There are haunted houses that drive us from fear to panic! McKamey Manor, for example, offers a $20,000 prize to anyone who can withstand the terror to the end! No one’s ever won that prize.
Why do we like to scare ourselves? Fear isn’t usually an emotion we love to feel, yet we put ourselves in situations to handle it all the time. We watch scary movies, listen to true crime stories, visit haunted houses, and then complain about not being able to sleep when bumps in the night bring back images we never had to indulge. We may never understand it. In the meantime, there are haunted houses to explore! Here are some of the scariest haunted houses and creepiest exhibits in the country. Read at your own risk!
We’d be remiss if we didn’t begin with McKamey Manor in Tennessee. Not only do they require you to sign a 30-page waiver before you can enter the facility, but they also offer a $20,000 prize to anyone who can make it all the way through. The reason for this is simple–they design their fear factory to individual’s self-reported worst nightmares. Then, through the power of psychology, they extrapolate your fears and create moments that will terrify you. And . . .people agree to all this! While McKamey is breathtaking, they don’t corner the market on fear. If you can believe it, there are plenty of other houses and exhibits that could be considered way worse. After all, fear is in the eye of the beholder.
Hayrides and Haunted Houses are waiting for you in Ulster Park, NY on the grounds of a gorgeous, historic 18th-century manor. Why are old places the scariest? We’re not sure, but we know they are. Maybe the older the ghost the more restless it becomes, and that’s when they have to break free from their caskets to roam the earth?
Fright Nite Manor
This one has been around for three decades. So, they’re doing something right! One of the creepiest things about this house, which you can find in Anchorage, Alaska, is that they offer a 3D element to their tour. It’s one thing to have a ghost floating in the corner; it’s another thing to have it fly into your face from out of nowhere. And that goes for ghosts inside and outside the house!
AZ Field of Screams
Imagine you’re standing in the dark, surrounded by tall stalks of corn. The warm desert night air sweeping around you begins to rustle the leaves of the corn stalks. “What was that?” you wonder. Is that a person? Just the wind? You keep moving, this time faster. It was fun for a while, but now you’re just scared and want to find the exit . . . but you can’t. The quicker you move, the more lost you become. Now your adrenaline is kicking in, and you want to run, but there’s not enough room. So, you’re filled with pumping adrenaline, it’s getting harder to breathe, and you come face-to-face with a dark creature you can’t make out because there isn’t enough light . . . sounds fun, huh? You can go check it out for yourself in Glendale, AZ, if you think you’ve got the guts.
The Reaper Haunted House
On their website, The Reaper Haunted House asks, “Are you ready for intensity never before seen in a haunt? Are you ready to cry, scream and beg for your life?” If your answer is “Yes!” you might want to head on over to Arkansas, where you will be welcomed by over 30 scenes of blood, guts, and creatures that go bump in the night. This is one of the longest haunted houses you can visit, which makes it even scarier–if you second-guess your life choices mid-house, you’re just stuck . . .which we think adds to the horror!
This haunted establishment in Colorado gives you a daunting choice–you can either enter a haunted house or haunted mines. Each has a detailed story, which helps suck you into the action and fills you with dread, and you experience things sliding right into a hellish nightmare! You should also know that if you choose to enter the Haunted Mines, you can choose to be plunged into darkness in a lights-off tour of underground mines!
Fright Haven in Connecticut has three different attractions under one roof. So, if you want to leave one and continue into another, that’s an option. The curators of their Psycho Ward 13 scenes warn you before you get there, “Free at last, the inmates have taken over the Ward 13 and have started conducting their own experiments on the remaining doctors and staff. With mangled bodies strewn across rusty operating tables, bloody torture devices hidden around every corner, and the buzz of electroshock ringing in your ears, you just might lose your mind.” If you think you’re stable enough to make it through, we wish you luck!
Netherworld Haunted House
Netherworld Haunted House in Stone Mountain, GA, is a walk-through dark attraction filled with terrifying live actors, amazing special effects, and incredible monsters. This is another haunted attraction that uses the mind-melting terror of 3D technology to make you wish you hadn’t come, and that’s precisely how they want you to feel!
