Halloween is one of my children’s favourite holidays and one of mine too! I love everything about the paranormal, ever since I was old enough to watch movies like Poltergeist, I was hooked.
Haunted houses have grown from local Halloween events to massive, full-fledged destination scream parks that open in mid-September and run through early November. Haunted attractions have become elaborate travel destinations – in fact, 20% of Americans plan on visiting a haunted attraction this fall.
So what are some top haunted attractions in the U.S.? Here are the Top 10 U.S. Destinations for Haunted Attractions.
Top 10 U.S. Destinations for Haunted Attractions
1. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The City of Brotherly Love is well known for its history, arts and culture and “Rocky”. But every Halloween, Philly becomes a spooky hot spot for visitors. Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary is a haunted house featuring six attractions inside a real abandoned prison. If that’s not enough to scare you, I don’t know what will.
Pittsburgh is home to The Scarehouse and Hundred Acres Manor which has six haunted attractions at the Acres family estate. It was recently named one of Halloweens Scariest Attractions by The Travel Channel. You will come face to face with some of the most terrifying zombies, creatures, monsters and products of your worst nightmares.
2. Sleepy Hollow, New York
There’s something for everyone during Sleepy Holloween in Sleepy Hollow, New York: haunted hayrides, Gothic mansions, blazing pumpkins, farmers markets, live music, street fairs, parades, and of course, the Headless Horseman. Read on for some of our favorite October treats in Sleepy Hollow Country.
3. Litchfield, New Hampshire
Often associated with its historic witch hunts during the 1600’s, New England is full of Halloween fright. Begin your terror trip at Nightmare New England in Litchfield, N.H. The history of the notorious Bishop family is the story behind The Bishop Legacy attraction. A reclusive family, known to be devoted to dark rituals, the Bishops were blamed when members of the Litchfield community started to go missing. Today, many of the remains of the missing are still unaccounted for. Can you survive this haunted attraction?
4. Salem, Massachussets
If you make it out in one piece, Salem, Mass., which gave its name to the witch trials back in 1692 to 1693, is the next place to be. According to local officials, each year more than 250,000 people head to Salem in October. Salem Haunted Happenings include a Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, costume balls, ghost tours, chilling theatrical presentations and more. Head on to the big city afterwards for a walking tour through the historic and haunted streets of Boston led by Haunted Boston.
5. Pontiac, Michigan
There is a clear winner when it comes to the sheer number of haunts in one state: in Michigan, there are more than 60 attractions throughout the Southeast Michigan down to Northern Ohio.
Top haunt Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, Michigan is not a haunt to miss with its one-of-a-kind “Slice of Time” feature. Thanks to the careful positioning of 45 cameras in a single room, leave the haunt with a “Matrix”-style 180 degree image of yourself, in all your glory, screaming your head off.
6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Considered by many to be the number one must-see haunted house in America, Wisconsin Fear Grounds is located in Waukesha, just outside of Milwaukee. Visitors can experience three times the terror by entering Morgan Manor, Carnevil: A Freak Show of Terror and Unstable – it’s three haunted houses, all in one location.
Afterwards, visitors can enjoy a drink back at Milwaukee’s Shaker’s Cigar Bar before daring to sign up for a ghost tour of the establishment. Over the years, many staff members and customers have been scared away from Shaker’s by their spiritual encounters.
7. Cincinnati, Ohio
The Dent Schoolhouse is more than just the name of a haunted attraction – it really was a school…that is, before it became Cincinnati’s most feared building. During the 1940’s and 50’s, several students went missing. Soon after each disappearance, strange smells emanated from janitor Charlie McFee’s office. When rumors spread of his involvement, a mob of angry families stormed the building, and what they found was shocking: remains of the bodies stuffed between walls and hanging from the rafters. The school then closed, but it is said that the spirits of the children remain. McFee was never found.
8. New Orleans, Louisiana
Known as America’s most haunted city, NOLA is the perfect destination Halloween spot. Celebrating 21 years of terror, The House of Shock is fully renovated this year with an expanded outdoor swamp site. Whether looking to enter the haunted house, ride a giant spider or enjoy free live music, The House of Shock has become a true Halloween festival.
To continue your spooky quest, dine at Muriel’s in Jackson Square. Many paranormal investigations have occurred over the years, specifically in Muriel’s Seance Lounge, due to reports of strange shadows, inexplicable knocks and voices.
9. Houston, Texas
Head to Texas’ largest city for some more spooky fun. At the Houston Terror Dome in October, the night is always young. The haunt does not close down until all visitors have gone through and business is dead for the night.
Ever shared a brew with a ghost? Afterwards, head to downtown Houston for a beer at Brewery Tap. Rumor has it that former brewery owner William appears at the bar to chat with guests. If you’re in disbelief, ask the barkeeper for photographic evidence.
10. Fresno, California
Hobb’s Grove has the cursed Haunted Forest where visitors venture into the tangled darkness. There’s also a tour of the Hobb Family Home, where patrons must first pass through the eerie family graveyard. Opt to stay on-site and enjoy full concessions, or take a quick drive into downtown Fresno and enjoy top dining destinations.
Take haunt season to the next level by creating the ultimate Halloween trip, from attractions to dining and all that is in between. To find more haunts near you and in these regional areas, visit HAA’s Official Haunt Finder online at HauntedAttractionFinder.com.