The last time that I visited Dell’Osso Farms during the Halloween season they had just installed the zip lines and added a few new attractions to help bring in more customers to the holiday haunt.
And every year since then I have told myself that I would make it out there to see what new fun things the Dell’Osso Family has come up with to keep people in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and East Bay Area entertained during my favorite time of the year.
It just never worked out that I was able to make it save for a few trips through the Christmas light drive thru, and one afternoon at the ice-skating rink to take pictures.
But on Tuesday, I finally made good on my longstanding goal to make it out to appreciate the Halloween flavor, and I’m so glad that I did.
For one thing, the apple spiced donuts alone were worth the trip. And when my son sees the amazing Superman sugar cookie that will be waiting for him after dinner, that smile will be worth the price of admission (he’s been battling a cold, so keeping him out in the evening air wasn’t necessarily the best idea).
And for another, there are elements of the family-friendly attractions that are absolutely spooktactular – the perfect way to welcome in the spooky season with a few scares that will quickly turn into laughs.
I’d be lying if I said that parts of the haunted house – which was impressive from start-to-finish – didn’t make the hair on my neck stand up on end.
And there were two instances where I’m pretty sure my feet left the ground and I’m taking the fifth on whether I let out a belt in terror – feeling my heart race as I lunged forward and tried to get out of wherever I was as quickly as I could.
“Oh – we have a loner” said the girl in the mask standing with some sort of blunt object that would undoubtedly be used to bludgeon somebody as I walked through the portal and into the main entrance of the haunted castle.
If you ever have the urge to walk through a haunted house by your lonesome, I encourage you not to – it took the group of rowdy twentysomethings one-fifth the amount of time to get halfway through that it took me, and both of the aforementioned jumps came while I was by my lonesome.
The first came when somebody I didn’t see jumped up from behind a wall, and the second came when air blasted me in the face when I was least expecting it.
I screamed, and then I jumped, and then I laughed – it was the most fun that I’ve had in a long, long time.
When I took the time to check-in with Darren Kent, who has been building the haunted castle at Dell’Osso Farms for as long as it has been there, he told me that it wasn’t the only fun scare in store for me – that all I had to do was walk over to The Mystery Ride and scope out the very detailed haunt that would keep the fun going.
And Kent, who has always been a fan of Halloween for as long as he can remember and even hosts a horror-themed show on MyTV 26 out of Modesto, should know a thing or two about what it takes to be scary – the meticulous detail inside of the haunted castle, from the long, meandering walk into the entrance to the dozen makeup-clad people who lay in wait inside, is painstakingly laid out to give those who visit something to remember.
The Mystery Ride also didn’t disappoint, leaving me looking over my shoulder more than once as axe-carrying monsters jumped out from behind cars and set pieces, and appeared out of thin air to give everybody on the tractor-ride a jump that they’ll never forget.
A lot of times these sorts of things require a drive over to the Bay Area or down to Southern California to enjoy, but for more than 20 years the Dell’Osso family has been giving local people a chance to enjoy a local holiday celebration without spending all day in the car. The nearly all-for-one entry price is a steal when you realize just exactly how much there is to do once you get inside, and the jumps, scares, and laughs are priceless when you lay it all out on the scale.
Just don’t go through The Haunted Castle alone.
You can thank me later.
Dell’Osso Family Farms is located at 501 S. Manthey Road in Lathrop and is accessible by taking the Manthey Road Exit off of I-5.
It is open daily through Halloween. Monday through Thursday admission is $14.95 while Friday through Sunday it’s $19.95. Children 2 and under are free. The early bird special Monday through Friday for those entering before 2 p.m. is $12.95. parking is free.
Kids can climb tire mountains, make their way through the largest corn maze in the 209, get their share of scary fun in the haunted caste, ride a train, enjoy a mystery tour, partake in lawn games, walk the plank for a big drop, frolic in the kids’ play zone, go down a Super Slide, participate in an interactive pirate show, watch pig races, race pedal cars, spin on pumpkins, take a hay ride, bounce on pillows and do a wide array of activities included in the general admission.
There are several attractions not included in the general admission. They are zip lines ($10 to $15), gem mining ($6), pony rides ($7), pumpkin painting ($5), and pumpkin blasters ($6).
There is also a food court as well as seasonal gift items for sale.
The Pumpkin Maze is open daily through Thursday, Oct. 31. First entry is at 10 a.m. with the last entry at 8 p.m.
For additional information visit www.dellossofarm.com, or call 209.982.0833.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.