With Halloween upon us, haunted houses across the country are opening their doors to kids and teens looking for truly frightening fun. Here's our roundup of the best and scariest houses, all offering lots of shock, gore and special effects to scare and entertain kids of all ages, even the bravest of teens.

If you're concerned if your child is old enough or might be too scared, visit the website of the haunted house you're considering, to get a sense of the level of fright being offered. Also take note of any warnings or age recommendations. And of course, keep in mind your child's own sensitivities. If your child likes scary movies and video games, he or she is more apt to be fine in a haunted house. If not, perhaps reconsider. Some of the houses simply do not allow very young children or have a separate house for the younger set or those who are easily scared. (Be sure to check out our 10 Kid-Friendly Haunted Houses and Haunts for Little Ones.)

Scream World in Texas
Screamworld, in Houston, right off the bat tells parents it is too intense and not recommended for children under 12 without a parent. It also says that young children may not be admitted. But for those who can enter, it is a screamfest. There are five exhibits: the outdoor Maze of Maniacs; the Edge of Darkness; Skull Cave (formerly the Haunted Hotel); Jake's Slaughterhouse; and the outdoor Zombie Graveyard. Screamworld is running Friday and Saturdays in late September, and then Thursdays through Sundays through October, with extra openings Monday, October 28 through Halloween, and a last Friday and Saturday opening November 1 and 2. For more information, visit their Web site, Scream World.

Netherworld in Georgia

Netherworld in Norcross, a suburb of Atlanta, has been called the No. 1 Hometown Haunted House by Hauntworld and includes two haunts -- The Dead Ones and the Boogeyman. Netherworld has a 6 and older policy and features live performers, great special effects and incredible robotics. It's open Friday and Saturday nights the last two weekends in September, and then seven days a week until November 3. Hours of operation are: Sunday to Thursday from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday nights in October from 7 p.m. until midnight; and Halloween and the first weekend of November from 7 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Netherworld.

Blood Manor in New York

Blood Manor brings a Reign of Terror to lower Manhattan as this fright house offers several new experiences. (To be announced.) The attraction doesn't recommend children under 14 visit. Prices range from $30 to $50 per ticket and there are student discounts on certain nights. Blood Manor opens October 4 and is open Thursday from 7:30 p.m. until midnight; Friday and Saturday from 7:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Sunday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.; October 30, November 1 and 2 from 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Halloween from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Blood Manor.

Scare House in Pennsylvania

Scare House is Pittsburgh's ultimate haunted house and is not recommended for children under 13. Scare House featured attractions are The Forsaken, Pittsburgh Zombies and, new in 2012, Creepo's Christmas in 3D, as well as a new attraction: The Basement. In this area, only two people can enter at a time and they warn you will be touched and restrained... all in the dark! The haunted house begins operating September 27 with Friday and Saturday nights from 7 p.m. to midnight, then begins operating Sunday and Thursday nights from October 6 through 27, as well as Halloween from 7 to 10 p.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Scarehouse.

Erebus Haunted House in Michigan

Erebus Haunted House in Pontiac, Mich., is one of the world's largest walk-through haunted houses. The four-story frightfest takes one through Erebus, which is the path to Hell. The attraction begins operating the last three weekends in September, from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and then operates Wednesday through Sunday, remaining open nightly the week of Halloween through November 2. Sunday nights close at 11 p.m., and Monday through Thursday nights operate 7 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Erebus.


13th Floor Haunted House in Arizona, Colorado and Texas

13th Floor Haunted House takes the premise that even though many elevators do not have a 13th floor, there really is one! The 13th floor is where scary things happen and they do at this attraction with three locations: Phoenix, Denver and San Antonio. Unlike many of the other haunted houses, the 13th floor also features live animals and reptiles. The attraction suggests that if you wouldn't bring your child to a PG-13 rated movie, they shouldn't go to the 13th Floor, so caution is advised. The 13th Floor is open the September 21, 22, 28, 29 and 30, and then runs daily between October 4 through Hallowwen, with extra nights offered November 2, 3, 9 and 10. Most weekends operate 7 p.m. to midnight, with the exception of November and September 21 and 22. Those dates, as well as Sundays and weekdays operate 7 to 11 p.m. Visit their Web sites for more information: 13th Floor Haunted House, Phoenix; 13th Floor Haunted House, Denver; 13th Floor Haunted House San Antonio.

Pirates of Emerson in California

Pirates of Emerson features eight haunted attractions: Scareaton, Fractured Fairytales, Arachno, Dark Realm, Pirates of Emerson, Mental Maze, Bumpkin Patch and the Corn Walk. Children of all ages are welcome but the Pleasanton, Calif., site warns about bringing "impressionable children." The attractions beings operating Friday and Saturdays nights on October 4, with the addition of Thursdays and Sundays beginning September 10. Hours are from 7:05 to 10 or 11 p.m. The Pirates of Emerson is located at the Alameda County Fairgrounds at the corner of Bernal and Valley Avenues. When it comes to bringing kids, they remind visitors the experience is "extremely frightening." For more information, visit their Web site, Pirates of Emerson.