This one caught our attention because it boasts 60 actors, as well as the spirits of Hawaii. If you’re ever lucky enough to go there, you’ll be seriously spooked by a particularly haunted vibe. We think their disclaimer says it all, “This event is not for children under 13 years of age, pregnant women, or people with heart or breathing problems. Enter at your own risk.” While many attractions focus on fear, these guys focus on the paranormal activity that takes place on their grounds. Be sure to hold your loved one tightly!
This is St. Louis, Missouri’s favorite–and scariest–haunted house. When they renovated this establishment, they added Lair of the Spiders, Kingdom of the Witch, Ice Cave, and Terror Visions 3D. They also have a vampire-themed escape room. We think the part with the spiders would prevent us from getting through this attraction. Imagine immersing yourself in a room where you’re surrounded by 8-legged creatures that you expect to fall on you, crawl up your leg, or jump onto your arms in the dark! Ew! Just thinking about it gets our hearts pumping, which we believe is the point!
Why are asylums so scary? They always hold a deadening allure for the fear-seeking crowd, don’t they? Well, the Brighton Asylum in New Jersey is no exception. Their website reports, “BRIGHTON ASYLUM, the legendary haunted asylum complex featured on The Today Show, Cake Boss, Buzzfeed, ABC, NBC, FOX, and media outlets all over the country, shut down in 1952 due to staff and patient disappearances, as well as intolerable living conditions. Now, the asylum has re-opened and is accepting new patients.” Can you imagine walking through their massive halls while terrifying live actors and horror movie-style scares await you around every corner?! Just thinking about it makes our skin crawl!
Blood Manor is set in a cavernous basement where an escaped prisoner, a ghost bride, and other miscellaneous ghouls wait in agony to be fitted for custom silicone half-masks. We’re not sure where they’ve lost their faces or how . . . if you have the nerve to ask, be our guest.
Blood Manor Mask
We’re not sure which is more terrifying–the half faces stumbling throughout Blood Manor or this zombie whose mask has been fully realized.
Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory
This attraction in Akron, Ohio has an old-school haunted house vibe. As one visitor described, “Some of the high-tech haunts nowadays go so over the top that it just doesn’t feel authentic anymore. The Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory nails that authenticity.”
Dread Hollow in Chattanooga, TN promises, “Tormented apparitions, black magic, and inhumane secrets.” Darkness and evil writhe around the grounds of this haunted house where there is NO MERCY!
Nightmare Haunted House
Nightmare Haunted House in Myrtle Beach, SC has a few attractions to choose from. One of their most popular now is Zombie Zone: Undead Adventure. A happy customer of their terrifying establishment writes, “Went back last week so my mom and sister could experience it. They made it in … and ran right back out! The staff was nice enough to let them retry it, and they made it in and right back out again. My mom said the first few steps had her terrified.” Some people can’t even get past the front door . . . so you know it’s got to be good.
Once again, the asylum motif comes to life with brutal realism. This attraction in Tooele, UT is so aggressive, if you make it through with someone else they’ll rip your hands apart and make you go back through it alone!
If you’re anywhere near Hope, Rhoad Island, you might want to dare yourself to stop by Scary Acres. Not only do they have indoor attractions, but they also offer a hayride through a haunted field. We don’t know about you but if we saw this soulless nun coming at us through a cornfield, we’d start praying real fast!
This haunted attraction in Denver, CO tells you up front that they want to make you cry. Their website reads, “Paranoia is sure to seep deep within your mind as you wander the creepy, haunted grounds, pursued by unimaginable terror. You’ll be whimpering at the sound of even the slightest noise.” With a warning like that, who could say no?
Cutting Edge Haunted House
Located in an old meatpacking plant, Cutting Edge has made the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest walk-through haunted attraction (everything really IS bigger in Texas). You will be met with hanging butchered bodies, maniacs with chainsaws, and as their website reports, “You’ll receive ELECTRICAL SHOCKS. The floors are uneven; the slides are fast and dark; you WILL be enveloped by creeping fog and vapors.”
One previous visitor to this haunt in Seattle has a question and a warning for anyone else who dares step foot on the property, “Seriously, what the hell did I get sprayed with? Spoiler alert: The clown has a REAL chainsaw.” A clown with a real chainsaw. What could go wrong?
