There’s nothing wrong with a homemade haunted house, but if you’re searching for a really good scare, look no further than these haunted attractions in Massachusetts. They’ll give you all the chills and thrills you need this Halloween. —With reporting by Lindsey Paradis, Sam Peters
Note: In general, most venues leave age appropriateness up to parents or recommend no kids under 10-12. (Try to not traumatize your children for life.)
Ghost Ship Harbor
Step aboard the USS Salem for a unique haunted experience on water rather than land. This museum turned fright fest immerses visitors in several chilling storylines—including “Contagion,” where those fleeing the mainland undergo extensive examinations before they enter the ship, and “Plague,” where chaos breaks loose once the disease spreads on the ship. Choose your scare, or enjoy them all.
United States Naval Ship Building Museum, 739 Washington St., Quincy, 617-935-0444 ext. 1, ghostshipharbor.com.
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion
In addition to Barrett’s regularly scary programming, visitors can also drop by for such special events as Darkness Unleashed, an amped-up version with an extra dose of fright. Plus, a lights-on tour and guide through all the attractions and backstage.
1235 Bedford St., Route 18, Abington, 781-871-4573, bhmansion.com.
Hysteria at Connors Farm
Hysteria offers multiple macabre attractions, but we have our eye on the Flashlight, which Connors Farm proudly proclaims “received international attention when a family ‘got lost’ and called 911 to find their way out.” Sign us up.
30 Valley Rd., Danvers, 978-739-4192, hysteriadanvers.com.
Once inside Witch’s Woods, you can take a haunted hayride, go in Castle Morbid or Nightmare Mansion, and more. For those in your group who can’t handle the horror, send them to the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree—a display of hundreds of illuminated professionally carved pumpkins. The Jamboree is free to visit—no admission required. Lovely.
79 Powers Rd., Westford, 978-692-3033, witchswoods.com.
Fright Fest at Six Flags New England
Every fall, Six Flags morphs into Fright Fest. During the day, you can get classic scares on their rides—but it’s at night when the real ghouls come out to play (3D Slasher Circus, anyone?). Watch out for the creepy creatures that wander the park, always looking to strike terror into visitors. Demons put on a show at “Graveyard Groove: A Monster Revue;” meanwhile, over at the Forgotten Laboratory, scientists perform their latest experiments on unlucky victims.
Route 159, 1623 Main St., Agawam, 413-786-9300, sixflags.com/newengland.
Factory of Terror
Factory of Terror promises nothing but scares at all three of their New England locations. This haunted house experience is not for the faint of heart. At the Fall River location, visitors will enter a deserted factory where—so the story goes—113 workers were murdered, and work their way through such spine-tingling sections as the Bloodworth Dungeon and the 4D Blackout. Check out Dracula’s Hideaway in West Warwick location and Phobia Mayhem in Worcester. A unique set of chills and thrills await at each location, offering up plenty of options for haunted house aficionados.
Multiple locations, including 201 Grafton St., Worcester; 120 Pearl St., Fall River; 3 Bridal Ave., West Warwick, Rhode Island; 774-415-0153; factoryofterror.com.
Alden Haunted House
Take a journey through time this Halloween at the Alden House, the previous residence of Mayflower voyager John Alden. For this annual event, visitors go on guided tours and hear about the house’s haunted history—make sure to look out for historical spirits. But the night’s not all scares: The evening’s itinerary features such family-friendly fare as face painting and dance parties.
Alden House Museum, 105 Alden St., Duxbury, 781-934-9092, seeplymouth.com.
13 Nights at Jiminy
Those who are brave enough will find themselves surrounded by the creatures that emerge from darkness surrounding Jericho Valley’s Jiminy Peak. Visitors stop at the resort’s haunted prison, and then make their way to the mountain’s summit, where nothing good awaits. The Haunted Soaring Eagle Zipline and the Haunted Giant Swing offer additional fun, as visitors soar over Jiminy Peak resort encompassed by darkness.
Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort, 37 Corey Rd., Hancock, 413-738-5500, 13nightsatjiminy.com.
Ghost Tours at the Mount
The Mount, a century-old residence in the hills of the Berkshires, has the Ghost Hunters seal of approval. So it must be haunted, right? The house, previously the residence of Edith Wharton, an author famous for her ghost stories, has its own fair share of reported hauntings. Sounds, shadows, and odd sensations follow visitors as they tour the servants’ quarters, stables, and formal rooms—all supposed breeding grounds for paranormal activity.
The Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox, 413-551-5111, edithwharton.org.
Frightful Friday Ghost Stories at Gore Place
The 1806 mansion of former US Senator Christopher Gore is the backdrop to spine-chilling stories Friday nights during the Halloween season. The Federal-style estate sets the stage for haunted tales, and visitors get the opportunity to see the mansion’s elegant rooms and furnishings.
Gore Place, 52 Gore St., Waltham, 781-894-2798, goreplace.org.
Canobie Lake Park Screeemfest
Screeemfest it’s called, and scream you will. This Halloween season, Canobie Lake Park isn’t offering just thrills but also chills with a wide variety of haunted offerings. In addition to haunted houses and rides, they’re also putting on live spooky shows. And on weekends, there’s Rocktoberfest, a tribute to classic metal and rock bands. Rocktoberfest will include tributes to the likes of Kiss, ACDC, and Foreigner. For the kids, check out the monster parade and the petting zoo.
Canobie Lake Park, 85 N. Policy St., Salem, New Hampshire, 603-893-3506, canobie.com.
Spooky World Presents: Nightmare New England
Spooky World offers something for every thrill seeker, from a Haunted Hayride to the Festival of Fear. Additional attractions include Brigham Manor, a supposedly empty home with a dark past of murder and mystery. And if you dare to enter the New Hampshire woods, you can explore the Colony, the Granite State’s answer to Texas Chain Saw Massacre, where unnatural creatures lurk around every corner. Don’t miss Carnage, a haunted junkyard that offers as much gore as the name suggests.
454 Charles Bancroft Hwy., Litchfield, New Hampshire, 603-424-7999, nightmarenewengland.com.
Lake Compounce Haunted Graveyard
Starting in late September, Lake Compounce Amusement Park transforms into a nightmare world known as the Haunted Graveyard. Visitors can go on some of Lake Compounce’s classic rides or opt for such spooky attractions as the malevolent-scarecrow-infested Cornfield or the Zombie Hospital. Don’t pick the pumpkins from the evil pumpkin patch, though—they bite! The Haunted Graveyard also helps out a good cause: To date, The Haunted Graveyard has donated more than $1 million to various diabetes organizations.
Lake Compounce, 186 Enterprise Dr., Bristol, Connecticut, 860-583-3300, hauntedgraveyard.com.