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America's Best Haunted Houses - Top 13 Scariest 2013
Thu, October 03, 2013
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The fastest growing industry in America is the Halloween industry. We’ve seen it grow over the last ten years from a 1-billion dollar industry to a near 10-billion dollar industry. Halloween has grown to levels no one ever expected. Today, we see millions of home owners decorating their houses, turning their garages into haunted houses, changing their backyards into cemeteries and inviting people from around the neighborhood into their own personal HAUNTED HOUSE! Today tens of thousands of home owners buy zombies, monsters, tombstones, and crypts and even use specialized lighting to display and showcase their masterpiece. Many even create CGI FX in their windows. The days of Halloween being a kid’s holiday all about trick-or-treating are OVER! Even moms are getting into the act buying Halloween themed decorations to make the interior of the house Halloween themed as well.

Halloween is not an official holiday. They don’t call off school and work for Halloween. You don’t have to buy anyone a gift or cook a turkey or take your spouse to dinner with cards & chocolates. Halloween is a holiday that millions upon millions of Americans CHOOSE to celebrate and everyone celebrates in different ways. Some take their kids to pumpkin patches and Fall Festivals. Many enjoy decorating their house and yard.  Others become obsessed with the haunting of the holiday. Some even build their own haunted house experience right in their own home. And millions visit America’s best and scariest haunted houses to celebrate the holiday! In fact, haunted houses and Halloween attractions now make up more than 1 billion dollars of the ever growing Halloween industry.

Every year in March, haunted house owners and operators across America converge in St Louis, Missouri for the National Halloween and Haunted Attractions tradeshow produced by Transworld Exhibits, where these haunt owners can view and purchase new products, monsters, animations, special FX, and more. Additionally, there are numerous educational seminars and round-table discussions with other haunted house owners to plot and plan how to make America scream even more than the previous year! So what do haunted houses across America have planned for you this year? How are haunted attractions planning to keep up with movies, videos games and other interactive events? Do video games and movies even compare now to the live and very interactive experience of a haunted house?

Haunted Houses are going over-the-top bigger, better, and scarier than ever. In fact, haunted houses no longer just compete with other local haunts in their area, but haunted houses across the country. Visiting, attending and traveling to haunted houses is now an America phenomenon as people are using sites like to find the best haunted attractions in the World to travel to attend. America has spoken, and they want HAUNTED HOUSES in the Fall not horror movies and not videos games. They want live, in-your-face scares combined with high tech scares for the utmost in lifelike scares. They want what a roller coaster can’t deliver no matter how high or fast they’re built. Now that Halloween 2013 is here it’s time to find the best, the scariest, and the biggest over the top haunted houses and Halloween attractions in America.  Prepare yourself for the biggest screaming season in Haunted history.

Haunted House owners and operators have created attractions that are so detailed they remove you from the realm of reality and plunge you into a haunted World you never knew you could experience. So finally, we present you some of the best traditional haunted houses, real haunted houses, haunted hayrides, corn mazes and more. If it’s an attraction opening during the Halloween season, you’ll find it here on Now sit back for the best haunted houses in America 2013. was the first website and publication to produce a Top 10, Top 13 or Top 31 haunted house list to help America find attractions. Now many websites and publications produce such lists, but there is only ONE website that helps you find every haunted attraction in the nation... We invite you to find a haunted house near you and subscribe to our printed Haunted House Magazine, plus join our Facebook Page. Have the scariest Halloween ever with the help from your friends at!

1. 13th Floor Haunted House / The Asylum Haunted House in Denver, CO -  There’s a group who runs the biggest franchise of haunted houses in America, and they specialize in being the scariest in America too. The owners of these attractions are building haunts nationwide and in each city they build an attraction, their haunts dominate the market place. 13th Floor Haunted Houses are located in Denver, San Antonio and Phoenix Arizona and each attraction is designed and built by the team behind House of Torment and The Asylum. The Asylum also located in Denver is one of the most detailed haunted houses in America and between the 13th Floor attractions scattered across America and The Asylum in Denver they can fulfill any fright fans need for fear!


2. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Philadelphia, PA - & Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, PA -  If you travel to the Philadelphia area you are in store for a one-two punch of gut wrenching fear!! Each attraction operated by the same ownership group offer two totally unique and different attractions The Pennhurst Asylum is located inside a REAL closed down asylum and Bates Motel features a massive haunted hayride, haunted house, maze and more. Making this trip to Philly is tops for any fright fan.


3. Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, NY -  Headless Horseman features the best, most theatrical haunted hayride in the industry, with massive detailed sets, over the top theatrical costumes, tons of haunted houses, corn mazes, and even the Headless Horseman himself riding horseback!


4. Cutting Edge Haunted House / Thrillvania in Fort Worth, TX -  In the Dallas Fort Worth Texas area there are two of the best haunted houses in America. First up is Cutting Edge, one of the longest haunted houses in the World, once holding the Guinness Book of World Records, it’s a site to be seen. Plus Thrillvania, of the same ownership group, is also one of the industry’s most celebrated and historic haunted houses. Once known solely as Verdun Manor, Thrillvania offers scares of all magnitudes including flames flying out of the building and some of the best actors in America. If you are traveling to the Dallas area, prepare for a real scream!


5. Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, GA -  Netherworld features everything you’d ever want in a top haunt: amazing costumes, monsters, make-up, sets, animations, actors and more. They scare you both inside and outside the haunted attraction. Netherworld is the most visited haunted house in the entire industry attracting more customers than any other haunted house in America!  Netherworld best feature is the outside actors who entertain guests even the ones who haven't purched a ticket some don't because the parking lot is scarier than most haunted houses.  Prepare to beg for mercy just to buy a ticket at Netherworld.


6. The 13th Gate Haunted House in Baton Rouge, LA -  13th Gate is one of the most detailed haunted houses in America featuring incredible set design, animations and special FX with over-the-top makeup artists and actors to round out it’s perfection. It also features thousands of live snakes to add an extra fearful element. 13th Gate expanded a few years back adding Necropolis 13, a haunted New Orleans-style Cemetery, that includes an old fashioned Voodoo Fire Show on weekends. The spirits really come alive at 13th Gate!


7. Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA -  Field of Screams boasts the LONGEST haunted hayride in America, and with three other amazing haunted houses, Den of Darkness, Nocturnal Wasteland and Frightmare Asylum, this scream park is another scariest haunt to top our list. Field of Screams also features scream shops, food, games and stage shows for a well-rounded evening of thrills!


8. The Darkness Haunted House in St. Louis, MO -  The Darkness located in St Louis is celebrating its 20th year of Fear. It’s the most well-known haunted house in the World. In fact, many within the haunted house industry have rated this haunted attraction the BEST in America for its original special FX, Hollywood level detail, and the use of computer generated effects. The Darkness is certainly one of the most celebrated haunted houses in the industry and features 3 attractions in one including the World’s best 3D Haunted House called Terror Visions and the Monster Museum with gift shop. The Darkness is extremely scary and extremely detailed. In fact, many of the effects are one of a kind. People come to visit The Darkness from all over the World!


9. House of Torment Haunted House in Austin, TX -  House of Torment is located inside an old movie theater with three attractions in one, and each year they totally renovate with all new sets and scenes. One of the most unique things about House of Torment is their Control Room. Inside this room sits the evening’s mastermind of House of Torment, controlling triggers to set each animation at the precise moment to get the ultimate scare from each individual guest, creating guest screams unlike any other. House of Torment has set a new standard for the haunted house industry with icon characters, use of Hollywood make-up artists, and amazing set design. This year House of Torment features Blackthorne District, Cursed and Slaughterhouse. House of Torment has been featured on national television, and this year on the very next weekend following the close of the 2013 haunt season, House of Torment will host the industry’s Legendary Haunt Tour, November 8th and 9th.


