Photo: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP (Getty Images)
With Halloween comes the creative costumes, spooky parties, scary movies, tons of candy, and ways to terrify the hell out of each other. Luckily, humans have long tapped into our desire to be scared and over the years have perfected new ways of immersing ourselves in experiences that are not meant for the faint of heart. Each state in the U.S. has its own Halloween attractions, ranging from haunted tours, historic sites, haunted houses, mazes, and escape rooms, but below are 10 of the best Halloween events and haunted attractions to check out this year.
10. The Official SAW Escape Room
If you’re heading to Sin City for Halloween, make sure to stop by the new official SAW Escape Room, a fully immersive, multi-room, horror franchise-themed experience. Guests will enter the historic Egan & Co. Meat Packing plant for an after-hours tour only to find they are players in an elaborate game devised by the infamous Jigsaw killer and his disciples. You’ll have to work together to face your fears and earn your freedom.
9. Fear Factory
Fear Factory in Salt Lake City, Utah was named by the Travel Channel as one of the Top 10 Best Halloween Attractions in 2015. Part of what makes the place so terrifying is the history. The Fear Factory site details the factory’s deadly past, revealing why it was eventually abandoned. Besides the Factory experience, you can check out the public paranormal investigations, ghost tours, and (if you’re brave enough) the extreme attractions like the Last Ride Zipline, the Fear Fall Free Fall, and the Touch of Fear hands-on experience that comes with a safe word in the form of a removable glow necklace.
Located in Middletown, Delaware, Frightland Haunted Attractions has been named a Top 10 Scariest Haunted Attraction in the country by multiple sites. They offer eight unique haunted attractions, including a two-mile haunted hayride that takes you into Frightland’s forests, four indoor haunted houses, a stroll (you’ll be running) through Ravenwood Cemetery, and much more. They even have a full amusement park with rides, carnival games, and carnival food.
7. The Stanley Hotel
If you’re a fan of Stephen King’s The Shining and feel like taking a little vacation, consider booking a room at The Stanley Hotel at Estes Park in Colorado. The hotel is known for having inspired King after a visit to write The Shining. The hotel puts together The Shining Ball, where Jack and Wendy Torrence cordially invite you to two stories of fun, including a 1920s Jazz lounge, a silent disco in “Jack’s Attic,” and more. It’s not as terrifying as the rest of the list, but The Shining-themed decor is worth it for King fans.
Salem, Massachusetts, embraces Halloween the month of October like their own version of Halloweentown, and it’s pretty great. On top of the history of the Salem Witch Trials that gives the city an already chilling edge, you can plan a month of adventures with ghost tours, haunted houses, the Grand Parade, family film nights on Salem Common, Salem Horror Fest, and much more daily!
5. Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum was home to thousands of people starting in 1864, where hundreds died before it was finally closed in 1994. The spirits that are said to haunt the site today date back to the Civil War era when the asylum’s grounds served as a military post. The asylum has been investigated by guests, staff, and a number of shows like Syfy’s Ghost Hunters, all reporting apparition sightings, voices, and sounds.
There are paranormal tours ranging from 90 minutes to two hours, as well as half-hour flashlight tours. There are also a variety of ghost hunts to choose from, including overnight eight-hour hunts if you’ve ever thought it was a good idea to spend the night in a haunted asylum.
4. Eastern State Penitentiary
For those near Philadelphia, it doesn’t get much creepier than the Eastern State Penitentiary, America’s most historic prison that hosted infamous prisoners including Al Capone. The former penitentiary, the first of its kind, now belongs to the tortured souls who terrorize the living. Named the No. 1 Haunted Attraction in the U.S. by Forbes, the Terror Behind the Walls experience — America’s largest haunted house — consists of six haunted attractions within the prison.
3. The Darkness
The Darkness is located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, and has been featured on Mythbusters, Modern Marvels, the Discovery Channel, and more. Its horrifying delights include an outdoor scream zone, Silo-X Haunted House, the Monster Museum, the Darkness Haunted House, and even zombie laser tag. It’s also right next door to the St. Louis Escape, featuring four different escape rooms in one location. Celebrating 25 years of scaring the hell out of people, the haunted house has new attractions this year, including the clown sewer section featuring IT’s Pennywise.
Head over to Pittsburgh to check out ScareHouse, a haunted house so scary even Guillermo del Toro once said, “I could live here!” There are three different haunts to explore, including Pittsburgh Zombies: Re-Animated, Infernal Darkness, and Nocturnia 3-D. If those aren’t scary enough, grab a tick for the Basement, which features a series of intense and R-rated horrors that challenge the limits of fear and is only available to those 18 and up.
1. Halloween Horror Nights
Halloween Horror Nights is the place to be for hardcore horror fans of iconic horror television and movies. Located at Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, this year’s eight terrifying mazes include Netflix’s Stranger Things, Trick ‘r Treat, Poltergeist, Halloween 4, The Horrors of Blumhouse, and more. Mazes, additional scare zones, and multiple attractions vary based on which location you attend!