For some people, Halloween is all about dressing up as their favorite superhero, passing out candy to little kids, and listening to “Monster Mash” on repeat. But for others, Halloween is the time to make themselves as scared and uncomfortable as possible. They sign safety waivers before entering haunted houses full of horrors that most people can’t even imagine. Inside, they are grabbed, yelled at, groped, and in some cases, held against their will. Surprisingly, there are more of these horror-seekers than you may think. This has led to hundreds of haunted attractions opening up all over the country. See which ones have been ranked as the most horrifying that even some haunted house veterans back out of.
If you have a fear of prisons, don’t visit Terror Behind Walls in Pennsylvania.
The Dent Schoolhouse Was Inspired By Cincinnati’s Dark Past
The Dent Schoolhouse horror attraction is based on the Dent School incident in the 1950s. It is believed that a handful of troublesome children were murdered by the janitor who stored their bodies in the basement of the school. Considered Cincinnati’s scariest haunted house, it has been consistently been ranked as one of the greatest haunted houses in America by Fangoria, HauntedWorld.com, Haunted Attraction Magazine, and America Haunts.
It is a walkthrough tour that exposes visitors to some of the most disturbing and horrifying scenes, only intensified by the fact that it is inspired by true events in Cincinnati’s past.
Bennett’s Curse Is a Must-See Haunted Attraction
Bennett’s Curse is a family owned business in Baltimore, Maryland that has been in operation for the last 18 years. The attraction is highly regarded in the “haunted world” and is one of the most popular haunted house attractions on the East Coast. They are known for their innovation and use of technology such as 3D attractions in order to create the most stimulating and horrifying experiences possible. They consider themselves the trendsetters in the haunted house community, improving every year.
There are six different attractions available for guests ranging from the “Underworld Haunted House” to “Ravenbrook Asylum.” There’s something for everyone and there’s a reason they’re one of “25 Must-See Haunted Attractions” from Haunted Attraction Magazine.
Terror Behind The Walls At Eastern State Penitentiary Isn’t For the Faint of Heart
Terror Behind the Walls is a haunted attraction located at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The prison was once the most famous and expensive in the world. Today, it is abandoned and considered haunted, making it the perfect location for a haunted house. The prison itself has been featured onMost Haunted Live, Ghost Adventures, World’s Scariest Places,and many other shows.
Leading up to Halloween, the prison is turned into a massive haunted house inside of the once very real prison. Terror Behind the Walls offers six attractions inside different cell blocks, all of which are accessible in one admission price.
See why Blackout is no place for somebody afraid of the dark.
Hangman’s House Of Horrors Subjects Guests To An Hour of Torment
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Hangman’s House of Horrors is a haunted attraction with a variety of choices for their guests. Their attractions include Zombie Outbreak, No Place Like Home, and of course, the Hangman’s House of Horrors. No Place Like Home is a 3-D experience, crafted for younger kids or even first timers that don’t want to be scared.
Hangman’s House of Horrors, on the other hand, is a 40,000 square foot, two story, 100-year-old vacant government facility. It is now a haunted walk through that takes over an hour to complete. Only someone truly insane would subject themselves to an hour of this torment.
The 13th Gate Is Full of Terrors
The 13th Gate has been regarded as one of the top haunted houses in the entire country. Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the haunted house takes you through 13 different levels that test your body and mind. It is known for its ultra-realism, using professional artists to do both the props and makeup for the workers, blurring the lines between real and not.
The haunted house is 40,000 square feet, featuring live snakes, and requiring the those who enter to crawl through crematory ovens, cross dark bridges, and come face to face with the horrors inside.
The Haunted Basement Even Smells Like Death
For the past eight years in downtown Minneapolis, Lillian Egner, Mike McGinley, and their crew of artists and volunteers have been hosting the Haunted Basement. The Haunted Basement has multiple rooms, each designed by a specific artist. Open to adults only, the guests are expected to walk, run, crawl, climb, and be covered in gore by the end of it.
While most haunted houses rely on purely visual thrills, the Haunted Basement includes smell, adding a whole new level of fear. They creators have managed to mimic the smell of death as well as other smells to intensify particular rooms. This separates the Haunted Basement from other haunted attractions in the country, giving them a major edge.