10. Erebus 4-Story Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, MI -  By definition, “EREBUS” is the darkness beneath the Earth that the dead must pass to reach Hades, and the owners of Erebus Haunted House take great pride in emulating that depth of horror inside their haunt. Located in Pontiac Michigan, this attraction once held the Guiness Book of World Records for the LONGEST haunted house in America. We have rated Erebus the most unique haunted house in America with their over-the-top collection of interactive monster props, and mechanical special FX. Erebus is located in a multi-story building complete with a full interactive haunted house where the props touch the customers giving them a sense of REAL FEAR!


11. The Dent School House in Cincinnati, OH -  Located in Cincinnati Ohio  this might be the most detailed haunted house in America and by far one of the most unique themed attractions in America. This horrific haunted house theme centers around a serial killer janitor inside an abandoned haunted schoolhouse. After visiting this school, you may never step foot in a schoolhouse ever again.  The Dent Haunted School House has been one of the most visited haunted houses within the haunted house industry and has showcased amazing set designs and unique theming. There’s no wonder it’s Cincinnati’s SCARIEST haunted house!


12. Kersey Valley Spookywoods Haunted Attractions in Greensboro, NC - Located in North Carolina, this attraction is rated the best overall screampark in America, because they have more different style attractions than any haunted attraction in America including daytime events and nighttime events. By day, Kersey Valley houses the best Halloween attraction in America with dinosaur digs, corn mazes, spooky tram rides, pumpkin patches and more. By night, the Spookywoods’ zombies, monsters and spirits come out to play, haunting the woods and making North Carolina one of the scariest places on earth to be!


13. Nightmare on the Bayou in Houston, TX -  Nightmare on the Bayou is located next to Houston’s oldest graveyard near the Heights in the shadow of downtown Houston, Texas. It proudly boasts Houston’s only REALLY HAUNTED attraction where REAL ghosts linger the property. Don’t believe it?  Ask employees and past customers. Paranormal hauntings occur regularly at Nightare on the Bayou making it one of the most unique and scary attractions in the country. They also feature one of the biggest Halloween retail stores in America where customers can purchase Halloween costumes and décor.

31 Days of Halloween 14-31

14. Atrox Factory Haunted House in Birmingham, AL -
15. Bennett’s Curse Haunted Attractions in Hanover, MD -
16. Creepyworld Haunted Screampark in St. Louis, MO -
17. Bayville Scream Park in Long Island, NY -
18. Hundred Acres Manor Haunted Attractions in Pittsburgh, PA -
19. The Ghoullog Presents Mercer Home for the Criminally Insane in North Conway, NH -
20. Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA -
21. Basement of the Dead in Aurora, IL -
22. Burial Chamber Haunted Complex in Appleton, WI -
23. The New Jason’s Woods in Lancaster, PA -
24. Horrorfest at Shady Brook Farm in Yardley, PA -
25. Gateway's Haunted Playhouse in Long Island, NY -
26. Hex House in Tulsa, OK -
27. Corner of Chaos Scream Acres in Hightstown, NJ -
28. Darkwood Manor Haunted House in Luray, VA -
29. Dead End Hayride in Wyoming, MN -
30. Pure Terror Screampark at Museum Village in Monroe, NY -
31. Haunted Mill Scream Park in Spring Grove, PA -


Best SCREAMPARK Outdoor Haunted Attractions
What is a Screampark?  The term Screampark is something we want to educate the public about.  It’s a haunted event that features several attractions all at one location.  Typically, the staple attraction is a hayride, but not always.  Screamparks are usually found on farms, within amusement parks, or on huge plots of land.  Most Screamparks feature different types of attractions such as hayrides, haunted houses, corn mazes, haunted trails, blacklight 3D haunted houses, live shows and more.  So who has the best Screampark in America?  We are judging this category by the mass amount of different attractions and the quality of them all.  Some Screamparks do not live up to their marketing hype when their “multiple attractions” are mostly small and gimmicky.  However, there are several who are beyond your wildest dreams immense and action-packed with horrific fun.  Our list of BEST Screamparks not only provide hours of entertainment, but leave you gut wrenching and heart pounding.  The biggest operational difference between a screampark and a haunted house is most screamparks have to set up everything each year.  In comparison, an indoor haunted house is usually a permanent location, so the sets, animations, and FX are typically better and more detailed.  However a Screampark makes up the difference with sheer number of attractions, actors, and time spent at the event.  So who has the best Screamparks in America and why?

1. Kersey Valley SPOOKYWOODS Haunted Attraction in Greensboro, NC -  Spookywoods is the best Haunted Screampark in America, because they are the biggest with the most unique attractions in America from pumpkin patches, corn mazes, haunted tram rides, haunted houses, and even zip lines.  They have a multitude of daytime events for kids, attractions for children and much more.  Spookywoods is America’s biggest and best Screampark in America 2013!  When visiting Spookywoods you can come by night for frights or by day for authentic fall fun.  It’s truly a Halloween Fall Festival by day and fright by night.

2. Headless Horseman Hayride and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, NY -  Headless Horseman is our second best haunted Screampark 2013, because they have the best haunted hayride in America.  Additionally, they are one of the only Screamparks in America with themed food shops, unique gift boutiques, live theatrical shows, and even the real Headless Horseman riding around on horseback.  The detail and creativity in their haunted hayride is something you don’t see in 99% of other hayrides.  It’s truly something to see!

3. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Philadelphia, PA -  The main attraction at this haunted Screampark is their massive hayride with real tombstones, meat packing conveyor hooks, pyro effects and more!  The Bates Motel Hayride would be better compared to the backlot tour at Universal with one major special effect after another all towards the utmost in haunting entertainment for their guests.  Additionally, the Bates Motel Haunted House is an iconic haunted house with detailed rooms and sets, and also included is a massive haunted corn maze leaving customer screaming for their lives! 

4. Field of Screams in Mountville, PA -  With four intense attractions and a fun-filled entertainment area, Field of Screams is unlike any other haunted attraction.  Field of Screams provides Lancaster PA and all nearby east coast cities with the most horrifying experiences around.  Field of Screams features one of the longest hayrides deep into a haunted cornfield where darkness falls just a little deeper, featuring a massive 20-foot pumpkin demon.  It’s the perfect place for nighmares to become reality!

5. Creepyworld Haunted Screampark in St. Louis, MO -  Creepyworld is by far the best overall screampark for creative haunted houses and haunted attractions with the utmost in extreme actors.  Creepyworld features 10 haunted attractions in one location, plus an all animated Ghoul Band and one of America’s largest Carved Pumpkin Displays.  Creepyworld is a massive production that includes Zombie Paintball Hayride, the ever iconic Silo-X Haunted House, an award-winning 3D Haunted House, an attraction themed around an old abandoned Drive-In 666 movie theater and much more!

6. SpookyWorld presents NIGHTMARE NEW ENGLAND in Litchfield, NH -  Nightmare New England offers the most variety of entertainment options for its customers.  Located along the eerie banks and forest of the Merrimack River, this Screampark offers something for everyone with five haunted attractions, restaurant, bar, an expanded Monster Midway of roaming monsters with nightly music, Zombie Paintball, go-kart racing, mini-golf, batting cages, tarot card readings and much more.

7. Jason’s Woods in Lancaster, PA -  People from all over the east coast flock to Jason’s Woods to experience several haunted house attractions like the all new Chamber of Horrors, Pirate’s Revenge, Lost in Jason’s Woods, or Carnival of Fear, but the most sought after attraction is their Horrifying Hayride where iconic horrific characters force you to revisit those childhood nightmares of the past.  And don’t forget to visit The Grand Jason’s Woods Theater where they creatively combine film with horror haunted attraction!

