It’s a shame that, unless you have a kid in tow, knocking on doors and begging for candy isn’t considered acceptable beyond the age at which life’s greatest horror is acne. There remain, however, a number of Halloween traditions that don’t discriminate, one of which is the seasonal haunted house. Below are a few spots that are sure to leave us shaking and screaming.
Haunted House: If ride-through boardwalk haunted houses make you hide your eyes, don’t even think about checking out this Vortex Theater production. Billed as an “interactive experience,” Haunted House is a labyrinth of pitch black terror—visitors are required to carry a provided flashlight at all times—where fright seekers must follow a host of strict rules designed to get pulses racing at Tell-tale Heart-like levels. In addition to having to heed mandates to follow actors’ prompts (e.g., “sit down”, “move forward”, “stop”) and to keep mute (screams are exempt), attendees also must wear protective masks, remove their shoes and socks, and walk through alone. Guess we’ll be squeezing our own arms.
Haunted Hayride: While Technicolor foliage remains scarce in LA, East Coast transplants waxing nostalgic for their roots have a cornucopia of autumnal traditions to choose from. One of the most enticing is Haunted Hayride, where a fleet of tractor-drawn, hay-filled wagons transports spook hunters on a 20-minute journey of horror staged on the site of Griffith Park’s storied old zoo. Scenes include a church of the damned and a room full of evil clowns that makes IT seem like the work of Disney. And because no event in LA would dare exist without a food truck, culinary options are plentiful. Of course, if the sight of fake blood makes you lose your appetite, skip the hayride.
Chronicles of the Cursed: Chicago’s answer to the Paranormal Activity phenomenon, Chronicles of the Cursed is a multimedia haunted house based on the myth of a mysterious sinkhole “found” in downtown Chicago. According to the story, propagated through an ongoing series of fictional newspaper articles and videos disclosing strange happenings (bloodcurdling screams, mutilated pets), seven teenagers were reported missing just outside the Loop in September and the sinkhole may be to blame. Chronicles of the Cursed, the subterranean realization of this fable, lets visitors play detective by touring the house of horrors. Those in need of a drink to settle their rattled nerves at the tour’s end are in luck, as project sponsor Eristoff Vodka has set up a makeshift saloon on site.