20 Terrifying Haunts Every Horror Fan Must Visit

As a longtime horror fan, there's few things that excite me about spooky season as much as getting ready for haunted attractions to open their demented doors once again.

A ghoulish woman in a black dress haunts a purple-soaked hallway at HellsGate Haunted House

But with so many options out there, it can be challenging to find the perfect haunt for your sordid sensibilities and ensure you're getting the most boo for your buck. With this in mind, this writer put his nose to the ground to assemble 20 truly terrifying haunted attractions and experiences that every horror fan should go out of their way to visit sooner rather than later.

Israel Perez / Sinister Visions Inc. / Zombie Army Productions

20.Knott’s Scary Farm (Buena Park, California)

A trio of creepy clowns strike a petrifying pose at Knott’s Scary Farm.

A seasonal staple to West Coast horror fanatics, Knott's Scary Farm sees the beloved Southern California theme park fully transform into the largest Halloween event in the region, with eye-widening haunted mazes, unique culinary offerings, live performances, roaming scare actors, and even creepy overlays for select rides. Only a short drive from Disneyland, Knott's Scary Farm makes for a frightening alternative for those who are seeking both thrills and chills from their amusement park experience.

You can buy tickets and learn more about Knott's Scary Farm here.

Cedar Fair Entertainment Company / Knott's Scary Farm

19.The 13th Gate (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)

18.The Official SAW Escape Experience / Escape Blair Witch (Las Vegas, Nevada)

17.Legends of Horror (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

16.Los Angeles Haunted Hayride (Los Angeles, California)

15.Generation Kia Presents Dark Night Halloween World: Return 2 Horror Hill (Farmingville, New York)

Three mutated monsters gnash their fangs against a neon-red backdrop at "Dark Night Halloween World"

Though Dark Night is a relative newcomer in the haunt world (although its creators are veterans in the field), this all-ages haunted attraction situated in Eastern Long Island turned heads with its 2021 production, which presented itself as a nostalgic trip throughout horror's most notable nightmares of the '80s and '90s with a creepy, warped pop soundtrack to boot. For 2022, Dark Night Halloween World promises to become more immersive than ever, employing ARG tactics and theatrical elements to give horror hounds something completely unique. Yet, if you're a horror fan and don't think you can handle the haunt, Dark Night transforms into the Bizarre Bazaar flea market with an array of vintage and handmade goods and oddities for sale on Fridays and Saturdays between October 7 and 22.

Generation Kia Presents Dark Night Halloween World: Return 2 Horror Hill launches on October 1; you can buy tickets and learn more information here.

Aiden Finnegan / Aurora Interactive LLC / Dark Night Halloween World

14.Hundred Acres Manor (Bethel Park, Pennsylvania)

13.Dark Hour Haunted House (Plano, Texas)

12.The Bates Motel & Haunted Attractions (Glen Mills, Pennsylvania)

A zombie bride eyes some potential victims at "Bates Motel"

Bringing back their Haunted Hayride attraction in 2022, Bates Motel employs a cast of dedicated performers, jaw-dropping sets, and state-of-the-art animatronics to bring their acclaimed terrifying visions to life. Prioritizing their guests' fun while providing both quality and quantity, Bates Motel is one of the most popular and immersive haunted attractions in the country, so you may want to consider shelling out for their VIP passes as to jump right into the nightmare.

You can learn more about Bates Motel and buy tickets here.

C. Brielmaier / Rogues Hollow Productions

11.The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, Ohio)

Rows of Jack O'Lanterns adorn the costume contest area for the Monster Midway at "The Dent Schoolhouse"

Widely considered to be THE premier haunted attraction in Ohio, the Dent Schoolhouse is far more than just stellar set pieces and petrifying performers that keep their vocal (and growing) audience returning year after year. The Dent Schoolhouse has gone above and beyond to establish itself as Halloween Central, with various alternate walkthrough experiences, a Monster Midway with seasonal food, a micro-museum, photo opportunities, and games, and even ghost tours that can be offered on Wednesdays throughout October that share the eerie true history of the property firsthand.

You can find more information and buy tickets for the Dent Schoolhouse here.

Bud Stross / 1031 Productions LLC

10.HellsGate Haunted House (Lockport, Illinois)

Ghoulish guests await for those brave enough to venture into "HellsGate Haunted House"

Another highly-esteemed macabre masterpiece of the Midwest, HellsGate Haunted House provides guests with a multi-level mansion attraction, incredibly creepy sets and make-up, and a sense of adventure not often found with most haunted experiences. With the cast and crew of Statesville Haunted Prison joining their company in 2022, HellsGate Haunted House offers a bigger and bolder experience this year, but for those looking for a more personalized haunt experience, the Hell Pass allows the ticket holder the option to have a friend, spouse, or family member personally targeted throughout the entire tour.

HellsGate Haunted House kicks off their spooky season on September 30; you can purchase tickets and learn more information here.

Tiela Halpin / Sinister Visions Inc. / Zombie Army Productions

9.Fear Factory (Salt Lake City, Utah)

The visceral visage of "Fear Factory" adorns skulls, demons and other garish ghosts

Requiring all participants to sign a waiver before entering the premises, Fear Factory has garnered national attention for its massive grounds (comprised of six buildings in total) and cast of over 100 performers. Taking place in the reportedly haunted Portland Cement Factory, Fear Factory also offers guests additional experiences beyond their typical admission, including the Rockstar package that includes an exclusive interactive show and the Touch of Fear add-on that grants permission for the monsters to touch you for an even more intimately frightening experience.

Open until midnight on select dates, you can buy tickets and learn more about Fear Factory here.

