For anyone that doesn’t know us personally, we absolutely love Halloween! Typically my wife and I will decorate in early September and start our Horror Movie Marathons. We will literally sit and watch multiple Horror movies a night until the holiday is over, which usually means we watch a lot. Starting so early gives us time to properly enjoy the holiday in my opinion since we also love to search out attractions in the Louisville area and cram as many in as possible.
These not only include Haunted Houses but we also look for family friendly events that I can bring my son to. One of our new favorite places is the Deere Farms Corn Maze in Lanesville, IN. They provide multiple activities for children and the entire family. It’s fairly inexpensive and typically we will finish out our visit with a trip out to the pumpkin patch. While I do love kid friendly attractions, we aren’t here to talk about that are we?
Let’s talk about some Haunted Houses shall we? Anymore there are certainly no shortage of attractions, so where do you start? Which are the best? Which are the scariest? What is the best value? Every year I ask these questions and every year I try to answer them.
Step 1: Visit Danger Run
Every year I make this my first stop for the simple fact of, you don’t really know where it will take you. I would hate to visit an attraction and then find out it’s a stop on the Danger Run. I absolutely love Danger Run and the adventure that comes with having a car load of friends trying to solve clues and discover each haunt. For those unfamiliar, you begin by picking a starting gate. From here you get your tickets, clue book, and vampire teeth. In my experience it works best if you assign one person the task of reading the clues and everyone else focuses on solving the clues and helping to navigate. I highly recommend picking the occupants of your car carefully since you may have a few disagreements along the way.
One started you will get clues like “A turn from this lot was the way I’d depart. I could have gone left… but that’s not very smart.” This obviously indicating you make at right out of the parking lot. The clues continue following local landmarks and can actually become pretty difficult. Arriving at your first haunt you are given your next booklet and the adventure continues.
But how are the haunts? This year was something different as the folks at Danger Run included two Danger Run Exclusive haunts and one of Louisville’s Premiere attractions. I can’t tell you where exactly it takes you (that would ruin the fun) but I can say that the final location is well known and has been around for quite sometime. How are the two exclusive haunts? Well I think the people at Danger Run are on the right track. At the start of the season the attractions were insanely short, however due to feedback they increased the duration to around ten minutes. I personally didn’t think they were bad, but you aren’t going to get the same impressive visuals that some of the permanent attractions provide. I do think that it’s a very smart move to go into that direction and I look forward to seeing them build on this idea and continue putting more energy in making these haunts stand on their own against some of the other industry giants.
I can honestly say that Danger Run is in fact worth the price of admission given how much fun it is to solve the clues and spend the evening with your friends. Not to mention you are given Dairy Queen Coupons and $10 in gas with a car load of four. Driving down back roads and wondering if you are going the right way is an absolute blast. At one point we were driving down a country road (in the pitch black) and came across a local wandering around in the darkness. This was probably the scariest part of the evening and we couldn’t stop debating on why exactly he was even out there. It’s these type of experiences that are unscripted and provide a sense of excitement that can’t be found at any other attraction. Not knowing where your next haunt will be adds even more tension to the evening. You could be pulling up to a house, or someone’s shed… who knows?
Step 2: Go on a Ghost Tour
A slightly different experience but I highly recommend mixing things up by going on one of these tours. Enjoy a evening walking to a handful of “Haunted” locations and hearing some of the creepiest stories behind them. Mr. Ghost Walker accompanies you and tells of not only his experiences, but those of various staff members and residents of the highlighted locations. I have been on a couple of these tours and I can say that Robert is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly providing a terrific experience for all of his guests. Being able to ask questions and never feel like I was being a nuisance was certainly a plus. You will be taken to some of Louisville’s most notorious sites and have plenty of photo opportunities to try and capture your own anomalies.
I highly recommend spending the evening out learning more about the city and hearing these amazing stories. I only wish that more locations would be added in the future to give us the opportunity to hear even more of these stories. Until then Robert has a selection of three books for purchase to give you even more insight into our hometown.
