12 Haunted Houses Guaranteed to Make You Scream

With Halloween quickly approaching, we scoped out some of the East Coast’s most nightmare-inducing haunted houses. You won’t find any low-budget thrills on this list. Featuring some seriously demented actors, jaw-dropping effects and intense escape rooms, these attractions aren’t for the faint of heart.

Our Favorite Haunts Along the East Coast

New Hampshire

1. Haunted Overload, Lee

Located in the eerie New England woods, the DeMeritt Hill Farm is the backdrop to this seriously spooky encounter. Venture down the haunted trail for a unique, fully immersive experience where terror lurks around every twist and turn. Beware of insanely intense sound effects, dense fog, creative lighting and looming monsters — some as tall as 34 feet!

2. Nightmare New England, Litchfield

Featuring the Brigham Manor plus four other terrifying haunts along the desolate countryside, New England’s largest haunted attraction is filled with crazed zombies, killer clowns, chainsaws and other scary surprises. Journey down the mile-long hayride of horrors where you’ll witness a spider-infested campground and heinously disfigured experiments. Also enjoy zombie paintball, go-karts, mini-golf, tarot card readings, carnival concessions and more. 

Massachusetts

3. DementedFX, Holyoke 

Feel like the star of your own horror flick as you wander through this 20,000-square-foot space featuring Hollywood-quality sets and props, hair-raising lighting and sound effects and interactive video. Save the world from a deadly virus by breaking into the Bio Med Corp Haunted House and brave the Meat Tank Horror Experience, a 4D adventure into the zombie wasteland. If you’re feeling especially daring, come to Lights Out, where you’ll roam through the darkness guided only by a tiny LED candle.

4. Witch’s Woods, Westford

The souls of the undead have invaded the woods at Nashoba Valley Ski Area. Take a haunted hayride where you’ll encounter witches, ghouls, zombies and werewolves darting through the darkness in search of vulnerable guests. Outrun screeching spirits at Castle Morbid, tour the twisted halls and secret passages of Nightmare Mansion and enter a new dimension in terror at the Keeper’s Crypt. Guests who can’t handle the horror can visit the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree, a magnificent display featuring hundreds of professionally carved pumpkins.

Connecticut

5. The Dark Manor, Norwich

Experience the ghastly entities that torment the halls of The Dark Manor, nestled along the deserted countryside. Make it out alive and venture through The Graveyard, where plagued souls search for their latest victims. Escape from undead creeps and chainsaw freaks at The Catacombs, where you’ll hope to escape with your sanity in check. And if you’re feeling especially brave, join a paranormal investigation of all three frightening attractions.

6. Fright Haven, Stratford

Evil lurks around every corner of this 20,000-square-foot indoor attraction — the largest in Connecticut. Set up like a Victorian-era mansion, it incorporates three ghastly haunts with animatronics and video shows. Enter Psycho Ward13 at your own risk, where atrocious experiments are performed on the mentally deranged. Venture through the Cabin in the Woods, where a clan of backwoods cannibals are on the loose, and encounter carnivorous carneys at The Carnival of Lost Souls. 

New York

7. Blood Manor, New York

As terrifying as its name, Blood Manor is a 10,000-square-foot labyrinth of horrors where you’ll journey through themed rooms, corridors and passageways designed to torment your deepest, darkest fears. Escape from blood-soaked creatures and insanely gory zombies at every turn. If you’re daring enough, come during Lights Out Night, where you’ll be armed against evil lurking in the darkness with nothing but a single glow stick for your group. 

8. Headless Horseman, Ulster Park

Loaded with seven houses, a walk-through swamp shack, a corn maze, a mile-long hayride, plus an unforgettable magic and illusion sideshow, this is one of the country’s largest and longest-running haunted attractions. Located on a 200-year-old farm, it evolves each year with a new assortment of awesome illusions, spectacular special effects and curious creatures. Puzzle solvers can enjoy three fully immersive, horror-themed escape rooms. You’ll also find a fairground with food stands and gift shops. 

New Jersey

9. Field of Terror, East Windsor

Rumor has it that Farmer Frank once inhabited these 100 acres of vast New Jersey farmland, but simple farming wasn’t enough to satisfy his ghoulish whims. So he performed crazed experiments, attempting to cross local townspeople genetics with his own twisted vegetation, and the results of these failed misfortunes now roam the land. Experience four spine-chilling attractions on one of the most-terrifying treks of your life, as well as a Creepy Carnival Paintball Ride and kid-friendly non-scary events. But be on the lookout for Frank’s evil grandson, Ax Man, who still tends the crops to this day.

