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America's Top 13 Best Scariest Haunted Houses 2021
Thu, October 14, 2021

Haunted House Review America's Best Haunts of 2021
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Every October, thrill seekers travel the country looking to visit the scariest haunted attractions in America. Hauntworld.com is the World’s biggest directory of haunted attractions with over 4,000 haunt listings. Hauntworld has been publishing it's TOP 13 SCARIEST HAUNTED HOUSES list for nearly two decades. Today many websites publish haunted house best of lists, for click bait, despite never attending or researching any of the attractions on their list. Hauntworld is the leader, creating content for the haunted attraction industry, publishing the industry's only magazine, Hauntworld Magazine, and how to videos with educational content for attraction owners. Hauntworld knows the haunted attractions and which haunts will make you SCREAM!

Haunted Attractions have drastically changed over the last 5 years, adding escape rooms, outdoor scream zones, horror arcades, scary photo opps, haunted midways, axe throwing, pumpkin festivals, hayrides and more. So, which haunted houses give thrill seekers the most SCREAM for their money? This year’s list includes the best of the best from theme park attractions to your locally owned & operated haunted attraction. Most theme park Halloween events aren’t very scary, but there are a few that take fear to another level. A newere phenomenon is travelling scream seekers, and they use Hauntworld.com to plan their annual road trips across America, visiting the scariest haunts in the country.

So carve your Halloween pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns, decorate your yards with skeletons & ghosts, and pack your bags, because Hauntworld is taking you on the scariest road trip across Haunted America!

Hauntworld now presents the scariest and best places to celebrate the season of Halloween.  The only list that matters to find the top 13 scariest, best, biggest, and best places to SCREAM this Halloween 2021. 

1) 13th Gate
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

13th Gate includes amazing set design, animations, and character actors who actually act out the parts of each scene.
13th Gate is one of the longest indoor haunts in the country at over 60,000 square feet and features everything from Hollywood level sets to LIVE Snakes!

2) Headless Horseman Hayride
Ulster Park, New York

Headless Horseman is a massive SCREAMPARK with the countries best haunted hayride, several haunted houses and unique gift stores.

3) Haunted Overload
Lee, New Hampshire

Haunted Overload is probably the single most creative Halloween experience in the country, with massive one of a kind creations.  Your trip thru the forest will never be the same.

4) Field of Screams
Mountville, Pennsylvania

Field of Screams is a very intense haunted attraction with an all-volunteer dedicated staff of actors, massive hayride, haunted houses and a giant haunted midway.

5) The Darkness
St. Louis, Missouri

Some rank The Darkness the best haunted house in America due to its amazing set design and the industries largest collection of monsters, animations and special fx along with a huge gift store.

6) Pennhurst Asylum
Spring City, Pennsylvania

One of the most notorious abandoned asylums has been transformed into one of the scariest haunted experiences in America.  If there is such thing as real fear this place has it!

7) Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights
Orlando, Florida

Probably the most famous haunted event in America, Universal Orlando shows all other theme parks how to do fright right!  Universal features haunted houses, rides and more.

8) Hellsgate
Lockport, Illinois

Created by the Zombie Army near Chicago this haunted house features amazing detail but a cast of monsters second to none.  Hells Gate is a throw back haunted house when haunts where scary!

9) Knott's Scary Farm
Los Angeles, California

The longest running Theme Park haunted event is bigger and better than ever.  The highlight is ‘The Hanging’ a show where they mock a celebrity.

10) Bennett's Curse
Baltimore, Maryland

Bennett’s Curse features some of the biggest collection of monsters, animations and high end costumes and masks.  Prepare to take a trip to the Underworld at Bennett’s Curse.

11) The Dent Schoolhouse
Cincinnati, Ohio

Your worst nightmare is going back to high school where your long lost teachers are back to torture you from the other side.  Dent Schoolhouse will leave you scarred for life.

12) Disney Haunted Mansion
California & Orlando

Disney’s Haunted Mansion is the original haunted house and today is still as spooky as ever with ghosts around every turn.  You can’t visit Disney without a trip to the haunted mansion.

13) Spookywoods
Archdale, North Carolina

Spookywoods is more than just a haunted screampark, with zip lines, trains, tram tours and so much more. Spookywoods is fear by night and Halloween fun by day.
The FEAR doens't end... Here is our list of the next best haunts 14 thru 31.

