TravelChannel.com has named the “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” for 2015 with 10 hair-raising haunted houses and spooky surroundings that have been outfitted with new rooms, heart-pounding rides and ghoulish creatures.
TravelChannel.com editors enlisted a panel of experts to help determine the 10 best Halloween attractions for 2015, including: Larry Kirchner (owner and publisher, Hauntworld.com and “HauntWorld Magazine”), Aaron Sagers (geek culture and paranormal pop culture expert) and Daniel A. Schwartz (executive producer, “Ghost Adventures” and “Expedition Unknown”).
2015 “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” (in alphabetical order):
13th Gate – Baton Rouge, La.
13th Gate in Baton Rouge, La., a “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” pick for the second year in a row, revamps its 13 different themes each year to keep revelers frightened with the unexpected. New haunts this year include Possession, an old cabin infested with demonic entities; Scary Tales, a new feature that pays homage to the famous Grimm Fairy Tales, but with a 13th Gate twist; and Necropolis, a haunted cemetery that opens with an updated voodoo fire show and a few new surprises throughout the 40,000-square-foot, New Orleans-style graveyard. 13th Gate is one of the most detailed haunted houses in America – so realistic that you will scream for mercy.
The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm – Knoxville, Tenn.
The Corn Maze at Oakes Farm is a less scary, kid-friendly attraction for families who live near Knoxville, Tenn. After 15 years, this Halloween may mark the last time locals and tourists will be able to take the creepy journey at night through 4-acres of corn and woods, also known as the Trail of Doom. The crackle of corn under your feet is normally a delightful sound, but after several hours in the corn maze, if you happen to find yourself lost — you may find the sound more creepy than comforting. The farm’s most popular attraction, the corn pit, has doubled in size this year for kids and adults to roll around and bury themselves in the thousands of corn kernels that pack this fun play area.
The Darkness – St. Louis
Updated with new features, including a haunted library filled with evil spirits, The Darkness is one of the oldest running haunted houses in St. Louis. The owners have created the new Scream Zone – equipped with a mega-scream movie wall and roaming zombies, monsters and demons – to keep the crowd waiting outside preoccupied. And inside, it’s two floors of special effects and more! The 3D Haunted House Terror Visions has floating floors, moving walls and creepy clowns lurking around every dark corner. It’s definitely not for trick-or-treaters who can’t handle unexpected thrills. With over 200 animations, 75 CGI effects, hundreds of zombies, monsters, man-eating puppets and animated effects that grab and bite customers, The Darkness is considered one of America’s most technologically advanced haunted houses in America. Be prepared to get spooked!
Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls – Philadelphia
Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Eastern State Penitentiary’s Terror Behind the Walls has become a premier Halloween attraction in the United States (it was named to our “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” list in 2013). Once the home to imprisoned bank robber Willie Sutton and mob boss Al Capone, this penitentiary utilizes its already spooky surroundings to create six different scare zones, including two groundbreaking attractions this year – Quarantine 4D and Breakout. In Quarantine 4D, visitors must face their fears after learning of an infectious outbreak with symptoms that include hallucinations, blurry vision and other mind-altering effects. In Breakout, inmates – and visitors – attempt to gain their freedom, using barrels, ropes, tunnels and ladders.
Fear Factory – Salt Lake City
Fear Factory is one of those rare locations in the United States, where the history is even more terrifying that what’s depicted in the haunted house. Located on two and a half acres, or a full-city block, in Salt Lake City, Fear Factory features a post-apocalyptic setting with underground tunnels, towers, mazes and two of the largest indoor slides in North America. Formerly a cement factory built in the late 1800s, Fear Factory is also a popular spot for paranormal investigators because the ghosts of several former workers – who were electrocuted, dismembered, beheaded and burned – are rumored to still haunt the factory today.
The Haunted Trail of Balboa Park – San Diego
Set in the middle of San Diego is Balboa Park, an idyllic escape from life in the city, but when the sun goes down, the monsters emerge on the mile-long Haunted Trail. This attraction changes every season, so regular patrons won’t anticipate the unexpected creatures ready to pounce from the deepest, darkest corners. As you step into the darkness, you’ll need to escape the vampires hiding in the shadows and beware of creepy characters and horror movie legends such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. If that’s not enough to spook you, the psychological terrors will make you want to flee. We recommend wearing good running shoes.
Hundred Acres Manor – Pittsburgh
Hundred Acres Manor offers six haunted houses in one location and has been terrifying victims for over a decade. With nearly 200 actors, you never know when the next scare is going to jump out at you. New this year, the Vodou Bayou takes visitors on a tour through the Deep South, where the spirits of the bayou beckon, the stitchers want your body and the priestess wants your soul. But, there’s a glimmer of light in the darkness, this is a charity scary attraction that donates to Homeless Children’s Education Fund and Animal Friends.
Lord Chaz Ghost and Vampire Tours – New Orleans
Lord Chaz Ghost and Vampire Tours in New Orleans dish out some Halloween scares with a serving of history and a side of theater. Clad in a black duster with a top hat and razor-sharp nails, Lord Chaz – actor, author, musician, street performer and vampire – provides guided tours of the French Quarter year round, but are best experienced in October. Haunted history aficionados start at Johnny White’s Hole in the Wall on Bourbon Street and listen to Chaz talk about the infamous murders, suicides and tragedies that have inspired well-renowned authors such as Anne Rice. Factual, but filled with panache and humor, this tour is certainly one of the most unique Halloween experiences.
Netherworld – Atlanta
Netherworld, another returning “Travel’s Best: Halloween Attractions” pick from 2014, rolled out two new features for 2015, including the Elevator of Death – where up to 20 people can ride the elevator down to Vault 13, but be prepared for the flickering lights and a bumpy descent. Then, make your way to the new Toxic Foam Room, where patrons step into this one-of-a-kind decontamination chamber after exiting Vault 13. Getting soaked with fresh bubbles down a long hall may not be scary, but it’s popular among regular customers.
Robert Kurtzman’s Mad FX Lab – Crestline, Ohio
Makeup-effects master Robert Kurtzman is known for his work in blockbuster movies such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Army of Darkness, Wes Craven’s New Nightmare and John Carpenter’s Vampires. Every year, fans converge on the Mad FX Lab in Crestline, Ohio, to walk through the alien lab, Freddy’s Tunnel, the home of Leatherface and the Butcher’s Room. Kurtzman and his associates apply their creative skills and imagination to this unique haunt, bringing Hollywood-caliber frights to the locals of this small town. Expect the element of surprise as evil clowns, werewolves, zombies and other creatures run free in this attraction’s amazing alternate realities, including the cemetery, the Carnevil and the Cabin in the Woods.
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