Fall is the Halloween season, and as the weather turns the monsters and madmen come out to play. Each year thousands of haunted attractions, like Six Flags Fright Fest and Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, open their doors to the screaming public. Walking down narrow corridors in dim light waiting for something horrible to pop out and scare you is a Halloween tradition too important to miss. So why settle for anything less than the best creepy Halloween events the world has to offer? After all, many who work these attractions for your entertainment have practically dedicated their lives to doing so.
These haunted houses are the scariest in the world, ones that warrant travel just to see. Some of them are open year-round, others vanish like mist once the last autumn leaf falls. They showcase ghosts, ghouls, psychopaths, and serial killers. Instead of merely watching horror movies this Halloween, become a part of one. That is, if you're brave enough.
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Netherworld – Atlanta, GAPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
This haunted house in Atlanta, GA, is one of the best in the world. After years of operation, they have gotten horror down to a science. Not only does Netherworld have a quality staff of horrifying miscreants, they utilize the very latest in giant animatronic monsters.
From a 15-foot tall rock golem to entire moving rooms, this attraction is massive. In addition to the main house, there is a smaller side house that is also well worth experiencing.
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Pennhurst Haunted Asylum – Spring City, PA
The Pennhurst Haunted Asylum in Spring City, PA, stands out from other haunted house attractions for one simple reason: it's real. The Pennhurst State School and Hospital was opened in 1908 under the name Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic. It served the mentally ill until 1987, when it was closed amid controversy. Since then, several ghost hunting shows have investigated the location.
So what do you do with an abandoned, reportedly haunted mental institution? In 2010, it became a haunted house attraction. You have to respect anyone brave or foolish enough to tempt fate like that.
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The Darkness – St. Louis, MO
With amazing set design and incredible detail, The Darkness can't be missed. Operating in St. Louis, MO, since 1994, the attraction has evolved into six houses, including the two-story Darkness Haunted House. The houses are completely renovated each year, though guests can expect to be spooked by zombies, killers, and hybrid creatures.
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The Dent Schoolhouse – Cincinnati, OHPhoto: flickr / CC0
Located in Cincinnati, OH, the Dent Schoolhouse is haunted by a terrifying janitor from the 1950s. Said janitor spent years offing students and hiding their remains in the school. When the townspeople found out, the janitor escaped, and the school shut down. Rumor has it that he returned to the school a few years later, and the location is still haunted by the ghosts of the children.
The attraction changes slightly every year, so the horror is always fresh for visitors.