CLOSE
Original image
ThinkStock

The Top 13 Haunted Houses in the U.S.

Original image
ThinkStock

Look, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it: Hauntworld.com has scoured the country for the scariest and weirdest haunted houses from coast to coast. Here are the attractions they've deemed most likely to make you pee your pants.

1. 13th Floor, Denver, Colorado

The undead don’t just jump out from behind walls at the 13th Floor; suspended on wires, they move quickly and silently and can appear from just about anywhere. And a writer from the Denver Post almost called his tour off at the Room of Spiders.

2. Bates Motel, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

If serious special effects are what you look for in a haunted house experience, look no further than Bates Motel, which has effects that are so impressive they've been compared to the backlot tour at Universal Studios.

3. Headless Horseman, Ulster Park, New York

If you’ve ever wanted to see the Headless Horseman live and in the flesh—well, maybe not live, exactly—here’s your chance. Hauntworld calls this the best haunted hayride in the country, with incredibly detailed sets and over the top costumes.

4. Cutting Edge, Dallas, Texas

If you’re in the Dallas area and you’re thinking you’ll run through this one really quick, think again: The Cutting Edge once held the Guinness World Record for the longest haunted house in the world.

5. Netherworld, Atlanta, Georgia

As the most-visited haunted house in the U.S., Netherworld pulls out all the stops—including haunting the parking lot, before people have even paid for the scares.

6. 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Two words: Live. Snakes. Thousands of them. And if that doesn’t do it for you, check out the “old-fashioned Voodoo Fire Show” on the weekends.

7. Field of Screams, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Though part of Field of Screams is the Dead River Haunted Hayride, the longest haunted hayride in the world, attractions also include a haunted insane asylum and the “4-D Cirque du Souls.”

8. The Darkness, St. Louis, Missouri

After you work your way through an Indiana Jones-esque temple, you’ll find yourself in a haunted mansion with all of the trimmings: a mirror maze, a greenhouse with man-eating plants, a boiler room, and a wine cellar. But the real kicker is the 3D haunted house that comes at the end.

9. House of Torment, Austin, Texas

There are no random scares at the House of Torment. Every night, a mastermind sits at a control room and watches the guests coming through. This evil genius then picks the exact moment and the exact type of terror that each individual guest experiences.

10. Erebus, Pontiac, Michigan

Hauntworld has deemed this four-story attraction “the most unique haunted house in America,” probably because it’s no mere walk-through, though it is more than a half-mile of scares. Erebus includes walls that actually close in on guests, “bottomless” pits, waist-high swamps victims have to wade through, and a ball drop that buries guests in 10,000 of those little balls you find in the germ pit at Chuck-E-Cheese.

11. Dent Schoolhouse, Cincinnati, Ohio

Within the Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati lurks a serial-killing janitor. And if that isn’t enough, there’s also a creepy lunchlady, a whole classroom of children who are definitely not there to learn ABCs, and clowns. Because of course there are clowns.

12. Spookywoods, High Point, North Carolina

It’s not just one haunted experience—it’s a midway, an inn, a mine, a corn field, a graveyard, and even a cathedral. The whole setup inhabits most of a 60-acre farm.

13. Nightmare on the Bayou, Houston, Texas

Nightmare on the Bayou, according to some, is actually haunted (aren’t they all?). But since it is located next to Houston’s oldest graveyard, you can almost believe the claims.

Original image
iStock
arrow
Lists
10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
Original image
iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

1. PANGANGALULUWA // THE PHILIPPINES

Rice cakes wrapped in leaves.
Suman

The earliest form of trick-or-treating on Halloween can be traced back to Europe in the Middle Ages. Kids would don costumes and go door-to-door offering prayers for dead relatives in exchange for snacks called "soul cakes." When the cake was eaten, tradition held that a soul was ferried from purgatory into heaven. Souling has disappeared from Ireland and the UK, but a version of it lives on halfway across the world in the Philippines. During All Saints Day on November 1, Filipino children taking part in Pangangaluluwa will visit local houses and sing hymns for alms. The songs often relate to souls in purgatory, and carolers will play the part of the souls by asking for prayers. Kids are sometimes given rice cakes called suman, a callback to the soul cakes from centuries past.