10. Bane Haunted House, Livingston 

The Banes were a seemingly normal family — until Jennifer was bitten by a rabbit her scientist father was experimenting on. That’s when the nightmare began … According to My Central Jersey, Bane is one of the country’s only full-contact haunted houses and boasts one of the highest ‘quit’ rates (from guests asking to leave in the middle). Each unsuspecting visitor is guaranteed to be abducted from the group at some point. Be prepared to crawl, climb, jump, get electrocuted and be locked inside a coffin! Bane also offers three intricate escape rooms. 

Pennsylvania

11. Terror Behind the Walls, Philadelphia

This haunt is located within the cellblocks of Eastern State Penitentiary, America’s most historic prison, which once housed some of the country’s most notorious criminals. Your imagination will have you wondering if that’s an actor lurking in the darkness or a tortured soul left behind to roam the prison’s abandoned corridors. This year’s six attractions — Blood Yard, Infirmary, Machine Shop, Quarantine 4D, Lock Down and Breakout — will have you scrambling to find the nearest exit.

12. ScareHouse, Pittsburgh

Featuring deranged clowns, holiday-themed spirits and hordes of the undead, this indoor attraction will scare you witless. Brave the thrilling Stalked by a Killer Escape Room. The Basement is an intense R-rated experience where guests sign a waiver before encountering high-voltage effects, water, powerful scents and claustrophobic spaces. (Tip: Find out the safe word before entering!)

Do your research before you go. Some haunts are so harrowing they have age restrictions, so you may want to leave the kiddos at home. Gulp.

For a few family-friendly options, check these out:

If you make it out alive, be sure to leave a comment! Or tell us if your favorite didn’t make the list.

21 Awesome Places to Hike in New Jersey

21 Awesome Places to Hike in New Jersey

The outdoors are calling you! Get out of the house this weekend and enjoy the (hopefully) fantastic New Jersey weather. Not sure where to start? There are plenty of great trails to try in the Garden State. Here are 21 awesome places to hike in New Jersey – one for each of our counties. If you know of a great spot, let others know about it by leaving a comment!

Each location offers something different for everyone, so be sure to plan your visit for trail difficulty (some are very easy, some not so much) and park hours.

  • Atlantic: Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bergen: Palisades Interstate Park
  • Burlington: Crystal Lake Park
  • Camden: Blueberry Hill Trails
  • Cape May: Cape May Point State Park
  • Cumberland: Maurice River Bluffs Preserve
  • Essex: South Mountain Reservation
  • Gloucester: Ceres Park
  • HudsonLiberty State Park (great for walkers)
  • Hunterdon: Round Valley Recreation Area (also good for walkers)
  • Mercer: Washington Crossing State Park
  • Middlesex: Cheesequake State Park
  • Monmouth: Hartshorne Woods Park
  • Morris: Jockey Hollow at Morristown National Historical Park
  • Ocean: Double Trouble State Park
  • Passaic: Garret Mountain Reservation
  • Salem: Parvin State Park
  • Somerset: Natirar Park
  • Sussex: High Point State Park
  • Union: Watchung Reservation
  • Warren: Worthington State Forest

If hiking isn’t really your thing, there are plenty of other New Jersey activities to discover, like these 16 Pick Your Own farms across NJ that have a variety of produce available throughout most of the year. Check out the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia, NJ. You can get up close to real wolves. They will usually treat you to a group howl! Check the preserve’s website for hours and fees.

The Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, NJ offers some 42 acres of art and walking trails. For a small fee, you can roam the grounds and check out nearly 300 sculptures.

If you’re just looking for a pretty drive in the Garden State, here are 13 scenic drives to try out. They’re located all over the state, so there’s sure to one close to you!

Summer’s Last Hurrah Events into September

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ — From the last dip in the pool to the Harvest Home Festival, September is filled with family-friendly activities thanks to the Monmouth County Park System. Here’s what is planned:

Open Swim at the Fort: Friday, September 1 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday-Monday, September 2-4 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls Keep cool in the pool! The cost is $7 per person, $20 per family (up to four). Costs are per day; cash or check only.

