With Fall in the air and Halloween little over a month away, I thought it might be fun to focus this edition of the Tell-Tale Traveler on some of my favorite haunted attractions. You know the ones I’m talking about, the disorienting maze of corridors, the smell of chainsaw gas, the characters in horrifying costumes, just waiting for you to turn the corner. I love it! No Halloween season is complete without a visit to a haunted attraction. I’ve visited quite a few haunted houses and I plan to tell you all about some of them so you can visit them too.
For those of you in Ohio or just visiting, you must take a trip to Pataskala for the Haunted Hoochie this Halloween season. I know, it sounds more like a Halloween strip club than a haunted house but this place is amazing! It’s like an assault on your senses and the place is huge! They take the typical haunted house gore and ramp it up to 10 and the animatronics and the costumed actors are just as elaborate. Heavy metal music plays once you enter the grounds and the haunted house is designed to give the visitor non-stop horror. The characters can touch you but they aren’t too rough and you might be too busy taking in everything to even realize the actor that is about to grab you. They also have a second attraction that’s a carnival themed maze filled with black lights and you guessed it, lots of clowns. I really don’t like clowns! Also, be warned, they do take a short break around midnight every evening so be sure to take that in to consideration when you visit. If you do find yourself there during the break, don’t despair, there is plenty of Haunted Hoochie merchandise to browse while you wait.
Next on my list of haunted houses is the USS Nightmare in Newport, Kentucky. This is an incredibly unique haunted attraction because the haunted house is actually on an old dredge boat on the banks of the Ohio River, just across the river from Cincinnati. I actually attended what is called the Captain’s Extreme Tour, which is essentially an NC-17 version of their regular haunted attraction. If you’re easily offended, this may not be the tour for you. However, if you like tongue and cheek gross-outs, great props like goat heads made out of I don’t know what and jump scares, then this is the haunted attraction for you. But if don’t you like nudity, creepy clowns with sex toys, being dirty or having things wiped on you, you may not like the Captain’s Extreme Tour. I ended up with red Karo syrup all over my face, and my friend ended up getting smeared with chocolate frosting, in the bathroom section of the ship. Ick! We also had obscene names written on our faces. It was all in great fun and the good news is, they do give you a bath at the end but you have to visit to see what I mean. And no, they don’t throw you in the river.
If you find yourself in the home of John Mellencamp, good ole’ Seymour, Indiana, you must visit Fear Fair. This place is insane! It advertises itself as Indiana’s Biggest and Best Haunted House and it may very well be true. This haunted house is truly only for the bravest of souls and I would not recommend taking children. The animatronics are amazing and the creepy old factory is perfect for a haunted attraction. The actors can and will touch you, probably multiple times, they will also chase you and you might even be briefly separated from your group so you can participate in the horror. Wear comfortable shoes because being steady on your feet in this haunted house is a must. You wouldn’t run from zombies in heels after all. Fear Fair also gets big points because most of the line is actually within the building so if you visit on a chilly autumn night, you will be quite toasty as you listen to the screams of those who have gone before you.
Not far from Fear Fair in nearby Columbus, Indiana is the Haunt at Shireman Homestead. This haunted house is not a big budget haunted house like the three previously mentioned but it is for a good cause. Shireman Homestead is a non-profit farm that rehabilitates and rehomes in-need farm animals, as well as offering therapy to others. They also visit nursing homes with the animals and hold other events throughout the year. During the Halloween season, the farm is turned into a haunted trail complete with a Sleepy Hollow/Old West theme. I know, the two seem odd but maybe that’s what made it work. As you wind your way along the trail, expect a few jump scares and a variety of scenes that have been set up in the woods. Don’t expect a lot of gore on this trail but do expect to try and escape the Headless Horseman. Just remember to run to the bridge. I mean, the legend says he can’t cross the bridge, right? This haunted attraction is suitable for the kiddos and it really is a lot of fun.
If you already find yourself in Southern Indiana, maybe at Fear Fair or Shireman, you might as well take a trip to the Barn of Terror in Bloomington, Indiana. The Barn is located near one of my favorite haunted cemeteries so it’s really a two for one. I had so much fun during my visit to the Barn of Terror. Before we even made it into the Barn, we took some time to play a game of Zombie Paintball. Oh yeah, that’s right, Zombie Paintball and it is as great as it sounds. You pay for your paintballs, load up and shoot at poor victims dressed as zombies, who are basically trapped in a room with nowhere to go. Sure, it’s awful for the zombies but it really was great fun. They also have a small escape room set up. We nearly escaped but we missed a clue about Manx cats, which by the way, I should have known because I have the cutest little Manx cat, Waverly (after Waverly Hills, of course.) I also ended up buying a little Zombie Bear…quite possibly the cutest thing ever. But now onto the Barn itself. It’s a great rural location for a haunted attraction and the Barn is quite large. It has a great mix of costumed actors and animatronics and supplies the visitor with a few jump scares along the way. It would also be another great haunted house for kids, maybe those over 8, even 10, if they scare easily, just to be on the safe side.
While a Barn may seem like a very Midwestern place for a Haunted attraction, Indiana is also home to Hall’s Haunted Halls. Once a former school house, Hall’s Haunted Halls, located in what feels like the middle of nowhere in Monrovia, is a truly creepy and unusual location for a haunted house. Proceeds from the haunted house go to the preservation of the actual school house, which is also reported to be haunted. Hall’s Haunted Hall’s is a memorable haunted attraction because you must first ascend an old set of stairs before being unleashed into the multi-level building and at some point, there may be a slide or two to help you get back to where you started. There is an especially eerie section of the haunted house located in the basement but I did not appreciate our later encounter with clowns. I swear, they’re everywhere they shouldn’t be…old ships and school houses. If the line is long when you arrive, be sure to purchase some soda or candy from the local Boy Scout Chapter. They’re kind enough to supply the goodies to the poor souls waiting in line.
