Images by © Stephen Candy Photography

On October 23rd I decided to do a bit of soul-searching, and where better than Tulleys Farm during Shocktober Fest, to do so? Anticipating the worst, I set off to Crawley with 3 BN1 friends in tow. We soon found ourselves manoeuvring through shadowy meandering lanes towards our death-stination; joking all the while about the Jeepers Creepers style monsters preparing to jump out of the bushes and slay us; ironically, before we’d even had the chance to be scared to death. I went so far as to notify Facebook of my preferred funeral requirements, just in case (f.y.i. I want to be made into a diamond ring).

Upon entering the deepest pits of hell we received a passport to our paranormal destinations. Passes ranged from mere Street Theatre access, to the all singing all dancing V.I.P pass; comprising of queue jump and unlimited access to attractions. We ambled into the heart of the farm, surrounded by frightfully good food stalls and terrifying fun fair rides. It was there that we were greeted by a satanic spawn of the undead; consisting of nocturnal nurses, severed soldiers, and a fearsome looking Frankenstein. Swiftly shirking our entourage, we headed towards the Haunted House; the final, and perhaps tamest, of the 6 attractions. You don’t want to be so spooked that you cannot phish in your pockets for souvenir money, after all! (The Haunted House tour ends in a Shocktober Fest gift shop that would satisfy any ghoul’s needs!) This scare attack-tion is most suited to little devils or those who scare easily!

Next on our itinerary was the ‘Horrorwood Haunted Hayride’, which took place on the back of a tractor in a wooden cart fit to carry around 20 people. This experience could best be described as an interactive sight-seeing tour of the supernatural and possessed; with firebomb explosions, ear-shattering sounds and spooky installations. Perhaps the most petrifying incident occurred when a chainsaw wielding phantom hopped on board and attempted to slice the entirety of the cart in half. I give this a medium to high spook factor!

The star attraction of the night was in fact the most recent 2014 addition to the month-long scare experience: ‘The Tunnel’. Perhaps it was because I was the leader of my group that I was severely unnerved, but ‘The Tunnel’ was a truly intense test of strength and courage. With a scare around every corner of the narrow maze-like structure, it was a mean feat not to curl up and cry in one of its various crooks and crannies. This particular site was also the dingiest of its ilk, with pitch-black passageways forcing visitors to get tactile and feel around the walls in order to escape. In the murkiness and gloom of these passages one’s imagination begins to work in overdrive; with the expectation of the unseen being one of the most distressing elements. I rate this site as heart-attack-inducing on the spook-scale.

Other attractions include ‘The Cellar’, ‘Twisted Shock ‘N Roll’ and ‘Hellements Inferno’, which are infested with cannibals, clowns and demons, respectively. All aptly named ‘Haunts’ come with a safety warning beforehand and are especially not recommended for those who scare easily, so beware if you’re of a nervous disposition! If you’re a dare devil, you can also take part in ‘Zombie Paintballing’, or the ‘Runaway Train Simulator’! And for those who feel like a good boogie there’s even a stage set-up showcasing the chilling tunes of Rock n Roll cover bands, all night long.

Perhaps the best thing about the UK’s no. 1 Halloween Attraction (for 6 years running) is the fact that groups can roam freely from course to course and are not time-restricted. Similar to that of a theme-park format, parties can turn up as and when they please, and can disregard the recommended route between ‘Haunts’ in favour of finding their own path. At BN1, we personally feel that working up from tame to terrifying is the best way to do it – but that’s just us!

Shocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm runs between 6pm-12am, from Oct 4 – Nov 2 every year, and always ends with a bang- quite literally! A triumphant fireworks party takes place onsite on the very last night of every year. So, if you and your friends are searching for an all-enveloping, spine-tingling and panic-provoking event that you won’t forget in a hurry, then we here at BN1 Magazine cannot recommend Shocktober Fest at Tulleys Farm enough!

By Louise Linehan