Tis’ the season to get the $*!# scared out of you. The leaves are changing, the smell of autumn is in the air, and Halloween is creeping up on us all. Best of all, though, are the haunted houses that are starting to rise from the ashes of years past. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably already working on your costume while crushing — hopefully moderate amounts of — Reese’s peanut butter cups.
We at The Manual decided to provide this year’s treat so you can focus on the tricks! For your October pleasure, we’ve put together a list of 5 of the best haunted houses in the US!
Horror-Filled Haunted House : 13th Gate
The 13th Gate in Baton Rouge, Louisiana is a not-so-standard haunted house for those that are looking for the classic haunted house setting. With professional actors, Hollywood quality makeup, outrageous sets, and an extreme level of detail in all things, this is definitely a show worth dreading. If that’s not enough for you, the 13th Gate has consistently been recognized as one of the top Haunted Attractions in the country. Sometimes the pro’s just say it best… in between their howls and blood curdling screams! Straight from their website:
“From crawling though a crematory oven and an old hearse to being lost in dark underground tunnels or even finding yourself standing on a rickety bridge overlooking hundreds of live snakes, this 40,000 square foot haunted house is definitely not recommended for the faint of heart.”
Find 13th Gate tickets for $30 or avoid all lines with a VIP pass for $50. Although there are no age restrictions, they advise attendees to be 12 or older.
Most Intense Haunt: McKamey Manor
Described by the attraction’s creator as a haunt for adrenaline junkies and people who aren’t scared by more traditional haunted houses, this experience is more than just a haunted house. This is a unique event that focuses on striking fear into the individuals who commit to being in their own, “Horror Movie.” The best way to understand this ‘experience’ is to visit their website and watch their linked YouTube videos to capture a small glimpse of what is wrought on participants. From what we can gather, this haunt looks more like a basic torture routine versus a fun scare. To really hit this home, read the following quote from the website’s warning page:
“Understand that each tour will be different based upon your personal fears, and can last 8 HOURS or more. Each guest will be mentally and physically challenged until you reach your personal breaking point.”
To participate, an individual must be in good health and sign a release waiver. In 2017, there are two locations — one in Nashville, Tennessee, called Caedis Silvis, or “Murder in the Woods” — apparently this is the more moderate experience — and an “extreme version” in Huntsville, Alabama. Because this experience is personalized and oddly desired, interested folks should inquire now in order to get in line. From their FAQ page, admission is $65 and either two cases of canned or one 50 pound bag of dog food. The money goes towards your transportation and the food goes to local dog shelters. Yes, that is correct, the owner McKamey forgoes a profit to care for dogs… and to screw you up!
Best Fright Fest Package: Knott’s Scary Farm
For a full night of fear — and we are talking about a package deal — check out Knott’s Scary Farm in the Greater Los Angeles Area. With a full lineup including nine haunted mazes, four scare zones, two shows, a dozen thrill rides in the dark, and — if that’s not enough — 1,000 monsters hiding behind corners and sliding on knee pads through the fog to get you… it’s a great place to find new nightmares. With so many attractions to choose from, Knott’s offers a full night of thrills instead of a single show. Just for fun, here is a description from the Knott’s website for one of their mazes:
“Armed with only a faulty flashlight, explore the creepy house at the end of the street… Face the terrors of the house in complete darkness as your interactive flashlight reveals the horrors hiding in the shadows. Featuring new state-of-the-art effects, unexpected scares and other eerie surprises, Trick-or-Treat: Lights Out will terrorize you like never before.”
With tickets for as low as $40, Knott’s has created a monster that everyone can enjoy. IT’S ALIVE!!!!
Alternate Reality : The Tension Experience
Let’s set the stage for this alternate reality experience. A cult masquerading as the O.O.A. Institute is looking for new members and you find yourself in their office with a receptionist handing you an enrollment form… with your picture on it. Over the next 2.5-3 hours you will make your way through 24 rooms with seven other participants — none of whom you know. Oh yea, and the brainchild of this experience is Darren Lynn Bousman, who directed three of the “Saw” films. The website provides the following description:
“The Tension Experience is a guided Illumination designed to prepare You for a new way to see this world. By design, those who choose this Journey can be assured that they will never be quite sure where the events will go, when they will start and stop and, often, what the true motivation behind them actually is.”
If you’re intrigued we’re sorry to say that the above is a description of their old attraction — Ascension — which is now over. But hey, out with the old and in with the new right? Check out their new platform titled Lust. Tickets go on sale September 15th for one week only in November. To give you an idea of cost, a ticket for Ascension was $125. Participants must be at least 18 years old and sign a release waiver. Want to know more? Well so do we…
Epic Haunted Maze: Haunted Overload
Are you looking for the classic haunted maze? What better place to go than an authentic farm in New England — especially if there are monsters as tall as 34 feet walking around? This show in Lee, New Hampshire was voted in the top 13 haunted attractions in the country twice and is continually changing and growing year after year. What makes the Haunted Overload experience special is that props and structures are hand-made by a crew that wants to create a genuine experience. The website has this to say about the DeMeritt Hill Farm:
“There’s not much left of the village anymore, except for a few odd buildings here and there. Most people know to avoid it. Some who wander in lose their way and just… never leave. Ask the performers in the little circus that came to town a few years after it happened. They’re still there. They’ve changed too…”
If you dare, head to this forgotten village with $25 in your pocket and expect to spend 45 minutes lost in a world that was forgotten long ago. Although there are no age restrictions, they advise attendees to be 12 or older for the regular night show.
Have a happy Halloween! Oh, and if the above list isn’t scary enough for you — just take a look in the mirror. Zing.