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I may not be fond of roller coasters, skydiving, or other adventurous activities — but one type of thrill that is right up my alley is getting the wits scared out of me by visiting a haunted house during Halloween season.
With Halloween right around the corner, it’s time to check out the the best real haunted houses AND the scariest haunted attractions in the U.S…
Real Haunted Houses vs Faux Real Haunted Houses
Some people are content to visit one of the many haunted houses that pop up as Halloween attractions each year.
Others feel that to truly get in the spirit of the season they need to “take a walk on the paranormal side” and find authentic haunted houses. You know… ones that are rumored to be inhabited by “real” ghosts and spirits, and (usually) the scene of one or more tragic events.
- Real haunted house: the destination of many a ghost-hunter throughout the year. For example, I recently compiled a list of “real” haunted places in Tennessee — where I live. (You’ll find an amazing list of “real” haunted houses at the end of this article.)
- Faux Real haunted house: the Halloween variety; one-of-a-kind scary scenarios are concocted inside buildings to scare the daylights out of people. They’re so much fun… if you can take it!
Personally, I’m a fan of both types of haunted houses. I’m always in search of a good scare! Are you ready?…
Rating The Scariest Haunted Houses
The ones on the following list are Halloween haunted attractions — a.k.a. “faux real” haunted houses.
As it turns out, there are only a few “Halloween experts” that monitor haunted attractions across the U.S. and compile annual lists of the best haunted houses in the U.S. They are both included here.
First, I’ve referenced the haunted house lists of 2 of the most popular and respected haunted Halloween websites. The difference between them is important to note:
- Hauntworld – rates haunted houses in an apple-to-apples manner by attending the venues themselves and rating them.
- Haunted House Ratings – compiles votes by people who visit their website and share their opinions.
Next, I’ve included some rather subjective lists of the top haunted houses, as rated by haunted house enthusiasts (moreso than “experts” — so to speak). Still, these were rated among the scariest, most extreme, and most intense in the country.
So go ahead… dive in. Look for a top-rated haunted house near you. And if there isn’t one near where you live, then use the tools below to find other haunted houses and Halloween attractions near you!
Scariest Haunted Houses In The U.S.
First, check out this list of the Top 31 Scariest Haunted Houses list, as determined by everyone who visited the Haunted House Ratings website and voted for their favorites.
Next, the following list of The Scariest Haunted Houses comes from Hauntworld:
- Bates Motel / Pennhurst Asylum – Philadelphia, PA
- The Darkness Haunted House – St. Louis, MO
- 13th Gate Haunted House – Baton Rouge, LA
- Headless Horseman – Ulster Park, NY
- The Beast – Kansas City, MO
- Spooky Woods – High Point, NC
- Erebus Haunted House – Pontiac, MI
- House of Torment – Austin, TX
- Cutting Edge Haunted House – Fort Worth/Dallas, TX
- The 13th Floor Haunted House – Denver, CO
- The Dent Schoolhouse – Cincinnati, OH
- Nightmare On The Bayou – Houston, TX
For what it’s worth, these made Hauntworld’s list of Scary Haunted Houses in previous years:
- 7 Floors of Hell – Cleveland, OH
- Abyss at Lemp Brewery – St. Louis, MO
- Asylum Haunted House – Denver, CO
- Atrox Factory – Leeds, AL
- Bayville Scream Park – Long Island, NY
- Bennett’s Curse – Baltimore, MD
- Creepyworld – St. Louis, MO
- Dead Acres – Pataskala, OH
- Dream Reapers – Chicago, IL
- Edge of Hell – Kansas City, MO
- Field of Screams – Lancaster, PA
- Fright Kingdom – Nashua, NH
- Haunted Cave At Lewisburg – Lewisburg, OH
- Haunted Hotel – San Diego, CA
- Haunted Overload / Demeritt Hill Farm – Lee, NH
- Haunted Schoolhouse and Laboratory – Akron, OH
- Hundred Acres Manor – Pittsburgh, PA
- Jason’s Woods – Lancaster, PA
- Nightmare New England – Litchfield, NH
- Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor – Long Beach, CA
- Terror Behind The Walls / Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia, PA
- Terror Town – Toledo, OH
- The Asylum – Las Vegas, NV
- Universal Studios House of Horrors – Hollywood, CA
All of these haunted houses will be open for business again very soon, and you can count on the same props, scares, and themes as before — or slightly enhanced, thanks to advances in technology and peoples’ enhanced desire to be scared out of their mind.
