What better way to get into the Halloween spirit than to experience a spooky haunted house! Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of 15 of the best haunted houses in the U.S. that would make for perfect spooky fun this Halloween. That is, if you dare.
What are the best haunted houses to visit this Halloween?
Do you dare? That’s the question we’re asking ourselves as the clock ticks closer to October 31st. If you’re looking to scare yourself silly in celebration of Halloween, we have an idea for you: how about a Haunted House?
These experiences range from the fun and peculiar to the downright terrifying, so if you’re in the mood for a frightfully good time, you need to plan a trip to at least one of these this month.
Here are fifteen of the best Halloween haunted house experiences in the United States.
15 of the best haunted houses to experience in the United States 2022
1. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride (Pennsylvania)
Voted the best Haunted House in America by CNN Travel, this Hitchcockian experience is going to haunt you for the rest of your life – and we mean that in a great way! You’ll follow along the Psycho Path trail walk, then check in at the infamous Bates Motel – which is filled with killer actors, special effects, lighting, and more – all designed to shock and scare. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Before you run for home, summon the courage to find your way through the Scarecrows Haunted Corn Trail. And make sure to stick around for escape rooms, axe throwing, and zombie laser tag.
2. Bayville Scream Park (New York)
Where can you find a funhouse, an asylum, a haunted mansion, monsters, and more, all in one location? Why, Bayville, New York, of course. With seven different attractions, Bayville Scream Park is not for the faint of heart – and in fact, is not recommended for children under 12. Only ninety minutes from the city.
3. Brighton Asylum (New Jersey)
Brighton Asylum becomes a lot scarier when you learn that the so-called “Bleeding Grounds” were… actually called that. 59 years after its initial closure, the Asylum returned as one of the world’s scariest haunted houses. As well as ghost tours, escape rooms, and axe throwing, the asylum and its original underground tunnels will offer you plenty to keep you occupied. And don’t forget to head back on the 31st for “Helloween.”
4. Dent Schoolhouse (Ohio)
Cincinnati’s Dent Schoolhouse is consistently chosen as one of the best haunted houses in America… and after you pay it a visit, you’ll see why. Explore the school and learn the story of the murderous faculty that ran the place (yes, it’s based on a true story). And the terror doesn’t have to end on Halloween – Dent is open through the rest of the year, with a “dark” month in November (walk around with only a glow stick to light your way), and a special Christmas Nightmare in December.
5. Hellsgate Haunted House (Illinois)
Hellsgate is more than a Haunted House – it’s an adventure. After parking at the Metra, one of the house’s shuttles will come to pick you up and drop you… somewhere in the woods. You see, the first part of the experience is finding your way to the mansion, which is buried somewhere deep in the forest. Scared yet? If you make it all the way there, then you’ll have a house filled with secret passages to explore, as well as all the horrible monsters your heart desires. You’re not going to find a Haunted House experience that’s more fully immersive than this. And you know, they say it’s really haunted.
6. Nashville Nightmare (Tennessee)
You have no idea how many things there are to be afraid of…but you will after you visit Nashville Nightmare. Their horrors span the imagination, including a haunted high school, a nuclear testing facility, and a terrifying take on the golden age of riverboats. If the Legends of the Deep sound like something you’d enjoy confronting, then this is the Haunted experience for you.
7. Netherworld (Georgia)
Monsters, actors, and special effects help to make Netherworld what it is – which is, one of the scariest self-guided haunts in the US. This place is a big proponent of classic horror, so you can expect to find fears such as the “Netherspawn” which are trying to take over the house. But it’s not all old-fashioned. There’s also a 3D experience, “Return to Planet X,” where your only mission is to escape – alive.
8. Niles Scream Park (Michigan)
Even among the scariest of scary experiences, Niles Scream Park sets itself apart. For one thing, it’s 44 acres – that’s a lot to be afraid of. For another, they rebuild every single one of their attractions every. single. year. This means that they are always a surprise, and always way more terrifying. But of course, the House is a constant, and includes a dark and lonely path, a rickety bridge, and more rooms than you could ever explore in one visit. For 2022, they’ve promised living doll houses and decrepit catacombs, as well as many other fresh nightmares – we can’t wait to see what they are!
