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The Nation's Best Halloween Haunts

Published Oct 28th 2007, 5:59pm by Jody DeVere in Featured Articles

Americasbesthaunts Paving the Path to the Paranormal, Thrill Park Experts Name Top U.S. Haunt Attractions: 'America's Best Haunts' Give Thrill-Seekers a Guidebook to the Best Fright Factories for 2007

America's Best Haunts, LLC, the authority on premier haunted attractions throughout the country, has released its official list of the top frights for 2007. Established as the only expert resource of its kind, America's Best Haunts (www.americasbesthaunts.com) scoured the U.S. to select only 11 among hundreds of thrill attractions to honor with its prominent seal. There should be something on this list within driving distance for most folks, and even if it's more than a few hours, why not make a weekend of it? Halloween is nigh upon us, but many of these venues extend the festivities into the first weeks of November, so it's not too late to enjoy the scary fun.

Catering to the more than 20 million Americans who visited haunted houses in 2006 (according to the National Retail Federation), the one-of-a-kind guide for thrill-seekers highlights the best of the worst fright factories from New York to California.

An esteemed panel of judges, with more than 100 cumulative years of experience in the thrill park industry, stringently evaluated haunted houses across the country based on a broad list of criteria, including:
* Special Effects
* Overall Intricacy of Attraction and Characters
* Consumer Value and Appeal
* Fear Factor
* Marketing
* Longevity in the Marketplace
* Safety

Once associated with basic tents and street fairs, today's more sophisticated spook factories feature everything from Hollywood-quality makeup to top of the line technology and special effects. Meanwhile, a growing market of hungry consumers is paying anywhere from $20 to $50 for an average ticket.

"From small towns to major theme parks, the haunt business is growing in popularity across the country, as are ticket-holders' expectations for bigger and better thrills each year," said Steve Kopelman of America's Best Haunts. "Our team of haunt experts searched every eerie crevice of the U.S. to find the very best attractions to be marked with our stamp of approval."

Following months of analysis, America's Best Haunts selected the following attractions as the 2007 top picks:

Bennettscurse_2 Bennett's Curse, Baltimore, MD: Bennett's Curse - House of the Vampyres is Maryland's can't-miss attraction come Halloween. Revolutionizing fright entertainment, its unique special effects and attractions are sure to leave visitors screaming. From the "Dominion of Darkness" to the "Sanctuary of Insanity," its mazes and paranormal illusions make for an unforgettable adventure.

WoodsofterrorWoods of Terror, Greensboro, NC: Woods of Terror will celebrate its 16th season this year. Located on 20 acres, it comprises numerous haunted houses, a hay ride, corn maze and a midway. On October 12 and 13, Woods of Terror will host a special eerie guest - Doug Bradley, "Pinhead" from the Hellraiser films.

RealmofdarknessRealm of Darkness, Pontiac, MI: The Realm of Darkness transports more than 25,000 visitors each year back to medieval times with an adventure deep into this enchanted castle. Visitors control their own destiny, traveling through the spooky castle walls. If they choose their path wisely, they'll be rewarded. If not, their fate will surely be grim.


Thenest The Nest, Phoenix, AZ: Located just outside Phoenix, Arizona, The Nest is a journey through the barn of Arizona's most notorious serial killer, Jacob Kell. Visitors first venture through the graveyard where all 35 of his victims are buried and later experience The Carnage, 5,000 square feet that represents the torture "Killer Kell" reaped upon his victims.

Screamworld Screamworld, Houston, TX: Screamworld is Houston's longest running haunted attraction. From 2004 - 2006, it was voted Houston's scariest haunted attraction by the Houston Chronicle and Houstonhaunts.com. Screamworld comprises 5 attractions: The Haunted Hotel, The Edge of Darkness, Monsters in 3D, The Maze of Maniacs and The Tobias Strange Family Cemetery.

Nightmare Nightmare, New York, NY: Rated as AOL Cityguide's "No. 1 Haunted Attraction in America," Nightmare is primed to spook its way into its fourth season. Located on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the haunt features 23 rooms that each host a different spirit waiting to inflict a unique brand of fear on the unwary.


Terroronthefox Terror on the Fox, Green Bay, WI: 2007 will mark the 10th season for one of Wisconsin's top Halloween traditions, Terror on the Fox. To celebrate, it will feature its newest attraction, Torment, which tests the limits of fear with vertigo, claustrophobia, chainsaws, darkness, rats, snakes and much more.

Thrillvania Thrillvania, Dallas, TX: Thrillvania is the nationally-acclaimed thrill park featuring six different haunted attractions, a midway with fun and games, food and beverages and a haunted store. Founded nearly 20 years ago, the renowned park is located on 50 acres of haunted property approximately 30 miles east of Dallas. Attracting more than 25,000 visitors each Halloween season, Thrillvania is the premier area attraction for discerning thrill seekers.

Thehauntedmansion The Haunted Mansion, Disneyland, Anaheim, CA: Established in 1969, visitors to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland first experience the mysterious stretching room and portraits that transform before their eyes. Later, a "Doom Buggy" waits to transport visitors to a world of humorous houseguests, silly dances and ghostly galas. As they depart, the 999 happy haunts wish them well.

Halloweenhorrornights_2 Universal Horror Nights, Orlando, FL (and Hollywood, CA): Now in its 17th year, Halloween Horror Nights was Amusement Today's "2006 Golden Ticket Award" winner for the best Halloween event. Annually drawing hundreds of thousands of horror fans from around the globe, the event promises to break new ground this year with all new frights and immersive thrills never before imagined.

Frightfest Frightfest, St. Louis, MO: Each October, Six Flags resorts host FrightFest, a Halloween celebration that is tough to stay away from. The celebration features haunted houses, frighteningly entertaining shows and beloved Warner Brother's characters. Entertaining for young and old, Frightfest provides fun and terrifying excitement all in one place.


About America's Best Haunts
Established in 2007, Americas Best Haunts (www.americasbesthaunts.com) is the only expert resource of its kind on the Web, identifying the most superior haunted attractions in the country for today's discerning fright lovers.

By Brandy Schaffels
Contributing Editor

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