8. Haunted Mill Scrampark in Central Pennsylvania -  The Haunted Mill is a legendary Halloween event with 25 years in the business of scaring, offering sheer terror fright to every victim!  With attractions like Haunted Mill, Maws Crazy Maze, Terror Trail and House of Eyes, you’re sure to scream for safety.  

9. Field of Terror in East Windsor, NJ -  Field of Terror is NJ’s Premier Haunted Attraction Farm.  It’s everything a Screampark should be, but at this 100 acre farm, they do everything over-the-top!   With a haunted corn field, haunted hayride, haunted barn, 3D haunted house plus food, DJ, dancing, concessions, bonfire and even fireworks (on designated nights), Field of Terror is certainly a BEST haunted Screampark by all accounts.  Also, check their website regularly for Zombie Mud Run events too!

10. Hundred Acres Manor Haunted Attractions in Pittsburgh, PA -  Hundred Acres Manor is a non-profit organization in Pittsburgh, PA offering the best haunted attractions in the area, and one of the ten best haunted Screamparks in America.  With 6 attractions in one location for one price, this is a must attend event!  Attractions range from a haunted hospital, a maze, a slaughterhouse and much more.  And all proceeds benefit 2 local charities: Animal Friends, and Homeles Children’s Education Fund!

Best Haunted Hayrides/Haunted Trail
You might be wondering how does this list differ from our list of America’s best Haunted Screamparks, but here we focus strictly on who has the best haunted hayride or haunted trail.  Our best Screampark list was focused strictly on who has the best overall mega Halloween Screampark, but here we are focused on just one single beloved attraction… the best haunted hayride or the best outdoor haunted trail.  Hayrides have been a Halloween tradition for decades.  Although a haunted hayride is usually as scary as a haunted house, there’s simply no other experience than a wagon ride through the woods with your friends.  In the older days, haunted hayrides were nothing more than just that an eerie ride through dark, desolate woods, and haunted trails were not much different.  In days past, they were mainly a walk through the woods after dark.  Today, these events are HIGH TECH with OVER THE TOP actors, sets, special FX and so much more.  Some haunters have taken haunted trails so over-the-top, you believe you are in another World, inside a Hollywood movie, being stalked by real demons, killers and monsters.  Haunted Hayrides, Haunted Woods & Haunted Trails offer an experience that an indoor haunted house cannot: running in the dark under a pale moonlight, with real crickets, wind blowing, a chill in the air, and the fear of the unknown!  Today’s haunted hayrides and haunted trails really bring the SCREAMS in a major way, so this year find a good haunted hayride or trail and prepare for a true authentic Halloween experience like no other.

1. Headless Horseman’s Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, NY -  Headless Horseman is one of the biggest Screamparks in the Nation with tons of haunted houses, gift shops, boutiques and more, but their main attraction is their Haunted Hayride theme based on the Headless Horseman.  The sets, the FX, the screams and the actors are so theatrical and professionally produced, that it’s a haunted hayride without a rival.

2. Haunted Overload at Demeritt Farm in Lee, NH -  Haunted Overload started as a home haunt that outgrew the neighborhood!  It now resides on a historic farm deep in the woods with massive sets, props and themes that have set a new standard for the entire industry.

3. Creepywoods Haunted Forest in Baltimore,  Creepywoods located in Kingsville Maryland on the Jones Family Farm is one of the most complex haunted trails in America with the most detailed set designs of any haunted trail ever created!

4. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Philadelphia, PA -  The Bates Motel attraction offers an iconic Bates Motel haunted house, a massive haunted corn maze, and an action packed haunted hayride as their main attraction.  This producers of this haunted hayride stop at nothing to pull the screams from its victims.  In fact, the Bates Motel Haunted Hayride was the first in America to offer pyrotechnic FX.

5. Spookywoods Haunted Attractions in Greensboro, NC -  Spookywoods offers a dark trek thru haunted woods as well as a haunted tram ride.  The producers of this event take pride in developing new and unique scare tactics. If you’re not screaming, you’re crying at Spookywoods!

6. The Dead End Hayride & Haunted Attractions at Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, MN -  Dead End offers all the scariest in haunted attractions: a haunted cornfield, a haunted trail and of course…The Dead End Haunted Hayride!   Through the use of special effects, strobe lights, fog and even fire, Dead End is able to create a disorientating atmosphere perfect for the ultimate scare!

7. Fear Fest Haunted House in Columbia, MO -  The producers of this haunt actually create zombie hayrides for haunters all over America, and their own haunted paintball hayride features massive sets and tons of live actors!

8. Creepyworld Haunted Screampark in St. Louis, MO -  Creepyworld is one of the nation’s longest and most entertaining haunted Screamparks with 10 haunted house attractions all for one price, plus a very unique Zombie Paintball Haunted Hayride for a grand total of 11 attractions!  These specialized hayrides are always a fan favorite!

9. Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA -  Experience terror like no other as you board and ride the Field of Screams Haunted Hayride where they take pride in developing unique horror character bios sure to make your hair stand on ends.  This is one of the longest running haunted hayrides in America!

10. Jason’s Woods in Lancaster, PA -  Jasons Woods features several attractions, but their hayride is one of the longest haunted hayrides in America, and this year the all new Horrifying Haunted Hayride is simply mind blowing!

Haunted House Industry’s Historic Top 13
This list offers the most influential haunted houses in the history of our industry.  These haunts have made an impact for one reason or another and some even make the list despite the fact they are no longer existing businesses.  However, their impact is still felt to this day.  There are many great haunted attractions in our industry’s history, but none have made a bigger impact than these next 13 haunted attractions.  Keep in mind, these may not be the best currently operating haunted houses, but they are the haunted houses that made the biggest all-time impact on the haunted house industry in dated history.  Haunt owners have left full time jobs in droves to make owning and operating a haunted house their life!  With that being said, many haunt owners like touring haunts in the off season and many haunts open for special events.  These haunts have helped inspire, teach and develop the industry and have expanded the limits of what is possible in haunted houses today. 

1. Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, GA -  Netherworld has set nearly every record in this industry for attendance and national publicity and is one of the best haunted houses in America.  Netherworld has been visited by haunted house owners across the World just to get a glimpse at their unique show which features tons of actors both inside and out and even roaming the parking lot to get those overall scares.  Netherworld helped show the haunt industry that haunted house actors can be iconic horror characters, and costuming should go beyond simple face paint & rubber masks.  With the most amazing collection of special FX artists, icon characters and more, you simply must get the opportunity to attend Netheworld.  It won’t disappoint, but even more importantly, the haunt industry has learned so much from this attraction over the years.

2. The Darkness Haunted House in St Louis, MO -  The Darkness is so important to the haunted house industry, because it hosts annual industry tours in March.  This amazing haunted house has been featured on national television more than any other haunted house in history.  It is also the scene for over 25 how to haunt instructional DVD’s.  Additionally, The Darkness was a first in many things:  first to use CGI effects, the first to build multi motion sets, the first to use Chromodepth 3D technology, and much more.  The technological team behind The Darkness builds the most creative multi motion animations, and their talents are showcased in the incredibly detailed sets.  The main reason why this haunt has been so important is because it has the opportunity each year to show the haunt industry how far you can actually take a haunted house.  The producers of this haunted house have been great ambassadors for the haunted house industry over the years and always put the industry in a positive light.  The Darkness is celebrating its 20th Year of Fear this haunt season! 

3. The 13th Gate & 13 Necropolis in Baton Rouge, LA -  This is a newer haunted house than some on this list and with perhaps not as large of an impact as say Spookyworld or Rocky Point, but with bonus points for still being open as an active haunt, that reason alone throws them up in order to #3 on the list!  This haunt has set the new bar for the new generations of haunters on set design & special FX, and for defining what over-the-top truly means to a haunted attraction.  There is no haunt in America as detailed or over the top as 13th Gate.