Watch videos from inside many of the haunted houses listed above.
Even More Top-Rated Scary Haunted Houses
These next few lists of scary haunted houses may have some duplicates on them from the lists above, but don’t lose your head over it. That just means they’re really great haunted houses!
- 13 Haunted Houses That Will Make You Wet Your Pants – a list that comprises a number of attractions ranging from professional haunted houses… to hayrides… to a steamboat.
- 9 Most Extreme Haunted Houses – these “interactive” or “otherwise intense” haunted houses cater to the demand of increasingly desensitized people looking to be frightened to their core at Halloween.
- 10 Most Terrifying Haunted Houses In America – for the most memorable experience, visit these if you dare! They have the most intense special effects of all.
- 7 Scariest Halloween Attractions – abandoned prisons and decrepit cruise ships re-create scary scenes that made Travel Channel’s list of terrifying attractions for chill-seekers.
- 11 Best Haunted Houses In America – according to haunted house expert, Steve Kopelman.
- 5 Most Extreme Haunted Houses In America – these cater to adult audiences and involve waivers, extreme physical contact, safe words, abduction, violence, nudity and electric shock.
- 10 Great Halloween Haunted House Attractions Across The U.S. – with more than 2,500 haunted or horror themed attractions worldwide, these were chosen as the best in the U.S.
- 7 Craziest, Scariest, Most Extreme Haunted Attractions In America – if you like more gore, more assault, and more physiological torture than “typical” Halloween attractions, start here.
Find Haunted Houses & Halloween Attractions Near You
Don’t see a top-rated haunted house near you on the list above? Then look through these haunted house directories to find ones closer to where you live:
- Hauntworld’s List of Haunted Houses by State – the #1 best resource to find Halloween attractions near you
- Everything Halloween’s List of Haunted House& Ghost Towns – virtual and real haunted houses, along with a bunch of other Halloween goodies
- America’s Best Haunts – attractions that are head & shoulders above the rest; judged on safety, special effects, marketing, fear factor, consumer appeal, detail, and longevity.
- Haunted Houses Directory – find local haunted houses, ghost towns, and haunted hotels.
- FrightBytes – a killer collection of virtual haunted houses, where you can lose yourself online
- Haunted House Ratings’ List of Haunted Houses by State – click on your state and view the ones that have asked to be listed there
I would also urge you to pay a visit to your local civic organizations’ haunted houses — like the Jaycees, Shriners, and Lions Clubs, to name just a few. They do amazing things for the community, and this is a great way for you show your support for them.
- Top 10 Real-Life Haunted Houses – these places have enough symptoms of otherwordly presence to become the world’s most notorious real-life haunted houses.
- 6 Of The Most Haunted Houses In The U.S. – the behind-the-scenes stories are truly stranger than fiction.
- America’s Scariest Haunted Houses: 12 Real Life Haunted Houses – homes and hotels with lots of paranormal activity.
- 3 Of America’s Most Haunted Houses & 5 Haunted Hotels – the stories behind the spirits.
- Zillow’s Top 10 Haunted Homes in the U.S. – known for their haunted history and spirits who like to visit. Some are privately-owned homes, some are now bed & breakfasts, and some have historic designations.
- 9 Haunted Places With America’s Best Ghost Stories – from haunted fortresses and historic military spots to grisly tales of suffering and death, this is a collection of the country’s most chilling real ghost stories.
- Horrorville USA – roadtrippers share one-of-a-kind stories, trip itineraries, and unbelievable places to visit that are all horror-related.
- 10 Best Places In America To Get Scared – America’s top 10 scariest real haunted houses and places to visit, according to the Haunted House Association.
- Reportedly Haunted Locations By State – you can browse the list alphabetically by state, across the United States.
- 50 Scariest Haunted Places In America – places where some really messed up stuff went down, and where the echoes of those messed up things can still be heard today.
- Haunted Places In America – a guide to haunted castles, haunted houses, and other haunted places.
If there is ONE thing I like… it's C H A N G E! The four seasons and major holidays are my favorite times of the year to recharge — and redecorate. I mostly like to share frugal DIY ideas for seasonal home decorating and party planning (for both, indoors and outside). Because who doesn't enjoy entertaining at home?! But even if you don't host many parties, I think you'll appreciate my DIY hacks and clever ways to decorate your house for the major holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Because those are the times when people tend to have the most visitors and overnight houseguests.