Halloween is the perfect time of year to embrace your morbid side. For some, that means keeping it family-friendly; others want modest scares at, say, a haunted house; while still others are looking for a terrifying and life-changing self-torture experience a la McKamey Manor (seriously, don’t click that link). Whatever your poison, here are four haunted adventures worth checking out for Halloween 2018. However, if you can’t make it in time, don’t fret — these unique experience can scare your year-round.
Meet the Diseased Ghosts of Australia
Ghost tours tend to be pretty lame, but when the tour is inside a 19th-century quarantine station where at least 600 souls died of various and horrible contagious diseases, it definitely ups the spook factor. Sydney’s Q Station is long reported to be one of the most haunted places in Australia. During a 50-year period, thousands of immigrants to the country were quarantined here for as much as 40 days to stave off the spread of things like typhoid and tuberculosis. It’s now such a hotspot for paranormal activity that the location has been running ghost tours for nearly 100 years. The Extreme Ghost Tour (AUS $75) is an adults-only experience designed to explore the darker side of the station’s history told through mediums and psychics. For something more immersive, the Spirit Searching Sleepover (AUS $155; runs once a month) promises a far more in-depth look at the spirits within. High-tech paranormal investigation gear is provided.
Join a Séance at The San Francisco Dungeon
San Francisco, California
In San Francisco, it doesn’t get more touristy than Fisherman’s Wharf. Still, it’s one of the city’s most iconic districts, and every out-of-towner should visit at least once. With its live-action exhibits and interactive, 360-degree experiences, The San Francisco Dungeon is the perfect place to embrace the cheese factor of Halloween. This year, the popular tourist attraction is offering fully guided séances complete with a picture-perfect horror movie decor and an all-seeing crystal ball. Visitors can try their best to conjure some of the city’s most wicked spirits. Guided séances at The San Francisco Dungeon run through November 4.
Risk Your Life Amid the Fallout of Chernobyl
If you haven’t seen Chernobyl Diaries, don’t — not because it’s scary, but because it’s an abomination of a horror movie. What the film was good for, however, was highlighting just how bad things can get in the wake of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown. Think subterranean zombies hell-bent on eating every living thing in sight. More than 30 years after the famous meltdown in Chernobyl, the government has given the “all clear” for visitors to explore the ruins (nevermind the scientists declaring the area not fit for human habitation for the next 20,000 years). Photographs of the town — once home to thousands of families — are creepy-as-f**k snapshots in time. With the right tour guide and permits, visitors can tour the ruins for around USD $25. Just remember to update your life insurance policy and pack plenty of hand grenades to fend off the irradiated brain-eaters.
Explore the Hotel That Terrified Stephen King
Estes Park, Colorado
It’s difficult to imagine Stephen King being scared by much of anything. however, Colorado’s Stanley Hotel so haunted and inspired him that it spurred the author to pen The Shining. The hotel is a worthwhile destination in its own right even if only to appreciate its history, but the 75-minute Night Spirit Tour takes guests into the darkest, most haunted corners of the 100-year-old hotel. Unlike typical ghost tours designed solely to scare, this tour educates visitors on how to find and interact with the ghastly presences within. Rates start at USD $25 per person, and tour-goers are encouraged to bring their own photography and other personal investigation gear.