Dread Central’s Terrifying Top 13 Haunted Attractions!


Here at Dread Central you find a lot of haunted attractions being covered with Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm garnering the lion’s share of the coverage for California and Florida. But there are so many other ridiculously spooky places out there which we love so it’s time to give them some much needed recognition and love. Read on for our Top 13 picks of some of the scariest shows on Earth you should be visiting this Halloween season.

# 1  – Netherworld Haunted House – Atlanta, Georgia

Netherworld Dread

Photo Courtesy Netherworld

Our number one pick is an overwhelming thrill-packed, supercharged Halloween horror show that has been winning awards and dominating Atlanta, Georgia, for 19 years. Every October huge crowds come from all over the country to see Netherworld and to soak up the combination of incredible production value and absolute nightmares that it provides. Customers and haunted house industry experts agree that this terrifying attraction is the most elaborate, creative, and influential haunt around. Famous for custom monsters, new themes every year, impressive special effects, and an unrivaled collection of props and artifacts, it is the freaky actors and gut-wrenching makeup that put Netherworld at the head of the class.

#2 – Haunted Overload – Lee, New Hampshire

Overload Dread

Photo Courtesy Haunted Overload

When it comes to the essence of Halloween, Haunted Overload, a home haunt turned professional attraction, is second to none. Located on a farm in New Hampshire, this is almost more of a haunted playground of giant wooden structures celebrating the fall season, a love song to Halloween, than it is a traditional haunted house. Multi-story monsters, hundreds of fresh carved pumpkins, and a volunteer staff of ghouls and witches lurk in the forests and in off-kilter buildings that cover the grounds. A clammy mist and creepy lighting make the place into a surreal haunted wonderland permeated by the nostalgic smell of the Halloween bonfire.

#3- Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses – Ulster Park, New York

Another fall event based on a farm, Headless Horseman Hayrides and Haunted Houses is a virtual Halloween theme park, containing an astounding hayride, a scary corn maze, and multiple haunted houses on the property. Guests can also shop at themed gift shops, enjoy tasty treats at assorted eateries, and see a ghoulish stageshow before their encounter with the dread Headless Horseman. Well known for changing large parts of the hayride and haunted houses, this attraction keeps ‘em coming back every season to see what new terrors the haunts designers have created.

# 4 – 13th Gate – Baton Rouge, Louisiana 

13th Gate Dread

Photo Courtesy 13th Gate

Renowned for its exacting detail and amazing sets, 13th Gate is a must-see haunted attraction on any list. Built using movie studio techniques, this expansive event has 13 different themed areas, including sets like the streets of London, a vast New Orleans style graveyard, and a live voodoo show that oozes the creepy atmosphere of the Louisiana swamps. The 13th Gate has also added escape rooms as a new side attraction that lets guest escape from a deep well before a serial killer returns.

#5 – The Darkness – St. Louis, Missouri 

Darkness Dread

Photo Courtesy The Darkness

This extremely famous haunted attraction in St. Louis is the brainchild of Halloween Productions, a company that builds haunted houses and theme park attractions all over the world.  Packed to the brim with creatures, CGI effects, scary sets, and killer clowns, visitors to The Darkness are overwhelmed by the amount of detail that surrounds them. The tour begins in a jungle with live snakes and piranhas and ends in a monster museum filled with a huge collection of movie memorabilia – a perfect place to enjoy Halloween in the shadow of the famous St. Louis Arch.

# 6 – 13th Floor – Denver, Colorado

13th Floor Dread

Photo Courtesy 13th Floor

Starting out in Denver, this chain of haunted houses is so popular that it has spread all over the country with attractions in a number of U.S. cities. Each attraction is different but still uses skilled actors and high levels of production value to tell the story of the legendary 13th Floor Haunted House. Guests ride elevators to reach this floor where anything can and does happen, including attacking werewolves, legions of the undead, and legends of Halloween. They also have a Zombie Apocalypse event that runs the rest of the year where you can shoot zombies in a real life “Walking Dead” style adventure.

