It’s Halloween, and what better way to celebrate (if you’re not handing out candy to rugrats, or taking them trick-or-treating, that is), than┬áto visit a haunted house! If you’re like me, you love a good scare. I’m more likely to take mine in the form of a scary movie and popcorn at home than at a haunted house, but there’s a first time for everything. Here’s a list of five of the most extreme haunted houses in the United States. Enjoy, and vote for your favorite in our poll!

1. The House of Shock, New Orleans, Louisiana


This three-in-one gore fest features the House of Shock haunted house, Seaman Skungy’s Bordello of Freaks (a circus sideshow), and Laff in the Dark, an incredible 3D event. They also have a live music, a full-service bar, food straight from Hell’s Kitchen, and “tons of pyro.” Laff in the Dark is an homage to scary clowns, The House of Shock incorporates New Orleans’ own dark history, and the Bordello of Freaks is a carny sideshow in old-school style. With over 25,000 square feet of scares, more than 350 actors, and a good old-fashioned horror show, the House of Shock is sure to freak you out for hours! See more here.


2. Blood Manor, New York, New York


Billed as “New York’s Premiere Haunted House”, Blood Manor features 5,000 square feet of horror, with themed rooms, corridors, and labyrinths to disorient you and scare you even further. Designed to be “cutting edge”, children under 14 are not recommended to attend, but are allowed with a parent or guardian. Patrons go through in groups of six, and are cautioned against participating if they have anxiety, heart or back problems, or are pregnant. A trip through Blood Manor usually takes around twenty minutes. Blood Manor is wheelchair-accessible, and no food, drink, or smoking is allowed. Known as the “scariest haunted house in New York City”, they do note that you won’t be physically touched during your visit so…at least there’s that. See more here.


3. Nightmare New England, Litchfield, New Hampshire


This super-sized attraction features FORTY ACRES of scares, including a haunted hayride, Brigham Manor, the 3D Festival of Fear, Carnage, and the ominously named “The Colony.” Brigham Manor, the haunted house, has a spooky back story about those who have visited and never returned. For 3D Festival of Fear, you can “step right up and explore the tortured world of rejected carnival misfits!” Imagine being so hideous you are rejected from a carnival! The description of Carnage is so vague that one wonders what is in store – is it a maze? Either way, it’s said you’ll leave without your soul – if you make it out alive. The Colony, on the other hand, is a “labyrinth of chaos”, populated by a new breed of horrors so terrifying you’ll surely be scared witless. See more here.


4. Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


This massive haunted house is set inside the walls of a real prison! The Old Eastern State Penitentiary has been converted into six terrifying attractions, including The Machine Shop, Quarantine 4D, Breakout!, Detritus, Infirmary, and Lockdown. The “ghost bus” shuttles you between the features. Consistently billed as one of the best haunted houses in the country, Eastern State Pen was abandoned as a prison in 1971, but the guards have been reporting sightings of real ghosts since the 1940’s! Needless to say, some of the ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties you encounter here might actually be real! Feeling extra brave? You can “opt in” by picking up a glowing necklace at the entrance; but be prepared to be grabbed, yanked into hidden corridors, and to become part of the show! See more here.


5. Erebus Haunted Attraction, Pontiac, Michigan


Erebus earned a Guinness World Record in 2005 for being the longest walk-through haunted attraction in the world! They held the title until 2009, and boast an impressive four stories of scares! Erebus comes with the usual litany of disclaimers, including a special warning to those who suffer from claustrophobia. Erebus is so scary that even Gunnar Hansen, best known for playing Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, called it “an unequaled masterpiece of horror.” Yikes! See more here.


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Emily Parker is a musician, writer, and avid reader who started Bucket List Book Reviews, the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ project. For Sweatpants & Coffee, Emily hopes to inspire the reading of the classics by a whole new audience by only reviewing the really good stuff.

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