gettyimages 185805145 Who wants to get their scream on this Halloween season?

Atmosphere at The Novogratz Family and SeriusFun Childrens Network Halloween Haunted House on October 24, 2013 in New York City. (John Lamparski/Getty Images for Robert and Cortney Novogratz)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

I informed my husband last night that we needed to go to a haunted house at some point this Halloween season. He asked me if I thought I could handle it so of course that started the hunt to find the best (worst?!) one possible.  Is it bad that I just want to see him scream like a little girl?

I looked through lists from Hauntworld, USA Best Haunted Houses, The Readers Digest and and compiled the top haunts.  If you don’t see one close to where you are, check out Hauntworld’s search feature. You can search for haunted houses, haunted hayrides, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, ghost tours and escape rooms.  For fun, I looked and to my surprise (and joy) there are 18 haunted houses within 75 miles of my house!

One of the best haunted houses in the country is Netherworld in Norcross, GA.  Themes change each year at Netherworld.  Special effects and scenery are created by film and TV professionals.  In fact, props from Netherworld have been used in films like Zombieland and Halloween 2. Last year Thrillist said, “If you want to scare the ever-loving sh** out of yourself, go to Netherworld.  That is all.”

This year, according to its website, Netherworld features “Primal Scream. An all-out war as nature seeks savage vengeance against both mankind and the Netherworld for the evils both have unleashed on the planet.  Then in the dark basement, Mr. Grendel’s Funhouse of Horrors in 3D rolls into town… it’s a  twisted clown fueled nightmare as ancient fiends disused as clowns seek human flesh!”

Another top vote-getter is the Dent Schoolhouse and Queen City Slaughter Yard in Cincinnati, OH.  I should point out that while you’re visiting this haunted house, you need to keep an eye out for the school’s old janitor, Charlie McFree.  He’s 5’6”, no hair, very aged and weighs about 140 lbs.  He’s been charged with the murder of more than 20 local school children.

The Scare Factor rates the Dent Schoolhouse with 9.51 out of 10 and says, “Dent continues to impress us each year and lots of changes have been made for the 2017 haunt season.  With the popularity of the recently-released “It” movie, a portion of the tour heavily embraces clowns that still, somehow, manage to tie into their natural ”school” theme.  Be careful not to become a part of the school walls’ insulation and, remember, don’t be late for the field trip!”

The 13th Floor is located in four cities, Phoenix, AZ; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO and San Antonio, TX.  From what I can find out about these haunted houses, the actors and production design make the visit worth wild.  A review in Azcentral of the Arizona house says, “It’s an experience and one that hits on every possible fear pressure point without ever feeling stretched thin.”

The 13th Floor in Phoenix has two new themes this year, “Ancient Evil” and “Zombieland Biohazard.”  The house in Chicago (the largest in the city) features “Cursed: Purgatory” and “Dead End District: Freakshow.”  There are three new themes in Denver this year, “Darkest Dreams,” “Slaughter” and “Undead: Restless Spirits.”  In San Antonio, you will scream when you visit “cursed: The Ritual” and “Biohazard.”

Asylum 49 in Tooele, Utah is up next.  From what I can gather, don’t bring the kids with you to this one.  One review from Utah Haunted Houses (and honestly this makes me want to go even more) said, “I went through and it took me three hours because they kept making me wait or holding me down and such.  It was super, super fun and I would totally recommend.

gettyimages 619116406 Who wants to get their scream on this Halloween season?

Armando Santana stands in the phobia section of a haunted house in Miami, Florida. (RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images)

One lady brought her six-year-old son and he was crying the whole time, so don’t bring your kids unless you’re a heartless bas***d!”

Be warned though, Asylum 49 is not for everyone. You can be touched, grabbed, separated from your group, detained in small dark areas and left, strapped to a metal bed and worked on by the crazies.

Billed as one of the scariest haunted scream parks in America, Field of Screams in Mountville, PA. The venue has been open for the last 25 years and has four different attractions to check out.  They have food, bands and lots of action.  One review almost puts a person off visiting, but just almost, “I’m afraid to go into the buildings, but the haunted hayride is awesome!”

Besides the hayride, you can visit Den of Darkness, Frightmare Asylum, Nocturnal Wasteland, Extreme Blackout!!

If you go to the Bandstand just a warning… they have interactive electric chairs!  Halloween Haunts 365 said about this haunted house, “Guys, to make it simple, this is a 5-star haunt.

There was no doubt about that when we took a vote as a group after every attraction.  We all completely agreed as a team with the five blood splat rating.”

That’s just a taste of what’s out there this year. If you come across any good ones, please let us know.  We’re dying to get scared this year!

Connect: @JonathanVets1 |

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