Last Halloween, Americans spent an astonishing $3.14 billion on costumes alone, according to Statista. Add in another $2.47 billion for candy and $2.39 billion for decorations, and that’s a serious sum of cash.
Luckily, there are some ways to have a scarily great Halloween without breaking the bank. General admission to these attractions is less than $50, not including fees for online purchase surcharges and VIP options, and some scares are even free. Many of these locales have age-related restrictions, so be sure to check each site for details. Do your research, and then get your fright on this October for a price that’s anything but spooky.
1. The Dent Schoolhouse
Ticket Price: General admission costs $20.
The Dent Schoolhouse frequently makes media outlets’ lists of the top haunted attractions — probably because the operators have a great location and legend to start their story. Dent was actually a working school until it was shuttered in the 1950s, after a janitor killed several students and buried their bodies in the basement.
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2. Netherworld Haunted House
Location: Norcross, Ga.
Ticket Price: Admission to Primal Scream costs $23; it costs $28 to visit both Primal Scream and Mr. Grendel’s Funhouse of Horrors on Sundays through Thursdays during the season.
This Metro Atlanta attraction makes haunted house aficionados’ best-of lists because of its unique costumes, sets and animation, according to the Travel Channel. Scenes from the 2009 film “Zombieland,” starring Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, were even shot on the premises.
3. Eastern State Penitentiary: Terror Behind the Walls
Ticket Price: Pricing varies by date, with advance-purchase tickets starting at $19 and topping out at $45 for the three Saturdays closest to Halloween.
Eastern State Penitentiary, opened in 1829, features tours all year long, but the landmark lockup hosts a special attraction every Halloween season to take advantage of the spooky setting. Revenue from Terror Behind the Walls, which boasts elaborate sets and more than 200 actors, helps fund daily operations at the historic site.
There are deals to be found for all these haunted house activities, but make sure you don’t waste your money in other ways on Halloween.
4. The Darkness
Location: St. Louis
Ticket Price: Individual tickets for the haunted houses cost $25 each. Combo tickets offer discounts on individual pricing.
Operators of The Darkness run multiple attractions, including three haunted houses: The Darkness, Creepyworld and the Abyss at Lemp Brewery. Additionally, guests can enjoy escape rooms and zombie-themed laser tag. The Darkness earns points from industry experts for its special effects and is offering a new, longer experience this Halloween season.
5. McKamey Manor
Location: There are two new facilities near Huntsville, Ala. and Nashville, Tenn.
Ticket Price: The facility requests a $100 donation toward the cost of running the operation, but it isn’t mandatory. Guests can also donate a bag of dog food.
McKamey Manor is more of a terror takeover than a haunted house. Potential visitors should bear in mind that proprietor Russ McKamey’s tactics have been criticized for being too extreme. In fact, one woman claimed she was hit with unknown objects during a visit, though police opted not to press charges. In June 2017, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that McKamey was packing up his Southern California location to open new facilities in Alabama and Tennessee.
For fearless folks who still want to give McKamey Manor a try, the attraction currently offers a terrifying experience called Resurrection, which reportedly lasts 10 hours or more. Visitors must be 21 and over and sign waivers to participate.
If you’re looking for a more tame fall activity to try in Nashville, check out the city’s Oktoberfest, held the first weekend of the month. There are epic Oktoberfests all across the country.
6. The Whaley House Museum
Location: San Diego
Ticket Price: The Whaley House offers multiple exciting events in October, including Past & Presence Ghost Tours for $25, Ghost Hunting Tours for $50 and a special event on Halloween, with daytime and nighttime slots available for $15.
Often named one of the most haunted places in the nation, the Whaley House is reputedly home to several ghosts, including “Yankee Jim” Robinson, who was convicted of attempted grand larceny and hanged in 1852 on the grounds where the house was later built.
Even Regis Philbin had a spooky experience at the Whaley House. While filming a segment for a local morning show in the 1960s, Philbin believed he had an encounter with a paranormal being. “All of a sudden I noticed something on the wall,” he told the Biography Channel in an episode of “The Haunting Of.” “There was something filmy white, it looked like an apparition of some kind. I got so excited I couldn’t restrain myself! I flipped on the [flash]light and nothing was there but a portrait of Anna Whaley, the long-dead mistress of the house.”
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7. The Myrtles Plantation
Location: St. Francisville, La.