14) Creepyworld Haunted Screampark - Fenton, Missouri - creepyworld.com

Woods of Terror - Greensboro, North Carolina - woodsofterror.com

Realm Of Terror - Round Lake Beach, Illinois - realmofterror.com

Double M Haunted Hayride - Ballston Spa, New York - doublemhauntedhayride.com

18) Sinister Tombs - Eastview, Kentucky - sinistertombs.com

19) Fright Kingdom - Nashua, New Hampshire - frightkingdom.com

20) Basement of the Dead - Aurora, Illinois - basementofthedead.com

21) 13th Floor Haunted House - Denver, Colorado - 13thfloorhauntedhouse.com

NetherWorld - Atlanta, Georgia - fearworld.com

23) Howl o Scream - Tampa Busch Gardens - buschgardens.com

24)   Ever Haunt - Angola, New York - everhaunt.com

25) Factory of Terror - Canton, Ohio - FOTOhio.com

26) Erebus - Pontiac, Michigan - hauntedpontiac.com

27) Spookyworld - Litchfield, New Hampshire - NightmareNewEngland.com

28) Lake Hickory Haunts - Connelly Springs, North Carolina - lakehickoryhaunts.com

29) Azra Haunted House Chamber of Horrors - Madison Heights, Michigan - azrahaunt.com

Haunted Nightmares - Winchester, Virginia - hauntednightmares.net 

31) Haunted Club Farm - Virginia Beach, Virginia - hauntedhuntclubfarm.com

Halloween doesn’t stop there… now here is our list of best haunts 32 thru 60.  Did a haunted house in your city make our list? PLEASE SHARE THIS PAGE!

32) Land of Illusion Screampark - Middeltown, Ohio - landofillusion.com 

33) Frightmare Farms - Fulton, New York - frightmarefarms.net

34) Spooky Ranch at Rockin R Ranch - Columbia Station, Ohio - spookyranch.com

35) House of Horrors - Buffalo, New York - houseofhorrorsbuffalo.com

36) The Warehouse Haunted Attraction - Weber City, Virginia - hauntedbewarehouse.com

37) Nightmare in the Gorge - Minden, WV - aceraft.com/event/nightmare-in-the-gorge

38) Twisted Fields of Terror - Prince Frederick, Maryland - twistedfieldofterror.com

39) Chambers of Hell - Hauppauge, New York - chambersofhell.com

40) A Fright Haven - Stratford, Conneticut - frighthaven.com

41) Factory of the Dead - Saginaw, Michigan - factoryofthedead.com

42) Mount Mayhem Haunted House - Phoenix, Arizona - mountmayemhaunt.com

43) Rolling Hills Asylum - East Bethany, New York - rollinghillsasylum.com

44) The Dead End Hayride - Wyoming, Minnesota - thedeadendhayride.com

45) Fear Forest Haunted House & Hayride - Warren, Ohio - fearforest.com

46) The Hill Has Eyes - Franklin, Wisconsin - hillhaseyes.com

47) Hotel of Horror - Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania - hotelofhorror.com

48) The Dark Side Haunted Adventure - Ixonia, Wisconsin - darkrideproductions.com

49) Kreepy Hollow Haunted Attraction - Bishopville, South Carolina - kreepyhollow.net

50) Fortress of Fear Screampark - Alliance, Ohio - fortressoffear.com

51) Soul Takers Acres -  Warsaw, Indiana - soultakersacres.com

52) Haunted Shadows Lake Trail - Colony, Texas - hauntedshadowslaketrail.com

53) Midway Wicked Woods - Statesville, North Carolina - midwaywickedwoods.com

54) Rochester Horror Fright at the Farm - Goodhue County, Minnesota - rochesterhorror.com

55) Carnival of Horrors Haunted House - Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio - carnivalofhorrors.com

56) Hanna Haunted Acres - Indianapolis, Indiana - hannahauntedacres.com

57) Enigma Haunt - Boca Raton, Florida - enigmahaunt.com

58) The Haunts at Zombies Realm - Yankton, South Dakota - zombiesrealm.com

59) Camp Fear - Hiddenite, North Carolina - campfearnc.com

60) Barrett's Haunted Mansion - Abington, Massachusetts - bhmansion.com


About Hauntworld.com: Hauntworld was the first industry website with magazine to rate haunted houses nationwide.  Hauntworld is the only media outlet which produces haunted house how-to articles both online and inside our industry magazine, Hauntworld Magazine.  Hauntworld provides the haunted house industry with information & education and helps haunt seekers find haunted houses worth traveling to each year, or find haunted houses near you at www.Hauntworld.com. Plus join Hauntworld's 600,000 Followers on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HauntworldHauntedHouse


  Posted by Larry 11.14 PM Read Comments ()
Day in the Life of a Haunted House Owner
Tue, October 12, 2021
by Hauntworld.com Staff 

Get Ready to go Behind the Screams - 
Videos below show different behind the screams at haunted houses. 