#7 – Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bates Motel Dread

Photo Courtesy Bates Motel

Guests rave about this exciting hayride, haunted house, and corn maze filled with extremely scary actors (that just might touch you), animatronics, and massive pyrotechnic effects. Just a short distance from Philadelphia, Farmer Bates has transformed a normal farm from a wonderful daytime setting to a nighttime horror show with few equals, featuring a 200-foot cave, Hollywood style sets and props, and a 100-foot drive-through asylum. Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride has also been featured on many TV networks, including the Travel Channel.

# 8 – Erebus Haunted Attraction – Pontiac, Michigan

Erebus Dread

Photo Courtesy Erebus

This huge haunted house on the outskirts of Detroit is housed in a multi-story parking garage filled to the top with terror. Guests travel through time to different zones where creatures grab them, try to eat them, and ultimately they are buried alive. Some have compared this haunt to an obstacle course where moving walls, bottomless pits, and shifting floors constantly alter the path of those trying to escape. Erebus houses many special effects that can be found nowhere else in the world, as they build them on-site at the attraction.

# 9 – The Beast – Kansas City, Missouri

Beast Dread

Photo Courtesy The Beast

Truly a legend among haunted houses, The Beast is just that, a cavernous haunted attraction featuring terrifying scares based on your darkest fears. Traveling from a swamp filled with live snakes and a live alligator, visitors descend to a forest filled with marauding werewolves and cobblestone streets stalked by Jack the Ripper. Other effects include powerful lightning and thunder, Haunted Mansion style ghosts, and a huge torture chamber. The sets are stunningly realistic and can be traveled through in no set path, creating a sense of being lost like nowhere else. The final event is a 4-story slide that will scare almost anyone.

#10 – Cutting Edge Haunted House – Fort Worth, Texas

Cutting Edge Dread

Photo Courtesy Cutting Edge

Housed in a former meat packing plant, Cutting Edge is famous for being one of the largest haunted houses in the world. Skillfully using darkness, confusing mazes, and a team of percussionists pounding on barrels to confuse and disorient causes guests to be lost inside for over an hour. Located in Dallas-Fort Worth, the huge facility can be seen from major highways due to the massive monsters they place on the building every Halloween season. Cutting Edge is also famous for having a giant foam room in the haunt that douses customers in suds as they try to escape.

#11 – Terror Behind The Walls – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Eastern Dread

Photo Courtesy Terror Behind The Walls

Our next haunted attraction is truly and deeply haunted. Terror Behind the Walls at the Eastern State Penitentiary is a colossal theme park style haunted attraction featuring many different haunted houses located in one of the country’s most infamous prisons. The quality of the attractions is amazing, making this one of the most successful haunts in the country, but the actual ghosts that supposedly haunt this place give it an extra edge that few can match. Another quality of this place is how tightly they hold to the theme – all of the experiences housed inside have prison storylines that take advantage of the natural creepiness of the place.

#12 – Dent Schoolhouse – Cincinnati, Ohio

Dent Dread

Photo Courtesy Dent Schoolhouse

Located in an actual former schoolhouse is what may well be one of the creepiest attractions on our list.  Dent Schoolhouse tells the story of Charlie the Janitor, who supposedly killed a bunch of students in the basement of the building. So convincing is the story that many people think that this actually happened here. The place is impressively detailed and full of the best special effects around, but it is the convincing actors, the actual props and antiques, and the overall feel of the place that gives anyone attending the Dent Schoolhouse a case of the shivers.

 # 13 – The Factory Of Terror – Canton, Ohio

Factory Dread

Photo Courtesy Factory Of Terror

The Guinness World Records holder for the world’s longest haunted house is located in an abandoned factory and uses the setting to amazing effect. Divided up into multiple haunted houses, each one longer than the next, it is a virtual catalog of everything people fear. Including an asylum, a factory-themed area, a maze of total darkness, and a mansion-themed attraction, this place is known for its over-the-top gore. If you are looking for a detailed attraction that never seems to end, check out the Factory of Terror.



Sign up for The Harbinger a Dread Central Newsletter