Haunted Places

These haunted places and scary attractions hope to cause a fright this Halloween season By: Skye Mayring
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is one of many spooky attractions to open in October. // © 2012 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is one of many spooky attractions to open in October. // © 2012 Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Looking for a good scare this Halloween? Well, you’re in luck as several haunted places and scary attractions are popping up across the country this fall. From haunted houses to Halloween-inspired theme parks, the following attractions are sure to be a scream.

Haunted Houses

This Halloween season, organizer America Haunts has plans to create and operate 30 terrifying — but safe — haunted houses across the U.S. America Haunts has been featured on the Travel Channel, and its members have been recognized by The Guinness Book of World Records on multiple occasions. www.americahaunts.com/attractions

Opening dates and locations for America Haunts’ haunted houses in the West are as follows:

13th Floor 
Denver, CO 
Sept. 21

The Asylum 
Denver, CO 
Sept. 28

13th Floor
Phoenix, AZ
Sept. 21

13th Floor
San Antonio, TX
Sept. 21

Cutting Edge
Fort Worth, TX
Sept. 8

House of Torment
Austin, TX
Sept. 21

Nightmare on the Bayou
Houston, TX
Sept. 28

Scream Zone
San Diego, CA
Sept. 28

The Haunted Hotel
San Diego, CA
Sept. 21

The Haunted Trail
San Diego, CA
Sept. 28

Nightmare on 13th
Salt Lake City, UT
Sept. 14

Haunted Hayride

Back for its fourth year, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride has upped the ante with a brand new 360-degree interactive experience, a bigger “In-Between Dark Maze” and a Purgatory sideshow that entertains guests while waiting in line.

“We’ve really focused on bringing our guests into the ride this year,” said Melissa Carbone, executive producer of Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. “When guests leave, they should look like they just woke up from a rough night out. We’re going to show them immediately that you have no idea what to expect or from where to expect it. This is the best work we’ve ever done.”

The terror of Los Angeles Haunted Hayride IV starts on Oct. 5. There will be a special evening hosted by Elvira Mistress of The Dark on Oct. 6, and special Elvira VIP Packages will allow guests to ride with Elvira. Visitors should keep an eye out for other celebrities as well. Megan Fox, Lauren Conrad, Sarah Silverman and Ryan Gosling have been spotted at past Haunted Hayride events.

General admission is $28, and VIP passes are $52.


Penn & Teller’s 3-D Haunted Maze

The bad boys of magic, Penn & Teller, are bringing their eccentric illusionist entertainment to life in an all-new 3-D haunted house at Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights event.

With Pen & Teller’s new attraction, Halloween Horror Nights guests will step into a dark, dilapidated and radioactive version of “Sin City,” as if one of their magic tricks has gone terribly awry, and the city has been covered in nuclear ooze. The haunted maze will feature highlights of Vegas — showgirls, slot machines, little white wedding chapel, all-you-can-eat buffets — all glowing with a toxic green hue.

“We’ve done more than just tap into the wildly creative minds of Penn & Teller, the most influential illusionists in the world,” said Jim Timon, senior vice president of entertainment at Universal Orlando Resort. “You are literally going to hear Penn directing you through this toxic wasteland before coming face-to-face with both Penn & Teller in this jarring 3-D experience.” 


Disney Gets Spooky

From Sept. 14 through Oct. 31, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif., will transform in order to offer visitors a fun, Halloween-inspired experience. Among the festive activities, guests can check out Space Mountain Ghost Galaxy in Tomorrowland. The experience begins as a typical Space Mountain adventure but suddenly launches voyagers into a haunted section of the universe. Ghosts appear out of the starry darkness and swirling galaxies of Space Mountain, reaching out as if to grab guests as they speed through space. The exhilarating drops and curves of the journey are punctuated by piercing screams, creepy sound effects and haunting music.

Jack Skellington also returns to take over the Haunted Mansion, and the Haunted Mansion Holiday opens in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square. Transformed into a mix of Halloween spookiness and Christmas tradition, Haunted Mansion Holiday is inspired by the Tim Burton film “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Jack’s return to the Haunted Mansion includes the traditional Halloween/Christmas gingerbread house in the Mansion Ballroom with some special spooky surprises in this year’s design.

Additionally, guests will find new thrills at Disney California Adventure Park this fall. “The Art of Frankenweenie Exhibition” will feature sketches, props, sets and puppets from Tim Burton’s new animated film, “Frankenweenie” from Sept. 14 through Nov. 5, and it includes a sneak peek of the movie.

Other Halloween highlights at Disneyland Resort:

• Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland is transformed for the Main Street Pumpkin Festival. Guests will see more than 300 pumpkins, none of them the same. 

• Visitors to Big Thunder Ranch Halloween Round in Frontierland will find ranch animals, pumpkin carvers, Halloween decor and activities for youngsters. 

• Disney villains gather to plot Halloween mischief at the “It’s a Small World” Mall in Disneyland, while other characters in spooky attire greet guests in Town Square, Main Street, U.S.A.


Scarywood Thrills

Beware: Scarywood is taking over Silverwood Theme park this October. Located north of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, the park will offer several scary attractions that the whole family can enjoy.

Guests can experience Blood Bayou, an indoor haunted attraction, as well as the Thunder Canyon raft ride which will be converted into the Terror Canyon Trail where guests will be stalked by nightmarish creatures. The mild-mannered Steam Engine No. 7 will become a zombie-hunting ride with new zombie adventures and scenes to keep attendees on edge. And, only during Scarywood Haunted Nights, visitors can ride the Timber Terror Roller Coaster backwards.

Tickets range from $19.99-$34.99 per person.


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