4. Thrillvania Verdun Manor in Dallas, TX -   This attraction was originally created by Lance Pope who unfortunately died several years ago, but his legendary attraction and influence in the haunt industry lives on.  Now under the control of another one of America’s greatest haunts, Cutting Edge Haunted House, the attraction continues to terrorize it’s victims!  It was one of the first haunted houses to combine incredible sets, amazing make-up artistry, detailed costumes and pyro FX.  Haunted House owners knew, loved and visited Lance’s haunted house every year from all across America.  Fortunately, the attraction lives on better than ever!

5. Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, NY -  Is one of the most influential attractions in the haunted house industry, because they were really the first event to build a haunted hayride with spectacular sets, costumes, and special FX within a hayride.  Prior to Headless Horseman, most hayrides where nothing more than jaunts through the woods with the occasional actor jumping out, but Headless Horseman changed the way the industry builds and designs hayrides.

6. Rocky Point Haunted House of Utah:  Rocky Point HH located in Salt Lake City, UT closed many years ago. However, the impact of this haunt is still being felt today.  Owner Cydney Neil was one of the first charity haunts who broke nearly every record for attendance, sponsorship, award winning set design, and national recognition for her haunt.  Cydney worked with Hollywood special FX designers to bring guests one of the best haunts that ever haunted!

7. Terror on Church Street of downtown Orlando, FL:  This attraction is no longer in operation.  However, the impact was profound on the haunt industry due to their incredible detailed costumes, make-up and well-trained actors.  This haunt operated year-round, not seasonally, and was actually the first real attempt to operate a major haunted attraction year round, proving it can be done!  Today, there are a hundred or more year round haunted attractions.  Terror On Church Street had it all… a great location in Orlando, an incredible haunted house, terrifying actors, and a gift store that inspired haunters.  Back in the day, nearly every haunted house in America was started ONLY AFTER an educational visit to Terror on Church Street.

8. Spookyworld:  The original Spookywood, now closed, was the first MASSIVE screampark ever created with multiple attractions in one location for one price.  Spookyworld also was the first to make national news, bring in horror celebs to sign autographs, and view the haunt industry as more than Halloween, more than just making people scream.  It was billed as America’s Horror Theme Park.   Haunt attraction owners in the New England area purchased the name and have fortunately reinvented it in conjunction with their event Nightmare New England for all to enjoy once again!  Spookyworld, previously owned and operated by David Bertolino, was the first true industry wide inspiration for all haunted house owners.

9. Haunted Schoolhouse and Lab in Akron, Ohio -  Haunted Schoolhouse started in Ohio in 1974 back when there was nothing but Jaycee haunt attractions, and it was the first to ever attempt a high level of detail for their haunt sets and scenes.  The legend of the Haunted Schoolhouse spread across the industry long before there was ever internet.  America wide, haunters would visit this attraction, and all were left inspired by the Schoolhouse. 

10. Haunted Overload at Demeritt Farm in Lee, NH -  This attraction started as a home haunt that outgrew the neighborhood and had no choice but to look for a bigger location.  Today Haunted Overload is one of the industry’s most marveled attractions with all custom built props, some of which reach 50 feet or more in height.  Haunted Overload might be the most incredible outdoor haunt in America, and it especially lends inspiration to all home haunters with dream.

11. The Edge of Hell and Beast Haunted Attractions in Kansas City, MO -  These haunts created urban legends of multi storied haunts with live animals of lions and more, but at this particular haunt, it’s all true!  Their haunted houses have been around for over 30 years and feature 5 stories of fear with slides that descend patrons all the way back down to the first floor.  The Edge of Hell was the haunt industry’s first true mega haunted house, and it inspired hundreds of haunts today.

12. Haunted Happenings of Hartford, CT:  Haunted Happenings, once located in Hartford Connecticut, is now closed.  It was owned by millionaire, Arnold Chase, who bought anything and everything a designer could dream up.  Haunted Happenings had more animated FX and inspired more haunts to animate their Halloween attractions than any haunted house in history.  When the attraction closed, it hosted the biggest haunted auction the industry had ever seen at that time.

13. Kevin McCurdy’s Haunted Mansion in Poughkeepsie, NY -  Kevin McCurdy’s haunted mansion is very important in the history of the haunt industry, because Kevin was one of the first to make how-to instructional DVD’s for haunt owners.  These videos were created while he renovated the Haunted Mansion in action, and they gave many haunters great ideas on detailing a haunt before it was even popular to do so!

Best Actors 2013
Which haunted houses in operation today have the best and scariest crew of actors, monsters, zombies and creatures that make you SCREAM?  Hauntworld unveils the best places to find the scariest actors in America, so be warned if you dare enter these attractions and prepare to see the most realistic make up, monsters, acting and scream machines on EARTH!  What makes a haunted house great is their staff.  It’s the actors who make unbelievable believable.  The actors are the ones who make their victims’ skin crawl.  They can make you run for your life, begging for mercy.  They are the ones who make a haunted house the legend they have become!  Some actors are so extreme and over-the-top, they have the ability to instill such fear that results are blood curdling screams, panic attacks, and even wetting of the pants!  If you are brave enough, we dare you to entertain the idea of attending every haunted house on this list.  But if you do, prepare to donate your soul at the door, because these actors will certainly rip it from your body!  The scariest haunted houses with the scariest actors in America…here is our list:

1. Netherworld Haunted House in Atlanta, GA -  Netherworld has the wildest actors in the industry with an over-the-top make up department, custom icon characters, sliders, actors running the parking lot, and 100’s more actors inside all to make you scream!  Netherworld has the best actors in America.  

2. House of Torment Haunted House in Austin, TX -  House of Torment takes pride in their actor group with their own band of icon characters, custom costumes and crazy actors making some people so scared they never attend a haunted house again.

3. The 13th Gate/Necropolis in Baton Rouge, LA -  13th Gate features some of the best makeup artists in America, plus icon characters, custom molded masks, and theatrical costumes.  What makes them most unique is all the different style actors, because they have to fill 13 different themes within the attraction.

4. Thrillvania Haunted House Park in Dallas, TX -  Thrillvania has some of the oldest actor troops in America serving Verdun Manor for over 20 years.  The same faithful groups of actors return each year to haunt the fears of Dallas Texas.

5. Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses in Ulster Park, NY -  Located outside New York City, Headless Horseman features the best costumes in America with their own year round costume department of make up FX artists who create unique costumes for the attraction year after year.  Their best and most notorious haunt actor is of course the headless horseman who rides up and down the hayride haunting the town of Sleepy Hollow.

6. The Asylum Haunted House in Denver, CO -  The Asylum in Denver also features some of the best custom costumes with horror monsters and icon characters.  The Asylum has built its reputation on stopping at nothing towards making their guests have nightmares!  

7. Erebus 4 Story Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, MI  Erebus has a limitless haunt where the actors and animations are allowed to touch their customers for the ultimate “hands on” approach to scaring, and this takes unique training on the part of the actor management staff.  Their victims LOVE this extreme approach to haunting!  

8. The Darkness Haunted House in St Louis, MO -  The Darkness is celebrating its 20th Year of Fear and some actors, like Scary Gary, have been there haunting all 20 years long!  In order for any haunted house to be successful for 20 years, their actors play a huge role.  The haunt now features year around actor training that includes hands on costuming training too.  The Darkness staff believes awesome costumes lend great assistance toward achieving the ultimate screams out of its victims.

9. 13th Floor Haunted Houses -  These attractions are located in three different cities including Denver Colorado, San Antonio Texas and Phoenix Arizona.  The actors are very well trained year round, and in each city, they bring a fear factor unlike anything the cities have seen before.  With the best actors and actor trainers in America, these haunt promoters are dead set on making their haunts ROCK!