9. The Sallie House (Kansas)
Do you want a scary experience that is a little more… real? Well, the Sallie House might be the place for you. Psychics have confirmed a spiritual presence in the house – and visitors have seen the unbelievable: objects that move without being touched, mysterious chills, and dogs who refuse to enter certain rooms in the house. If you’d like, you’re welcome to spend a night in the house… but first you have to sign a waiver. But don’t worry, nothing bad has actually happened to anyone – since the last tenants in 1993.
10. Winchester Mystery House (California)
Do your scary interests veer less towards terrifying jump scares, and more towards the strange the unexplained? Do you want a haunted house that’s appropriate for children? Then we recommend the Winchester Mystery House. This San Jose landmark was owned by Sarah Lockwood Pardee Winchester, who bought the house after experiencing a great tragedy. Once eight rooms, the house continued to expand through the rest of Sarah’s life – it’s now 24,000 square feet, with 160 rooms. Though the reasons for its bizarre growth remain a mystery, the house is a wonderful oddity to explore. And yes, of course they make the most of Halloween itself, with a Jack O’Lantern trail and a paranormal performance. Don’t miss out.
11. Lizzie Borden House (A Bed and Breakfast and Museum) (Massachusetts)
Have you ever wanted to stay at the location of an unsolved murder mystery? What about one of the most famous unsolved murder mysteries in history? Well, it’s time to book yourself a room at the Lizzie Borden House. During your stay, you can hop on house tours, ghost tours, and even a ghost hunt that runs from ten to midnight – scared yet? Many guests have experienced signs of a ghostly presence, and maybe you will too. October is (unsurprisingly) the inn’s busiest time of the year, so reserve your spot soon.
12. Cutting Edge Haunted House (Texas)
Named the Readers’ Choice for USA Today’s Best Haunted House in 2021, Cutting Edge Haunted House is a must-visit. In the middle of Fort Worth, Texas – in an area known historically as “Hell’s Half Acre” – the haunted house is located inside of an abandoned meat-packing plant. Prepare for a full hour of monsters, stories, and jump-scares.
13. The Stanley Hotel (Colorado)
This Halloween, live like Stephen King. And where better to experience the month of October than in the place that inspired The Shining? Now, The Stanley Hotel is first and foremost a hotel, but they do make the most of their reputation. Underneath the original carriage house, pass through a secret bookcase door to attend some of the best – and most uncanny – magic shows you’ve ever seen. And you’ll want to take advantage of the evening tours – “The Spirited Stanley Tour” and “The Spirited Shining Tour” – though they may make it difficult to fall asleep!
14. A Petrified Forest Scare Trail (Florida)
There’s nothing scarier than Nature’s Fury! That’s why we love Florida’s outdoor scare trails. Three trails in one experience, these haunted walks will make memories – and nightmares – that you will never forget (and we mean that in the best way). And if you’re feeling a little too scared? Check out the Backstage Tour, which will give you a sneak peak into how it’s all done.
15. McKamey Manor (Alabama)
We cannot in good consciousness recommend McKamey Manor… but we do think you should know about it. (And since their waitlist is more than 20,000 people long… clearly some people do like it). With locations in Alabama and Tennessee, this “extreme” haunted house is so scary that people are routinely demanding they shut it down. In order to participate in the “Survival Horror Challenge,” you need to sign a waiver, complete a Sports Physical, and even bring a doctor’s note – it’s that serious. Allegedly, no attendee has ever managed to reach the end of the experience, but if you do? The $20,000 prize is yours. Watch some of the clips online, and then see if you think you’re up to the challenge.
15 of the best haunted houses to experience in the United States (U.S.) 2022
That’s our take on 15 of the best haunted houses perfect to experience in the United States this Halloween season 2022. What do you think, dear reader? Are you up for a good Fright Night this year?