One happy, haunted customer from this Des Moines attraction writes, “Are you wanting to jump out of your skin? Wanting shivers down your spine? All of your fears coming true? Well, you’re in the right place! […] As soon as you step in the gate, you have people in your face, and the terror starts.” Yes. That’s exactly when we want to experience terror–right from the beginning.
Saint Pascal’s Haunted House
This Chicago haunt is a perfect blend of creepy vibes and jump-out-at-you villains who will make you wish you hadn’t come!
The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride
Set in Glen Mills, PA, the Bates Motel and Bates Psycho Path (ba-da-ching!) have been around for 30 years. That’s plenty of time to learn what people fear and to conjure the appropriate amount of demons and walking dead to bring those fears to life. There are 30 demons and other creepy guys, to be exact. We guess that means they’ve picked up one evil presence each year since they opened.
The Dent Schoolhouse
This haunted schoolhouse in Cincinnati, OH was once an actual public school. Their website claims it closed in the 1950s after a janitor known as Charlie was suspected of foul play after kids started going missing. These days, thrill-seeking visitors roam the schoolhouse halls and the outdoor Queen City Slaughter Yard to uncover what Charlie intended to stay buried.
The 13th Floor
The 13th Floor towers over the city of Denver, CO. This cursed attraction features actors wrapped in ghoulish costumes, high-tech animations, and rooms that may move to shake your sense of reality. One of the best parts is a haunted mirror that reflects more than meets the eye!
Kersey Valley Spookywoods
Archdale, NC has some truly terrifying woods–the entire place is haunted! Normally, you get a sense that the creatures lurking beneath the floorboards are relegated to the spaces in which the curators guide you to roam. Not here. They warn us about this on their website, “From the moment you arrive on Kersey Valley property, you are fair game to each and every haunted creature residing here.” Tread lightly!
The 13th Gate
Like the state in which it’s located, the13th Gate is known for its swampy pools full of actual snakes. This abandoned asylum in Louisiana holds 40,000 square feet of ultra-realistic sets and scenarios. If you’re looking for something even scarier, you can explore the completely dark passages of the 13th Gate using a few dimly-lit LED finger lights!
The folks at Haunted Overload focus on being creative and unique. To that end, they actually invite customers to visit their attraction during daylight hours so they can appreciate the artistry with which their grounds and attractions have been constructed. Their website says, “The haunt is changed and expanded each year to give the patron something new and exciting to experience. The night time haunt, while artistically done is extremely scary, and parental discretion is advised for younger or sensitive children. We are also open many days during daylight hours with no actors for the whole family to enjoy the stunning detail of the haunt at their own pace.”
Netherworld Haunted House
This haunted house in Stone Mountain, GA is consistently rated one of the scariest in the nation. According to their website, Netherworld has thrilled, terrified and entertained visitors while also garnering the applause of local and National media alike. “We have Two Epic Haunted Houses: RISE OF THE NETHERSPAWN and PLANET X in 3D…but that’s just the beginning. We also have a Monster Museum, 4 Creepy Escape Rooms, an impressive Gift Shop with all kinds of Halloween Goodness, and a Giant Monster Midway replete with Photos Ops, interacting characters, food trucks, games and more.” That’s a lot of frightful entertainment packed into one place!
Six Flags Fright Fest
We wouldn’t necessarily say that Six Flags Fright Fest is the scariest attraction but we would venture to say it’s one of the most fun! In their own words, Six Flags says, “Be prepared to be scared as zombies and ghouls take over Six Flags Theme Parks this Fall. Enjoy family activates by day and frights by night. When night falls, you won’t have any place to hide as the park closes you in on your worst nightmares.”
Erebus Haunted Attraction
Erebus Haunted Attraction is unique in that it’s situated in an abandoned four-story parking garage in Pontiac, Michigan. According to their website, “The parking structure was abandoned for nearly 50 years and had been used as an indoor junkyard prior to Erebus moving in.” We think parking garages are scary enough, especially at night. Also of note is that one description of their attraction promises “crushing walls.” We’re thinking this one is only for the most courageous among us!
Bennett’s Curse in Jessup, MD, offers a trifecta of terror attractions! These include Underwold Haunted House, Inerno 3D, and Ravenbrook Asylum. These guys are best known for their unique special effects and hi-tech fright entertainment.