RVA Mag’s guide to local haunted houses and other scary attractions

by | Oct 27, 2016 | POLITICS

We are pretty big fans of Halloween overall – you might have gathered this from our HALLOWEEK goings on around town for the past eight years. From fun parties to scary movies we like all the creepy fun that Halloween brings. However, I don’t believe we have ever really covered some of the bigger and better scary attractions. So its my hope here to give you some background information as you look for a haunted house or haunted attraction as we approach Halloween.

We are pretty big fans of Halloween overall – you might have gathered this from our HALLOWEEK goings on around town for the past eight years. From fun parties to scary movies we like all the creepy fun that Halloween brings. However, I don’t believe we have ever really covered some of the bigger and better scary attractions. So its my hope here to give you some background information as you look for a haunted house or haunted attraction as we approach Halloween.

Luckily for you, RVA Mag’s haunted house aficionado John Reinhold has been to a few haunted houses in his time and now he’s had the chance to sit down and find some of the best scares on the east coast and have visited them. Check out some of the close local attractions below, and along with some of Reinhold’s top haunted house picks within an hour or so. And for those that dare, he’s saved the most extreme and best for last.

Note: When judging how scary or good a haunted attraction is, I believe a few things come into play. First, how actually scary it is, did it make you jump or freak out? Next, I think quality can be something that makes even the ones that are not that scary still very good. Places with amazing costumes and rooms can really make a big difference and worth your money.

Local Haunted Spots:

Scream Forest: 14437 Stone Horse Creek Road, Glen Allen

What: A walk through the Scare woods that are deep and dark, which lead you into old Staples Mill where you can’t really see and they scare you, then out of the forest into Axl’s Fun House full of clowns – and they can be scary as well.

Why: Because it’s one of the original scare events for Halloween, and it brings some decent scares.

Scare Level: I will give this one a 5 out of 10. It’s good for those that are jumpy, don’t like dark woods or scare easily. Bonus – if you don’t like clowns, this haunted attraction is sure to scare you.

Cost: $24

Blood Lake Haunted Trail: 165000 Midlothian Turnpike, Midlothian, VA

What: Three Attractions – Haunted Trail, Z-Alamo (Zombie airsoft), Crypt Escape Haunted Escape Room)

Why: Good local options and zombies you can shoot. Plus the escape room seems cool, you have to find your way out of a vampire’s crypt before he wakes up and makes a meal of you in the haunted “Crypt Escape.”

Scare Level: I would give it around a 6 depending on what scares you. The zombie part is really cool and fun – that depends on how much zombies scare you as well.

Cost: $20 for everything – seems to be one of the best deals.

Red Vein Haunted House: 13580 Ashland Road, Ashland, Va

What: Interactive story line that builds throughout event. Experience a history long forgotten and recently unearthed in the cornfield surrounding Providence House. Witness firsthand the ancient evil inhabiting the grounds and savage creatures protecting their coven. You can read more on the haunted house and the guys behind Red Vein army in our story here.

Why: New to the scene, scary location and small intimate crew.

Scare Level: I would say around a 6 depending on how easily you get into the story or jump.

Cost: $13 online in advance

RVA Fright Nights: Chesterfield Berry Farm; 26002 Pear Orchard Rd. Moseley, VA

What: Grimstone Manor, Bloodshed, Dark Harvest Freakshow, Ghost hunt.

Why: Something for the whole family early, and scares late night.

Scare Level: I’m not too sure on this one, I imagine it’s the usual brand of quick scares around the farm. So I’m going with a 5 for now.

Cost: $25 for a Scream Pass which is all-inclusive.

Ashland Berry Farms Haunt: 12607 Old Ridge Road, Beaverdam, VA

What: Booger Woods (yuck!), Frightmare Hall, Realm of Tortured Souls, 3D Dead End

Why: Lots of choices – seems a pass for everything is the ticket at this stop.

Scare Level: Last time I went to this one it had some jumps – pretty much what you would expect around a 5.

Cost: $30 for pass for all 4 events.

Of course we also have these haunts for the theme park lovers:

Kings Dominion Halloween Haunt
: 16000 Theme Park Way, Doswell,VA

Cost: $40 for Haunted Admission. Other packages up to $120

Bush Gardens Howl-O-Scream: 1 Busch Gardens Boulevard, Williamsburg, VA

What: Fear abounds in the Virginia theme park’s collection of elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed Terror-tories, and darkly entertaining live shows. This year, all-new terrors await with a new haunted house, Circo Sinistro, and a new scare zone, Sideshow Square.

Cost: $80. The new “NO Escape” attraction is an extra $30.

The House is Alive Nightmare Mansion: 2008 Atlantic Avenue, Virginia Beach, VA

What: This is VA Beach’s scare mansion. Classic haunted house walk though, but I have heard it has improved this year. One of the best things is that its very affordable to get in and enjoy a quick scare.

Scare Level: 6

Cost: $9

Wicked Woods Haunted Forest: 6220 Massey Road, Spotslyvania, VA

What: Walks in woods generally make things scarier, and this one gets great reviews. This would be a stop for me for sure. Three main attractions: The Funeral Home, The Insanitarium Aslyum and the haunted forest.

Scare Level: 6-7

Cost: Attractions individually $7-$15. Combo: $23.

Route 29 Haunted Farm:4484 Lee Hwy Warrenton, VA

What: This scare is in Warrenton, VA so it’s a bit of a trip. But this one is a good one, worth the trip with a great haunted trail that will scare the pants off of you. Amazing costumes and acting that come with new things every year.