Boat Tours of the Manasquan Reservoir: Friday, September 1 at 5 p.m. & 6 p.m./Saturday-Monday, September 2-4 at 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m. & 5 p.m.

Manasquan Reservoir, Howell These 45-minute tours are narrated by Park System Naturalists and include opportunities to view local wildlife. The cost is $6 per adult and $4 per child, age 12 and under. Please call to confirm schedule as tours are both weather and water level dependent. All tours leave from the Visitor Center.

Accordion Melodies of the 1890s: Saturday, September 2 from 1-3 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel Hear music from yesteryear played on an accordion. FREE!

Thompson Park Canoe Rentals: Saturday & Sunday, September 2 & 3 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Thompson Park, Lincroft Canoes will be available for rent on Marlu Lake. All equipment provided; limited number of canoes available. Open to ages 3 and up, under 18 with adult. Fee is $15 per boat for 1-3 people for two hours. Cash or check only.

Mill Demonstration: Saturdays & Sundays, September 2 & 3, 9 & 10, 16 & 17, 23 & 24 and 30 & October 1 from 1-4 p.m.

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold See the 19th century gristmill in action. FREE!

Games Galore: Saturday-Monday, September 2-4 from 1-4 p.m.

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold End the summer with a long weekend of family fun by playing some historical games. FREE!

Seabrook-Wilson House Tours: Sundays, September 3, 10, 17 & 24 from 1-4 p.m.

Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth Visit this house, which dates back to the early 1700s, and see displays on the ecology of the bay and local history. FREE!

The Casual Birder: Thursday, September 7 at 9 a.m.

Freneau Woods Park, Aberdeen Join a Park System Naturalist for this laid-back morning bird walk. We’ll meander for about an hour and see what birds we can find. No need to be an expert at identifying birds to enjoy this walk. A limited number of binoculars will be available to borrow if needed. Open to ages 8 and up. FREE!

Co-Ed Open Basketball – 20 & Up: Thursdays, September 7, 14, 21 & 28 from 8-10 p.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls This basketball program is open ages 20 and over. Emphasis of this program is exercise and fun. The cost is $5 per person per session; cash or check only.

Butterfly Walk: Friday, September 8 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Huber Woods Environmental Center, Middletown – Meet in the parking lot.

Friday, September 22 from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Holmdel Park, Holmdel – Meet in the Ramanessin Trail parking lot.

With a Park System Naturalist, identify butterflies found in the fields. Walk may be a mile or more. Open to ages 7 and up, under 18 with adult. FREE!

Amazing Stick Bugs: Saturday & Sunday, September 9 & 10 at 11 a.m.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell Meet these amazing insects up close and learn about them. FREE!

Cookstove Demonstration: Saturday, September 9 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel Visit the outdoor kitchen and see what’s cooking on the woodstove. FREE!

Open Ceramics: Sunday, September 10 from 12:30-4:30 p.m.

Thompson Park Creative Arts Center, Lincroft Choose from a large selection of bisque-fired pottery pieces to glaze and make your own. Children age 12 and under are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult. The cost is $6 per hour plus price of bisque ware; cash or check only. Pieces will be fired in about a week.

Climb Time: Sunday, September 10 from 1-5 p.m. Clayton Park Activity Center, Upper Freehold

Try the Park System’s 25’ portable climbing wall. This is a great opportunity to experience the sport of rock climbing close to home. Climbers must be 42” or taller and age 8 or older (under 18 with adult). FREE!

Bonsai Day: Sunday, September 10 from 12-4 p.m.

Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown Join the Park System and the Deep Cut Bonsai Society for this event that features bonsai demonstrations and displays. Bonsai experts will be on hand to answer questions. Admission and parking are free.

Sunday Fun: Sunday, September 10 from 2-5 p.m.

Clayton Park Activity Center, Upper Freehold View soap making and Shibori dying techniques first hand. Try fabric dying for yourself. The cost for hands-on fabric dying is approximately $3-5 per person; cash or check only.

Men’s Open Gym Basketball: Sundays, September 10, 17 & 24 from 8-10 a.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls Shoot some hoops on our full court gym. The cost is $5 per person per session; cash or check only.

9/11 Memorial Ceremony: Monday, September 11 at 8 a.m.

Mount Mitchill Scenic Overlook, Atlantic Highlands This remembrance ceremony honors the memory of those lost. Rain or shine.

