October is upon us, and that of course means that haunted attractions are once again springing up around the tristate area. As the cool fall air sets in and darkness comes earlier and earlier, thrill seekers of all ages can explore everything from former asylums to dense woods to even prisons for good old-fashioned jump scares. Here is a round-up of can’t-miss attractions in the Philadelphia area that are guaranteed to make this Halloween one to remember.
Eastern State Penitentiary
2027 Fairmount Ave.
Terror Behind the Walls in the Fairmount neighborhood of Philadelphia is an annual classic, one which draws crowds from within the area and beyond. With top notch production values and some of the best trained actors around, visitors will be able to experience the terrifying life behind real prison walls. As an added bonus, the penitentiary, which is a historic landmark in its own right, remains open for tours even when Terror Behind the Walls is set up. Additionally, whether you are there for a tour or there for the nighttime scares, you can get an up-close look at the site’s cold, abandoned prison cells, including that which held noted gangster Al Capone.
Church Street and Bridge Road, Spring City, Pennsylvania
Nestled in deep, dark woods in the Chester County town of Spring City, the Pennhurst Asylum is certainly worth the lengthy trek from Philadelphia. A functioning state asylum throughout much of the 20th century, it was closed in 1987 after numerous counts of patient abuse and mistreatment surfaced. Left to rot, it was acquired by local preservationists and partially reopened as a museum and recycling center. During the Halloween season, however, the Pennhurst Asylum attraction takes advantage of the site’s spooky state and rich history to bring memorable scares to anyone brave enough to enter. Four attractions are situated on the site: the asylum itself, the Dungeon of Lost Souls, Tunnel Terror and Ghost Hunt. The latter option is not rife with character actors or special effects, but is rather a self-guided hunt for restless spirits in the campus’ Mayflower Dormitory, which has gone untouched since being abandoned over 25 years ago and is purportedly the most legitimately haunted structure on the property.
Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride
1835 N. Middletown Road, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania
The dark, winding road that carries Route 352 from Media to Newtown Square in central Delaware County is almost always backed up with traffic waiting to enter the Bates Motel each Halloween season. This 25-year-old staple of the community is situated on the sprawling acres of Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills. Visitors can opt to visit one (or all) of the attraction’s three different haunts: the famed Haunted Hayride, the Haunted Corn Maze and of course the Bates Motel itself.
309 Port Penn Road, Middletown, Delaware
Roughly an hour’s drive south of Philadelphia into deep New Castle County, Delaware, lies the award-winning haunted attraction Frightland. During the daylight hours, visitors can enjoy an assortment of carnival amusement rides and light shopping and dining options. When night falls, however, the true spirit of Frightland takes over, where visitors can check out no less than eight different haunted areas, including the Haunted Barn, the Haunted Hayride and Zombie Prison. Frightland also offers a paranormal ghost hunt.
Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure
1 Six Flags Blvd., Jackson, New Jersey
While other amusement parks tend to close their gates for the season once Labor Day comes and goes, the thrills at Six Flags Great Adventure are far from over. At nighttime on select dates throughout October, the sprawling park in Jackson, New Jersey, transforms into Fright Fest, offering visitors the opportunity to check out engaging interactive haunts and frightening (and frighteningly funny) live entertainment shows, including a magic show and circus sideshow. What’s more, several rides remain open and even turn up the intensity on their own thrills during the Halloween season.