As summer gives way to fall, there’s a chill in the air -- and spooky things start to rear their heads.
While Dayton has a lot of great (and terrifying) attractions, there are some great ones well worth the short drive...should you make it out alive.
Here are some of the scariest haunts in Dayton and some that are worth the drive:
DENT HAUNTED SCHOOLHOUSE
5963 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati | (513) 445-9767
All good haunts need a good backstory, and this place has a pretty good one. As the legend goes, students began disappearing from the old Dent Public School (built in 1884) in 1942. More students would go missing for the next several years until people started noticing a foul smell emanating from the basement. In 1955, an angry mob, frustrated over the unsolved mystery, discovered the school janitor had killed their sons and daughters and allowed their bodies to rot in the basement. The janitor got away (or did he?), but the spirits of the dead children haunt the place, seeking revenge.
Details: This is considered one of the top haunts in Cincinnati, and both The Travel Channel and USA Today have named Dent one of the scariest haunted houses in the country. Hauntworld.com named it #9 on its Top 13 Scariest Haunted Houses of the World list for 2016.You’re led through the schoolhouse to various grizzly scenes while more than 50 actors (we think they’re all just actors) try to scare you into next week. Reviewers report waiting in line as long as two hours to get inside this haunt, however, you can skip ahead of the line if you’re willing to pay more.
Cost: $20 (general admission), $35 (fast pass admission)
Dates: Sept. 15-Nov. 4
LAND OF ILLUSION SCREAM PARK
8762 Thomas Road, Middletown | (513) 423-9960
This is a haunt that goes beyond just walking through a series of dark rooms with strobe lights. For one thing, there are four separate haunted houses and a haunted trail, all included with your general admission. There also are live bands (which can sometimes be scary, too, depending on your tastes). Thrill-ride lovers can purchase an additional ticket for the Demon Drop. If you’re the type who’s been counting the days until the new season of "The Walking Dead," you’ll hone your zombie-killing skills by becoming a member of the Zombie Sniper Patrol, which is also a separate admission fee. One thing that sets this place apart is a bar serving beer and cocktails as well as plenty of snacks and concessions.
Details: The Land of Illusion Scream Park has been scaring the bejesus out of people for almost 20 years. It’s a popular attraction that also features a Zombie 5K run (Sept. 23) in which you can be chased by the flesh-hungry undead.
Dates: Sept. 1-Nov. 4
Cost: $36.99 (general admission), $53.99 (Fast Pass)
LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE
4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg
More than a half mile of fright await you as you venture into this wicked attraction. The "Guinness Book of World Records" named the Lewisburg Haunted Cave the longest walk-through haunted house in 2010. There are also 500 feet of bridges to traverse if you want to have any hope of making it out alive.
Details: Darkness is the scare merchant’s best friend, and there’s plenty of that here. Sure, there may be some tricks here and there, but the more than 30,000 bats are 100 percent real. The Lewisburg Historical Society offers a historic wagon ride tour that is not scary at all.
Dates: Sept. 15-Oct. 28
Cost: $17 (adults), $8 (children 10 and under)/ Wagon rides are $8(adult), $4 (children)
427 Brimstone Rd., Wilmington| (513) 409-0644
This haunted hayride is put together by the producers of Ohio Renaissance Festival and Celtic Fest Ohio, along with a group who helped put on the now-defunct Springboro Haunted Hayride and Black Bog.
Details: Aside from the haunted hayride, which brings you into a cursed land of monsters and evil spirits, this location offersa mysterious walk in the woods of the Forgotten Forest. It seems many have sought answers to the aforementioned mysteries. Predictably, none have returned.
Dates: Sept. 30-Oct. 29 (Friday and Saturdays only)
Cost: $13 for the hayride, $10 for the Forgotten Forest ($20for both)
RIVERSIDE JAYCEES HAUNTED CASTLE OF CARNAGE, BLOODY HOLLOW & MAZE
1213 Old Harshman Road, Riverside | (937) 254-2576
The Riverside Jaycees use their haunted attractions to give back to the community by helping young adults gain leadership skills. This attraction is run entirely by volunteers.