Annual Wind & Sea Festival: Saturday, September 16 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Bayshore Waterfront Park, Port Monmouth Celebrate all things water during this family-friendly event. Activities include kayaking, fishing, kite flying, volleyball, sandcastle building, and so much more. Admission and parking are free. Some activities may have a fee. Parking at the Belford Ferry Terminal.

Jersey Shore Rose Society Show: Saturday, September 16 from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown See the Jersey Shore Rose Society’s 46th Annual Rose Show. Entries submitted for judging will remain on exhibit for visitors from 12:30-3:30 p.m.Free garden tours will be offered and consulting rosarians will be available to answer your questions. FREE!

All About Monarch Butterflies: Saturday & Sunday, September 16 & 17 at 10:30 a.m.

Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center, Howell Join us for an in-depth discussion on these butterflies. FREE!

Cornbread Contest: Sunday, September 17 at 12:30 p.m.

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold Enter into this contest by bringing the equivalent of a 9” x 13” pan of cornbread and a typed copy of your recipe at 12:30 p.m. Visitors will be able to taste and vote on their favorites between 1-2:30 p.m. Winners announced at 3 p.m. FREE!

Corny Joke Contest: Sunday, September 17 at 2:30 p.m.

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold Tell your best family-friendly jokes during this contest. FREE!

Nature Lecture Series: Journey of the Monarch Butterfly in Monmouth County Thursday, September 21 from 7-8 p.m.

Bayshore Waterfront Park Activity Center, Port Monmouth Discover the life history of monarch butterflies, what they eat, their fascinating migrations, and threats to their long-term survival during this talk by a Park System Naturalist. FREE!

School’s Out Drop-In Days: Thursday & Friday, September 21 & 22 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls Enjoy Science Exploration Stations, Take Home Kids Creations, Building Fun, and Open Gym Time during this self-guided program open to ages 5-10. The cost is $5 per child per day; cash or check only.

Open House Barn Dance: Friday, September 22 from 7-9:30 p.m.

Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft Give square dancing a try during this fun, family-friendly barn dance. FREE!

Great Fall Perennial Plant Swap: Saturday, September 23 from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Deep Cut Gardens, Middletown Bring perennials in one-quart, one-gallon or two-gallon containers and take home the same size and number of plants. Please label all plants. Houseplants may also be exchanged, but no annuals please. Plant intake from 8:30-10 a.m. Plant selection from 10-11:30 a.m. FREE!

Roving Naturalist: Saturday, September 23 at 9 a.m.

Huber Woods Park, Middletown Join our Roving Naturalist for a walk and discuss seasonal points of interest, search for signs of wildlife, and identify a bird or two. This is an 1.5-2 hour program, but feel free to join in or drop out at any point. Dress for the weather as light rain is not a deterrent. FREE!

Have a Seat: Weaving Cane: Saturday, September 23 from 1-4 p.m.

Historic Walnford, Upper Freehold See how cane is woven to create a sturdy seat while you learn a bit about furniture history and admire a variety of chair styles and seat materials.FREE!

Open Shoot Archery: Sunday, September 24 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thompson Park Activity Barn, Lincroft Join us for this non-instructional open shoot. All equipment is provided. No outside equipment permitted. Open to ages 10 and up; under 18 with adult . Cost is $10 per person; cash or check only.

Harvest Home Festival: Sunday, September 24 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Historic Longstreet Farm, Holmdel This old-fashioned fair is reminiscent of the 1890s. Visitors can enjoy wagon rides, games and live entertainment. There are also ongoing crafts demonstrations and a Home & Garden competition. Admission and parking are free.

Eek-O-Fabulous Costume Swap: Drop Off: Monday-Friday, September 25-29 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. & Saturday, September 30 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Swap: Sunday, October 1 from 12-2 p.m.

Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Tinton Falls

Upcycle gently used kids’, adults’, and even pet costumes for a spooktacular new-to-you ensemble. Costumes must be dropped off in advance at Dorbrook Recreation Area Visitor Center, Fort Monmouth Recreation Center, Huber Woods Environmental Center, Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center or Thompson Park Visitor Center. For each costume you bring, receive a token entitling you to a “new” costume the day of the swap. FREE!

To learn more about these Park System activities, please visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com or call the Park System at 732-842-4000. For persons with hearing impairment, the Park System TTY/TDD number is 711. The Monmouth County Park System, created in 1960 by the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is Monmouth County’s Open Space, Parks and Recreation agency.

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