The Most Terrifying Haunted Houses in the US

If you’re a living human being in the United States in the month of October, you’ll be hard pressed to miss the fascination Americans have with Halloween. While homeowners hang fake spider webs and dead bodies from their trees and shrubs, or erect tombstones in their yards, the more daring find their way to the many haunted houses and attractions that have become increasingly popular throughout the country. Whether you’re looking for more of the “I peed my pants” experience from laughing so much, or you want the “I can’t sleep for days because it was so scary” experience, you’ll be able to find an amusement that caters to all your needs and wants. But what about those people looking for a haunted house experience unlike any other? If you’re looking for true terror and horror, check out one of the seven most terrifying haunted house attractions in the United State listed below.

1. Blackout

An immersive experience that changes every year, Blackout is not for the feint of heart. Participants go in small groups, unless you opt for a lonely walk through on Sundays; and if the terror gets too much, a safe word is provided in the beginning should you shit your pants or find the fear unbearable. Not allowed to speak unless spoken to (and made to follow all directions), Blackout makes it very clear that you will be touched in the simulated violent and sexual situations, and it’s likely you’ll end up touching “used” condoms, vomit and other “bodily” fluids throughout your encounter. Blackout can be found in both California and New York, and fans return every year with high expectations and are rarely let down.

2. McKamey Manor

Once located in San Diego, California but relocating to Illinois, McKamey Manor is meant to make you feel like you’re in an actual horror movie. Running between 2 and 4 hours, open year round and by reservation only, McKamey Manor is the perfect attraction for those looking to fully immerse themselves in pure terror and fright. Advised to wear cheap clothing and forewarned that you will be touched (possibly by snakes, tarantulas, and other animals), McKamey Manor is generally experienced alone or with one other person. Only for those 21 and over and in excellent health (you’ll need a doctor’s note and have to sign a 10-page waiver), McKamey Manor is for those masochists who love being frightened to death. Good luck visiting, as the wait list is over 20,000 names long. But don’t go in expecting to call the shots: McKamey Manor does not have a safe word, and the experience is over when the owner believes you’ve had enough.

3. Terror Behind the Walls

A haunted attraction in an actual haunted prison: you think you could handle it? Terror Behind the Walls is the haunted attraction at the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Six attractions await attendees; and if you really feel up to it, you can fully immerse yourself in the energy of the night by allowing the performers to touch you, separate you from your group, and possibly use you in the attractions. Eastern State Penitentiary is rumored to be haunted by the spirits of past prisoners, so should you feel like you’re being watched as you’re scared to your wits’ end, it’s very possible a specter could be feeding off your fright.

4. Ruby Fall’s Haunted Cavern

Are you a fan of the movie The Descent? If your nightmares are filled with scenarios of being chased in underground caves by mutants, then Ruby Fall’s Haunted Cavern in Tennessee is the perfect fright fest for you. Half above ground and half below ground (26 stories!), the scares at Ruby Falls begin the moment you get out of your car with the lovely “Freak Parade,” where a host of madmen, mutants, and monsters accompany you through the parking lot. With a number of attractions and characters (one, known as The Creeper, gives off a very Slenderman vibe) to touch every one of your nerves and fears, Ruby Falls, and its Haunted Cavern, is sure to leave you longing for memories of happier times.

5. The House of Shock

Located in Louisiana, The House of Shock is not for thosewho are easily scared by heavy death metal or anything related to Satan. The House of Shock is made up of three different attractions, and it’s known that the attraction has caused heart attacks and lead to possible death. A mixture of pure terror, rock concert, and pyrotechnics show, The House of Shock is an all-out fear fest; but for those that may feel lost, you can redeem yourself at the Church of Satan, thoughtfully placed at the end of the attraction for your pleasure.

6. The Basement

Another attraction in Pennsylvania, The Basement is considered a true R-rated experience and takes place in an actual basement. People enter the attraction alone or in pairs; and again, The Basement requires a signed waiver to enter. Attendees will experience low lighting and periods of complete darkness, sexual content, physical contact, and other fear-provoking situations while directly interacting with the performers. Not for those with psychological issues, The Basement aims to mess with the mind by way of immersive theater, and patrons are allowed to use a safe word should the horror be too much for them.

7. Shocktoberfest

Are you brave enough to be scared in the buff? Shoktoberfest, located in Pennsylvania, allows patrons to go through part of its large attraction in their underwear, hoping it will make people feel more vulnerable. If you’re not interested in being followed through a haunted house while half naked, Shocktoberfest also offers a number of other attractions on its 27-acre compound. From a haunted hayride and Prison of the Dead to a zombie experience where you can be transformed into a zombie, Shoktoberfest varies in its offerings, providing something for every person and level of fear.


What’s the scariest haunted house you’ve been to? What elements make it scary? Do you think you could handle the fully immersive haunts?




Brittany Valli
Brittany Valli
Crafting stories from a young age, Brittany was destined to be a writer (well, she thinks so). When she's not working on various novels, short stories or screenplays, she can be found exploring Oregon's many landscapes with her husband, tasting some of the best wine, beer and food Oregon has to offer, relaxin' in a hammock, walking her dogs, or laughing at jokes only she thinks are funny. You can find more about Brittany here: (it's a work in progress)