The history of getting spooked has evolved through the centuries. Scary places may have gotten their start in ancient Egypt to keep people from unsettling the dead in the pyramids, but the United States has become the epicenter of scaring entertainment with the launch of commercial haunted attractions in the 1970s.
The popularity of these haunted attractions has continued to soar as a means to escape everyday routines, thwart real-life anxiety, and find selfie-worthy, action-filled experiences. Visitors don’t take this entertainment sitting down, the best haunted attractions keep things moving throughout their adrenaline-infused frights. These mega-haunts go well beyond the main haunt attraction: Many have expanded to include escape rooms, mazes, hayrides, festivals, ghost tours, concessions, gift stores, and much more for the Halloween season and beyond.
Here are the top five haunted houses for 2019 that take fright to a whole new level, according to America Haunts, the association of the nation’s premier haunted attractions.
- Beast, Kansas City, MO: The producers of the Beast created their first haunt in 1975, Edge of Hell, now the oldest commercial haunt attraction still operating in the country. The Beast opened in 1991 and took theater of the mind to a new level with its innovative, dark, open-format layout where poor souls get lost finding their way out of their four massive floors. These expert “fear generators” have a lifelong gift of scaring and dare-devil ingenuity to inflict fright. They also have Macabre Cinema Haunted House, a ghost tour, and much more.
- 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, LA: While most people are guarded when it comes to the number 13, their “fear radar” goes on high alert visiting 13th Gate and experiencing its 13 nightmarish realms in order to escape. Visitors go from a snake-infested Louisiana Swamp, to a voodoo show, then squeeze through tight spaces, to finding mind-blowing subterranean passages in this massive attraction. The terror leaves the brave breathless with this ghostly mix of fear and fun.
- Nightmare on 13th Haunted House, Salt Lake City, UT: Enter this legendary haunt through new bigger, darker castle doors to a full feast of fright. There are six attractions to create an evening of chills and thrills. Scary performers start at the castle, with the brave conquering i-Screams’ creepy clowns, and the dark, underworld at Helheim, to the darker side of the nightmare at X-Scream. The Nightmare Courtyard, Nightmare Theater, and Escape on 13th rounds out the frightening fun.
- 13th Floor Haunted House, Phoenix, AZ: This haunted attraction leverages its 60,000 square feet of space with so many twists and turns that the reaper couldn’t find his way out. Zombies and the unexpected lurching figures create an eerily enchanted place that is beyond hair-raising. This remarkably realistic haunted house also has the Rise of the Dead and Creature Feature attractions in addition to axe throwing.
- Spooky World, Boston/Manchester metro – Litchfield, NH: This horror scream park is a must for thrill seekers with over 80 acres swarming with unnatural, tortured beings, and carnival misfits looking to leave a nightmare impression. Spooky World has 5 distinct haunted attractions including a hayride of horror. Play Zombie paintball, gather round fire pits and enjoy beer, wine, and other concessions – plus much more at this wickedly fun destination.
Celebrating Halloween At Your Facility
You may not be able to reach the level of detail — or terror — accomplished at the above attractions (and who would want to?) but if your facility is like more than half of U.S. employers, you and your team will be celebrating Halloween at work with anything from costume contests to spooky happy hours, according to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).
If you need some tips on getting your facility ready to celebrate, whether it’s picking the right decorations or organizing a killer monster mash, there’s help. The Namely Blog has put together everything you need to know to mark the hallowed occasion while steering clear of workplace horror stories with its HR’s Guide to Halloween at Work.