Blackout Offers Single Participant Tours
Blackout or Blackout Haunted House is an immersive horror experience that started in New York in 2009 and eventually expanded into Los Angeles. Started by Josh Randall and Kristjan Thor, it was created after the two believed people were having a harder and harder time being scared. So, they created their own. Participants must sign a waiver before entering and once inside, performers may touch the participants.
Participants are asked about their worst fears, and their experience is then catered around their answers. Also, it is a single person tour so the participant is alone at all times, except with their worst fears. Creators Randall and Thor describe it as being more of performance art than a haunted house.
Ever wanted to walk the grounds where a werewolf supposedly lived?
Fright Factory Has Been Scaring People For 20 Years
Beginning in 1998, the Fright Factory haunted attraction is located in Auburn, California and hosted by Industrial Fright, a company with over 20 years of special effects and haunt design. Since its first year open, Fright Factory has won countless awards and has been acclaimed by the media, customers, as well as others working in the industry.
Over the years, Fright Factory has been featured on numerous television and cable shows, including WealthTV, TechTV, CBS, NBC, Fox, and dozens of local and national radio stations. They are best known for their attention to detail as well as their quality of animation and ever-evolving special effects.
Bates Motel And Haunted Hayride Is Full of High-Tech Special Effects
In 2018, the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride will be going on its 28th year of horrifying its participants. Located on Arasapha Farm, outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Bates Motel attraction is considered one of the best haunted houses in the nation full of high tech special effects, digital soundtrack, and terrifying realism. The professional actors interact with you on a personal level, and the animations are top notch. However, what they are best known for is their Haunted Hayride.
It has been rated the No. 1 Haunted Attraction in America by Hauntworld Magazine, USA Today and many other national publications. It is a 25-minute ride packed full of Hollywood style sets, prompts, with dedicated actors whose goal is to make you believe it’s all real.
Thrillvania Has a Dark History
Thrillvania is 30 miles from Dallas, Texas, on the site of the And Verdun Manor. According to legend, the manor was home to a werewolf, Baron Michael Verdun and his vampire wife, Lady Cassandra. It is believed that the Baron built the house on Voodoo Bayou and was known to conduct experiments on travelers, turning them into animal hybrids.
Now, the Baron along with his experiments supposedly haunt the grounds and the surrounding cemetery. Today, it is the location for Thrillvania, a haunted house with attractions such as Cassandra’s House of Clowns and Sam Hain’s Trail of Torment.
Of course, Las Vegas has one of the most horrifying haunted attractions around.
Scream In The Dark Has 11 Terrifying Rooms
Scream in the Dark is a haunted attraction with over 1,600 square feet of horror, including 11 rooms with all manner of terrifying creatures and sights. Located in Lake Forest, California, it only costs $5 to enter, however, it’s only suitable for children ages 13 and up.
In the maze, there are animatronic characters, actors, grizzly scenes, special lighting, and eerie music at all times. It isn’t for the faint of heart, making a name for itself for its non-stop scare tactics and horrifying characters.
Cutting Edge Has Won Two Guinness World Records
In 2015, Cutting Edge in Fort Worth, Texas was awarded two Guinness World Records for “World Largest Haunted Attraction,” and “World’s Largest Walk-Through Haunted House.” So clearly, they’re doing something right over at Cutting Edge. The attraction is located in an abandoned meat-packaging factory, which is commonly referred to as “Hell’s Half-Acre.”
The machines once used to butcher and package meat are still in use during the horror tours, except they aren’t butchering animals, but people. With dozens of actors in and outside of the building, the tour takes just under an hour to complete, making participants walk almost a half mile.
Freakling Bros. Gates Of Hell Is One of the Only R-Rated Haunted Houses In the Country
In Las Vegas, Nevada lies one of the only R-rated haunted houses in the country, The Gates of Hell. It is part of their Trilogy of Terror where the victims are touched, groped, electrically shocked, and verbally assaulted. After signing a waiver, participants are asked one last time if they are ready to enter.
