Lose Yourself In The Whimsical Horror Of Michigan’s Rotten Manor Halloween Haunt

Rotten Manor isn’t what you’d expect from a haunted attraction; it’s so much more than that. You’ll want to clear your schedules for this one, because once it lures you onto its grounds, you won’t want to leave.

Pulling up to Rotten Manor, you’re met with a breathtaking view of the place, lit by colored spotlights, looking dilapidated yet beautiful. After buying your tickets at a old chapel turned ticket booth with a hearse parked in front of it, you step into another world… a world of whimsical horror.

Once on the grounds, you’ll find yourself in a carnival that seems to be run by escapees from a nearby insane asylum. Psychotic clowns wander through the crowds, taunting guests and creating a fun atmosphere. Fire dancers from Blue Crow Talent put on dazzling displays while in full costume. There are even actual carnival attractions, such as mirror maze, carnival games, a 3-D vortex to walk through and more. Rotten Manor could almost pass as your every day carnival, but on a small scale. That’s only if you don’t notice the ominous backdrop of the massive, weather-beaten manor looming over you like it’s daring you to enter. There’s also the carnies, who have something just a little bit… off about them.

Rotten Manor has two haunts: a forest trail and the manor itself. As with any good haunt, there will be lines, and they will be long. But there is enough entertainment on the grounds itself to where we never felt bored. There are ticket upgrade options to help avoid the lines as well.

First, we took the trail. We were immediately impressed. I don’t want to get into too much detail and spoil anything, but let me just say that you are greeted with a beautiful, yet grotesque, view as soon as you begin. In fact, “beautiful, yet grotesque” describes the entire walkthrough. You will come across several structures along the trail, as well as top notch characters brought to life in equal parts by great actors and fantastic costumes and makeup. It’s a beautiful marriage of whimsy and horror. You’ll visit fairy tale locations, as well as rundown shacks and human/animal hybrids. You’ll even get a glimpse of the asylum they escaped from. The only downside to haunts like this is that you can’t take the time to just stand there and take it all in as much as you’d like, due to the fact that there are other groups somewhere behind you who may catch up.

The trail was a lot longer than expected. It took around 45 minutes to walk through, and there wasn’t a moment of downtime. If we could have, we would have spent twice the amount of time in there just to take in the sights. I won’t say how, but near the end, we experienced a sensory deprivation unlike anything any of us have come across before.

Rotten Manor the building was next. This walkthrough was around 35 minutes and was equally well put together. The house kept the same marriage of whimsy and horror. You’ll have to find your way through secret passages while being tormented by more top notch characters, and go through even more sensory deprivation. However, this is in no way just a wash and repeat of the forest. Despite keeping that beautifully terrifying whimsy, it does have a different atmosphere than the forest. They feel connected, yet different enough to where there are plenty of new and unexpected surprises.

Rotten Manor, located in Holly, Michigan, isn’t a haunt to lump in with other haunts on a night’s road trip. Instead, it’s one you want to clear your schedule for. There’s so much to do, and you won’t want to rush through it to try and keep a schedule. You’ll want to take it in and enjoy it. It feels much closer to a festival than a haunted attraction, and I can’t imagine what it will be like as it grows through the years. They also have an event coming up called A Bloody Christmas, so if you’re too busy to trek down to Holly this fall, you can give yourself a bloody Yule scare this Christmas. Rotten Manor is not a haunt to miss, and it’s worth traveling for.


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