Scare Level: 7-8

Cost: $15

Dark Wood Manor Haunted House104 N Hawksbill St, Luray, VA

What: One of Virginia’s constant top attractions for Halloween. Each year, they do new concepts, with top quality costumes and set. This year I believe its Demon Estate. I usually feel that the quality is above many, but the scares are not quite as bad personally.

Scare Level: 6-7

Cost: $13

The Devil’s Den Haunted Attraction: 537 N. Cameron St, Winchester VA

What: Winchester’s scare that is pretty popular, seems like it might be a bit short but jumpy for sure.

Scare Level: 6

Cost: $15-$25

Fear Forest: Oak Shade Rd, Harrisonburg, VA

What: This is a popular one, so there is a bit of a wait if you get there late. A few things to do on this one, including the fearful walk through the woods. Attractions: Fear Forest – the four tenths mile walking woods trail…and then shoot zombies at the second attraction – Fear Crops

Scare Level: 6-7

Cost: $13-$28

The Haunted Forest at Halloween Woods: Algonkian Regional Park, 47001 Fairway Drive, Sterling, Virginia

What: This scare is a haunted forest (usually my best chance for a scare). They lead you into the woods and mess with you. This should do the trick for those that don’t like the dark and woods.

Scare Level: 6-7

Cost: $18-$25

Now for the most EXTREME Far out – and TERRIFYING:

Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride: 1835 Middletown Rd, Glen Mills, PA

What: This is one of the top attractions in the US. Constantly on top 10 lists for haunted attractions. With scenes like a 100’ foot long, 40 foot tall drive thru insane asylum, a full scale mockup of a New England church and a 200 foot long cave, the Haunted Hayride is an amazing example of Hollywood style sets and props. And then there is the scares. With over 75 actors and 25 scenes, it is no wonder why this event is always on the “top 13” national lists of the best haunted attractions. This is the one to go to if you’re looking to make a trip. You get a lot, its all top quality with lots of special actors and amazing sets.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $15-$100

Dead Acres: 13861 Broad St SW
Pataskala, Ohio

What: Considered an extreme haunted house – this one has some actors that might touch you and push you around. Many people in the area consider this one to be one of the best.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $25

Fear Factory: 666 W 800 S, Salt Lake City, UT

What: Far away, but considered one of the top attractions. Just look at the website – they have a zip line and fear fall, and some kind of virtual reality experience. Seems legit.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $25-$45

Shocktoberfest: 94 Park Ave., Sinking Spring, PA

What: If you like zombies this one has to be the #1 for you. They have a full experience with zombie town, breakouts including eight experiences and th new ground assault: zombie laser tag. You can even up the scare factor and wear a special necklace that lets you get messed with more or broken from your friends.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $20-$75

Scare House: 118 Locust Street Etna, PA

What: Scare HOuse looks awesome. They have a basement room where they blindfold you and do a custom experience that looks pretty intense. They can shock you, touch you, and mess with you. If you want extreme here is a starting point. New this year includes The Summoning, Infernal, and Nocturnia.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $17.99-$24.99

Eastern State Penitentiary: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA

What: So I loved this one, best one I have ever been to personally. They have turned up the scare since then with some new ways to experience the grounds. Just being around the penitentiary is enough to creep you out, but the new HEX VIP package looks to make you a part of it all. There are six attractions inside these cell blocks including Break Out, Machine Shop, Lock Down Uprising, Infirmary, Quarantine, and Detritos.

Scare Level: 8-9

Cost: $19-$45

The Black Out Experience: 1800 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA

What: Well we are getting a little intense with this one. This is a totally unique and custom experience for you, its like a live show just for you meant to scare you big time. It’s immersive and they use technology to mess with you before you’re even in the rooms. Think about it as your personal horror movie drama you’re wrapped up in for days – kinda like the movie “The Game”. The website doesn’t give you too many hints as to what to expect for Escape: Hell in the Armory, but Sfist.com gives some insight into the haunted attraction. To give you some insight: You are told to face the wall and a bag is put over your head, you have 20 minutes to escape a room you’re locked into…

Scare Level: 10 +

Cost: $45

Freakling Brothers Present-The Victim Experience: 4245 S. Grand Canyon Drive, Las Vegas, NV

What: So this is level 10 for sure, they have a few things you can do that are your usual haunted attractions – but turned up to 10. Then for those that want to go for a Hostel kind of personal hell – then you can do the full victim experience where they can mess with you and simulate you being taken. They have things on the waiver like “prepare to have clothes removed” and “physical, emotional humiliation” – right. Sounds fun.

Scare Level: 10+

Cost: $14-$50

McKamey Manor: 11263 Almazon Street, San Diego, CA

What: Eight hours, EIGHT HOURS!!! Read the warning page, WHAT? I don’t even know if I could do this one. It’s a long ride meant to break you. No one under 21, and you sign a waiver and get a safe word. WHAT? – I can’t even.

Scare Level: 10+

Cost: You have to call for reservations.

Others to check out that are top rated: 13th Floor Haunted House, The Darkness, The Headless Horseman, Netherworld, House of Torment, There are so many more good ones I’m sure. But this is a great start as you look into some future ideas of places to visit! Let us know if you find any more we should know about. Happy Halloween horror hunters!

Amy David

Amy David

Amy David was the Web Editor for RVAMag.com from May 2015 until September 2018. She covered craft beer, food, music, art and more. She's been a journalist since 2010 and attended Radford University. She enjoys dogs, beer, tacos, and Bob's Burgers references.

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