The Dent Schoolhouse in Ohio

The Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati is one of the most detailed haunted houses and gets its "haunted house" name honestly. The Dent Schoolhouse was actually a school that opened in 1894 and had a murderous janitor, Charlie, who was never caught and brought to justice. Is it he who haunts the halls of the school to this day? Among the rooms are Charlie's workshop, bedroom, boiler room and even the janitor's student holding cell. In addition, there is Detention Hall, which is an intense clown-themed maze. There is no age limit, however a Lights On Tour is available on October 24 for younger kids. The attraction opens September 14, operating Friday through Sunday through September and the first weekend in November, and then Thursday through Sunday in October, as well as Halloween. The November dates will be "Lights Out," where visitors will walk the attractions completely in the dark. Hours begin at 7:30 p.m. through 10 p.m. and midnight on weekends. For more information, visit their Web site, The Dent Haunted Schoolhouse.

Scream Portland in Oregon
Scream at the Beach has relocated and become Scream Portland, which now scares all at its new home at the Portland International Raceway with really scary attractions, such as the Black Forest, Nevermore Castle Ghost Hunt, Twisted Circus, Haunted Gold Mine, Voodoo Drum Circle and the Laser Maze Challenge. Visitors can also enjoy a Character Meet and Greet, live music at the Monster Stage, and Creepy Crawly Exhibits, Pony Rides and Petting Zoo. The attraction opens October 5 and operates some Wednesday through Sunday nights, from 7 to 10 or 11 p.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Scream Portland.

Terror Behind the Walls in Pennsylvania

This haunted house is housed in a real, abandoned prison, Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary, claimed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. The 22-year-old frightfest walks visitors through the grounds, cellblocks and common areas of the prison, which is eerie enough at night with its aging castle-like exterior. The attraction opens September 20 for weekends and then adds additional dates through November 9, always closed on Mondays. Kids under 7 are not permitted at the attraction, and kids 7 to 12 should visit on Family nights, offered every Sunday until 9 p.m. with a little less fright. (Kids are half price if you get there before 7 p.m.) Openings begin at 7 p.m., with a few Saturdays starting as early as 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit their Web site, Terror Behind the Walls.

This haunted house is housed in a real, abandoned prison, Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary, claimed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. The 21-year-old frightfest walks visitors through the grounds, cellblocks and common areas of the prison, which is eerie enough at night with its aging castle-like exterior. The attraction opens September 21 for weekends and then adds additional dates through November 3, always closed on Mondays. Kids under 7 are not permitted at the attraction, and kids 7 to 12 should visit on Family nights, offered every Sunday until 9 p.m. with a little less fright. For more information, visit their Web site, Terror Behind the Walls.

For more family vacation ideas, check out:
10 Kid-Friendly Haunted Houses and Haunts for Little Ones
4 Haunted Hotels Worth a Visit

Written by Mary Welch



Find Your Family Vacation
My Kids' Ages:



Popular Family Resorts:

  •  
    FREE Family Travel Newsletter
  • Family Travel Tips   (8 New)

    Family Planning and Tips

    • Carnival Miracle Travel Tips
      OverviewCabinsDiningActivitiesTravel Tips All About the Extras Sail & Sign Card Carnival ships feature Sail & Sign cards, which make life so much easier. All you do is link a debit card or credit card to your Sail & Sign Card at Guest Relations or a kiosk on the ship. You'll then use your Sai...
    • Carnival Miracle Dining
      OverviewCabinsDiningActivitiesTravel Tips During the cruise, I quickly learned that cruise food is every bit as big of a deal as the cruise itself. And when it comes to dining, the Carnival Miracle does not disappoint. Bacchus Restaurant Thousands of purple, bubble-like lights embellish Bacc...
    • Carnival Miracle
      OverviewCabinsDiningActivitiesTravel Tips One of four Spirit class ships, Carnival Miracle made its magical debut in 2004. While it's certainly not Carnival's grandest ship, it's definitely something of a "miracle" for families, who find an ample amount of amenities and activities on board. Amid ...
    • 10 Best Orlando Resorts for Families
      So many hotels and resorts to choose from! Which ones really are the best for families in terms of theme-park access, amenities, and accommodations? Here are our favorites in the Orlando area! 1. Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creak Maybe it is the Hilton's water park with two zero-entry pools, a 3-acre ...
    • 10 Best Disney World Resorts for Families
      When it comes to Disney, they certainly know how to cater to families, and families who want to visit Disney's Orlando theme parks will find a large selection of resorts and hotels to accommodate families of all sizes. But which ones are the best? Take a look at these 10 favorites of our editors and...
    • Skip This: Do That!
      Deciding where to go for your next family vacation? Often it's the most popular destinations -- from mega theme parks to world-famous beach towns -- that come to mind first. It's tempting to pick a familiar place and just go with what you know, but do this and you could be missing out on some fantas...
    • Disney Wonder Alaskan Cruise
      Join us onboard Disney Wonder's first exploration into Alaskan waters and ports as Family Vacation Critic Editor Lissa Poirot and her two tots take you on a tour. Be the first to see a sample of Disney's Alaskan Port Adventures, as well as glimpse the Disney Wonder's onboard fun, in our first-ever d...
    • Family Volunteer Vacations
      Away from the hectic pace of our everyday lives, any vacation is a chance for families to reconnect. There's no soccer game, no piano recital, no working late, so finally you have that precious day together. Yet, if you really want a meaningful break from your usual schedule, one that might change t...
  • Twitter
  • Facebook