We've rounded up a list of some of the most thrilling haunted houses across the United States. Including one peculiar "experience" where you have to walk barefoot and alone through the entire thing — no exceptions.
[top image via NY Haunted House and 13th Gate]
NYC Halloween Haunted House: Vortex Theater (New York, NY)
We're super intrigued by this haunted "experience" put on by the Vortex Theater. We'll let the rules of the house speak for themselves:
No one under 18 admitted.
You have no choice but to walk through alone.
You will be touched.
You are not allowed to touch the actors or the walls.
You must wear a protective mask and carry a flashlight at all times.
You will be required to remove your shoes and socks.
There is a safety word. On their facebook page they keep track many people had to use the safety each night.
You have to sign a waiver before entering.
You will encounter:
FOG - STROBE LIGHTS - COMPLETE DARKNESS
CRAWLING ON YOUR HANDS AND KNEES - STAIRS - LOUD NOISES
PHYSICAL CONTACT - SEXUAL and VIOLENT SITUATIONS
So, who's coming with me next week?
Netherworld (Atlanta, GA)
Ranked the best Haunted House in the nation by USA Today and HauntWorld.com Netherworld relies heavily on a costly Hollywood FX crew, plenty of actors, "sliders," and creating a physical environment audience members can actually be afraid of (not just a collection of dark hallways).
The Bates Motel (Philadelphia, PA)
Lots and lots of fire, plus it's a loving recreation of the Bates Motel, which you can actually walk through. And if you're not into walking around, take the hay ride — it provides a buffer between you and the crazy.
A friend of mine has vowed never to go back to this haunted house, if that means anything to you. I won't go here because it has clowns — there's nothing scarier than a clown. Other pluses include a pig man who slaughters humans and plenty of fake falling walls and ceilings.
13th Gate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Yikes. That little girl in the commercial is TERRIFYING. Plus at one point you have to walk through a crematory oven — yechh.
Terror Behind the Walls (Philadelphia, PA)
Terror Behind The Walls gets extra points for taking place inside an actual haunted prison, Eastern State Penitentiary, which has been featured on plenty of reality tv horror shows like Ghost-viewer-something-or-another. They've also added a new leg to their experience — the Night Watch, where you're plunged into total darkness and given a tiny flashlight, and you have to find your own way out.
Erebus Haunted House (Pontiac, MI)
Formerly the world's largest haunted house — an honor now held by Cutting Edge, but more on that later. But just because it's not the reigning champion in size that doesn't mean it's still not exceptionally frightening. Come for the classic jump-out scare tactics, stay for 40 minutes — because that's how long it takes to get through it, at minimum.
Possibly the longest Haunted Houses in America — unless something beat it this year, but as far as we can tell this is still the champion. It lasts over an hour. An Hour.
The Dent Schoolhouse (Cincinnati, OH)
Based on a "true" story, the Dent Schoolhouse takes you inside an actual school from the late 1800s. Whether or not the janitor really killed a bunch of kids, causing it to be shut down is true, is a bit iffy. Still, journey through the house that the Nightmare on Elm Street reboot people stole their plot from.
The Beast has a Werewolf Forest, which is actually a maze. Once in the forest you're attacked by werewolves, there's a storm and lightning "scene," man-hunting lions, pirates, and Jack the Ripped. Basically it's a hodge-podge of fun. Oh and also, they use live snakes!
[Additional sources from Inventor Spot, Haunted House Magazine, America Haunts and Meg Rowe.