From local haunted houses to the nation’s top Halloween attractions, the South is home to some of the scariest Halloween activities and celebrations.
The 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
According to the 13th Gate’s creative director Dwayne Sanburn, this haunted house can “only be comparable to a Hollywood movie set.” Guests travel through 13 unique gates, each to represent a different year. Award-winning stage crews and professional actors call the 40,000 square foot warehouse their workplace, spending the entire year updating the set for Halloween. Sanburn says that “Whether you are a fan of horror movies or Halloween, love to be terrified out of your wits, or just enjoy the detail of a highly interactive one-of-a-kind haunted house, the 13th Gate has something for everyone!” Like most haunted houses, the 13th Gate opens seasonally.
Tickets: starting at $25 each, online.
Darkwood Manor, Luray, Virginia
Based on the fictional narrative of the Darkwood family, Darkwood Manor has intertwined an interactive set with a fictional ghost story that continues to evolve each year. The haunted house’s legend goes back to 1880, with the murderous Leroy Darkwood and his wife, Raven. Each year, the Darkwood Manor staff adds a new twist to the family’s story, and the haunted house gets new characters and scenes that reflect the plot development. The attraction, staffed by volunteer actors, professional makeup artists, and set designers, opens seasonally for the month of October.
Tickets starting at $13 each, online.
Related: 33 Halloween Party Ideas
Netherworld, Atlanta, Georgia
One of the nation’s most popular haunted houses, Netherworld changes the themes of its two shows each year. The theme of this year’s primary show is “Monsters.” According to Ben Armstrong, Co-Owner of Netherworld, it is “bringing back the classic, iconic creatures and scenes that people love so much.” The secondary show, “Meltdown,” is a sci-fi show featuring “mutants, crazy radiation, and a massive missile.” The attraction employs over 380 actors and invests in movie-quality props (be on the lookout for props from the Hunger Games). Armstrong says that although the content of Netherworld is appropriate for all ages, the intensity of the experience depends on who you are, and prides the attraction on its shock factor. Netherworld opens for the Halloween season on September 23.
Tickets: starting at $23 each, online.
Cutting Edge Haunted House, Fort Worth, Texas
This haunted attraction is known far beyond the Southern borders – it holds the 2015 Guinness World Record as being the World’s Largest Haunted Attraction and the World’s Largest Walk Through Haunted House. It sits inside of an abandoned meat packaging plant in downtown Fort Worth, which was built in 1908. The Haunted House’s producers obviously take advantage of this unsettling historical circumstance, and have themed the attraction as a human processing plant – apparently, the meat packaging equipment is still in use. Open seasonally.
Tickets: starting at $29.95 each, online.
The Darkness, St. Louis, Missouri
What better place to build a haunted house than the location of a national haunted house trade show? Every March, the haunted house hosts tours for all of the convention’s professional attendees, which means they have some of the industry’s top experts to impress. That’s probably why The Darkness has been ranked as the America’s best haunted house, and has been featured throughout more national media than any other haunted house in the world.
Tickets starting at $25.00 each, online.
The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Weston, West Virginia
The creepiest thing about the 150-year-old hand-cut stone masonry Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum is that its paranormal activity is not that of pure fiction. The 19th century psychiatric hospital shut down in 1994, and now serves as both a national historic landmark and a haunted attraction. All year long, guests can book overnight paranormal ghost hunts; during the month of October, the building builds a theatric haunted house set on the grounds outside of the hospital, featuring a fictional crazy doctor and his delirious patients. All the while, non-fictional paranormal hunts are still occurring inside of the main building. That’s creepy.
Tickets starting at $20 each, online.
Scream-a-Geddon, Dade City, Florida
Scream-A-Geddon’s six separate interactive attractions extend from its “Monster Midway” food court (which serves beer). The newly redesigned “Cursed Hayride” takes guests on a wagon ride through a haunted town; “Dead Woods” transports guests to a forest guarded by a possessed family; escape a rural community overrun by aliens in the maze of “Infected”; and experience a 3D clown house in “Bedlam 3D.” The sixth attraction, Blackpool Prison, is brand new for 2016. Both “Blackpool” and “Infected” offer an interactive option: adult guests can “mark” themselves with a glow stick for more scares. We recommend getting to the park early, as lines get long.
Tickets starting at $19.95 each, online.
Sinister Tombs, Eastview, Kentucky
This family-friendly haunted attraction is located about an hour outside of Louisville. According to owner, Marvin Skaggs, the attractions’ 40-50 actors are “some of the best people that anyone could ever meet,” often times bringing in spooky items of their own to decorate the haunted house. Skaggs says that he’s never thought of Sinister Tombs as "super scary,” so if you’re a thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie, Sinister Tombs is not for you. But if you’re looking for a family-friendly haunted house, bring the whole crew along.
Tickets starting at $10 each, online.
Related: Best Louisville Restaurants
Kersey Valley Spookywoods, Archdale, North Carolina
What began as a $2 per ticket haunted house thrown together in 1985 by a group of kids has expanded into an entire haunted-themed park. Spookywoods, part of Kersey Valley Attractions, is now considered one of North Carolina’s scariest Halloween attractions. The owner of Spookywoods, who just happens to be one of the haunted house’s original founders, grew up on the farm property that now serves as the theme park. A ticket to Spookywoods gets you access to 13 different attractions, including a cursed corn maze, a witch hunt, and a mutant experiment gone awry. Open seasonally.
Tickets: starting at $25 each, online.
Sloss Fright Furnace, Birmingham, AL
On the outskirts of the city of Birmingham, Alabama, sits an industrial maze of pipes and smokestacks called the Sloss Furnaces. Built in 1881 by James Withers Sloss, the furnace begot the rise of the steel industry in the Iron City. Sloss employed hundred of men for low pay and long hours, and many employees became victims of industrial accidents involving molten steel, carbon monoxide, and exposed machinery. Although the furnace is now a national landmark, the souls who lost their lives at Sloss still haunt the grounds. Each year, Sloss opens as a haunted attraction, Fright Furnace, and hold Furnace Tours through areas of the Furnace normally closed to the public. With Hollywood-level special effects and a budget of over $300,000, Sloss Furnace is truly one of the scariest haunted attractions in the South.
Tickets between $20 and $24 each, online.