Welcome, RVA Mag readers, to the greatest time of the entire year: We’re about to get all kinds of spooky in this. I have worked hard to gather to you, my dear Halloween-excited ghouls, a laundry list of the top five best haunted houses (and one creepy-cool anniversary party) in Richmond and across Virginia.
- Red Vein Haunted House – Richmond, VA – Tickets Start at $20
Originally formed in 2011 as the Red Vein Army, then officially opened in 2016, Red Vein exploded as one of the go-to Halloween experiences for Richmonders. Not only is the actual haunted house hosted on Hanover Vegetable Farm with realistic sets and a storyline (That’s right, character development up in this. Oh yeah), there is an escape room as well. Oh, and a horror book club. And a horror movie club. Red Vein has so many different tricks and treats, you might as well camp out and make it a whole day of it.
- Den of Fear – Richmond, VA – $15
Den of Fear pulls off a rarity: Having a haunted house inside the city limits (let alone a great one). Housed in VCU’s Dogtown Dance Theatre, Den of Fear is only a year old — but with its intense visuals and high-energy actors, it’s pulled praise from even season-haunters and experienced scare-fessionals. While you’re waiting in line at the VCU spot, you can bond with other students about how terrifying student loans are (or how comfy that one study room on the third floor is to sleep in).
- Creepy Hollow Scream Park – Richmond, VA – $24
Creepy Hollow gives you three options to have a heart attack: Scream Forest, if you need the ol’ relaxing hobby of “screaming out your stresses of the day.” Staple’s Mill, because nothing’s better than a clear Richmond pun (and mills as a whole are generally pretty creepy). Finally, Axl’s Fun House for those who always wanted to be in that one episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? — where Bozo the Clown had his own theme park to trap children in. See? Fun for the whole family! Clowns! They’re just like us! Creepy Hollow is located just ten minutes outside of Short Pump, so after you build your rage up on that 5p traffic, you can release it by screaming your lungs out into the abyss.
- Darkwood Manor – Luray, VA – Tickets Start at $15
Not only is Darkwood genuinely terrifying, but it is one of the most unique locations on the list. Darkwood Manor is more than 17 years old, based on a real Darkwood Manor location (and family! There was a real Darkwood Family!), but during its off-season, the crew creates makeup and props for film and television, and even makes the masks and costumes for other haunted houses. For this month, the current theme is The 80s Horror Films of Ed Darkwood, because if you’re going to go spooky, you might as well go full Stranger Things. Just ask Will Byers.
- Haunted Laurianne Woods – Gainesville, VA – FREE
Forests are always spooky. You never know if you’re going to run into a murderer — or a vengeful spirit, or a pile of PBR cans that could have obviously been recycled (Come on guys, we’ve got until 2040 to get this together. Show some respect). The Laurianne Woods blend its frighteningly beautiful cinematography and storytelling with simple, wholesome figures like children and bunnies: to make it one of the must-see events in Virginia that will send ice down your veins like a Camp Crystal Lake Swim Team.
BONUS: The Wilton House (Frankenstein’s 200th Anniversary Party) – Richmond, VA – $15
- While not a haunted house per se, Frankenstein’s 200th Anniversary still takes place in a historic house! (Old means ghosts! Kind of!) On October 27th, The Wilton House is holding an anniversary party for Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. As the first of Wilton House’s Plays in a Passage series, “Mary and her Monsters” will tell the story of Mary Shelley and how her beloved monsters came to be.
If your stomach isn’t aching from all of the BooBerry and Count Chocula cereal you’ve eaten this week, while downing a pint of whatever pumpkin-spice-latte-IPA is on tap at your neighborhood haunt of choice, crawl on out to one of these spooky joints. I promise you, Hocus Pocus and Troll 2 will still be on rotation.
Throw on your spider onesie and take a break. You’ve earned it.