If they accept, they must prepare themselves for the most brutal 15 minutes of their lives. Immediately upon entering, participants are shoved against a wall and thrown into an isolated box, a nice introduction to the next 15 minutes. Their safe word is “purgatory” which is heard screamed frequently throughout the night.
See which attraction won the No. 1 spot for 2017.
McKamey Manor Has Been Described As One Of The Scariest Houses In America
Founded in San Diego, California, McKamey Manor is regarded as an “extreme haunt.” Open year-round it is run by Russ McKameyand was originally located on his own property. It’s been described as the “scariest haunted house in America.” It is well-known for its graphic violence, aggression, and cruelty against those who sign the waiver and enter the attraction.
The manor has been known to give the guests unwanted haircuts, cover them in fake blood, drink unknown substances, and even submerge them in water. The entrance doesn’t cost money, but rather dog food. Tours typically last four to eight hours without a safe word being introduced until later. Today, the tour has been moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama.
Erebus Haunted Attraction Is a Four-Story Building of Horrors
Erebus is a four-story building of horrors in Pontiac, Michigan. The entire attraction is over a half-mile walk where participants are grabbed, bitten, and even buried alive at certain points. Erebus was founded by Ed and Jim Terebus, having been part of the Haunt Industry since 1981. Erebus was opened in 2000 and was the first to take the Guinness title of the longest walk-through haunted attraction.
The entire attraction follows the story of a mad scientist that made a time machine and began running experiments on people until he ran out of people to use. He then disguised the machine into a house with participants “funding” his experiment.
Netherworld Haunted House Has Its Own Unique Storyline
Beginning in 1997, Netherworld Haunted House us located in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a self-guided walk-through horror tour. What makes Netherworld stand out is that it has all original monster and props, rather than using the common theme of existing characters and scenes from movies. The attraction has its own unique storyline that the attraction has continued to grow around as it expands each year.
As of 2017, the attractions included Primal Scream, Mr. Grendel’s 3D Funhouse of Horrors, and Escape the Netherworld. In the off-season, many key staff members work for television on shows such as The Walking Dead, and in 2017, the attraction was named the No. 1 Haunted House in America by Hauntworld.com.
The Haunted Trail Is a Mile-Long Walk Through a Haunted Park
Located in San Diego’s Balboa Park, the Haunted Trail is a walk through the park that is unlike anything else that takes place in Balboa. It is a mile-long walk through the forest where terror is around every corner. The trail and added eXperiment maze are not appropriate for children under 10. The entire attraction is outside and is San Diego’s all-outdoor haunted attraction.
The trail follows the themes surrounding popular horror films such as It, The Nun, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and more.
The Haunted Hotel Is the Longest-Running Haunted House In San Diego
Ranked as one of the top haunted attractions in the United States, The Haunted Hotel is located in downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp District. It is the longest-running haunted house in the San Diego area with attractions such as the Hellevator, the Hillbilly Swamp, the Morgue Autopsy Lab, Mutant Mine Shaft, Chaos Hallway, and more.
It runs during October, and is known for its extensive use of special effects such as spraying water, horrifying actors, and disturbingly real gore. On the Wednesday days during operation, they also have Lights Out Wednesday, adding a new kind of horror to the experience.
House of Torment Is Austin’s Premier Haunted House
The House of Torment is one of the premier haunted houses in Austin, Texas. It features creatures, special effects, and props that would impress people working in Hollywood. They have larger-than-life animatronics, talented actors, and numerous scenarios to tap into the fears of all who enter.
The House of Torment has been featured on media outlets such as The Travel Channel, Huffington Post, and Discovery Channel. For the 2018 season, they offer attractions such as Blackthorne Penitentiary, Darkest Dreams, and Trick or Treat. There’s something for every inside of the House of Torment.
Visitors Face Their Worst Fears at The Darkness
The Darkness is no ordinary haunted house. It is an event full of activities for anyone that wants to face their worst fears. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, it is said to have some of the scariest attractions in the area. However, instead of simply walking through a maze of horrifying creatures and gory effects, The Darkness offers much more.
There is zombie laser tag, the outdoor scream zone, Silo-X haunted house, Monster Museum, four different escape rooms, and more. During their season of operation, they also have special events such as concerts, blackout nights, and even Christmas specials.