Ticket Price: The Myrtles Plantation offers guided group mystery tours for $15 per person. You can also take a free, self-guided tour of the grounds.
Now a bed and breakfast, the Myrtles Plantation dates back to 1796, so it probably has its share of skeletons in the closet. Legend has it that lawyer and plantation resident William Winter sought the help of a voodoo princess named Chloe when his young daughter became ill. However, the child died despite her efforts, leading Winter to have Chloe hanged from a tree.
Winter himself died a few years later, after being shot just outside the home.
8. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor
Location: Long Beach, Calif.
Ticket Price: General admission is $24 to $39, depending on the day of the week you want to visit. Dark Harbor also offers a limited $20 Happy Haunting Hour admission for early arrivers.
The Queen Mary has a haunting history, and this Halloween attraction plays up several legends with horror mazes set throughout the ship. For 2017, there’s a brand-new maze featuring a chef with a dark side. The haunted attraction also includes a paintball galley and the Voodoo Village bar for visitors who haven’t lost their appetites — or simply need a stiff drink.
If you’re inspired by all these haunted houses to throw your own Halloween bash, you can host a killer party for under $50.
9. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum
Location: Weston, W. Va.
Ticket Price: General admission for Deviant is $25. The attraction is open Thursday through Sunday during the Halloween season.
Historic and ghost tours are available year-round at this site, which first opened to patients in 1864. The building was meant to house 250 souls, but it was packed with approximately 2,400 patients who languished in poor, overcrowded conditions by the 1950s. The building operated as a healthcare facility until 1994.
For Halloween, it transforms into a haunted house, which bears the name Deviant in this incarnation and stars a “demented doctor” who gives life to his patients’ worst nightmares.
10. Bennett’s Curse
Ticket Price: General admission is $35 and includes entrance to four haunted attractions.
Bennett’s Curse is a perennial favorite because of its impressive special effects, according to the Travel Channel. And guests who dare can experience an impressive seven attractions on site. Named the No. 1 Terrifying Haunted House by NBC Washington, this spooky site is truly unmissable.
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11. Hundred Acres Manor
Location: Bethel Park, Pa.
Ticket Price: General admission to this haunted spot’s six attractions is $20.
Named No. 3 on the 2017 list of the top 10 scariest attractions of the Northeast by FrightTour, Hundred Acres Manor is operated by a local nonprofit that donates the proceeds to charities. So, at least you’ll feel good about being scared senseless.
The half-dozen attractions at Hundred Acres Manor span more than a mile and include a brand-new event called The Host, in which guests act as the unfortunate host of a London plague.
12. Fear Factory
Location: Salt Lake City
Ticket Price: General admission to the haunted house is $25, and various discount combo tickets are available for different attractions and offers.
Featured on the Travel Channel program “Ghost Adventures,” the Fear Factory in Salt Lake City plays up its paranormal past through a collection of historic news clippings on its website. The facility once operated as the Portland Cement Works, where several employees met their makers after being consumed by coal crushers and dying in other gristly industrial accidents.
Today, the site features a zip line, free fall attraction and virtual reality experience, in addition to its haunted house.
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13. The Ohio State Reformatory
Location: Mansfield, Ohio
Ticket Price: General admission for Escape From Blood Prison is $20.
By day, the Ohio State Reformatory — a key setting for the film “The Shawshank Redemption” — features historical and ghost tours. As Halloween approaches, the reformatory is transformed by night into the Blood Prison, a terrifying facility run by crazed inmates. Only the brave — and resourceful — will manage to escape.
14. Blood Manor
Location: New York City
Ticket Price: General admission tickets are $35 each when purchased online.
This popular attraction occupies 5,000 square feet in New York’s Hudson Square neighborhood and features themed areas, including Maggot Invasion (“They’ll get under your skin!”) and Hannibal’s Hell (“1,000 Ways to Die!”), according to the website. For visitors who aren’t afraid of the dark, Blood Manor also offers Lights Out Nights on Nov. 3 and 4, during which visitors trek through the attractions with only a glow stick to light the way.
15. Erebus Haunted Attraction
Location: Pontiac, Mich.
Ticket price: General admission starts at $23.
This four-story haunted attraction opened its doors in 2000. Featuring 113,000 square feet of scares, it held the title of the world’s largest haunted house for several years in the early 2000s. Erebus’ owners say that professional staff members work on the attraction year round, and it changes each season.