Have you ever wondered what it’s like in a day of the life of a haunted house owner?   I will detail what it's like to own and operate a haunted house, and what the daily grind is all about.  As you search the web to find your favorite haunted house to visit each Halloween season, haunt owners nationwide are working all day and night with the end goal to make you SCREAM. In fact, most for-profit haunted house owners work on their attractions YEAR ROUND! Haunted House owners attend a full schedule of events throughout the year such as tradeshows, conventions, learning seminars, and more.

Every year, a company called Transworld holds the annual Halloween & Haunted Attractions Tradeshow and Escape Room Conference.  Haunt owners from around the world gather in St Louis every March to see over 400,000 SCREAM feet of monsters, costumes, masks, animations, props, inflatables and more.  Many haunt owners even start planning new scenes and screams PRIOR to the Transworld Show, then come together with vendors to make the purchases to finalize their vision. After the show is over, haunt owners head back to their attractions and start the construction process to transform their haunt into a bigger and scarier event than the year before. 

Haunted Houses have changed drastically over the last decade, as many haunts have put more focus on hauntertainment rather than traditional scares. Many haunted house attractions have added midways, mini escape rooms, a horror mini golf, a horror arcade, massive gift shops, roaming monsters for photo opps, and more. Some haunts have added pumpkin festivals, video mapping shows, and carnival style games to entertain guests. In many markets, serious haunted attraction owners have created spin off companies with year-round Escape Games, and have literally taken over the escape room industry by building very elaborate and fully immersive escape games. The point is...haunted house owners have really branched out from the origins of the haunt industry.  A typical haunted house owner might also own Escape Rooms or Axe Throwing, BUT their core passion remains the Haunted House. 

After the yearly planning/purchasing phase, Haunted Attractions typically take 5-6+ months to physically get ready for the season.  Haunted Houses take a brutal beating each season from the numbers of haunt guests screaming through the doors. Just to repair a haunted house from one season to the next takes weeks, not to mention developing & building new scenes. When you order new monsters, animations and more from vendors at the Transworld Haunt Show it takes time for these vendors to manufacture the products. In most cases, haunt owners start seeing new props and animations delivered in mid-Summer and these must be installed and fitted into the attractions. Many times these props are bigger than the maze pathways they must travel thru to their new home, so it's never easy. In our own haunts, it's even taken us a couple days sometimes, to move just one prop into scene... cutting down the props, re-welding, then a final install. At The Darkness Haunted House in St Louis, we actually fully renovate before March each year, so we can showcase it during the March Transworld Show. Our team of 10-12 fabricators will work day and night building new scenes to meet the early deadline. Each year at The Darkness we might create 4-5 new scenes, plus scatter new props and animations throughout the attraction too. 

Haunt owners never stop expanding and creating. It's in our blood. If you ask haunters what's their favorite part...creating & building new scenes OR operating the attraction each October, they will tell you...creating!  Haunted house owners are a group of very passionate creators, do it yourself-ers.  To build a World class haunted house you must have creativity skills, management skills, carpenters, techs, welders, painters and the ability to train people to make you SCREAM!  Beyond the creativity, Haunted House owners wear many other hats too including box office management, line management, concession stand operations, parking lot management, security detail, retail gift shop management, retail buyer, digital marketing, videography, safety manager, and more. The typical day in the life of a haunter during October might typically consist of never sleeping.  

Even throughout the season, these Haunts need constant updating, constant repair and constant staffing & staff training.  Marketing in the past was a lot easier, but today you must constantly update social media, and monitor all digital marketing.  Haunt owners might also spend a few hours a day replying to customers' questions by email and on social media. Haunted attractions need very large staff to make them operate, parking lot, security and 50-150 actors.  As a haunt owner, you’re constantly hiring more monsters then training them to make people scream!  Haunt owners would also spend part of their day making repairs to sets, animations, or an outdoor haunt might need gravel for areas hit by heavy rain.  As you get closer to the time of the haunt's nightly opening, you must get all actors in character with make up or masks and costumes. (To coordinate and prepare 100 actors in only two hours or less is not easy.)  Simultaneously, you must start walking the haunt turning on air compressors, digital fx, show lights, fog machines filled, microban sanitizing complete, prep the cashiers with start cash, prep security duty with 2-way radios, and on and on. Proper delegation is key, but still you must ensure all tasks delegated to others are complete. Finally, the time to open comes!