10. The Haunt House in Dallas, TX -  The Haunt House is a haunted house created by a group of extremely excellent actors of another local haunted house.  In other words, these owners are living their dream of owning their own haunt and making people scream.  Operated by actors…so you KNOW you’ll get a good scare at The Haunt House!

Best Year Round Haunted Attractions 2013
There are many year round haunts not only in America but around the World. They don’t have to be haunted houses to be a haunted attraction they can be a ride, a restaurant, anything with a Halloween or horror theme. Most haunted attractions across America are open only during the Halloween season, but there are dozens which are open for most of the year or year rround. Here is the list of the places to find Haunted Attractions 2013 no matter what time of the year.

1. Jekyll and Hyde Club Restaurant Bar in New York City, NY - Located in Time Square New York, this is a multi-million dollar horror themed restaurant with animations, live shows and even features a haunted house.  Open every day of the year

2. Disney Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom in Orlando, FL -  This is the oldest and biggest haunted dark ride in the World and by far the most famous.  This attraction inspired the entire haunted house industry.  Open year around

3. Ghostwood Estates in Pittsburg, PA -  Ghostwood Estates is located inside Kennywood Amusement Park.  It’s a haunted mansion dark ride where riders shoot ghosts to score points.  The attraction features several digital FX and much more.  Open March to November

4. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror in Orlando, FL  -, AND in Los Angeles,CA -  This is the craziest haunted themed ride in the World taking you inside the Twilight Zone to a creepy malfunctioning elevator dropping 10 stories.  Tower of Terror haunted dark rides are located in Florida and California.  Open year around

5. Eli Roth Goretorium in Las Vegas, NV -  This is a new attraction located in Las Vegas Nevada.  It’s a multi-million dollar attraction that also features unique special FX, extreme gore and even an entertaining bar to grab a drink and calm the Nervous Nellys.  Open year around

6. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA -  One of the oldest prisons in America is open year round for ghost tours.  Open year round.  They also run a massive haunted attraction during Halloween season called Terror Behind The Walls.   

7. Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, PA -  A closed down asylum, this is one of the most haunted places in America.  Pennhurst operates year round for ghost tours and during October it operates a massive haunted house event.

8. Ripley Haunted Adventure -  Ripley’s is more than just Believe It Or Not.  Ripley’s Haunted Adventures are located in several different cities including Myrtle Beach – South Carolina, San Antonio – Texas and Gatlinburg - Tennessee.  These attractions are open year around and feature a cool elevator ride.

9. The London Dungeon -  Located in downtown London, this is one of the most visited attractions in the World.  It features many scary elements with haunting history and is open every day of the year!

10. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV -  This REAL haunted site, formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, once served as a sanctuary for the mentally ill.  The history of the building holds fascinating stories of Civil War raids, gold robbery and more.  Today, you can tour this nationally recognized landmark year round.  And this haunt season, the Asylum presents Aberration Haunted House,, for even more horrific fun!

11. Ghostly Manor of Lake Erie Fearfest in Sandusky, OH -  Located in Sandusky Ohio near Cedar Point , Ghostly Manor is open year round with attractions like a motion ride simulator, mini golf and skating.  The attraction has recently been renamed the Lake Eerie Fearfest.  

12. Rolling Hills Asylum in East Bethany, NY -  Located in East Bethany, New York, this haunted attraction is a historically haunted site.  They offer public and private tours as well as flashlight tours.  Rolling Hills Asylum has been featured on Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures & Paranormal Challenge and is a documented hot bed for paranormal activity.   Rolling Hills Asylum is TRULY haunted.

Most Unique Haunted Attractions in America 2013
There are many unique haunted houses in America and haunts who are unique for a reason such as multi stories, unique themes, different ways the actors interact with the customers, to the themes of the attractions themselves.  Many haunted houses buy a lot of the same props, special fx and animations from the same vendors each year during the Haunted House tradeshow.  However there is a list of haunted houses who go against the grain and do something different to make their customers scream and run in real terror.  So who has the most unique haunted houses in America and why?  Take a lot our list of the most unique haunted houses in America 2013.

1. Erebus 4 Story Haunted Attraction in Pontiac MI -  Erebus is by far the most unique haunted house in America because they have monsters, animations, and props that touch the customers some even swallow customers whole.  Erebus is a multi-story haunted house with special fx you’ll see no where in the World but at Erebus near Detroit Michigan.

2. Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, PA -  This haunt had to fight the entire town against opening because of the scary and unique background of the attraction.  Pennhurst is located in a real Asylum closed down by the government decades ago and now is open to the public.  This place is scary!

3. Haunted Overload Demeritt Farm in Lee, NH -  Haunted Overload features the largest over sized props and unique Halloween creations created by the staff of Haunted Overload and can be seen no where else in the WORLD!  This attraction is over the top different than any other haunted house in America.

4. Kersey Valley Spookywoods Haunted Attraction in Greensboro, NC -  Spookywoods is unlike any other haunted attraction in the nation featuring a tram ride rather than a hayride, zip lines, corn mazes, haunted trails, to pumpkin patches, dino digs screams by night and family fun by day!

5. The Dent School House in Cincinnati, OH -   The Dent Schoolhouse is located inside a REAL closed down school and the entire theme centers around going back to school to face detention of the dead type!  After seeing this attraction you’ll never want to go back into a school in your life!

6. Haunting of Lemp Brewery in St. Louis, MO -  The Haunting of Lemp Brewery is located deep underground in real caves and caverns, under a historic brewery where the entire family committed suicide.  The caves and caverns look like a real gothic castle! Inside the Haunting of Lemp brewery no one can hear you scream!

7. The Edge of Hell in Kansas City, MO -  Located in Kansas City Missouri is one of the oldest haunted houses in America at 30 plus years and feature the most unique theme… in this 5 story haunt when you get to the top you meet God then you slide back down into Hell!

8. Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA -  Located in Philadelphia PA, you enter a real historic prison in maybe the most unique location in America a place murders, gangsters, once called home.

9. The Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA -  One of the last luxury liners from an era long gone now hosts screams inside the bowels of the old Queen Mary Cruise Ship located in Long Beach California.

10. Nightmare on the Bayou in Houston, TX - Located in Houston Texas this haunted house is one of the only attractions in America which features a MASSIVE retail store one of the biggest in the Nation.  You get scared to death then you can buy everything you need to join the undead!

Best Haunted Amusement Park Events 2013
The Haunted House industry small business owners, who had a passion for Halloween promoted this industry to new age groups, which led to sky rocking retail industry, which also led to many other levels of business owners to enter the attraction industry.  Amusement Parks came a bit late to the party but none the less they came to the party with massive over the top Halloween event of their own utilizing their amusement rides mixed with haunted houses, shows and attractions.  Some amusement parks go way over the top while others offers more family oriented events.  Amusement Parks offers such a wide variety of Halloween Attractions and different levels of how far they will go to scare guests you just never know what you are in for!  Some amusement parks have embraced the concept of what haunted houses owners around the country do… make people scream.  Most amusement parks have some advantages over small haunt owners in that they have rides, built in audiences which to draw people to their parks.  However most amusement park haunts are temporary shows with little detail, FX or monsters who know how to make you SCREAM!  We would go on the record to say most amusement park Halloween attractions are mediocre at best and on no level stack up to what the small business haunt owners are doing in YOUR towns, cities, and communities.  However there are a few here and there that embrace every level of making their guests scream and producing a high end Halloween event.  Here is our list for 2013 of Amusement Park Halloween haunts!

1. Universal Studios in Orlando, FL -  Simply the KING of ALL Halloween Theme Parks! Detail is amazing, actors are incredible, every single level top to bottom is done on the highest level.

2. Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA -  Hollywood follows in their big brothers shoes, they are not as strong as Orlando but not far behind.

3. Tampa Busch Gardens in Tampa, FL -  Tampa Busch Gardens goes ALL OUT 110% because they have to compete against Universal Orlando just 90 miles away.  When they are competing with the biggest and baddest event on the planet you know they know they have to bring it and they do!

4. Knotts Scary Farm in Buena, CA -  Knott’s Scary Farm started the amusement park to Halloween craze and many would think by default they should own the crown.  Although their event is huge, with the highest number of different attractions and one of the coolest shows in the industry, their haunts are only slightly detailed, and the actors seem the same in every attraction.  We would like to see Knotts cut down some of the number of haunts and make better overall quality throughout the park.  They are no longer on Universal Studios level however they are still the 4th best Amusement Park event in the country.

5. Ocean Park in Aberdeen, Hong Kong -  Ocean Park is located in Hong Kong and they go all out on Halloween bringing in the best designers from America to help them.  This is the best event outside of America.

6. Chimelong Paradise in Guangzhou, China -  Another major theme park located in China they have World Class haunted houses built by Halloween Productions, a major amusement park and 1000 of monsters roaming the park.

7. Nightfall Old Tucson Studios in Tucson AZ -  An entire haunted western town home to 200 plus movie shoots so you know the places backdrop is as realistic as it can be.

8. Kennywood in Pittsburgh, PA -  Kennywood is the biggest Halloween even in Pittsburgh with several haunted houses, live shows and one of the best haunted house Dark Rides on the planet “Ghostwood Estates’.

9. Cedar Point Halloweekends in Sandusky, OH -  The haunted houses are okay, their event is more based on the sheer number of attractions, and their coasters.  This is the coaster capital of America.  We feel the coasters are still the main attraction, Cedar Point should work on making the haunts the main attraction and we’d rank them higher.   

10. Six Flags Fright Fest - These events are by far the best family friendly haunted events.  The haunts are not so scary, as they focus more on season passes entering the park for a great family Halloween event.  They do have haunted houses but its not produced on the same level of Universal however some of the Six Flags parks have put more into their haunts than other parks.

Best Non-Profit Haunted Houses
While many haunts are connected to a charity in some way, these charity haunts do everything they do to help a good cause.  Enough said!  These are the best haunted houses in America that scream for a cause.  

1. Atrox Factory in Birmingham, AL -

2. Hundred Acres Manor Haunted Attractions in Pittsburgh, PA -

3. Terror Behind the Walls at Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA -

4. Hangman’s House of Horrors in Dallas, TX -


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Hauntworld Review Hex House Haunted Attraction in Tulsa Oklahoma
Fri, September 27, 2013
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Tulsa, Oklahoma - Hex House

By Hauntworld Magazine


Oklahoma Haunted Houses are some of the scariest and best in America! rates and review the best haunted houses, haunted attractions, and Halloween events in America!  Hex House is located in Tulsa, and has one of the scariest haunted houses in America!  Prepare to scream!  Sit back and prepare to scream through our review of Hex House. This Halloween you can't miss the scariest and best haunted attraction in the entire state of Oklahome, Hex House.  Hex House in Tulsa Oklahoma will leave you breathless, screaming around every turn and we have the inside scoop on what makes Hex House Tulsa, OK #1 haunted attraction.  Are you prepared to learn the ins and outs and go behind the screams of one of America's best haunted houses?  Read on our dear FRIGHT FANS because Hex House in Tulsa Oklahoma is about to make you beg for mercy.

To learn more about Tulsa, Oklahoma's Hex House visit their websit below:


The guttural screams you hear are not from the sight of a vampire, a werewolf, or an overdone Freddy vs. Jason look alike. They aren’t from film, and they aren’t confined to a screen.  They don’t echo solely from the throats of the easily scared, the children, or the damsel in distress next door.

They come from you.   They come from the seemingly safe prairie of Oklahoma.  They come from the Hex House.
Founded in 2008, The Hex House in Tulsa, Oklahoma has been terrifying and delighting Oklahomans from every corner of the state since its opening.  It is the premiere extreme haunted attraction in the state.  And the word “extreme” is not to be taken lightly.  This is not a haunted house for those who prefer a leisurely stroll through some bloody sets where nothing is allowed to touch you.  But, for those who like to truly delve into the primal meaning of fear and those who are brave enough to remove the barriers between themselves and the horrors awaiting them, The Hex House is a haunt you simply must visit.

The Hex House actually traces its roots to a chilling and nearly forgotten piece of Tulsa history.  In 1944, a ghastly tale unfolded in the media that contained elements of murder, the occult, and a great deal of mystery.  A police investigation ultimately led to a small casket being unearthed in the backyard of a Tulsa home, as well as the discovery of two young women forced to live in the squalor of an unheated basement under a strange form of occult control. The two women told police that by following the religious orders of Carolann Smith, their seeming “leader,” they were promised a big payoff in the afterlife.  The women suffered atrocities at the hands of their guru.  Ultimately, the woman at the center of the “Hex House” case (as it was dubbed by the local media) was sentenced to prison.  The trial and all of the associated macabre details faded out of the limelight over time.  Eventually the whole affair was forgotten… until the case was uncovered in an old set of archives by Rhett Holmes, the founder and owner of Dark Tulsa Productions, LLC.  Holmes had been searching for a theme to build a haunted attraction around and the Hex House case provided the perfect source material.  “I knew I had unearthed my theme the second I read the Hex House story,” said Holmes.  “I grew up around Tulsa, and I had never heard of the story before, but as soon as I read it, I knew it was ideal for the type of attraction I wanted to produce.  It’s been fun to not only build a haunt around the theme, but to also cast a spotlight onto a forgotten piece of Tulsa’s history.  The Hex House story actually happened.  It’s all true and it’s one of the more bizarre episodes to have ever taken place in Tulsa.  We’ve obviously taken creative liberties with the actual walk-through attraction, but the back-story was left untouched and it’s available on our website,, for anyone who wants to read about it.”  This kind of grizzly horror story is not one most people would associate with a quiet heartland city like Tulsa, and neither is the haunted attraction it spawned.  The Hex House packs quite an unexpected punch, and in terms of quality, it wouldn’t be out of place in any major market in America, except that it’s uniquely Tulsa and serves up its scares with a healthy dose of Oklahoma pride.

“So many haunts have vague themes – aliens in one room, zombies in another, and then some vampires,” Holmes says. “That’s fine, but that’s not the direction I wanted to go. I wanted a more cohesive approach and I wanted to do something with local ties. If someone is willing to pay us to scare them, then we don’t want them to ever disengage from the environment we’ve created.  We don’t want them to think ‘this is so unbelievably fake, because two seconds ago I was in a vampire crypt and now I’m in a spaceship.’  Once the customer disengages, you’ve lost them, and it’s very hard to actually foster any fear in them after that.  We’re not naïve, and I realize that all haunted attractions are just entertainment, but I wanted to strive for something as close to an alternate reality as we could possibly get.   Real immersion and real fear are impossible to achieve when the scenes are too implausible and the transitions are too abrupt.  My goal has always been to provide surroundings that you can buy into and feel a strange familiarity with.  Our rooms have door frames.  Our halls lead to actual rooms.  The kitchen has a laundry room aside it.  The bathroom is followed by a bedroom, etc.  We strive to create an environment that could feasibly exist.  Instead of going pure fantasy, like a sci-fi alien set, we try to take reality and push it to the darkest level possible… to its most evil version.  We aren’t placing you in fantasy; we’re surrounding you with the most sinister version of reality possible.”

The realism of the Hex House is a large part of what makes it really stand out as a haunted attraction. It is obvious to anyone who has visited that the staff does their best to bridge entertainment with truly scaring you and removing your comfort zone.

