It’s almost that time of year again when families search for Pennsylvania haunted houses and kids don their costumes and head out looking for a Halloween adventure. Families who will be in the Philadelphia, Scranton, Pittsburg or Lancaster regions between September and November can start planning now; you’re sure to have a haunting Halloween as well as the weeks before and after.
Tons of exciting events are occurring throughout the month to celebrate the ghoulish holiday, and we’ve organized them by “freak-out factor” — high for a haunting experience that will make your blood curdle and low for a fun and milder event that the whole family can enjoy.
Low Freak Out Factor: Idlewild Park near Pittsburgh, PA
Idlewild Park, located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, markets its annual “Hallowboo!” celebration directly to families and kids looking for an alternative to more frightening Halloween options. For special October weekends, this old-fashioned amusement park’s most popular rides and attractions are redecorated with a Halloween theme. Some special additions include trick or treating in the Story Book Forest, mazes, a DJ Ghoul Dance Party and fall-favorite concessions. Characters costumed in Halloween garb, including Ricky Raccoon, entertain throughout the park. Overall, this will be a fun experience with toddlers and pre-teens. End your day with the Monster Mash, a dance party for all guests each night. For more information, visit Idlewild.com.
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Low Freak Out Factor: Harry Houdini House in Scranton, PA
World famous illusionist Harry Houdini may no longer be living, but his legacy has certainly lived on. Visitors can tour the great magician’s home year round, and October is the perfect month because there are spooky special events. For a tour of the historic Houdini home, movie, a magic show with animals done by the home’s owners, and more fun, this is the place. The experience is suitable for kids of all ages.
Reservations are required and this show usually sells out. Call 570/342-5555, 570/383-1821, 570/383-9297 or visit the website at Houdini.org (admission for age 3 and up is discounted if you call ahead). For an even wilder night out, book the Saturday Paranormal Psychic and Seance evening at the Houdini House; more info at Scranton’s Psychic Theatre website. A rare treat!
Medium Freak Out & High Fascination Factor: Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA
If you’re looking for extreme chills and thrills by walking at night through an allegedly haunted 19th-century prison, go straight to jail at the Eastern State Penitentiary. It’s not far from Philadelphia’s center city and the ancient haunts of Ben Franklin and his Revolutionary era colleagues. The jailhouse has been prisonerless for decades and now is a historic site by day, but is tricked up for Halloween and has been sectioned off into six different haunted attractions.
Aptly named “Terror Behind the Walls,” this Pennsylvania haunted house section of the frightful offerings has been ranked the “Number 1 Best Haunted Attraction in America” by America Online. Among the wild attractions is Night Watch, a flashlight tour of the ghoulish domains of former murderers and criminals of all sorts. To read more about its history, take a look at Tourists Go To Jail by David Wilkening. The Halloween event runs on select evenings — mostly weekends — from mid-September to early November. Reservations are highly recommended for weekends in October. By the way, all proceeds benefit this National Historic Landmark. The haunted attraction does not affect the operation of the historic site, which remains open for daytime tours seven days a week, eight months a year.
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If you’re thinking something a little bit less on the nose in terms of Pennsylvania haunted houses, check out The Bates Motel (and Haunted Hayride), an escape-room like terror located at the Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills, about a half hour drive from Philly. It also won 7th place winner in the 2017 HauntedHouse.com survey. Among Pennsylvania haunted houses, it’s not the least bit for the faint of heart.
High Freak Out Pennsylvania Haunted Houses: Field of Screams in Lancaster, PA
Lancaster might not be known for its frights, but Field of Screams, rated #1 Extreme Haunted Attraction by USAToday’s 10Best List, offers more trepidation than you can imagine among Pennsylvania haunted houses. With four separate but equally haunting attractions, Field of Screams is sure to please every fright-lover looking for Pennsylvania haunted houses. Begin the meltdown in their haunted cornfields. The Den of Darkness offers three floors of terror, all with a rich history of supernatural occurrences. The Frightmare Asylum is four-stories of intense insanity and features state-of-the-art special effects and plenty of scares. Put it on your list for Pennsylvania haunted houses to give your family a high freak out evening.
The Nocturnal Wasteland is one of the most frightening — be prepared to have to find your way through an obstacle course full of evil creatures stalking you in the dark. Finally, take a 20-minute Haunted Hayride to witness some gruesome happenings in the Field of Screams cornfields. Field of Screams in Mountville is typically open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — plus Halloween — mid-September through the first week of November. Visit the Field of Screams website for more information.
Looking for more fun haunted houses for kids, spooky thrills, and frights? See what’s going on this Halloween across the country.
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