BURRILLVILLE – A Halloween attraction opened last year on a 600-acre farm will return for a second season this Saturday, offering visitors a unique chance to experience frights and thrills on a walk through the Burrillville woods.
Haunted Gallows, a concept brought to town by Jason and Ashley Soares of Warwick, will open Saturday, Sept. 23 at Richardson’s Sawmill.
Jason, who most recently served as manager for another haunted attraction known as Scary Acres in Hope, opened the business last September on the East Ironstone Road farm.
“I’ve been doing haunted houses for 25 years now,” said Soares, who obtained an entertainment license to operate on dates through October this year, as well as select Sundays.
The attraction consists of several features including the, “Boo Patch,” – offering family-friendly walk along a pathway of glowing pumpkins, filled with lighter scares and photo opportunities. Two other elements, “The Dark Fair,” and, “Bathsheba’s Woods,” offer frights geared for teens and adults, with chilling story lines that accompany displays filled with screams and surprises.
“It was pretty cool,” Soares said of his launch for the 2022 Halloween season. “Our guests actually really liked it.
This year, the couple has extended Bathsheba’s Woods an extra 100 feet, and added elements including a 42-foot bounce house, while working to streamline features from the first year.
“The fortunate thing for us is the farm is 600 acres,” Soares said. “The woods are our biggest asset, so we’re going to hold true to a walk through the woods.”
The Gallows begin at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night, with ticket times available through 8:45 p.m. for this year’s opening night, and through 9:45 p.m. for the remainder of the season. The start time was pushed back last year after the crew realized it was not yet dark out at the original 5 p.m. opening. Guests are invited to visit food trucks and enjoy the grounds while they await the main attraction.
Asked what made him want to bring the outdoor scares to Burrillville, Soares said that he has long wanted to open his own haunted house, and things fell into place for this particular location.
“The farm owner here was looking to diversify, so it just happened to be an equal opportunity,” he said, noting that the Richardson’s Sawmill is still a working farm. More than 1,000 visitors found their way to property, which features plenty of space for parking, in the 2022 season. The historic lumberyard also offers various dirt bike, Jeep and other racing events on dates throughout the year.
Behind the scenes, Soares noted that set up for this type of attraction is a lot of work. The business had to hire 15 more people this year, employing 30 actors and at least ten others to keep things operating. He and Ashley, his wife who also co-owns the business, along with friends have been working on the property regularly since January to clear paths and build various features.
“It pretty much takes an army,” he said.
“He’s here all the time,” said Nate Horodysky, a friend and volunteer worker. “I give input and help out where I can.”
Horodysky said he sees many improvements in the attraction from last year.
“It’s a bigger experience,” he said. “It’s streamlined and better all around.”
The weekend events also offer fundraising opportunities to local organizations, where a percent of ticket sales go to the sponsor group. The Burrillville High School girls volleyball team raised money for their program in the Gallows opening year, and Soares said they plan to do so again in 2023.
“It’s a good fundraiser for them,” Soares said.
Tickets for the Haunted Gallows cost $16.66 for opening night and are now on sale at hauntedgallows.com. To learn more, and hear about special events throughout the season, follow them on Facebook here.