With Halloween upon us, haunted houses across the country are opening their doors to families -- specifically those with teens -- looking for truly frightening fun. Here's our round-up of the best and scariest houses, all offering lots of shock, gore and special effects to scare and entertain.

Costumed Inmates Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia

Scream World - Houston
Screamworld in Houston tells parents it is too intense and not recommended for children under age 12 without a parent. It also says that young children may not be admitted. For those who can and are daring enough to enter, however, it is a total scream fest. There are five exhibits: Clown Asylum Maze, Edge of Darkness, The Swamp, Jake's Slaughterhouse and the Zombie Graveyard. Screamworld is running Friday through Sundays in late September, Thursdays through Sundays through October, with daily operations October 22 through November 1.

Recommended Hotel: The Woodlands Resort
The Woodlands Resort

Netherworld - Atlanta
Netherworld in Norcross, a suburb of Atlanta, includes two haunts - The Rotting zombie experiences and Vault13 Unearthered, in the basement level. Netherworld has an age 6 and older policy and features live performers, great special effects and incredible robotics. The event opens on Sept. 25, 2015, and runs seven days a week through early November.

Recommended Hotel: Loews Atlanta Hotel
Loews Atlanta Hotel

Blood Manor - New York City
Blood Manor brings a reign of terror to Lower Manhattan. The fright house -- which sprawls 5,000 square feet -- has narrow corridors, winding pathways and labyrinths; watch where you step.... The attraction doesn't recommend children under age 14 visit. Blood Manor opens Oct. 2, 2015 and remains open on select dates until Nov. 2.

Recommended Hotel: Casablanca Hotel
Casablanca Hotel

Scare House - Pittsburgh
Scare House is the ultimate haunted house in Pittsburgh, and is not recommended for children under age 13. Scare House's attractions include The Summoning, and The Basement, with new haunts in the works for 2015. The haunted house begins operating Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 18, 2015, and will remain open through October, adding Sunday and Thursday dates beginning October 4.

Recommended Hotel: Residence Inn Pittsburgh North Shore
Residence Inn Pittsburgh North Shore

Erebus Haunted House - Pontiac, Mich.
Erebus Haunted House is one of the world's largest walk-through haunted houses. The four-story fright fest takes one through Erebus, which is known as the path to Hell in Greek mythology. The special effects and characters aren't for the faint of heart. Erebus Haunted House opens Sept. 18 for Fridays and Saturdays, then every day in Oct. 1 through Nov. 1.

Recommended Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Pontiac/Bloomfield
Courtyard by Marriott Detroit Pontiac/Bloomfield

Costumed Prison Guards at Terror Behind the Walls in Philadelphia

Terror Behind the Walls - Philadelphia
This haunted house is located in Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary, an abandoned prison claimed to be one of the most haunted places in the country. The attraction walks visitors through the eerie grounds, cell blocks and common areas of the prison, which resembles a castle. There are six attractions: Night Watch, Machine Shop, The Experiment in 3D, Lock Down, Infirmary and Detritos. Actors will jump out at practically every turn, so it's best for teens and adults. It opens Sept. 18, 2015, and runs on select dates through Nov. 7.

Recommended Hotel: Hotel Monaco Philadelphia - A Kimpton Hotel
Hotel Monaco Philadelphia - A Kimpton Hotel

13th Floor Haunted House - Denver
The 13th Floor Haunted House convinces visitors that even though many elevators don't have a 13th floor, there actually is one! 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, you shouldn't bring them to the 13th Floor. The 13th Floor opens in late September, and operates through early November. There are also locations in Phoenix and San Antonio.

Recommended Hotel: Embassy Suites Denver Downtown Convention Center
Embassy Suites Denver Downtown Convention Center

Pirates of Emerson - Pleasanton, Calif.
Pirates of Emerson features five haunted attractions: Cursed Cavern, Demonic Voodoo, The Haunted, Pirates of Emerson and Mental Maze. Children of all ages are welcome, but the attraction, located on the Alameda County Fairgrounds, warns about bringing "impressionable children." In 2015, it opens Oct. 3 and operates on select dates through Halloween.

Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel
Sheraton Pleasanton Hotel

The Dent Schoolhouse - Cincinnati
The Dent Schoolhouse in Cincinnati is as creepy as it gets. It 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, though parents are encouraged to bring younger children for the Lights On Tours.

Recommended Hotel: Hilton Cincinnati Nethlerland Plaza
Hilton Cincinnati Nethlerland Plaza

Spooky World - Litchfield, N.H.
New Englanders looking for a scare can turn to Spooky World in Litchfield, New Hampshire, which features five haunted attractions, plus live entertainment and a Monster Midway. Attractions include Brigham Manor, Freak Show in 3D, Carnage, The Colony and new in 2015, a Haunted Hayride. The attraction reminds parents to bring children at their discretion, but know there's blood, gore, scares and scary characters, as well as an attraction that shocks guests with electricity. Spooky World opens the last weekend in September and runs on select dates through the first weekend in November.

Recommended Hotel: Courtyard by Marriott Nashua
Courtyard by Marriott Nashua

More From Family Vacation Critic:
10 Haunted Hotels Worth a Stay
11 Kid-Friendly Halloween Events

Written by Mary Welch


Find Your Family Vacation
My Kids' Ages:



Popular Family Resorts: