Freak Us Out with the World's Greatest Haunted Attractions!

Welcome to October, Atlas Obscura’s favorite month of the year! The fall, the spookiness, the sense of adventure and mystery and wonder in the air. It’s wonderful. It also means that we’re officially in Haunted House Season! I’m not talking about eerie abandoned sites teeming with “ghost hunters” filming their reality TV pilot (Atlas Obscura’s official stance is that ghosts do not exist), I mean those elaborate, inventive spookhouse attractions found all over the world. Whether it’s a lovingly corny homemade haunt, a haunted hayride making the best of scarecrows and natural shadows, or a large-scale maze operation bringing off-brand versions of the year’s favorite horror movies to life, there is a lot to love in the intricate artifice of haunted houses. Now we want to hear about your favorite haunted houses from around the world.

(Image: NeONBRAND/Public Domain)

Whether it’s in your hometown or some far-flung locale, tell us about your favorite haunted house in the comments below. Let us know what the experience was like, why you liked it so much, and whether it was actually scary! If you have any pictures, videos, or links, please share those too. Your response may be included in an upcoming round up on Atlas Obscura. Time to smell the fog juice and embrace the minor suspense of those spaces that embrace the Halloween season like no other!

I’ve been to many over the years. One locally in the UK, Leighton Buzzard to be precise is a lot of fun. Last year when a demonic clown pretended to shoot me, I took the play acting a little too far and fell through a movable wall/hatch!
With much fondness though, I recall a small wooden haunted house, that was part of a travelling fair. It visited the Town square in Tervuren, Belgium twice a year. Dad and myself ventured in, to met by near darkness, with just UV paint decoratively on the walls to guide us round this maze. The spooks were activated by foot panels in the flooring, so as you walked around suddenly a skeleton was lit up, ghoulish sounds; dangling chains and all! Simply done, but always enjoyable.

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We have two Halloween attractions in the Lancaster, PA area. One is Field of Screams, which I visited some years ago. It was good then and has expanded since then.

The other is older and called Jason’s Woods. I had the pleasure of working there for about 7-8 years but had to leave when I become disabled and couldn’t work anymore.

My jobs included being a maniacal undertaker with a coffin and a “body” inside. She was a fake skeleton wearing a tattered party dress and I called her “Grandma.” We were in a corner of an indoor maze. When a patron turned the corner, I would jump up, screaming and banging on the coffin with a cane and invited them to get into the coffin. Then I’d scream other things depending on the age of the customer.

Another year I was a crazed clown, jumping out of my hiding space screaming things about clowns. Some people have a true phobia of clowns and, if they were obviously terrified, I would back up and let them go past. They had no idea that I would be popping out again from my other doorway!

My favorite job was being a chaperone on the haunted hayride. We had extra-long wagons drawn by tractors and seating about 60 people. I sat in the back keeping my eyes open for anyone who broke the rules. I also knew where every haunt was so that I could look in the opposite direction and enable the actors to really scare the bejeebers out of the riders. I also passed messages to other actors and some actors would grab me and go into their scare - I acted like I didn’t know what was happening. The riders knew I worked there but still got even MORE scared by what I was saying to the actors, pretending I didn’t know what was going on.

I did this for 4-5 years and had a blast! It was also my job to take action if anyone had an injury or health problem like an asthma attack - that meant calling for 2 ambulances to come.

The weirdest thing that ever happened was the night that my son’s buddy was the “chain saw man” and he got the air intake on the saw too close to a young teen girl’s head and it sucked her hair in so that the chain saw was tight against her head. She was screaming and so was the guy with the saw (no chain on it, of course.). He had to keep ahold of her head AND the chain saw while we rushed back to the shed where the ride started and ended so someone could get the saw off her head.

Unfortunately, some of her hair was pulled out and cut off in the process of removing the chain saw, so the owner came to talk to her and her very angry mother. They ended up having a custom haircut at our expense and I believe the owner also gave them some cash and free tickets to the attraction.

I tried so hard not to laugh during this whole episode but managed to keep it for later. Made a great story when we went to the bar after work! Nothing like a group of 30 or 40 invading the local tavern after a long night of terrifying people!

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Another funny thing that happened at Jason’s Woods was when I was chaperone for a wagon full of both white and African American people. In the middle of the ride at at haunt with several actors, a little Black boy stood up and yelled, “I see white people!!”. (The movie with the line, “I see dead people!” was popular at the time.)

His poor mom was so embarrassed! She apologized, even though I was laughing my butt off, and said to him, “I didn’t raise you ghetto!” I told her it was the funniest thing I’d experienced in years and not to scold him or be embarrassed. The whole wagonload of people, Black and White, was laughing at what he said and for the rest of the night, I repeated his line whenever possible.

Another great story for the after-party at the Rock Hill Hotel, an 18th-century establishment (no longer a hotel, but popular in the heyday of the local canals and wagon traffic, to which we adjourned every night after the show. Except for the weekends right around Halloween, when we often got done near or even after 2:00 a.m., the closing time for bars in PA.

On a side note, Jason’s Woods is located in Conestoga, PA, the birthplace of the Conestoga Wagon. On a trip out west, I actually got to see the ruts these wagons made on the Oregon Trail in Idaho or Colorado. (We were back and forth in 4 states on that trip, so it’s hard to remember.) I couldn’t believe they were still there after all these years!

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