Halloween is full of mischief, mystery, screams, frights and everything in between.
So, if you’re in the mood for a scare (or scares), or you’re just a Halloween fanatic like me, add these haunted houses to your spook-tacular agenda. Witching you a Happy Halloween!
Screams Halloween Theme Park, Waxahachie
If you think you’re brave enough to conquer five haunted houses in one night, then Screams Halloween Theme Park is the place for you. In it’s 23rd year of scaring, Screams has completely redesigned their houses and found new, creative ways to uncover your darkest fears. You’ll find yourself in a fit of terror as you fight till the death against zombies who think you’re food, discover the evil that lurks in Captain Barbarossa’s Blood Harbor, and encounter hotel guests that never checked out of their rooms. If you’re needing a break from the haunts, showcase your voice at Scary-Oke, or you can leave the singing to the professionals with Screams live entertainment. You can enjoy the band while eating some good food, but don’t get lost in the extras, you never know what could be lurking in the shadows.
House of Torment, Austin
At the House of Torment chainsaws, clowns and shrieks will haunt your memories. The Blackthorne Penitentiary is infested with an evil, and you better hope inhabitants don’t break out. Demonic Dreams gathers creatures of horror to haunt your wildest dreams, turning them into nightmares. Three children entered the Graveside Manor for a night of trick-or-treating, but they were never seen again. If you survive, head to Torment Tavern, for cocktails, featuring Jekyll’s Old Bloody Fashion and Hyde’s Madness. Hauntworld Magazine and HauntedHouses.com named House of Torment the No. 1 Haunted House in America.
Scream Hollow, Smithville
In its fourth spooky season, Scream Hollow has four spine-chilling attractions. In the Mansion of Terror Phantoms, legend has it that orphaned children were buried in the cemetery, protected by a creature Saint Adella conjured up. Do not dare enter, you may not come out. Zombie City: The Factory is a terrible case of chemicals gone wrong. No one knows how, but the villagers became rabid, hungry creatures, feasting on the human flesh—-and you might be next. The Wicked Darkness: The Maze is host to one of the most treacherous evils of the world. In the newest haunt, Slaughterhouse – Virgil’s Last Laff, there’s an abundance of blood and gore, and your worst nightmares will come to life. If you make it out, you can enjoy a drink from the Rabid Bat Vampire Bar or a bite (to eat!) at the Cackling Witch Cafe and Bakery.
Kingwood Asylum, Kingwood
Owners Shane and Ryan Glasgow have created a masterpiece with Kingwood Asylum. I had the privilege of taking a daylight tour and was able to see the detail that goes into making the house so…haunting! The dedicated staff spends hours hand-painting walls and adding wax for a crinkle effect, designing props, and creating spiderwebs from hot glue. These are accents that guests normally do not notice while running through the dark rooms, only lit by strobe lights, trying to escape the hands of apathetic nurses and clowns who always find scaring a laughing-matter.
Don’t miss the makeshift elevator; it has you holding onto the rails for dear life as the ride goes horribly wrong. The largest attraction in the area, over 27,000 square feet, this world of horror takes about 45 minutes to finish. That is, of course, if you’re not running for your life.
Creepy Hollow Haunted House, Houston
At the Creepy Hollow Haunted House, just a half-hour south of Houston, the 288 Scare Factory is a science experiment gone wrong. Zombies walk the halls, the Caretaker haunts the woods, looking for fresh flesh to cover his burned body. Pitch Black, a holding facility, began testing on humans, turns them into killing machines. Creepy Hollow is one of the Haunted Attraction Association’s 14 certified “Top Haunted Attractions” nationwide, and Voted Scariest In Texas.
Houston Terror Dome, Channelview
With new rooms, effects and characters, the Houston Terror Dome has upped it’s scare game, with multiple attractions to feast on your senses—-3D gore, anyone? Hear the chilling laugh of clowns or the torturous moaning of zombies as they parade through the dome. Smell the decaying of blood as you enter the Butcher’s Shop. Live entertainment provides a break for the haunts with a DJ, but you’re never away from the frights. There are zombie dancers and staff members in costumes that wander the grounds. You can also spend time tormenting the clowns at Sicko’s and Freako’s Paintball Gallery.
13th Floor, San Antonio
Try your luck making it through the 13th Floor’s Dead-End District, composed of death, decay and filth. See if you can find the hidden cure before the inhabitants feast on your brains. In the Cellar, listen for the sinister laugh of mass killer Jackson Sawyer revving his chainsaw. Don’t say you weren’t warned! And watch out for the ghosts of the schoolchildren who spent their last night at the 13th Floor hotel before losing their lives in a horrific collision on the nearby train tracks.
Cover: Screams Carnival of Chaos residents: Courtesy photo
Kinsley Fisher is an editorial assistant with Texas Lifestyle Magazine and self-confessed Halloween fanatic.