Get spooked at Halloween "scream" parks


Remember having the wits scared out of you by your friends and siblings as a kid? They’d send you into the dark basement to investigate some mystery they’d concocted, and when you got down there someoneor somethingwas waiting in the shadows to jump out and make you scream in total horror. Then, as the adrenaline surged through your body and your heart rate shot up, everyone would erupt in hysterical laughter. Halloween "scream" parks are a lot like that, only funner!


When the month of October rolls around, these hibernating Halloween-themed parks come alive. Each has its own set of legends and unsolved mysteries that create a general feeling of unease and set up the mayhem to follow as you enter the shadowy woods/haunted mansion/crypt.


Out through the cobwebs come the giant spiders and the falling skeletons and the delightful sadists dressed as zombies, vampires and werewolves who get paid all month long to scare the patootie out of you. (Or, even more menacingthey might be volunteers. Read: nothing to lose.) Expect to encounter them in every dark corner and behind every tree, covered in “blood”, with axes lodged halfway through their heads.


As a public service to bring your blood pressure back to normal, many of these theme parks also feature soothing exhibits of intricately carved pumpkins, light-hearted hay rides and a sampling of cider and other autumnal treats as a reward for being so brave. (And for not suing over that panic attack you had when the fang-toothed werewolf jumped out at you.)


We've rounded up five of the top-rated Halloween scream parks from around the country where you can get scared silly this month.


Can't travel far to get spooked? No problem. There are scream parks in every state of the Union. To find one in your neck of the haunted woods, log onto HauntedHouse.com.


Our favorite five Halloween scream parks for the best fright this month include:


Nightmare on 13th


Features: The Slayer, an 18-foot animatronic monster, the Nightmare haunted house with Vampire Room, Pirates of the Caribbean Room and Nightmare Theatre, new "Xtreme Nightmare" consisting of 13 haunted rooms


Where: 300 West 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah


When: September 16 - October 31, closed Sundays


How much: $15 for adults, $3 extra for Xtreme Nightmare, free for kids 8 and under


To learn more: Nightmareon13th.com



Witch’s Woods Halloween Screampark & Haunted Hayride


Features: Haunted Hayride, Castle Morbid

Nightmare Mansion, The Keepers Crypt, hundreds of professionally carved pumpkins


Where: Nashoba Valley Ski Area, Powers Road, Westford, Massachusetts, (978) 692-3033


When: Opens 6 pm every Thursday through Sunday night in October plus Halloween eve and Halloween night, last ticket sold at 10:30 pm


How much: $22 for adults, $20 for kids under 12

To learn more: WitchsWoods.com



Pirates of Emerson


Features: Main Haunt, Pirates of the Deep 3D, Bilge Rat Maze


Where: 45031 Warm Springs Boulevard, Fremont, California, (518) 857-8474


When: Most nights in October (Closed Oct. 2-5, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24), 7 pm – 10 pm


How much: $18 for all


To learn more: PiratesofEmerson.com



Spooky World


Features: Creature Feature Haunted Mansion, The Catacombs,  The Experiment (in Fear), International Monster Museum,  The Horrorwood Hall of Fame


Where: Bayside Exposition Center, 200 Mount Vernon Street, Columbia Point, Boston, Massachusetts, (617) 474-6541


When: Open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October, 6 pm – 11 pm


How much: $24.50 for adults, $18.50 for kids under 12


To learn more: SpookyWorld.com



Lazarus Maze


Features: Bellshire Mental Health Hospital aka Institution of Horrors


Where: 600 W. Exchange Road, Ogden, Utah,  (801) 458-0460


When: 7:30 pm to 10 pm Wednesday and Thursday, 7:30 pm to midnight Friday and Saturday for general admission, 1 pm to 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday for daylight appointments (for very small children), 6 pm to 10 pm Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for private party appointments


How much: $8 for all, $2 for daylight appointments, $20 for private party appointments


To learn more: LazarusMaze.com


—Douglas Lichterman

Can't make the scene?

Watch visitors get spooked on hidden webcams at the Nightmare on 13th scream park!



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