9 haunted houses you can visit in southwest Ohio for this season

Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt is one of the area’s popular attractions. FIL PHOTO
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Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt is one of the area’s popular attractions. FIL PHOTO

It’s almost Halloween season, and it’s time to get your scare on. Some of the best local haunts were shuttered due to COVID-19 last year, but many are back. See below for the top local attractions.

Land of Illusion

Come Halloween time, Land of Illusion stays true to its roots as an epic, state-of-the-art scream park. It’s as much amusement park/outdoor rock festival as haunted house. Besides its diversely themed attractions (Temple of Terror, Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate, Phobia, Killer Klowns, Big Mama’s Revenge, the Historical Mystery Mansion, and the Middletown Haunted Trail), Land of Illusion has live music, food and drink, a bonfire, and visiting acts such as The Real Ohio Ghostbusters. (8762 Thomas Road, Middletown. Hours are 7 p.m.-1 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays through Oct. 30. Tickets and passes range from $50-$299. For more information, visit www.landofillusion.com.

Nightmare Manor

This rustic haunted manor realistically depicts the sets of cult classic horror movies. They promise to be bigger and scarier in 2021, though masks will be required and social distancing will be enforced in line outside and inside the manor itself, 1601 S. University Blvd., Ste. A, Middletown. Open daily from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. in September and 7 p.m.-1 a.m. in October. Admission is $17 ($15 if you bring a canned good), $2 parking. For more information, call 513-849-2021 or visit www.nightmaremanor.net.

Halloween Haunt at King’s Island

In these extreme times, it can easily be argued that a 91-mph vertical dive on a roller coaster isn’t thrilling enough. If you come to King’s Island at night during Halloween season, the scares don’t just occur on Orion, the Diamondback, or the Banshee, but also as you wend your way between those rides. You’ll experience scare mazes, scare zones, spooky live entertainment, and creatures lurking in the fog and shadows. 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason. Sept 24-Oct. 30. Hours are 6 p.m.- midnight, Fridays-Saturdays. Admission is $39.99 and up. For more information, call 513-754-5700 or visit www.visitkingsisland.com.

Brimstone Haunt

This classic local haunt has gone through extensive retooling and even a location change in recent years. In 2021, they’re bringing back their four attractions of varying scare levels. There’s the Haunted Hayride (a hayride through a cursed farm, scare level: 2), the Forbidden Forest (a woods walk-through, scare level: 4), Psychosis (a maze walk-through, scare level: 5), and Zombie Assault (an armored bus ride through a zombie-infested apocalypse, scare level: 3). You can buy tickets for individual attractions or purchase combo passes. 525 Brimstone Road, Wilmington. Hours are 7 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays through Oct. 31. Tickets and passes range from $9-$48. For more information, visit www.brimstonehaunt.com.

Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride

The ride is one of only four attractions at this haunt. The bus ride takes you through a fog-filled tunnel and emerges into a forest full of monsters and madness. Inside Eville Asylum, you will encounter the victims of medical experiments (alive and dead). Slaughter Hotel is a 12-story underground hotel that goes straight down to Samuel Slaughter’s secret lab and the honeymoon suite that contains Slaughter and his ill-fated bride. Finally, the Field of Terrors is a haunted maze wherein lurks body snatchers and the notorious serial killer known as The Harvester. 1261 W. Dalton Road, Wilmington. Hours are 7:30 p.m.-midnight through Oct. 30. Tickets are $20-$50. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. For more information, call 937-382-6147.

The Haunted Cave at Lewisburg

Yes, it’s a real limestone cave. Yes, it’s really 80 feet underground. And yes, the bats, all 30,000 of them, are real. Who knows what other creatures and maniacs are lurking in the underground temples and cemeteries? 4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg. Sept.17-25, Oct. 1-30. Hours are 7 p.m.-midnight in September and on Fridays in October, 6 p.m.-midnight Saturdays in October. Tickets are $19-$25 and $10 for children 10 and younger. For more information, visit www.hauntedcaveatlewisburg.com.

All Hallow’s Eve Terror Town

There are two main attractions: The Trail and The Town. The Trail begins at the desecrated church where the Bravado cult practiced their unholy rites, and proceeds to the outskirts of town where the cult’s creations still lurk and possibly a portal to another dimension where the final abomination resides. The Town still looks like a 19th-century village, only the sheriffs and cowboys might look a little zombified these days. The town offers three restaurants serving exotic Western-themed dishes, American comfort food, cocktails and soft drinks. 1449 Greenbrush Cobb Road, Williamsburg. Hours are 7 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays, through Nov. 6. Tickets are $25-$35. For more information, call 513-304-0444 or visit www.allhallowsevellc.com.

Dent Schoolhouse

The Dent Schoolhouse has been recognized by national publications, and every year they build new sets and upgrade their tech and animatronics to maintain that reputation. The haunt is built into an actual schoolhouse where, legend has it, a janitor named Charlie murdered a bunch of children in the early 20th century. Depending on who you talk to, it’s a true story. There’s a lights-on option for kids and a lights-out option where you walk through with nothing but a glow stick. 5963 Harrison Ave., Cincinnati. Hours are 7:30-1 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays, with 7:30 p.m.-12:30 p.m. hours added on Thursdays in October, all through Nov. 6. Tickets are $20-$55. For more information, visit www.frightsite.com.

U.S.S. Nightmare

This classic haunt is a Greater Cincinnati landmark. The haunted dredge features two decks of graphic horror, is over 30 minutes long, and 15 percent of entrants reportedly tap out before the end. There is a lights-on matinee option, a RIP Experience that’s a more immersive walk-through and, finally, the Captain’s Extreme Tour, where you can expect to be touched by the actors, separated from your group, plunged into total darkness, and possibly get wet. 101B Riverboat Row, Newport, Kentucky. Hours are 7 p.m.-1 .am. Fridays-Saturdays, and 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Wednesdays-Thursdays, with 7 p.m.-11 p.m. Sundays added on Octobers, then back to 7 p.m.- 1 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays in November. Tickets and passes range from $18-$100. For more information, visit www.ussnightmare.com.

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