Nation’s Top 7 Haunted Houses

on October 13, 2011

Nation's Top Haunted Houses

You grope your way through the darkness, not knowing what lies ahead, chaos unfolding with every step. Grotesque monsters and disembodied spirits crouch in the shadows; loud, dissonant noises clang all about; a cold snake slithers at your feet. If this scene sounds like something straight from your greatest nightmare, good-that's precisely what haunted houses are aiming to re-create. Brett Bertolino, director of operations for Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary, a haunted attraction in Philadelphia, calls haunted houses the "ultimate 3D horror movie.""They're a unique form of entertainment," adds John Specca of Corner of Chaos, a haunted attraction in East Windsor, N.J. "They're a lot more involved than TV or movies or anything else. You get more of a live, real-life feel."Whether you're an adrenaline junky or simply looking for a good scare this Halloween season, we've scoped out the nation's top haunted attractions varying from the most extreme to the more family-friendly.

Corner of Chaos

Highstown, N.J.Featuring four attractions spread across more than 75 acres of cornfield, farm and forest, the Corner of Chaos offers frightening fun for the whole family. "We make sure to tap into every phobia-whether it's snakes or clowns or lights," says John Specca, program director of the event. "At some point on one of our four trails, you're guaranteed to be scared out of your wits." For youngsters, the Corner of Chaos runs a kid-friendly Family Fun Maze every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the fall season, complete with music, games and free food.


Portland, OregonA terrifying monster haunts the dining room of Elshoff Manor, one of the three haunted attractions at FrightTown, the Pacific Northwest's premier Halloween destination. Visitors to FrightTown can browse the collection of macabre memorabilia and bone-chilling oddities housed at Baron Von Goolo's Museum of Horrors; tour the Elshoff Manor, a haunted asylum with a dark, mysterious history; or venture into a heart-pumping realm of mayhem and gore at The Chop Shop.

Terror Behind the Walls

Philadelphia, Penn. The Eastern State Penitentiary-a grim, gothic-style prison built in 1892-is the site of Terror Behind the Walls, one of the nation's largest and most renowned haunted attractions. Against a backdrop of crumbling cellblocks, eerie empty guard towers and foreboding gothic architecture, guests are guided through a horrifying landscape populated by ghouls and monsters. The first Halloween event at Eastern State occurred in 1991 as part of a fundraising effort to open the abandoned penitentiary for daytime historic tours. Twenty years later, Terror Behind the Walls hasn't lost sight of its initial purpose. "All revenue from Terror Behind the Walls benefits the preservation efforts and public programming at this National Historic Landmark," says Brett. "The mission of our organization is something we never forget."

The 13th Gate

Baton Rouge, La.Located in the heart of the bayou-the birthplace of voodoo magic and superstition-The 13th Gate haunted house is sure to reduce even the bravest of souls to hysterics. Upon entering the haunt's 40,000 square foot complex, visitors are taken on a terrifying journey through 13 themed indoor and outdoor areas populated with frightening monsters and bone-chilling live creatures.

The Bates Motel

Philadelphia, Penn. Guests who check in to the Bates Motel are in for a night of heart-pumping terror. A dark, dreary structure looming ominously over Arasapha Farm, the Bates Motel is a high-startle haunted house boasting impressive special effects and quality acting. Also at Arasapha Farms, the Haunted Hayride takes passengers on an action-packed 25-minute journey through the farm's dark forests.


Terrell, TexasWith eight different attractions spread over 50 acres, Thrillvania Thrill Park outside Dallas offers visitors an entire night of spine-tingling frights. The park's main attraction, Verdun Manor, is modeled on the legend of Baron Michael Verdun, a psychopathic werewolf who conducted cruel experiments on human travelers. Here, visitors get a chilling glimpse of Verdun's macabre operating room.