Remember when going to a haunted house on Halloween meant walking across the street and into a tarp-tent and sticking your hands in bowls of spaghetti? Only in the last decade or so have haunted attractions become the massive, enthralling destinations we know today. From mid-September through early November, thrillseekers are traveling further out for the Halloween experience they'll never forget, and in some instances, paying nearly $100 to be horrified.
The Haunted Attraction Association, a group that promotes a worldwide network of haunted attractions, has compiled this Halloween season's must-see haunted destinations. Among the top haunted attractions in America is Philadelphia's Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, one of the largest haunted houses that features six attractions inside a real, abandoned prison.
A haunted-destinations list wouldn't be haunted without Salem, Mass., which gave its name to the infamous witch trials in the 1690s. Salem alone draws in more than 250,000 people in October, with its array of happenings such as the Grand Parade, the Haunted Biz Baz Street Fair, costume balls, ghost tours, and chilling theatrical presentations.
And if we are talking quality in numbers, Michigan has more Halloween attractions than most states combined. During the Halloween season, Michigan is home to more than 60 attractions, and, among them, Erebus Haunted Attraction is the top-haunt. Located in Pontiac and billing itself as the world's largest walk-through haunted attraction, this four-story attaction is one-of-a-kind with its "Slice of Time" feature, that utilizes 48 cameras to produce a 180-degree image of all its terrified, hysterical visitors.
Of course, no search for the scariest, most haunted destinations in America would be complete without adding New Orleans to the list. Known as America's most haunted city, NOLA is Halloween-lovers must-stop destination. On its 21st year, the House of Shock has been fully renovated and even added an outdoor swamp site. With its haunted house, giant spiders, and live music, the House of Shock has become a true festival and celebration of all things Halloween.
The Haunted Attraction Association didn't mention Blackout, the trippy and crazy haunted house that's been terrifying New York and Los Angeles for the past few years (and is soon coming to Chicago). The experience, which bans anyone under 18, requires people to walk alone in darkness through buildings that are scary enough in the light.
See a video of Blackout below and pictures of other horror venues on the following pages.