Here is something frightfully wonderful, places where doom and gloom can be fun. No, we’re not talking about the anxiety-provoking, fear-mongering financial news dominating the airwaves these days. But instead of worrying about Credit Default Swaps, you can enjoy fright at the hands of Casper, the Friendly Ghost. Throughout America, there are loving souls who take devilish delight in turning warehouses, storefronts and homes into true Haunted Houses.
Some of these places have become so elaborate that special effects technicians, makeup artists, set designers and professional actors are employed to guarantee a ghoulishly good time. Needless to say, these houses are not open just Halloween night. Most of them are welcoming scaredy cats (and their kids) right now. Be prepared. These places are booby-trapped so mad butchers, headless ghouls with rattling chains, and stalking stranglers appear out of nowhere. Fortunately they also disappear, just like we hope your economic challenges will.
Your FWW friends have assembled the best haunted houses in the country, where you can park your worries at the door and leave with a smile on your face.
These places offer a good time at a good price. Warning: if you are at the office, please turn off your speakers, or your workmates will hear blood curdling screams, moans, thunder, wolves howling, etc.
Netherworld Haunted House, Georgia. Called the Most Elaborate Haunted House in America by the Travel Channel, this giant operation is now in its 12th year. New this year, the Vicious Wolf Park, the Bottomless Pit and a 17 foot tall Pumpkin King. Open now through November 2; hours 7pm to 11pm (some nights to midnight; there is an interactive calendar on the web site). $18 for “Carnivore,” and $25 for “Carnivore” and “Mangler.” (Warning, Mangler with treats like live roaches and Twisted Dentist and Massive Gore may scare be bejesus out of kids, and some adults.) 6624 Dawson Boulevard, Norcross, GA.
7 Floors of Hell, Ohio. Just as it says: seven floors with names like the Cemetery, the Crypt, the Butcher Shop, etc., plus an outdoor corn maze called Scarecrow’s Revenge. It sounds terrifying, but the operation allows $4 off for children under 8, so kids are apparently expected. Tickets are $23 for any three “haunts,” or $28 for all seven. Open Thursday through Sunday and every night October 23 through November 2, 7 pm to 10 pm; open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays. 19191 Bagley Road, Middleburg Heights, Ohio.
13th Gate Haunted House, Louisiana. This one is in downtown Baton Rouge, and offers 13 different scares, including an underground tunnel, a hearse and a chance to crawl through a crematory oven. (Fun!?) This place, which employs more than 100 actors, is rated No. 1 by Hauntworld magazine, and we didn’t know there was such a magazine either. Open through October 18 on Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 7 pm to 11 pm and October 23 through November 1 every night from 7 pm to closing (when the last person leaves). Admission, $30 VIP Fast Pass (you go to the front of the line); $20 general admission. The 13th Gate warns that pregnant women and young children (and those with weak bladders) may want to go elsewhere; 832 St. Phillip Street, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Nightmare on 13th, Utah. New rooms this year include the Electrocution Maze, the Terror Tunnel, the Phantom Hall and the Mega Blaster Experience. The Body Bag Maze and Foam Party Room are back by popular demand as well as 13 additional rooms. Admission, $15 for the main haunted house; $20 for the main plus the Extreme haunted house; another $10, and you have a VIP go-to-the-front-of-the line ticket for everything. Monday through Thursday, 7:30 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 pm to midnight, through November 1. Opposite Walmart (frightening in itself), 300 West 2300 South, Salt Lake City.
Cutting Edge Haunted House, Texas. For starters, voted the best haunted house in Texas. Located in a 235,000 square foot warehouse from the 1920's; strobe lights, fog, monsters, the usual scary crew, plus, of course, mad Texas Chainsaw Massacre ghosts. October 10 through 12, 16 through 19, 22 through 31 and November 1. Open 7 pm to 10 pm, Sunday through Thursday; 7 pm to midnight, Fridays, Saturdays and Halloween Night. Adults, $26.50; children 10 and under, $22. A speed pass is another $10. The Intersection of I-30 & I-35, 1701 E. Lancaster Avenue, Fort Worth.