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Get Your Scream On at The Best Haunted Houses in America

Written by Kelly Weimert on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 at 11:05am.

Somehow, we’re already midway through October, which means the Halloween season is in full swing. There are costumes to consider, parties to attend, and candy to buy. But beyond all of that, one of the very best ways to celebrate the season of spooky is by going to a killer (see what we did there?) haunted house. 

Of course, not all haunted houses are created equal; some are realistic and truly terrifying, while others are more cheesy and funny than spooky. That’s why we honed in on the best options from San Francisco to Miami, so you can be sure you’ll get all of the scares you need to properly celebrate the season. 


Orange County

Knott’s Scary Farm

For the month of October, Knott’s Berry Farm is transforming into Knott’s Scary Farm, the largest Halloween experience in Southern California, which offers all of the necessary elements of a scary celebration. You can roam around the huge theme park where you’ll find more than 1,000 unsettling creatures lurking around, a variety of haunted houses, and a whole bunch of terrifying mazes. There are also spooky rides, live shows, and a grotesque wax museum. 


Long Beach

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

What’s better than a haunted house? A massive haunted boat. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor features all of the traditional horrors, like mazes and roaming monsters, from within the dark and historic setting of the old Queen Mary. There are six haunted mazes, a 4-D movie theater experience, private creepy cabanas, and an R.I.P. lounge full of spiked potions to give you all the liquid courage you need to get through the night. 


Los Angeles

Los Angeles Haunted Hayride

Located in Griffith Park, this haunted hayride will take you through the foothills where you’ll be greeted by all kinds of ghosts, demons, and ghouls. You’ll also explore Midnight Falls Town Square, which hosts a spooky old funeral parlor and a Midnight Mortuary Haunted House. Plus, there’s an open-air maze called Roadkill Ranch and three different escape rooms, so it’s easy to find exactly the type of scare that you’re looking for here. 

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San Diego

The Disturbance by The Haunted Hotel

This haunted hotel is actually home to three distinct Halloween attractions. The first is the hotel itself, which features a chainsaw bridal suite, creepy crypts, and zombies ready to make you one of their own. There’s also Kill-billy Chaos, where you’ll be greeted by crazed hillbillies who are looking to hunt humans, and the 3-D Freak Fest, a 3-D blacklight maze complete with clowns, freaks, and other spooks.  


San Francisco

Terror Vault

All through October, the historic San Francisco Mint building becomes the Terror Vault, a 45-minute experience that will immerse you in some of the most horrifying events in history. If you want to elevate the experience, you can purchase a red necklace, which means you’ll consent to being touched, removed from the group, written on, forced to eat something, or worse...


Palm Springs/Temecula

Mansion of Lost Souls

This former home of a revered doctor used to house a happy family that disappeared and no one knows what happened to them. Some suspect the doctor lost his mind, while others wonder if a psychotic patient murdered them all. Regardless, it’s now a mansion with far too many trapped souls inside who you’ll hear laughing and screaming as you make your way through a tour of the home. Enter at your own risk and don’t say we didn’t warn you.

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Palm Beach

Fright Nights

This annual event occurs at the South Florida Fairgrounds throughout October. You’ll find multiple haunted houses, flesh-eating zombies out for blood, spooky prisons, corn mazes, and ghostly graveyards—and that’s just the tip of the terrifying iceberg. There is also an innovative virtual reality experience, live entertainment, and a variety of food vendors to help you eat your fear away.



Paranoia Miami

You’ll definitely want to leave the kids at home for this one. It’s so scary that literally thousands of people have backed out before it even begins. So, what is it? A black-out horror maze designed to test the limits of your fear. You’ll start out with a few shots in a bloody bathroom, and the rest of the 20-minute maze you’ll have to see for yourself. If at any point you can’t take it anymore, which a lot of people can’t, you can scream the safe word—paranoia—to be rescued. 

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Featured Photo by Bee Felten-Leidel on Unsplash 

Check out the Local section on our blog - Noted. -  to read more from our curated list of things to do, cities to see, and places to go. 

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