While open, a haunt owner must manage every detail. Maintaining the perfect balance between through-put of guests and wait times is critical. Haunt owners must also manage the parking lot, safety, security, crowd control, cash management, staff management and more. Then, after every operational week, there's time-consuming payroll, constant restocking of both staff-supplies as well as gift shop items and concessions, and of course haunt upkeep or repairs before the next night of operation. As you can see, a haunted house owner wears many hats. Lack of sleep each October is normal for a haunt owner. The best day of the year for a haunt owner is always the last day of the season. And as you get older (as in my case) you need more and more time to recuperate to do it all over again.  People think of Halloween as one month a year, but for a haunted house owner who opens in September, it's actually only 10 months away until another season. The day in the life of haunting never stops!
Find a Haunted House Near you here at Hauntworld
Happy Halloween

Our Next article:  Hauntworld Annual Top 13 Best Haunted Attractions list 
Read More
Violence at Six Flags Fright Fest - Haunted House Security
Wed, September 29, 2021
Violence, riots and absolute chaos breaks out across the country at Theme Parks such as Busch Gardens to multiple Six Flags.  Last year theme parks didn’t open their Halloween attractions due to covid and local haunted house felt the grip of violence with multiple shootings and at least one person dead.  This year a Pittsburgh haunted hayride had a shooting in the ticket line resulting in two people shot and one person dead. 

Violence in America is off the chart, mostly due to the main stream media, and liberal politicians’ vilification of police.  Many cities and national politicians have called for a complete defunding of the police, while rampant crime, violence and complete lawlessness rack our communities. 

Violence at any gathering place seems common now, but what can haunt attractions do to stop the violence at theme parks and local haunted houses.  Haunted attractions are meant to entertain people, a place to go to scream with delight not run-in fear from gunfire.    Let’s be clear haunted attractions aren’t the cause of the violence as this has been happening at all gathering places year around.  Just take five minutes on youtube search for fights at Chuckie Cheese or even your local amusement park.  But now that October has rolled around haunted attractions have to deal with the complete lack of respect for law and order.  





Here is a list of things you should consider to make your haunted attraction SAFER!

  1. Hire only local police for security:  You should strongly consider doubling your police.  Not only that but have a meeting with the local police and ask about patrol cars parked in the parking lots with their lights ON!  You need a show of force. 
  2. NO DROP OFFS:  Post on your website you’re NOT allowing teens without a parent or proof of a ride after their event.  Parents have been dumping their kids off and pick them up hours later.  Avoid this problem by not allowing drop offs of teenagers.
  3. ENTRY CHANGE:  As you see teenagers enter your haunt tell them on the spot you need to call for your ride NOW.  You want teenagers GONE off the property immediately.
  4. CLOSE ATTRACTIONS:  Do NOT open most of your midway attractions this year.  Open your haunted house and close anything that keeps people hanging around.  At The Darkness we are not allowing bookings of our 5-minute escape online.  Furthermore, at Creepyworld we have closed our zombie paintball.  We need people to leave after experiencing the haunted house.
  5. METAL DETECTOR:  Wand everyone who enters and check purses you don’t need guns on your property.  Furthermore, post signs telling people no weapons allowed.
  6. Patrol Parking Lots:  This year you need to patrol your parking lots because most of the fighting occurs in the parking lot.
  7. Shorten Hours/Dates:  Do NOT open your haunt past 11 to 11:45 pm.  If you notice the line is super long just SHUT DOWN any additional entries.  Put cops up at the front and turn away all new guests.  In other words, limit the number of guests.  Do NOT be open past midnight it’s simply unsafe. 
  8. Operational Changes:  You want to give guests a great show, however you need to change how you operate the haunted house.  For one you should be running people thru your haunted house faster.  Do not space people out by more than 30 to 45 seconds and send in 10 to 15 people at a time.  You want to get your guests into the haunt as quickly as possible.   To offset the speed, add additional air cannons, and animations and actors if you can find them.
  9. OPEN EARLY:  Who cares if its light outside OPEN EARLY!  We’re opening at 6:45 light or day and we will put people into the haunted house as fast at 6:45 as we would at 9:45.  Do not open slow then go faster later, pace your guests the same at 6:45 as you would at 9:45. 
  10. Put Safety Over Show:  Safety is your #1 objective not scaring people, not putting on a great show, just safety.  If you can’t operate your haunted house safe nothing else matters.  When debating to do something or not to do something pick SAFETY FIRST! 

If I was operating a massive theme park I would strongly consider cutting out at least 1/3 of the park if not half to double the amount of security where people interact with rides and attractions.  Furthermore I would limit the number of people who could enter Fright Fests by at least 50%.  Lastly I would ask the local police to patrol the parking lots with lights flashing one hour prior to closing until everyone has left the parking. 



Good luck this season and remember have a SAFE Halloween!

Your Friends at Hauntworld.com


(Watch Deadly Shooting at Pittsburgh Hayride)


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