Looking for a spooktacularly scary time this Halloween season? Want to scare yourself silly, or see your friends get the heebie-jeebies? Here's our guide to “The Unlucky Thirteen” (in no particular order), a ghastly gathering of U.S.-based Halloween Haunts, from professional haunted houses and hayrides to terrors on the seas, in a penitentiary and even in semi-truck trailers. It's all 100% grade A terror, guaranteed to make you and your loved ones shiver, cry and pray for a way out...
Erebus Four Story Haunted Attraction - Detroit, MI
Erebus lays claim to being the largest haunted house in America. This esteemed creeper also has the reputation of being the most interactive - as all kinds of dead and decaying beings, zombies and other devils and monsters touch you, grab you and do their very best to literally eat you.
Seven Floors of Hell - Cleveland, OH
This haunted house is the longest linear walkthrough haunted house in the country. With a budget of $1 million, organizers spare no expense to keep the seven floors primed to terrify you. Attractions includes a haunted circus, cemetery and the 13th cellblock, chockfull of dead inmates.
Universal Studios House of Horrors - Hollywood, CA
This SoCal favorite features some of the movie biz's most malicious slasher icons -- Jason Vorhees, Freddy Kreuger, Leatherface -- at play with other devilish monstrosities in four lengthy mazes. The Terror Tram also escorts visitors throughout the park to an untimely and gruesome demise.
The Darkness - St. Louis, MO
A perennial favorite amongst horror enthusiasts, The Darkness features hordes of animations, over 40 Hollywood quality sets and 50 live actors. Pegged as one of the best of the best, The Darkness has been featured in USA Today and the Wall Street Journal.
Knott's Scary Farm - Buena Park, CA
Billed as the "world's first, biggest and most famous theme park Halloween event," Knott's Scary Farm has been traumatizing unsuspecting victims for 35 years. Featuring 13 haunted mazes, 7 terror shows, and multiple scare zones with 1,000 fully costumed creatures roaming the park, Knott's is the granddaddy and still the top frightener amongst amusement park horror haunts.
Shocktoberfest - Reading, PA
This immensely terrifying outdoor event features a haunted prison, a 3D maze and the scariest hayride in the U.S. It's also set in an abandoned industrial park that was once home to such institutions as the State Psychiatric Hospital and Willow Glen State Penitentiary.
Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream - Tampa Bay, FL
Victims, err, visitors to Florida should check out both Orlando’s Universal Studios House of Horrors and Busch Gardens annual Howl-O-Scream, which is "infested" with six haunted houses, three shows, five scare zones and plenty of terror-inducing roller coasters to keep guests screaming their heads off all night long.
Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses - Ulster, NY
This is a consensus favorite amongst haunted house connoisseurs, for having that genuine "Halloween" feeling. It's set in the great spooky outdoors, features a galloping headless horseman, a haunted hayride, a massive corn maze and more gift shops than any other haunt on the planet.
Eastern State Penitentiary's Terror Behind the Walls - Philadelphia, PA
This haunted house is based in a real prison, which once held such infamous characters as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. It includes a 3D madhouse with a murderous doctor, and a "Night Watch" attraction that abandons visitors in the pitch dark, allowing them to escape only with the aid of a pinpoint of light.
USS Nightmare - New Port, KY
This is a 40-minute bone-chilling tour aboard a haunted steamboat. Each quarter on the ship depicts its own horrifying scene, with bloody dolls and torture devices strewn around all the cramped quarters. While it’s not exactly a fun-filled frolic for the whole family, the USS Nightmare is very claustrophobic, dingy and scary as hell.
Queen Mary's “Shipwreck” Halloween Terror Fest - Long Beach, CA
Every year, the famed Queen Mary becomes Shipwreck, dubbed "the most terrifying place on Earth." Horrific yet classy, the Art Deco Queen Mary serves up several mazes, live bands performing in Purgatory Park, and a three-level dance party. As the Queen Mary is legendary for reported paranormal activity over the years (and its starring role as the doomed ship in the 1972 The Poseidon Adventure) , it’s appropriate that this location features one the longest and spookiest mazes in all of Southern California.
Asylum & Hotel Fear - Las Vegas, NV
Don't mind being cramped in a dark setting with a bunch of ghouls in tight places? Try Las Vegas' The Asylum & Hotel Fear, two equally terrifying haunted houses set in old semi-truck trailers! One thing's for certain: whatever it is that scares you will be only a few feet away.
Netherworld Haunted House - Atlanta, GA
Another critically-acclaimed haunted house, Netherworld is known for its original use of animatronics, plus its blood-curdling horrific make-up team that creates some of the scariest, spookiest and original ghoulish monsters to ever creep the Halloween terrorscape.
Looking for more Halloween scares? Here are some honorable mentions across the USA:
Dead Acres - Columbus, OH
Fright World - Buffalo, NY
Phantom Fright Nights - Kennywood, PA
Six Flags Fright Fest - New Jersey
Thrillvania - Texas
13th Gated Haunted House - Baton Rouge, LA
Kersey Valley Spooky Woods and Maize Adventure - Greensboro, NC
Dreamreapers Haunted House - Chicago, IL
The Haunted Hotel - San Diego, CA
Castle Blood - Pittsburgh, PA
Terror Syndicate - Pittsburgh, PA
Rot Haunted House - Thousand Oaks, CA
Haunted Overload - Exeter, NH
Fright Dome at Circus Circus - Las Vegas, NV
Do you have a favorite fright attraction? Let us know at email@example.com. Happy Haunting!