Geeks a Gogo went on a zombie shoot just in time for Halloween this year. We stopped by Siegel's Cottonwood Farm in Lockport, IL to see their yearly Halloween festivities. Through late September and up to around Halloween, the farm-based attraction has some fun events for the holiday. This includes the notoriously scary Statesville Haunted Prison and the amazing zombie paintball ride. Due to the crowds and cold weather on the last weekend before Halloween, we decided to skip the prison (we'll try to revisit this in an article next year), but we had a blast shooting zombies with glow-in-the-dark paint balls.
Here's what to expect when you go:
The farm can be crowded during the season, since it offers some of the best Halloween attractions in the area. Be sure to get in the right line--which can depend on whether you bought your ticket online or if you're purchasing one at the site. We purchased our tickets online, and
made sure we were in the online ticket line. The line was outside the gates, but after a bit, we were ushered through and put in line to get into the barn where they cashed out the barcode that we were emailed through our online order for printed tickets. After that, we exited to the waiting area--a spot with tables lined with hay-bale benches where we sat and sipped beer and wine as we waited for the shuttle to come and pick us up.
Once the shuttle arrived, we hopped on and were carried past some buildings and a hanging zombified corpse to the entry area for the ride. The place was decked-out with some old army trucks and beaten-up buildings. There, you'll want to spend a few bucks to buy a ticket for extra paintballs to use during the shoot. We bought about 50 each, though you may want to buy upwards of 100, depending on how trigger-happy you are. We then got in line to get on the truck and go shooting. The decor was fun and very appropriate for a post-apocalyptic zombie-
infested world. Before boarding the truck, our guide came by and brought us into a small room where we saw a video presentation on a new miracle agricultural method that processes contaminated toxic soil so that it can be used to grow crops. What could possibly go wrong?!
Well, as you might have guessed, this led to a zombie infestation, and the presentation was cut short when we had to run off to an old army truck, fitted with paintball guns to escape the zombie hoards. Each of us started with 100 paintballs, and we visited 3 or 4 sites infested with zombies. The truck is fitted with blacklights that light up the paint and make it easy to see when you've hit your target. And the targets are live--they're actual moving zombies, and they can be hard to hit. It seems that most people go through their 100 paintballs pretty quickly, so be aware. If you purchased extras, you'll be asked for your ticket after the first or 2nd stop and given more. You might want to aim carefully and take a few targeted shots so that you actually get to hit the target and don't run out too early.
The ride lasts about 15-20 minutes, not including the build-up at the beginning which adds another 5-10 minutes. And we had a blast. It's not a bad value if you want to get a taste of paintball without spending the time and money of making a day of it. And it's especially worth it if you like hunting zombies.