Candy corn comas, chocolate bar gorges and the excuse to dress like a fool for the day. A 21st-century Halloween might be more treat than trick, but it also wouldn’t be complete without a few blood-splattered chainsaws and a headless zombie or two. This month, check out these killer haunted attractions, and get ready to scream! – Chelsea Karnash
Terror Behind the Walls
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
$13-39, Quick Passes available online
The vibe at Eastern State Penitentiary is eerie as it is, but at Halloween, the historic prison takes on a decidedly spooky air. One of the nation’s best haunts, the prison offers six attractions, including The Gauntlet, an outdoor maze, and The Infirmary, a horrifying visit to the prison’s hospital. Plus, the regular Terror gets even creepier in 2013, when guests will have the choice of an “interactive” tour. If you go that route, expect to get grabbed, led down secret passageways and maybe even made a part of the spooky show.
309 Port Penn Rd.
$25-35, $50 VIP pass
Frightland offers eight (yes, eight!) haunted attractions that’ll have you screaming, including the Horror Hayride, Zombie Town and The Attic. There’s also an amusement park with rides, games and concession stands, plus live entertainment some nights. One tip though: The ticket booth is at the far end of the park.
While the Poconos are a bit scary any time of year, things get really wild around Halloween at Blue Mountain’s terrifyingly fun Nightmare Revenge. Hop on the 3-D Glow Hayride for a ride through an ancient burial plot — screams galore are sure to follow.
Shady Brook Farm
931 Stony Hill Rd.
$20-35, $50 for VIP pass
Pastoral Shady Brook Farm goes ghastly after dark with Horrorfest, a haunt fest that will have you jumping—with fear, not joy—as you trek through all four attractions. There’s the Hayride of Horror, the Barn of Horror (sensing a theme here?), 3-D Alien Encounter and the aptly-named Carnage. Just don’t bring kids under 10 (or maybe even a little older!) to that last one—it’s super-graphic.
Sleepy Hollow Hayride
881 Highland Rd.
$14-30, $45 for VIP pass to skip the line
Like Shady Brook, Active Acres may be peaceful by day, but it’s scare-tastic Sleepy Hollow by night. Take a 1 ¼ mile hayride through the haunted woods, or travel by foot through the Field of Fright, a disorienting corn maze. There’s also the Haunted House in the Hollow, with 17 rooms and an expansive graveyard of the undead. Survive the three attractions, and you’ll be treated to a bonfire, Halloween-themed activities and refreshments.
2200 S. Swanson St.
$30, $40 for VIP pass, $55 for VIP Deluxe
With sweet costumes, great props and an A-plus effort from the actors, Fright Factory, set in a decrepit warehouse inside city limits, is a spook-tacular alternative to Terror Behind the Walls. With four haunted offerings, the experience is just frightening enough to satisfy those looking for scares, but also packs the right amount of cheese for visitors who were reluctantly dragged along by friends or family.
99 Stehman Rd.
$25-$45, $40-$80 for VIP pass
Lancaster’s already got that “Children of the Corn” thing going on, and that feeling is amplified every Halloween at Jason’s Woods. With seven attractions like , Chamber of Horrors, Pirate’s Revenge and of course, the namesake attraction Jason’s Woods, this haunted set-up will keep your heart beating the entire time. A word of warning, however: If you’re scared of clowns, do not—I repeat, do not—enter the Carnival of Fear!
Sadly, Jason’s Woods has closed down its infamous Barn of Horrors, but an all-new Chamber of Horrors will be opening in its place.
Night of Terror
Creamy Acres Farm
448 Lincoln Mill Rd.
Mullica Hill, NJ
$30-35, $60 for VIP pass
Ah, Mullica Hill—quaint lake town during the summer, Halloween fright-fest in fall. Head to Creamy Acres, conveniently located in the Middle of Nowhere, for a six-attraction night of scares (and a haunted flashlight tour!), including the Haunted Paintball Hayride and the 3D Fun House. Hungry after all that screaming? Fill up on yummy carnival food like hot dogs, funnel cake, french fries and even baked potatoes.
The Bates Motel
1835 Middletown Rd.
Glen Mills, Pa.
$35-40 for all 3 attractions, $75 for VIP Pass (skips the line)
Arasapha offers three of the nation’s scariest Halloween attractions: the 25 minute Haunted Hayride, the Haunted Corn Maze and of course, the famous Bates Motel. Both the Haunted Hayride and the Bates Motel are regularly ranked among the creepiest of the creepy in haunted attractions nationwide, and all three attractions feature live actors, tons of “scenes” (an insane asylum, a western ghost town and—ugh—a slaughterhouse, for example) and lots of gore. Not for the youngins’, the faint of heart, or the tight with cash.
Field of Terror
831 Windsor-Perrineville Rd
East Windsor, NJ
$15-40, VIP Passes available
Much like its similarly-named neighbor Night of Terror, Field of Terror offers numerous scares for those feeling brave (or pretending to be). There’s the Killer Kornfield, which turns a leisurely stroll through a moonlit cornfield into a veritable Hell on Earth, or the Dementia 3-D tour, a sort of lab rat experience that requires guests to wear protective eye gear. Two other terrifying tours round out the haunted attractions here, along with a kid-friendly flashlight walk through the corn maze.