Step 3: Visit The Haunted Hotel
This year we have visited quite a few haunts and this was certainly one of my favorites. Having been around for 20+ years they obviously have the science of fear down. Let’s make something clear though… Halloween is my element and I don’t really get scared in any of these attractions ( I realize I’m an exception) so while I absolutely love going to any haunt I can find, I don’t really ever feel any sense of fear. I don’t mean for this to sound macho or conceded but I’m just trying to setup my reasoning for recommending this attraction.
The Haunted Hotel is labeled as an “Extreme Haunt” meaning they are allowed to touch you and do what they can (within reason) to try and get your adrenaline going. I feel like this honestly added a lot to the experience given the fact that you never really knew how far they were going to take things. Unlike other attractions where they may touch your shoulder or grab your arm, I got man handled a few times and my wife got picked up with a bear hug and (easily) slammed into a table. I’m glad that a haunt this like exists in Louisville and I never felt like they took things too far. For this reason alone I highly recommend adding this attraction to your list every year.
Aside from that aspect of the haunt, I really enjoyed the first 80% of the experience. The Haunted Hotel absolutely plays up the hotel aspect of things and each room provides some really great actors and incredible props to look at. The stand out performance for me was the entire elevator sequence. I won’t go into much detail, but this guy really brings the word actor to a whole different level.
The final portion of the experience wasn’t terrible but I thought focused too much on the chainsaw aspect of things. You will find yourself winding and twisting through a ridiculously long hallway while being chased by maniacs wielding chainsaws. I realize for some this would be a nightmare, but after a few moments I felt like this portion could have used a bit more variety. Perhaps maybe a few scenes in the middle to mix things up? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this hindered my experience and seeing people run out into the street after leaving tells me this formula works. I just thought this portion was a bit long and since every haunted house now includes a chainsaw it seemed a little overdone.
With that out of the way The Haunted Hotel is a highly recommended stop and I think every actor earns their place bringing nothing short of terrific performances. On a side note you should consider purchasing the VIP tickets to avoid as much of the line as possible.
Step 4: Visit The Industrial Terrorplex
This is kind of a tricky one to recommend since this is the final year in it’s current location. However it has been stated numerous times that they will be moving to Louisville and I only hope they find a location just as accommodating as their current offering. Bringing four outstanding attractions under one roof brings a terrific value to attendees. For a $30 pass you are given access to all four of their haunts and each one is equally exciting and worth your time. I have no problem recommending this package to anyone due to the insane level of visual delight that they will experience on each visit.
From a 3D carnival to a 20 foot monster surrounded by toxic waste, I found absolutely no shortage of props to look at. It’s very easy to loose your sense of direction and become completely immersed in every scene due to the large scale and length of the attractions. Like The Haunted Hotel, Industrial Nightmare also includes a note worthy elevator experience. Again I won’t attempt to ruin the experience by giving too much detail but I can say that this moment actually made me jump. (which is a feat)
I highly recommend The Haunted Hotel and Industrial Terrorplex for two different reasons, but I feel like combining the two will bring a terrific experience to anyone looking for a fun holiday experience.
The Devil’s Attic
A great experience filled with terrific props and style. One of the things that stood out to me was the quality of the masks in this attraction. They were some of the greatest that I have ever seen and I would really like to see this haunt continue to grow and expand. One of the other stand outs were the actors roaming the parking lot and taunting the crowd. They brought a ton of personality and fun to wait.
Literally, A Haunted House
Located in New Albany at the Culbertson Mansion, this haunt brings what appears to be a more family friendly experience. There are some really terrific actors in this haunt and each scene is extremely active. Again the props are really great and I thought the coffin ride towards the end was an awesome touch.
The theme of this haunt was that of an asylum and I thought the storyline was showcased more than the other attractions. I was also really impressed with the level of interaction to each member of the group. I felt as if no one was left out from the experience and each scene managed to impress.
One thing worth mentioning is all of the actors are volunteers and all proceeds go towards the restoration of the site. There is also storytelling on site a few times throughout the evening, but we weren’t able to attend this due to the length of time waiting in line and very limited storytelling times. I would like to see this expanded more in the future.