end ($20 during their first year of operation), we were not sure if it would be worth it. However, we went anyway and were more than pleasantly surprised, and Screams in the Park quickly became one of our "must do" haunts in the years since our initial visit.
This year, however, Screams in the Park merged with Disturbia, which was one of our least favorite haunts ever (see our review here). We were quite concerned that the Disturbia inclusion would lower the quality of the haunt. Thankfully, although one of our least favorite parts of Disturbia (the metal cage maze) was included, most of it was Screams in the Park, and everything we loved about it was still there.
Screams in the Park caters to those haunt fans that like expansive sets rather than claustrophobic spaces. It has a broad layout, so there is plenty of room for large set pieces, and there are many to speak of. One of our favorites was a full sized crypt scene, featuring multiple coffins and stone sarcophagi, as well as some live actors. Also notable (and a feature each year) is a large swamp/forest cemetery, complete with real trees and real dirt on the ground - it's fun just walking through the scene, regardless of whether or not there are actors.
And speaking of actors, there are plenty inside, and most do attempt to give you a good scare. There are many tricks of lighting and smoke that obscure your vision, making you a prime target for actors to jump out at, and they do so to good effect.
For those looking for a fun, almost cinematic experience that is reminiscent of an amusement park attraction, Screams in the Park is the haunt for you. The only drawback is that the price has gone up but the length of the haunt has not. It has remained at 20 minutes while the price for general admission is now $25, and probably will be higher in 2015. It would be nice to see some more scenes added to stretch out the total length.