2. PÃO-POR-DEUS // PORTUGAL

Raw dough.
iStock

Instead of trick-or-treating, kids in Portugal go door-to-door saying pão-por-deus ("bread for god") in exchange for goodies on All Saints Day. Some homeowners give out money or candy, while others offer actual baked goods.

3. HALLOWEEN APPLES // WESTERN CANADA

Kids trick-or-treating.
iStock

If they're not calling out "trick-or-treat" on their neighbors’ doorsteps on Halloween night, you may hear children in western Canada saying "Halloween apples!" The phrase is left over from a time when apples were a common Halloween treat and giving out loose items on the holiday wasn't considered taboo.

4. ST. MARTIN'S DAY // THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch wait several days after Halloween to do their own take on trick-or-treating. On the night of November 11, St. Martin's Day, children in the Netherlands take to the streets with their homemade lanterns in hand. These lanterns were traditionally carved from beets or turnips, but today they’re most commonly made from paper. And the kids who partake don’t get away with shouting a few words at each home they visit—they’re expected to sing songs to receive their sugary rewards.

5. A PENNY FOR THE GUY // THE UK

Guy Fawkes Night celebration.

Peter Trimming, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0

Guy Fawkes Night is seen by some as the English Protestants’ answer to the Catholic holidays associated with Halloween, so it makes sense that it has its own spin on trick-or-treating. November 5 marks the day of Guy Fawkes’s failed assassination attempt on King James as part of the Gunpowder Plot. To celebrate the occasion, children will tour the neighborhood asking for "a penny for the guy." Sometimes they’ll carry pictures of the would-be-assassin which are burned in the bonfires lit later at night.

6. TRICKS FOR TREATS // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Kids knocking on a door in costume.
iStock

If kids in the St. Louis area hope to go home with a full bag of candy on Halloween, they must be willing to tickle some funny bones. Saying "tricks-for-treats" followed by a joke replaces the classic trick-or-treat mantra in this Midwestern city. There’s no criteria for the quality or the subject of the joke, but spooky material (What’s a skeleton’s favorite instrument? The trombone!) earns brownie points.

7. ME DA PARA MI CALAVERITA // MEXICO

Sugar skulls with decoration.
iStock

While Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is completely separate from Halloween, the two holidays share a few things in common. Mexicans celebrate the day by dressing up, eating sweet treats, and in some parts of the country, going house-to-house. Children knocking on doors will say "me da para mi calaverita" or "give me money for my little skull," a reference to the decorated sugar skulls sold in markets at this time of year.

8. HALLOWEEN! // QUEBEC, CANADA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
iStock

Trick-or-treaters like to keep things simple in the Canadian province of Quebec. In place of the alliterative exclamation, they shout “Halloween!” at each home they visit. Adults local to the area might remember saying "la charité s’il-vous-plaît "(French for “charity, please”) when going door-to-door on Halloween, but this saying has largely fallen out of fashion.

9. SWEET OR SOUR // GERMANY

Little girl trick-or-treating.
iStock

Halloween is only just beginning to gain popularity in Germany. Where it is celebrated, the holiday looks a lot like it does in America, but Germans have managed to inject some local character into their version of trick-or-treat. In exchange for candy, kids sometimes sing out "süß oder saures"—or "sweet and sour" in English.

10. TRIQUI, TRIQUI HALLOWEEN // COLOMBIA

Kids dressed up for Halloween.
Rubí Flórez, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Kids in Colombia anticipate dressing up and prowling the streets on Halloween just as much as kids do in the States. There are a few significant variations on the annual tradition: Instead of visiting private residencies, they're more likely to ask for candy from store owners and the security guards of apartment buildings. And instead of saying trick-or-treat, they recite this Spanish rhyme:

Triqui triqui Halloween
Quiero dulces para mí
Si no hay dulces para mí
Se le crece la naríz

In short, it means that if the grownups don't give the kids the candy they're asking for, their noses will grow. Tricky, tricky indeed

Original image
iStock
arrow
Lists
10 Regional Twists on Trick-or-Treating
Original image
iStock

Walk around any given American neighborhood on the night of October 31, and you’ll likely hear choruses of "trick-or-treat" chiming through the area. The sing-songy phrase is synonymous with Halloween in some parts of the world, but it's not the only way kids get sweets from their neighbors this time of year. From the Philippines to the American Midwest, here are some regional door-to-door traditions you may not have heard of.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios