With the spooking season upon us –are we the only ones flabbergasted that it's already mid-October?– you've probably already found haunted houses large and small popping up not just around your neighborhood, but everywhere you go. Some of them might be quite good, most are probably pretty lame, but none will give you such a full experience as the haunted wonderland that lies in the farmlands of Armada.
Blake's isn't one of those dime a dozen apple orchards that puts together a crumby, not-so-scary "haunted" attraction just to draw up the crowds. No, no, the folks here aren't just masters in cider and donut making (although, we must say, their skills are quite refined in those areas as well), but they've managed to put together one of the best haunted play lands around.
And when we say play land, we really mean it. Not only do they have a three-story haunted barn that is really quite terrifying, but they've got enough to keep even the wimpiest of scaredy cats happily entertained in true Halloween style.
Attracting thousands of patrons every weekend, Blakes' month-long celebration of the spooking season is rivaled by few. And although they've got plenty of wholesome daytime activities like apple and pumpkin picking, donut eating and cider sipping, the realm in which they've really been shining in for quite a few years now is much more dark.
This place doesn't just rest on its laurels as one of the biggest and best spooky attractions around either, each and every year they seem to be adding something new and this October is no different.
"We just added a zombie paintball hayride," says owner Paul Blake. "We have guns mounted on the wagon and people can shoot the zombies in the haunted orchard."
The only place in Michigan to offer this ridiculously fun addition to the season's festivities, Blake says the hayride's been a pretty big hit, and we're pretty sure we can see why. With up to 20 zombies populating the orchard at any given time, plus plenty of targets to practice on as well, it's a time young and old alike really seem to enjoy.
"We've had every age from 5-year-olds to 80-year-old go on it and love it," says Blake. "It's really well supervised, we have a lot of fun."
Also new to the line-up is something a bit less spooky, but entirely and ridiculously fun. "We have these new giant jumping pillows," says Blake. " We have one for kids and one for adults. They're both 40-foot by 60-foot and they've been a huge, huge hit."
In addition to those attractions – like you'd need anything else to get you out to this Armada orchard – there are plenty more Halloween-inspired enticing attractions to fill your time.
Featuring Spooky Land, a suitable-for-all-ages collection of attractions that includes a straw mountain, fortune tellers and a petting farm, you'll also find a funhouse complete with a tunnel of terror and a black hole that's larger than that aforementioned 3-story haunted barn. Add to that mix a full concession stand, a live DJ and a giant projector screen that places spooky spectacles all evening as well as haunted hayrides and you've got yourself a Halloween-themed evening that will leave you anything but wanting.
Though all these activities take place at Blake's Big Apple Orchard, you'll find Halloween-themed activates at their cider mill as well. You can roll out on an evening wagon ride starting at 7 p.m. and enjoy a bonfire complete with all the cider and donuts your belly can hold.
With nearly unparallel endeavors in the spooky and scary as well as plenty of daytime activities as well (we know you're still thinking about those donuts) there's no reason not to take the whole family and enjoy the Halloween season before it's gone. Happy Haunting! | RDW