Jeremy Kartchner / Fear Factory SLC

8.Netherworld Haunted House (Atlanta, Georgia)

Two monstrous parasite creatures stare menacingly at "Netherworld Haunted House"

Notably featured on the cover of Fangoria's America Haunts issue in 2013, Netherworld has only become a more terrifying beast in the near-decade since, with some of the most incredible makeup SFX and costume design in the whole haunt landscape. Add in their fan-favorite monster museum and equally intense escape room experience, and horror diehards are sure to discover why Netherworld has such a remarkable reputation among their peers and customers alike.

You can buy tickets and learn more about Netherworld here.

Billy Messina / Netherworld Haunted Attractions

7.The Darkness (St. Louis, Missouri)

A three-headed creature lunges out at guests at "The Darkness"

With nearly 300 animatronics, a legion of dedicated performers, and a number of unique experiences, including a two-floor walkthrough, a 3D haunt, and a monster museum, the Darkness has exceeded expectations for haunt enthusiasts with the 2022 addition of their Horror Retail Store, which sells collectibles, horror toys, costumes, and merchandise featuring everyone's favorite horror icons. Beyond the support of the fans who show up in droves every evening, the Darkness is often considered the measuring stick for haunted houses throughout the nation, with many industry professionals touring the grounds during local haunted attraction trade shows in St. Louis.

You can find more information and buy tickets for the Darkness here.

Hauntworld Inc./ The Darkness

6.Spookers (Auckland, New Zealand)

A woman with her face spliced into a teddy bear approaches guests at "Spookers"

Operating out of a former asylum all-year-round since 2005, Spookers is widely considered to be New Zealand's haunt central and the number one haunted attraction in the Southern Hemisphere. With four masterfully constructed attractions that are consistently refreshed and expanded upon, Spookers has also become a staple of Auckland thanks to the familial atmosphere of its diverse, 150+ cast and crew, many of whom were highlighted in an acclaimed 2017 documentary bearing the same name of the attraction. With more encounters opening in November and new Kiwi-based attractions in development, Spookers gives horror fanatics an amazing reason to return on any given weekend to get fright fix.

You can learn more about Spookers and buy tickets to the attraction here.

Bill Geradts / Spookers

5.Delusion (Pomona, California)

4.Field of Screams (Mountville, Pennsylvania)

One of the highly-detailed haunted attractions at "Field of Screams"

Located in the heart of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Field of Screams has been scaring the hell out of more than one million visitors while earning widespread acclaim from the likes of USA Today, The Howard Stern Show, the Travel Channel, and Newsweek for their truly unsettling attractions. Celebrating their 30th anniversary in 2022, Field of Screams hopes to lure guests to their trademark haunted hayride, a three-story maze, the four-floor Frightmare Asylum with cutting-edge special effects, and a monster-filled forest trail before they can enjoy live music and games in their extensive entertainment area.

You can buy tickets and learn more about Field of Screams here.

Jim Schopf / Field of Screams

3.Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions (Ulster Park, New York)

The headless horseman awaits his next victims at "Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions"

With 10 immersive and lengthy haunted walkthroughs across the 65-acre property that will having you screaming over and over, this highly esteemed attraction offers unique, eye-popping monsters and imaginative rooms expertly crafted by American Made Monster Studios. While Headless Horseman has been applauded by the likes of MTV, USA Today, HauntWorld magazine and New York Daily News, this writer can personally attest to the attraction's commitment to not only crafting an excellent production with wonderful performers, but also to the safety of their guests, as their 2020 edition went above and beyond the call of duty to create a considerate environment that minded social distancing and innovative scare opportunities which kept their staff and customers as safe as possible. In 2022, Headless Horseman debuts their highly-anticipated Night of the Shadows attraction, so don't be surprised if tickets disappear soon.

You can buy tickets and learn more about Headless Horseman here.

Jeff Tisman / Headless Horseman Haunted Attractions

2.Universal's Halloween Horror Nights (Orlando, Florida, Los Angeles, California, Osaka, Japan, and Sentosa, Singapore)

A group of visitors are terrifed by performers in The Weeknd's haunted attraction as "Universal's Halloween Horror Nights"

Often cited as the gold standard of haunted attractions, Universal Studios Resorts break out their wealth of licensed intellectual property, celebrity collaborations, and impossibly detailed production design to craft a Halloween event like none other. Taking over the full park with in-your-face scare zones, decked-out retail outlets, and extremely popular walkthroughs, I can personally vouch for just how impressive and scary Halloween Horror Nights can be. Just be sure not to go alone, and be sure to pack some comfortable footwear, as there's so much to explore and experience that your feet might wind up in a world of pain if you don't plan accordingly.

You can buy tickets and learn more about Universal's Halloween Horror Nights here.

Universal Orlando Resort

1.Hempstead Haunt at Sands Point Preserve (Sands Point, New York)

A number of strange items and taxidermed animals in the "Chatteron Cabinet of Curiosities"

This writer's personal favorite Halloween tradition, this annual immersive theatrical experience sees the Rara Avis Productions team draw you into a living, breathing horror movie experience inside of Sands Point's unparalleled castle estate. With their 2019 production turning the sweeping estate into an hourlong assembly of frightening fairy tales and the 2021 event pitting flashlight-holding guests against wendigos in their vast nature preserve, the upcoming 2022 production teases another opportunity to turn the conservancy's elegant interiors into a bizarre horror show once more with the Chatterton Cabinet of Curiosities, which aims to disturb any poor souls daring enough to gather for an assuredly nerve-wracking evening.

You can learn more information on Hempstead Haunt at Sands Point Preserve or buy tickets to the Chatterton Cabinet of Curiosities here.

Jennifer Scott / Rara Avis Productions