As Halloween approaches nearly every city plays host to a series of haunted houses. But how spooky are they really? These attractions are often staged in abandoned buildings or constructed in parking lots and many feel haphazard at best. Although most of these haunted attractions offer generic scares, there are a few standouts that offer a different twist on Halloween haunted-house entertainment. These creepy haunts are a cut above the rest and have their own twist on some favorite scares. If you’re going to a haunted attraction, make sure one of these seven scares end up on your final destination.
1. Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If you’re looking for a haunted house with a real fear factor, head to Pennsylvania. Once a fully operational prison, the Eastern State Penitentiary is home to one of the largest and scariest Halloween attractions in the country. If the location itself isn’t enough to give you the creeps, they have recently added a feature where you can experience the horror on an interactive level. Guests are given an optional waiver to sign when entering the Penitentiary that allows actors to touch you.
2. The Queen Mary, Long Beach, California
A true classic during anytime of the year, The Queen Mary is one of the spookiest ships you’ll ever board. Apparitions have been appearing for decades, including a sailor who died in the ship’s engine room, a “lady in white,” and children who drowned in the ship’s pool. Although these appearances are not limited to the Halloween season, their Dark Harbor nights are one of their largest and spookiest draws of the year. Step on board this vessel if you dare!
3. Thrillvania Haunted House Park, Dallas, Texas
This terrifying experience will have you winding through a labyrinth populated by creepy clowns, walking a trail haunted by a mad scientist, and entering a ghostly mansion full of spooky surprises. Thrillvania Haunted House Park is a large thrill that offers four different haunted houses in one. But the best part is you’ll get to see attractions both inside and outdoors which makes it a scare worth experiencing.
4. Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Tarrytown, New York
Visiting famous cemeteries in the fall is almost a Halloween staple. Some graveyards, however, offer more thrills than others. Those looking for a bone-chilling cemetery tour, head to New York. Tarrytown, New York is home to the real Sleepy Hollow. There, you’ll find the grave of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving as well as revolutionary war militia. Keeping in the spirit of the legend, the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery hosts evening graveyard tours that are sure to raise some hairs.
5. Rolling Hills Asylum, East Bethany, New York
They’re not kidding about ghosts in this old asylum. Once a home for individuals ranging from the criminally insane to orphaned children, the Rolling Hills Asylum has seen all sorts of tragedies, misdeeds and murders, making it a hotbed for paranormal activity. What makes this different than most haunts is that you can schedule your own private ghost hunting tour. If you’re looking to do away with the corny Halloween theatrics, this is the place for you. The location is spine-tingling enough that they don’t need to overload you with cheap thrills.
6. Shocktoberfest, Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania
Have you ever watched the show Naked and Afraid and thought you could handle it? Well, now brave souls can test themselves at Shocktoberfest’s Naked and Scared Challenge. Taking place at the end of the evening, guests 18 and over can participate in this semi-private haunted house experience. If the ghouls don’t give you chills, going through the Unknown Haunted House in your underwear will! Law officials nixed being able to go through completely naked, but men and women can sign a waiver that let’s them journey through the spooky setting in just their skivvies.
7. The Edge of Hell, Kansas City, Missouri
As America’s oldest commercial haunted house, The Edge of Hell offers thrills that are worth the travel. This five story converted warehouse offers levels of horror that most haunts do not. By entering the building you are opening yourself up to a series of horrors that include live snakes, fogged rooms, and electric shock just to name a few. A haunted house with multiple floors stands out above the rest and since it takes an entire half an hour to complete, it is well worth the price of admission. Oh, and don’t forget, it also ends with a giant slide.
Want to see more spooky getaways and creepy cemeteries? Check out these haunted hotspots:
- Visit Horror Movie Sets
- Travel Deals: Spooky Halloween Getaways
- Cool Cemeteries to Visit for Halloween & Beyond
- Halloween Haunts and Wonderfully Weird Bathrooms
By Darra Stone for PeterGreenberg.com