When you arrive at the attraction, you are facing an utterly unassuming and frightless commercial building in south Tulsa next to a popular local family entertainment center called Incredible Pizza (not exactly the sort of thing that instills fear).  From the outside, The Hex House almost resembles a Halloween store more than an extreme haunted attraction, but this is one book that cannot be judged by its cover.  It is a true marvel that the crew behind The Hex House are able to absolutely transform the inside of a blank commercial space located at the busiest intersection in Tulsa to the point that you need only take about five steps inside the doors before you have completely forgotten your previous surroundings.  The indoor queue areas alone at The Hex House are worth the trip.  “The outside of the attraction is the sacrifice we’ve made to be in the location that we’re in,” said Holmes.  “We are located across from the busiest shopping area in Tulsa (Woodland Hills Mall), and you can’t exactly waltz into an area like that and adorn your building like a decrepit 1940’s haunted mansion.  City codes frown upon that sort of thing, not to mention what our neighbors would think.  Someday we’ll probably move to a creepier location and deck out the exterior as well, but for now, we are happy to simply offer convenience and enough scares on the inside to make you forget everything but how scary it was.”

Upon entering the attraction, you are led in small groups, which you may or may not be separated from, through 24,000 square feet and over forty rooms of pure terror, as a part of two attractions that the owners have built in the space.  The walls are real wood and often feature actual vintage wallpaper.  Real chandeliers and sconces adorn the eerie corridors.  The night stands are decorated, the beds are made, and the bathrooms even have tooth brushes.  If you make it through without prematurely sprinting out or having a panic attack, you will definitely have an appreciation for the time and effort that is put into the elaborate set design of this ornate haunted attraction. According to Holmes, ninety-nine percent of the attraction is built in-house and the decorations are antiques and actual household items giving it a totally realistic and original feel. The few scares that weren’t created in-house are still custom scares that Holmes is rather proud of.  “We collaborated with Heather Henry from High Noon Creations to create a few unique props and scares,” recalled Holmes.  “Heather did an amazing job of bringing our ideas to life, and we’re really looking forward to working with her more in the future.  There are a few other companies we’ve bought things from over the years, but aside from working with Ms. Henry, we try to avoid it as much as possible.”

Another major point that sets the Hex House apart is that the inhabitants are allowed to touch you. Of course, safety comes first, but allowing the actors to interact with their thrill-seeking customers takes the attraction to a whole different level, one that you cannot find in many places in the country.  This is something that Holmes very much identified with.  “Yeah, you’re gonna get touched in The Hex House,” asserted Holmes.  “We offer no barrier between you and the horrors around you.  When you enter The Hex House or our sister attraction, The Rise of the Living Dead, you become a part of the attraction, and you can expect the experience to be devoid of your standard haunted attraction comfort zone.  If you think the scenes are scary when you’re just looking, try walking through a haunt where the scenes literally stalk you.”  Holmes is a horror purist through and through and it becomes very evident when interviewing him that you shouldn’t expect much mercy inside of The Hex House.  It’s a mantra that his staff seems to have fully embraced as well.  The Hex House is not a haunt for everyone, and it’s not recommended for children under the age of 13.  Perhaps the most disturbing thing about The Hex House is the reason it’s not recommended for children… It’s not that it’s overly gory or features a lot of grotesque torture scenes like some extreme haunted attractions. (It’s actually surprisingly low on gore.)  It’s simply that the force of the terror in The Hex House is so jarring and hits on so many levels that it leaves many patrons unable to finish the attraction.  “We have a fair amount of customers who are unable to finish both attractions and they have to be escorted out, usually in tears,” says Holmes.  “We also keep a tally of soiled pants, and yes, it happens.  Our actors take great pride in scaring people beyond the point of bodily control, and it’s almost like a badge of honor when an actor achieves a scare of that magnitude.”

“Some of the things we do at The Hex House are very taboo in our industry and a lot of haunts actively avoid going as far as we go,” recounts Holmes.  “But it adds an element that just can’t be replicated any other way and the day I have to turn it down a notch will be the day I quit the industry.”  The scares come often in The Hex House, and in ways you won’t experience in other haunts.  It’s not for the faint of heart, and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon

An over-the-top group of actors, who go above and beyond for the scare, are wonderful, but it would be hard to pull off a haunted attraction of this nature without a ton of work behind the scenes too. As a former (and still occasionally active) concert promoter, Holmes has a background in live entertainment.  The Hex House is very technologically advanced for a haunted attraction, and the focus on behind-the-scenes technology is a large part of what makes the haunted house tick.  Every single lighting fixture throughout the building (of which there are over 300) is controlled by a central computer using DMX technology, making the staff at the Hex House one of the first to implement modern concert technology into a haunted attraction.  The sophisticated system allows for unparalleled control and customization of the lighting, with the ability to make lights individually flicker or dim according to the wishes of the designers.   The audio throughout the attraction is also controlled by a central computer – audio that is often layered with multiple tracks and played a variety of ways for an eerie effect.  “We’ve been fortunate to have the right combination of people working on this project,” says Holmes.  “It doesn’t matter how detailed your sets are, if you can’t light them properly, then it’s all for not.  I have a very talented technical director, Derek Beland, who is a real innovator when it comes to that side of things.  We’re able to do a lot of things that aren’t possible without a DMX system.  Our setup is complex and it gives us headaches at times, but in the end, it’s really the beating heart of what we do and I’d put our audio and lighting up against any attraction in the country. ” 