While discussing haunted attractions in Indiana, I have to mention the two local haunted attractions in the Terre Haute area. The first and longest running of the two is the Shadow Asylum. I have been to this haunted attraction on several occasions. The Shadow Asylum makes excellent use of its actors and the indoor waiting area is fantastic. There is an even a gift shop that visitors funnel into once they finish their journey through the Shadow Asylum. For those not quite finished being scared, the Shadow Asylum has two additional attractions. The first is the Catacombs and it is exactly as it sounds, a pitch-black walk through a disorienting maze of twists and turns. They also offer the Last Ride, which is not for the claustrophobic. You are placed inside a coffin that is equipped to move, while sounds and scents are piped into the enclosed space, making you feel as though you are experiencing a premature burial.
For those who survive a trip to the Shadow Asylum, you need look no further than Terre Haute’s other haunted house, Shattered Nightmares, to continue your frightfully fun night. Shattered Nightmares is really a must visit if you find yourself in Terre Haute during the Halloween season. Previously located right around the corner from Shadow Asylum, the original building would be destroyed by an Arsonist in a massive fire in 2015. Rising from the ashes and finding a new location, this haunted house now boasts some really great animatronics but where they really get you is with the use of actors and jump scares. If you have a weak bladder, be sure to make a quick stop before arriving at Shattered Nightmares. No one wants to drive you home like that. Also, you may want to leave the younger kiddos home for this one.
The last haunted attraction on the list is located in small town Paris, Illinois. This haunted house considers itself to be a horror movie in the making. They had some great animatronics and the actors did a fantastic job. They even have a section called the Slaughter Farm, which is exactly as it sounds. You venture down a short trail surrounded by sounds of terror and actors equipped with chainsaws. I quite enjoyed this attraction but it did feel a bit short. I felt like I needed more Slaughter Farm afterward and I never thought I would have that thought. However, its length makes the Halls of Madness a great starter scarefest for the kiddos. If they freak out, it’s not that long. You can make it.
Now, let the countdown until Halloween begin and try to visit at least one of the haunted houses I’ve mentioned. I plan to visit at least two haunted houses this season, maybe more and one is the Guinness Book of World Records longest haunted house. A true testament to the endurance of the human bladder. Happy Haunting!
Tell-Tale Traveler Haunted House Itinerary
1) Haunted Hoochie - 13861 Broad St SW, Pataskala, OH 43062 - (740) 927-3568 – Hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm to until the bars close – Cost: Regular Tickets - $25.00, VIP Tickets - $45.00 - http://www.deadacres.com/
2) USS Nightmare - 101 Riverboat Row, Newport, KY 41071 - (859) 740-2293 – Hours: Wednesday through Sunday 7:30pm to 1:00am – Cost: General Pricing: General Admission - $20.00, Fast Pass- $30.00, Front of the Line - $50.00, Lights on Matinee - $8.00 – RIP Experience: RIP General Admission - $30.00, RIP Fast Pass - $40.00, RIP Front of the Line - $60.00 – Captain’s Extreme Tour: General Admission - $30.00, Fast Pass - $40.00, Front of the Line - $60.00 - www.ussnightmare.com
3) Fear Fair - 800 A Ave E, Seymour, IN 47274 - (812) 567-3327 – Hours: Fridays and Saturdays 8:00pm to 1:00am, Sundays 8:00pm to 10:00pm – Cost: General Admission - $25.00, Extra Fear Admission - $25.00, Line Upgrade - $35.00 - www.fearfair.com
4) The Haunt at Shireman Homestead – 7060 W 200 N, Columbus, IN 47201 - (812) 372-2946 - Fridays and Saturdays 4:00pm to 6:00pm (Kid Friendly), 8:00pm to 11:00pm (General Admission) – Cost: Kid Friendly - $5.00, Regular Admission - $12.00 - www.shiremanhomestead.com/
5) Barn of Terror - 8792 N Old State Rd 37, Bloomington, IN 47408 – Hours: Friday and Saturday 8:00pm to 12:00am and Halloween night 8:00pm to 10:00pm – Cost: General Admission - $10.00, Kids 10 and Under - $5.00 – www.barnofterror.net
6) Hall’s Haunted Halls - 5955 W Hurt Rd, Monrovia, IN 46157 - (317) 430-8023 – Hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm to 11:00pm – Cost: Children 9 and Under - $7:00, General Admission - $15.00 cash only at the door or $12.00 in advance – www.hallcivic.org
7) Shadow Asylum - 949 N 10th St, Terre Haute, IN 47807 - (812) 234-5620 – Hours: Friday and Saturdays 7:00pm to 12:00am – Cost: General Admission - $8:00 with VIP Tickets available – www.shadowasylum.net
8) Shattered Nightmares – 949 N 10th St, Terre Haute, IN 47807 - (812) 234-5620 - Hours: Fridays and Saturdays 7:00pm to 12:00am, also some Tuesdays and Wednesdays with hours varying – Cost: $12.00 - www.shatterednightmares.net
9) Halls of Madness – 7857 IL-16, Paris, IL 61944 - Hours: Fridays and Saturday 7:00pm to 12:00am, Sunday 7:00pm – 9:00pm – Cost: Slaughter Farm - $10.00 for Adults and $8.00 for kids 10 and under, Vampires event - $5.00, Hate to Wait Pass - $15.00 - www.hallsofmadness.com