What is scary for you, may not be scary for me. People searching for a substantial dose of adrenalin around Halloween, may find the good ol’ skeletons and bloody zombies to be a silly joke. Ghosts are overrated and so are witches.
There are 2,500 haunted attractions nationwide, and many of them are betting on the extreme for more business. No matter where you live, take advantage of the Indian summer and the car rental deals. Don’t be afraid to drive there – besides, the fall foliage is absolutely gorgeous.
Come Halloween, many haunted houses around the country get creative in order to attract more customers and offer quite unusual entertainment. Some compare the terror that gives you goose bumps to a drug addiction. Once you’ve tasted that first high, you want more of the same. There are people who spend their lives chasing it, going after the extreme, and little can be done to satisfy it. Well, little, but not nothing! Brace yourself for lots of creepiness, but keep your eyes open, even in the pitch dark. You never know what might be lurking around the corner. It often does. And it could be downright horrific.
Enter the ScareHouse at your own risk
Named one of “America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions,” the ScareHouse in Etna, Pittsburgh can easily turn your nightmares into reality. The ScareHouse has prepared some pretty unorthodox scenarios to scare you. They even ask willing enthusiasts to sign a two-page waiver acknowledging the risks and declaring that they are healthy enough to participate. Meaning that if you suddenly get startled by being buffeted, or assaulted in any other way, you won’t sue.
Along with the traditional scares the ScareHouse offers, there’s the Basement. You crawl there through tight passages and, at some point, may have to submit to handcuffs. While handcuffed, you will suddenly see a syringe in your face and hear a whisper in the dark: “How do you feel about needles? Want to play with this for a while?” And stuff like that.
You can get physically and emotional “abused” in many different ways, mostly by the 60 actors who take turns to torture you for 30 minutes. The trip down the Basement is highly recommended.
Haunted Castle in Muskogee, Oklahoma
The place is a lot more family-friendly. During the day, a nice carnival enlivens Halloween land, where a theme park offers “spooktacular” events for guests of all ages. Along with the food and drink, a lot of ghost stories fill the air and you can have your fortune read by one of the Muskogee castle’s fortune tellers. Kids can stop by the pumpkin-carving station, go on pony rides and more. At nightfall though, before you know it, your favorite horror movie characters will come to life to scare the living hell out of you. The medieval castle has a labyrinth that leads to the cemetery and to the Casa Morte. Before you get there, you have to pass through the dungeons of the castle’s torture chamber. Many surprises await you along the way, you can be sure of it. If you muster the nerves, take a stroll through the surrounding haunted woods on the Trail of Blood; you won’t be disappointed.
Knott’s Scary Farm, Buena Park, California
The Scary Farm is a seasonal event at Knott’s Berry Farm, and sees a lot of after-dark action around Halloween. First inaugurated in 1973, this year the joint has added new features to its abundant scare collection, especially to the network of mazes that Buena Park Farm is famous for. Take the Skeleton Key where haunt fanatics can go down the “Fright Lane,” and enjoy the repeated haunting. Or try the Trapped maze. Attempt to exit through a new set of door-less rooms. Which one leads to safety is for you to decide, but watch your back. Many people enjoy the Mirror, Mirror maze, because of its confusion and unpredictability. Don’t trust any of the milling monsters inside, even if some of them offer nicely to get you out. Chances are, it will lead you in circles until your head begins to spin. Monsters disorient, misdirect and misinform by default. Keep your eyes open and follow your intuition.
Fright Town, Portland, Oregon
Traditionally, one of the Portland‘s best haunted houses, the Fright Town actually has three venues and presents the ever changing Museum of Horrors, the disturbing The Madness and The Contagion. The latter is an apartment building where zombies roam and demons want to possess your body and soul. To all of it there is a touch of humor, though no makeup or props have been spared for a “real” haunting experience. Not to say that the Town isn’t kids-friendly; there are no age restrictions, but I’d think twice before I take my kid to some of the scares. Remember what Baron Von Goolo, the curator of the Museum of Horrors, once said: “You can pay for a babysitter tonight or a therapist tomorrow.”