The more you delve into The Hex House, the more you begin to discover how deep the layers really go.  Nothing is as simple as just jumping out and saying “boo.”  It was important for the staff to play on all five senses, and a vast amount of research was put into learning what sounds, smells, textures, and even architecture could psychologically affect people.  The Hex House is not focused solely on the obvious scare, and it is the things you would probably not expect that may end up scaring you the most.  Holmes and his lead designer, Cornelius Williams, have spent hundreds of hours fleshing out the various approaches to achieving a scare.     
 “Simple things can often get overlooked in haunted attractions,” Holmes says. “It’s easy to lose focus when designing a scare and spend too much time on trying to make something pop out unexpectedly.  Startling someone is a way to get a scare, and we certainly make use of that as a scare tactic, but we also try to be cognizant of all levels of fear and psychology.  The fear you feel from a startle is momentary, but the fear you feel when you are separated from someone you love in a crowded place, like the midway at a fair, and your cell phone is dead, and you suddenly can’t find them anywhere in the sea of people… that fear can induce panic attacks,” Holmes continued.  “Fear comes in different forms and sometimes the most devastating terror you can feel stems from something much more primal and basic, such taking something that you take for granted away from you, and leaving you exposed and questioning how much faith you can really put in your surroundings.”
Ask any haunted house buff why attractions end up failing to achieve a real scare, and they will most likely tell you this: predictability. No one wants to pay to see the same thing over and over again and it’s impossible to be truly scared when you know what’s coming. Eventually, you’ll know what will pop out of where, and who will scream when, and which door the monster is behind. This was not an option for Holmes and his crew when they decided to create the Hex House, and he and his staff do whatever they can to ensure that “predictable” is never an adjective used to describe The Hex House. The actors have the freedom to roam throughout different rooms and tailor their scares to fit different groups throughout the night. If a certain room is not getting the reaction the employees hoped for, they’ll totally revamp it.  Two trips through The Hex House are rarely ever the same.  The staff conveys that it certainly is not easy, but that it’s worth it for the scare. This philosophy led to the addition of the Rise of the Living Dead – an immensely popular and equally creepy zombie attraction that accounts for the other half of The Hex House’s building.  “A few seasons ago, we decided that we wanted to branch into two haunted attractions to be able to offer more,” said Holmes.  “We held an online survey and we received an overwhelming response that the number one thing people are scared of is… clowns.  So, we thought we’d build a circus attraction and that everything would be great.  Um… wrong.  The circus theme totally failed and the response from customers was not what we’d hoped.  We made the tough decision to ditch the theme and take on the sizeable task of starting from square one again and building a zombie themed attraction.  We built The Rise of the Living Dead and finally got the response we were hoping for.  It’s all about staying flexible and doing what it takes to provide people with scares.  If that means redesigning a room to have multiple scare points, or decking a whole attraction and starting over, then it’s just part of the game.”
The Hex House staff consists of forty to fifty actors on any given night, as well as a handful of designers and managers to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible.  In addition to the founder and designer, Rhett Holmes, the core Hex House crew consists of Cornelius Williams, Construction Manager/FX designer; Derek Beland, Audio/Visual Manager; Damian Lund, Set Decorator; Leah Murphy, Makeup/FX Coordinator; and Greg Davis, Construction Assistant.  All of the employees are native Oklahomans (except for Derek Beland, who hails from the Northeast, but who has adopted Tulsa as home) and they take a lot of pride in being able to provide their state and city with a quality Halloween attraction. They describe themselves as very “Tulsa-centric.”  Their casting director does local Tulsa theatre and their set decorator, Damian Lund, has worked on an impressive amount of Hollywood films, though he was born and raised in Henryetta, Oklahoma – about as far from Hollywood as one can get – and Damian can often be found around town sifting through garage sale items looking for deals on potential Hex House decorations.  Holmes hopes that his customers appreciate the love and sacrifice that he and each of the employees make each Halloween season to scare the hordes of Tulsans that descend upon The Hex House.  He jokingly (and possibly not so jokingly) says that one of the hardest parts for him is missing University of Oklahoma football home games (as he is a season ticket holder and die-hard sports fan).
“I hope our city appreciates the sacrifice of the workers,” Holmes says. “The concerts, the football games, the dinners, the time with our friends and families – we miss so much during autumn.  All of us have day jobs as well.  Our actors spend over an hour in the makeup room, then run around and scare people until as late as 1 a.m. on some nights, then go to work in the morning and come back again the following evening.  That takes dedication, and it’s all done so that others can have a fun Halloween season.  It takes a patient and supportive wife as well, because her October is affected too.”
Holmes adds that he hopes to do a third haunted attraction in the future and foresees a change of location, due to the fact that they have maximized the space they currently occupy. When reflecting on the scary attractions he has brought to Tulsa – a fall favorite for thousands – he is reminded of the classic Bell’s Amusement Park.  As many Oklahomans will recall, Bell’s was a family-owned amusement park located in Tulsa that was forced out of business in the mid-2000’s.  The closure of the amusement park is still a sore subject for many Tulsans, as the park featured both a classic wooden roller coaster and a Bill Tracy dark ride (notable to classic dark ride enthusiasts).   

“I’ve never supported the decision that forced Bell’s out,” Holmes says. “They took something irreplaceable away from Tulsa. It was more than just a collection of rides. It had feelings associated with it, and it represented that childlike sense of fun and wonder that is all too often lost in today’s world. It was more than the sum of its parts for those who grew up with it. It makes me sad to know there are generations of kids out there, not just in Tulsa, but in many cities, who will grow up without a local family-owned amusement park.  If I am ever lucky enough to get the opportunity to embark on my dream project, it will be to bring back the old Bell’s dark ride, Phantasmagoria, even if I make it a walk-through instead of an actual ride.  People should support small family-owned operations that promote creativity and people should take pride in their hometowns.  If something that inspired you was taken away, like the Phantasmagoria, or any of the memories the people of Wichita, KS have of the Joyland Amusement Park, then don’t sit by and just watch it fade into the sunset.  Stand up and fight for it.  Save it if it can be saved.  Resurrect it if it is destroyed.  Use the spirit that was used to create it in the first place to create something new in its place if it is beyond resurrection.  But, whatever you do, don’t let the creativity die.  If you like The Hex House, and it closes down someday, be inspired and build something new and better in Tulsa.  We have a series of shirts available for sale this season that read “Keep Tulsa Haunted.”  We printed them because we thought it’d be a cool shirt, but also because it’s something we’re passionate about as a staff.  And I hope anyone who reads this article will support the Bell family in their endeavors to bring the amusement park back to Tulsa.”       

Sentiment about defunct dark rides aside; there is nothing about The Hex House that will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling.  The ghoulish creation serves up a dose of terror so intense and personal that it’s one of America’s most extreme haunted attractions and a real gem for those who enjoy detailed set design.  The Hex House plays out with the ambiance and creepiness of an old Victorian ghost story, but hits you with the force of an axe to the chest.  It’s the rare embodiment of a haunted attraction that remains as intense as they come, but without relying on Satanism or an endless stream of gross-out gags and extreme torture scenes.  If you find yourself in the Heartland this October, check out The Hex House and The Rise of the Living Dead, if you dare!      

The Hex House and Rise of the Living Dead are located on the southeast corner of 71st and Memorial in Tulsa, next to Incredible Pizza.
They are open on weekends in October and on select weeknights.
See and for more details.


  Posted by Larry 8.16 PM Read Comments ()
Decorate Your Home for Halloween - Haunted Houses
Mon, September 16, 2013
() Comments

Americans spent close to $8 billion on Halloween last year, according to the National Retail Federation. With scary celebrations getting bigger every year, becoming the best-decorated house on the block may seem difficult -- but it’s easy if you have insider tips and tricks.

“Giving your home a spooky look for Halloween can make or break your trick-or-treaters’ night,” says Larry Kirchner, publisher of and owner and operator of the world’s number-one rated haunted house, “The Darkness”.

Kirchner, who has been building and operating Halloween amusement attractions for 25 years, has some tips for turning your home into a spooky haunted house:

• Create a cemetery: “Haunting" your yard sets the tone for your whole haunted house. One of the easiest, most fun, yet eeriest things you can do is turn the space into a graveyard.  Let your grass grow long, add a gothic fence and a zombie or two popping up through the ground and make your own tombstone or coffin to complete the look.

Start by getting pink or blue foam from the hardware store. Cut the foam into the shape of a tombstone and then coat it with light plaster, thin concrete or other textured material found at the hardware or art supply store. Finally, paint it gray, and use a hotwire knife to carve in RIP and a name.

To make a coffin, use 1x6 pine boards and 2x2s nailed together into a box. Paint the outside and then get creative with your theme. For a Victorian vampire style coffin, line the interior with velvet curtains. For a deserted Old West theme, use jute or burlap on the inside.

• Spin cobwebs: Achieve that old, abandoned, dusty look inside, or create creepiness outside, by spinning your own cobwebs. Most haunted house supply websites sell cobweb glue guns that use air to spray thin strands of glue. You can create any size cobweb over fake birds, china cabinets or even trees.

• Creepify your windows: Add a red light to the bottom of the windows, and hang torn black curtains to make the windows look creepy when they`re lit. Hang boards across the outside to give the house an abandoned look.

• Add eerie effects: Play spooky sounds on a stereo outside or through open windows. You can find great Halloween soundtracks online. For a dramatic effect, use a fog machine to make the house look otherworldly. You can rent or purchase fog machines at most party stores.

• Break out some black birds: Dollar stores often sell black birds, which you can make frightening by gluing scraps of gray fabric to their feathers and buttons over their eyes. Hang them in the yard or throughout the house with black gauze or spider webs from the party store.

This Halloween, get spookily creative. Go beyond a simple Jack-O-Lantern and haunt your whole house.

Check back with for more tips to make your home haunted house better than ever and feel free to leave comments and questions! For more inspiration on Halloween decorations or haunted houses, visit

  Posted by Larry 7.00 PM Read Comments ()

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