Details: This may be the most “boo” for your buck, with three attractions included for one reasonable price. If you make it through the Haunted Castle of Carnage, you’ll have the Trail of Terror to contend with. Still alive? Great. How about making your way through a 6,000 square foot maze? Parking is free and there are concessions available. You can jump to the front of the line for $10 more on Fridays and Saturdays until midnight. Save yourself $3 on a regular admission by printing out the coupon on the main website.
Dates: Sept. 22-Oct. 29 (Fridays through Sundays)
Cost: $15 (general admission), $25 (fast pass)
DAYTON SCREAM PARK
5117 Valley Pike, Dayton | (937) 397-2273
This haunted location promises to throw everything at you, including the haunted kitchen sink. Psychopaths on four wheelers and cars chase you along a trail with more than 30 gruesome scenes and more than 60 live monsters. A maze and a special section where the frights from the silver screen make their way into your living nightmares are also included in the admission price.
Details: The Dayton Scream Park has continued to tinker and expand on its more than 20 acres of bloodletting madness. This year’s Rat Trap has apparently doubled in size and is even more difficult from which to escape.
Dates: Sept. 15-Oct. 31(Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: $20 (general admission)
WILMINGTON HAUNTED HOLLOW RIDE
1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington | (937) 382-6147
Named a must-see haunt by Haunted Attraction Magazine the from 2013-15, this attraction continues to add to its creep factor. You can board a bus that takes you through a forest of horrifying scenes while being chased by fire breathing semis. There’s also the Terror Corn Maze, Slaughter Hotel and Nightmare Penitentiary to contend with. A recent addition is the 4D Hillbilly Simulated Coffin Ride, which is supposed to give you the feeling of being buried alive.
Details: The demented folks at Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride make changes to their attractions every year, so it’s not the same old and tired show. Did I mention fire-breathing semi-trucks?
Dates: Sept. 16-Oct. 28(Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: $5-$25 (general admission), $45(fast pass)
KINGS ISLAND HALLOWEEN HAUNT
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason | (513) 754-5700
With mazes, 20 rides, three “scare zones” and three musical attractions, there’s no shortage of things to encounter this year at Kings Island. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive deal -- which includes parking, a fast pass, a meal and access to all the attractions -- you’ll spend $99.99.
Details: It can get pricey to run the gamut of the entire Halloween Haunt experience, but no other haunt in our area can compete with the rides the amusement park has to offer. Parking is an additional charge.
Dates: Sept. 22-Oct. 28(Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: $31.99-$99.99 (before additional fees)
YOUNG’S DAIRY HAUNTED WAGON RIDES
6880 Springfield Xenia Road, Yellow Springs | (937) 325-0629
This experience begins with a visit to the Storytelling Theatre where you and your family are properly prepped for the goosebumps sure to follow. Then you’re taken into a dark cornfield where scary things await.
Details: The emphasis of this haunt is on the family. So it’s not designed to be too scary for children. No one chases or grabs you. It’s just enough for lighthearted fun.
Dates: Sept. 29-Oct. 28(Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: $11(ages 5 and up)
QUEEN CITY IS HAUNTED TOUR
1332 Vine St., Cincinnati | (859) 951-8560
Like a little history with your hauntings? Take this tour and learn about the people and the events that led to Cincinnati being considered one of the most haunted places in America.
Details: The tour, which takes roughly 90 to 120 minutes, has been mentioned in various national publications and television shows, including Forbes, National Geographic and the New York Daily News. You can save some scratch by clicking this link, but hurry before time expires…
Dates: Sept. 17-Oct. 29 (Fridays and Saturdays)
Have a favorite spooky place? Let us know about it: firstname.lastname@example.org