What to Expect in a Haunted House
An actress in the voodoo room inside Hush Haunted Attraction in Westland, Michigan.
Comparing the various types of haunted attractions

Your expectation of each type of attraction should vary greatly. There are several different types of haunted attractions, and they are: 1) indoor haunted houses 2) outdoor scream park 3) haunted hayrides 4) haunted trails/woods. Each type of haunted attraction is unique in its own way. We shall start with indoor haunted attractions.

Indoor haunted houses have the advantage of being the scariest of the three types of attractions, being claustrophobic, darker, and more menacing. They are generally too intense for children and families, but sometimes kids over 12 can handle the immersive experience. The main demographic for indoor haunted houses is individuals aged 18 to 39. The majority of indoor haunted houses are standing year-round, and so they can be worked on by the artists all year round. This enables them to be the most detailed type of attraction, and so you can expect the attractions to be highly detailed and have the best animations.

A few of the indoor haunted houses allow the actors to touch the customers. We don’t recommend these attractions for a number of reasons, but if this is what you are into, you can expect to sign a waiver before you enter. To see if your haunted house of choice allows touching, you can view the FAQ page on their website.

Next, we have outdoor scream parks, which have their advantages and disadvantages as well. Outdoor scream parks generally have more attractions and mazes to enjoy, but the attractions are usually less scary than their indoor counterpart. The best part about outdoor scream parks is the atmosphere. It’s hard to beat the element of the outdoors and a full moon to put haunt-goers in the Halloween spirit. Another pro is that these types of attractions usually have onsite hot food and beverages. They will feel more like potlucks and picnics with a festive spookiness attached to them. Outdoor scream parks appeal to a larger audience, and so you can expect the demographic to be ages 13 to 49.

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Third, we have haunted hayrides, which are a special brand of outdoor scream parks. Haunted hayrides are set outdoors and have haunted houses as well a haunted hayride, which is the main attraction. A haunted hayride consists of a tractor-pulled wagon through the woods or a corn field. A haunted hayride is a very popular experience because they can use lots of effects you would not normally see in an indoor haunted house. Massive animatronics and pyrotechnics are commonly used to enhance the hayride experience. A haunted hayride is a lot more interactive and best for groups and families. Interactive especially in the sense that the actors can even jump up on the wagon with you! There might be carnival themed games and activities to do outside of just the hayride. But the bigger the hayride events are, the more people will come as well. These would be the best ones to attend as early as possible to avoid the long lines and crowds. But the value of feeling like one big horror community campsite is irresistible when it comes to visiting a hayride based haunt. Theme parks like this are rare and only offered in some parts of the country, so it is no wonder why you would not want to share this experience with your friends and loved ones.

Finally, we have haunted trails through the woods. Talk about getting you in the mood for Halloween! At these attractions, you and your group traverse a maze through the woods while actors feast on your fears of the dark. These are the least common haunted attraction of the bunch.

Patrons get scared in a dark corn maze attraction at Hanna Haunted Acres
Patrons get scared in a dark corn maze attraction at Hanna Haunted Acres in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Next, when you venture to a haunted house attraction, there are multiple things to look out for when planning. Probably the most important aspect is crowdedness. Haunted houses are extremely popular in the season of Halloween, and each week closer to Halloween the number of attendees generally increases by the power of 2 for any given day. The busiest weekend of the year is either the last weekend before Halloween, or the weekend before that.

The only pro about visiting a haunted attraction on one of the busiest days is if you love big crowds. But otherwise, the cons are hefty: 1) the the price of admission is oftentimes more expensive 2) the lines can be hours long, and 3) the experience inside the haunted houses can be less enjoyable because you may be crammed between groups in front and behind you. This makes the attractions less scary and more predictable.

But there are good things to expect from a haunted attraction if you attend one at a good time of the month, perhaps on a weekday or earlier in the season. Anytime before October 15th or on any weekday will give you the best experience. Shorter lines and less people are a major player. Less people tend to know about the events early on in the season, and like said above, people usually wait until later in the Halloween season.

Even better is if you arrive to the event before it opens or soon after it opens so that you are near the front of the line. At the beginning of each night, the haunt actors have the most energy to be able to give you an enthusiastic and terrifying experience. Near the end of a long night, many of the actors get exhausted from all of the energy that it takes to scare hundreds if not thousands of people.


If you absolutely must go on one of the busier days in the month, then we recommend that you consider upgrading to a Fast Pass Admission Ticket. A Fast Pass ticket generally will cut your wait time by two-thirds so that you save possibly an hour or two of time. Waiting in line for too long can spoil your experience, so be sure to arrive very early on a busy night or purchasing a Fast Pass to take full advantage of your haunting experience.

Crowds line up in anticipation of Sacramento’s Famous Halloween event
Crowds line up in anticipation of Sacramento’s Famous Halloween event: Ultimate Terror Scream Park.

Some haunted attractions have additional entertainment, usually in the form of mini escape rooms or axe throwing rooms. Both are taking the country by storm and are nice breaks from the horror and thriller section of your nights. Escape rooms are short 5-minute games in which you work together with your group to find clues and escape a room you are “trapped” in. Axe throwing is a super communal pastime in which you learn how to lob axes at targets with the help of trainers or “axe-perts” if you will. These activities are now offered at haunted houses throughout the country and are already beloved by many. We highly recommend you try them to enhance your evening!

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Unfortunately, refunds are not usually allowed at haunted house attractions, but the flip side is your ticket is pretty much valid until you use it. By that, we mean that if you bought a ticket for a specific date but were unable to attend that date, your ticket is usually still good to be used any other day the haunted house is open. Many uphold this policy. Just do not lose your ticket or the email in which your ticket has been given to you through!

Next, haunted houses usually have the policy that they are not responsible for any lost items. We highly recommend you leave certain valuables and belongings at home or in the trunk of your car. If you do not need it, do not bring it. Also, make sure not to wear any jewelry or high heels to the attraction to avoid potential injury. Jewelry can get caught in various types of fabrics hanging from the ceiling. Other items such as lighters, e-cigarettes, and pocket knives are almost never allowed in a haunted attraction because of the potential hazard. And purses will need to be checked upon entry if you do not plan on leaving it at home or in your car. Some haunts uphold this guideline, others simply might not let you in with said purse. Again, if you do not need it at the moment, do not bring it.

A creepy hallway with CGI-animated windows inside Hush Haunted Attraction
A creepy hallway with CGI-animated windows inside Hush Haunted Attraction in Westland, Michigan.

Overall, if you are entering a haunted attraction with anticipation and excitement, you are much more likely to enjoy yourself and have a fun time. Haunted houses are meant to instill you with emotions, whether it is fear or laughter.

Some individuals may not get very scared in a haunted attraction, but there should be something for everyone, and so make sure to savor the moment by enjoying the scenery, atmosphere, and by laughing and screaming with friends and family.

We hope you take advantage of a local haunted attraction this Halloween season. Have a wonderful and safe holiday.

So Visit a Haunted House Attraction!

All in all, you should visit a haunted house attraction this Halloween season! If you have never been to a professional haunted house before, then you are in for a treat. Haunted houses allow us to experience our primal fears in a controlled environment. They can be fantastic stress relievers, and are a blast to share with family and friends. Please use our site as a guide to find the best haunted house attraction for you. To see attractions in your area, click here.