Where to Get Your Fill of Terror This October
If you’re a paranormal investigator, disregard this article – you probably already know all you need to about where to get your bloodcurdling thrills this Halloween season.
But if, like most of us, your daily routine doesn’t happen to take you on a whirlwind tour of spirit-filled cellars and ghost-infested garrets, you may need to resort to some of southeast Wisconsin’s haunted attractions this year for Halloween. Read on for some of the state’s spookiest hotspots of 2016.
The Wisconsin Feargrounds (www.wisconsinfeargrounds.com) are located in Waukesha, Wisconsin and hold the distinct honor of being rated first in the state by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, while snagging 16 of 18 Visitor Choice Awards honors from Haunted Wisconsin. Perhaps even more exciting, though, is the fact that this “haunted house” is actually “haunted houses” – three, to be exact, adding up to more than 30,000 square feet in total. Morgan Manor, Morgana’s Torment, and Unstable – a brand new attraction for 2016 – allow you to triple your Halloween terrors (as long as you’re 10 or over – the scare factor is “very high,” according to Haunted Wisconsin).
Costs and Schedule: Morgan Manor costs $15, with the option of a $10 Speed Pass upgrade to avoid the wait. For the truly dauntless, $30 gets you into all three haunted houses – $15 more and you can skip to the front of the lines. Coupons are available on the Feargrounds website, and Student Nights scattered throughout October will get students who show an ID a free gift.
Mars Haunted House (marshauntedhouse.com) is located in Milwaukee off of I-43 and has the benefit of being located in a genuine “haunted” building that dates back to the late 1800’s, believed to be such as the result of a gruesome murder-suicide that took place in 1943. The house itself has nearly 30 rooms, some of which are pitch-black and many of which boast “endless” nooks and crannies from which monsters spring. Tours are self-guided, and although this is another haunted house with a “very high” scare factor, designated Sundays and Thursdays are Family Nights, where children under twelve are admitted and given “monster shield” necklaces to protect them from the creatures inside.
Costs and Schedule: The Mars Haunted House is open all weekends in October, with designated Family Nights on some Sundays and Thursdays. General admission is $12; children under 10 get in for $10; groups greater than 15 people get in for a reduced rate of $11 per person. Thursdays and Sundays are also MySpace nights – if you bring in a printout of your MySpace page with Mars Haunted House as a friend, you can get $2 off admission for everyone in your group.
The Haunted Woods at Bear Den Zoo (www.beardenzoo.com), while a walk through the woods, is no stroll in the park. To illustrate that point, you might want to know that it begins with a hearse ride to the beginning of the path, where you will be greeted by a chainsaw-wielding madman. Things only get more terrifying from there, according to a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – in fact, this haunted experience was the only one to earn a “skull rating” of 5, the highest possible, in the 2016 article. And based on the features – showers of spiders, claustrophobia-inducing spaces, and more chainsaws than you can shake a stick at – the rating sounds more than justified.
Because this is a walk through the woods with a lot of tight squeezes, it’s important to note that it’s not wheelchair-accessible, and due to the intensity, it’s recommended only for teens and adults. Also, since it’s an outdoor attraction, keep an eye on the weather report before you head out to Waterford, where it’s located.
Costs and Schedule: General admission is $12 per person; kids 11 and under get in for $10. The woods are open from 7:00 to 11:00pm on weekends in October, weather permitting.
Hauntfest Wisconsin (www.hauntfest.com) is located at State Fair Park in West Allis and features a two-floor, indoor haunted house called Killy Killmore’s Fear Factory. According to a review in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the walk through features about a dozen rooms such as the Psycho Ward, the Strobe Room, and a Cage Maze rife with strobe lights and all manner of creatures attempting to scale the fence around you. And in spite of its 3.5-skull rating, it’s no cakewalk – according to the Hauntfest website, 23 people had to be escorted out of the Factory because they were too frightened to finish the journey.
This is both wheelchair-accessible and open to kids of all ages, though for younger children, Hauntfest offers Lights On tours through the house – still scary, but without some of the shock and suspense. Also, this attraction has a no-line policy – after you buy a ticket, you can wait in the carnival area until your number is called.
Costs and Schedule: According to the Hauntfest website, the schedule has yet to be determined for 2016 but should be posted soon. Tickets are $15, with an additional $5 charge ($10 on Fridays and Saturdays) to skip to the front of the line. Lights On tours are $5 for children, and parents are free. There are also Student Days, when students with ID get $5 off admission. Also, while there is street parking available, parking at the fairgrounds costs an additional $5, so plan accordingly.
Scary? Yes. Bloodcurdlingly horrifying? Perhaps.
Haunted? Maybe, maybe not.
But don’t take this reporter’s word for it. Why not visit them and judge for yourself?
Mars Haunted House.
2016 Haunted Woods. Bear Den Zoo.
Fweakwently Asked Questions? Hauntfest Wisconsin.
Wall-to-wall terror, James E. Causey. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.