Photo: Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride
In real life, it’s rare for zombies to chase you through a smoke-filled haunted house, but if that’s what you’re looking for, now is the perfect season for a little pseudo-real zombie chasing. But you don’t need to limit yourself to cheap scares and lame effects. With professional set designers, intricate details, and complex stories, these most-searched haunted houses on Yahoo are a step above the average scare. The only downside is you probably won’t be the only one looking for a haunted evening out. Most of these attractions get crowded around Halloween.
10. 13th Gate (Baton Rouge, La.): The Terror’s in the Details
Watch out for creepy creepers lurking everywhere! (Photo: The 13th Gate/Facebook)
A 40,000-square-foot haunted house in the heart of Baton Rouge, 13th Gate is known for its attention to detail and intricate set designs. Over 200 actors, crew members, and special effects people bring terror to life during Halloween season. Make your way in small groups through the hidden cellars and tunnels, across the bridge over a swamp of live snakes, and try not to scream too loud. The company also hosts Necropolis 13, a haunted cemetery across the street, and a 13th Gate Escape Game, where teams have to escape from locked rooms. You can buy ticket packages for all three, if one haunting isn’t enough. Or, splurge for a VIP ticket and skip the line — which on popular Saturday nights can be up to two hours long.
9. House of Torment (Austin, Texas): Three Scares in One
One of the maniacal clowns at the House of Torment. (Photo: House of Torment)
The House of Torment is really so big that it’s three haunted houses in one: the Dead End District, Hex of the Harvest, and the Slaughterhouse. There are scary maniacal clowns, zombies run amok, and an island of witches. The only part that’s not scary (at least, not in a good way) are the crowds — especially right before Halloween. Take your time getting through the haunted houses so you maintain your space from the group ahead, and won’t have the surprises ruined). You can also buy an immediate access or fast pass ticket to skip most of the lines.
8. The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, Ohio): Where Does Fact Meet Fiction?
Lesson plan: ghouls, ghosts, and things that go bump in the night. (Photo: The Dent Schoolhouse)
The line between fact and scary fiction blurs a little at the Dent Schoolhouse. The building really was a school once, but there was never really a janitor named Charlie, who killed boys in his basement lair back in the 1950s — or, at least, we think there wasn’t. The entire grounds have been carefully filled with antiques and constructed so you’ll be left with the impression that maybe the deadly story isn’t so fictional after all. The schoolhouse itself is located outside Cincinnati (in Dent, Ohio), but worth the trip. Lines can get long if you don’t pay extra to skip them.
7. Spookywoods (Kersey Village, N.C.): What’s in the Woods?
The creepy house in the woods. (Photo: Spookywoods)
Halfway between Raleigh and Charlotte, Spookywoods is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a woods made up of spooky, scary things. Even as you drive in and park, keep your eyes peeled for creatures ready to jump out at you. Once inside, you’ll see psycho clowns, a nightmarish manor, a former mental hospital, and escaped mutants created through secret research. You’ll spend a good hour taking it all in — plus, you can buy souvenirs and food. Or, make a whole day of it in Kersey Valley and go ziplining, play laser tag, or try the escape game to get you ready to get scared. Immediate access and VIP tickets let you skip the line. Wait until after Halloween for the special lights out, total darkness night tour.
6. Cutting Edge Haunted House (Fort Worth, Texas): A Record-Setting Scare
Clowns are pretty much always terrifying, but this one is especially creepy. (Photo: Cutting Edge Haunted House)
The Cutting Edge Haunted House in Fort Worth holds the Guinness World Record for the longest walk through a haunted house. So, plan on being there (and scared) for quite a while. Set in a 100-year-old abandoned meatpacking plant, the Cutting Edge uses its creepy location to full effect. It’ll take you nearly an hour to get through the whole thing and, while it changes every year, count on lots of smoke, dark corridors, very realistic-looking snakes, and the popular claustrophobia-inducing bubble room at the end. Understandably, it can get fairly crowded around Halloween. Buy tickets online in advance; cash only at the door.
5. 13th Floor Haunted House (Phoenix, Ariz.): Where the Missing Went
Beware the werewolves in Phoenix! (Photo: 13th Floor Haunted House)
Run by the same company that puts on the House of Torment in Austin, the 13th Floor is right in the heart of Phoenix — a scary location for non-Halloween reasons. The legend goes that, because of superstitions, most buildings skip the 13th floor, but that missing floor has been found in this building’s basement, full of lost souls and classic monsters. For one ticket price, you’ll get two haunted houses here: Feral Moon and Patient Alpha. That means you’ll be scared by werewolves, chainsaws revving to life, and zombie patients who were experimented on and left for dead. While you wait in line, have some snacks and be entertained by the characters wandering around.
4. Netherworld (Atlanta, Ga.): Unique Ghouls from Another World
We’re not entirely sure what this is, but we sure wouldn’t want to run into him in a dark alley! (Photo: Netherworld)
With special effects, costumes, and sets created by a professional production crew — many of whom also work on The Walking Dead — it’s no surprise that Netherworld has been taking visitors to another world since 1997. (You can even visit the gift shop to see past iconic characters and attractions.) While the house has changed over the years, it’s always stuck to the goal of unique and unusual themes. This year, there are two new haunts: The Rotting, where witches have released armies of spirits who feed on human energy, and Vault 13, which is a complicated story about a torturer and artificial intelligence gone insane. Buy tickets for either haunt or for both.
3. Headless Horseman (Ulster Park, N.Y.): Acres and Acres of Horror
Eeek! Another scary clown! (Photo: The Headless Horseman)
The Headless Horseman is so big that it has seven separate haunted houses, four gift shops, a corn maze, and a haunted hay ride spread out over 45 acres in upstate New York. Start with the hay ride at your scheduled time, and then wend your way through the haunted houses — as each one leads to the next from Blood Inn to the slaughterhouse to a pet shop that you really don’t want to adopt any pets from. The whole thing should take two to three hours, though you’ll need extra time for the sideshow and food. You can also buy a separate ticket for the Great Room Escape.
2. House of Shock (New Orleans, La.): A Show Like No Other
Brains: it’s what’s for dinner. (Photo: House of Shock)
Scheduled to close permanently after last year, House of Shock got a revival and it’s no coincidence that this year’s show is called Resurrection. While longtime fans will recognize some of the house’s classics that have made the House of Shock famous since it was held in a backyard in 1993, like the satanic references and nods to New Orleans’ dark history. But there are also two new haunted attractions: the Bordello of Freaks and Laff in the Dark. While the line to get in will likely be long, the entire evening is an experience with a live show, music, and a full bar with food. Buy a VIP ticket for double the price and skip the line altogether.
1. Bates Motel (Glen Mills, Penn.): A Quarter-Century of Fright
This is one hotel we do NOT want to check in to. (Photo: Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride)
For 25 years, the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride has been scaring visitors with its terrifying hayride into the forests, which includes a drive through an insane asylum and a dark cave — where things lurk in the shadows. There are dozens of sets and nearly 100 actors. And, for the 25th anniversary, new scary attractions have been rolled out. Once you get off the ride, check into your motel and keep an eye out for ghosts. If you make it through alive, you’ll have to walk the haunted trail through the corn maze, where new terrors will chase you. Expect for the whole thing to take a bit over an hour, longer on weekends when there’s a wait.
Related: Most Haunted Hotels in America