It’s Halloween weekend, and there’s no better time for a weekend straight out of your worst nightmares.
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.
This is the final weekend for some of the region’s biggest haunts, including Lewisburg Cave, Brimstone Haunt and the Riverside Jaycees haunted house and Kings Island’s Halloween Haunt.
Several other destinations are open on Halloween, Oct. 31, and/or into next weekend, including Land of Illusion, Springfield’s Hotel of Terror and the Wilmington Haunted Hollow Ride.
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
This is considered one of the top haunts in Cincinnati, and has been recognized as a top national attraction by Fangoria, HautWorld.com, FrightFind, Haunted Attraction magazine and America Haunts.
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: 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. New rooms this year include a memorial to the murdered children with portraits that seem strangely alive, an upgraded kitchen with a meat saw, conveyor belt, and trash dump that all guests must walk through, a ghost dance in the auditorium, and man-sized spiders in the basement. New tech includes projection mapping and the introduction of smells in addition to the assault on your other senses.
Cost: $20-25 (general admission), $+20 (fast pass admission, online only), $+30 (front of the line admission)
Dates: Open through Oct. 31 Thursday through Sunday.
😱LAND OF ILLUSION SCREAM PARK
8762 Thomas Road, Middletown | (513) 423-9960
Middletown’s premier scream park offers six haunted attractions in one setting. Of course, you’ll want to experience them all, and there’s plenty of food, drink, live entertainment, and places to sit down to let your heart recover.
Details: The Land of Illusion Scream Park has been scaring the bejesus out of people for almost 20 years. One thing that sets this place apart is a bar serving beer and cocktails as well as plenty of snacks and concessions.
• Phobia: Land of Illusion’s most recent haunt plays on popular fears, whether they be spiders, bugs, or enclosed spaces.
• Temple of Terror: Enter this temple, and you’ll be confronted by the angry souls of civilizations long dead.
• Killer Klowns Haunted Maze: It’s not just the inhabitants you have to fear, but the dizzy tunnel and intricate mazes that might leave you trapped and paralyzed to the point where the homicidal clowns can take their time coming to get you.
• Dr. Psycho’s Haunted Estate: Dr. Psycho liked to take his patients apart much more than putting them back together. Come inside and see the results, if you dare.
• Zombie Sniper Patrol: Introduced just when “The Walking Dead” was gaining popularity, the Sniper Patrol lets you join a crack zombie-hunting unit aboard a U.S. military cargo truck and shoot zombies with lethal paintballs. For the first time this year, the sniper patrol will be included in the admission price.
• Middletown Haunted Trail: This walking trail has gotten longer and changed themes several times over the years, making for a classic that never gets old.
Dates: Through Oct. 31, 8 a.m.-2 a.m., Fridays-Saturdays, 8:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays
Cost: $49.99 (Friday and Saturday all-night pass), $19.99 for single attraction. Additional ticket options here.
😱LEWISBURG HAUNTED CAVE
4392 Swishers Mill Road, Lewisburg
More than a half mile of fright awaits you as you venture into this wicked attraction located 80 feet below ground in a Limestone Cave. Oh, and there are 30,000 live bats. 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. This haunted attraction is so great its part of a USA Today poll on best haunted attractions, and only one of a few in Ohio on the list.
Dates: Sept. 13-Oct. 26. The attraction is open from 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, with extended hours on Saturdays in October opening at 6 p.m.
Cost: $19-23 (adults), $8 (children 10 and under)/ Historic wagon rides are $10 (adult), $5 (children)
427 Brimstone Road, 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. This haunted attraction is back for a third year. You could spend a day at the Ren Fest, and your evening at this haunted attraction!
Details: Here’s what to expect at three attractions on site:
Brimstone Haunted Hayride: The Brimstone Farm was once a prosperous family farm. Now, it is a place full of long-lost memories, stories, and curses. Many horrors have been reported in these fields but not many are willing to talk about the events that occur in the corn. Come see what’s waiting for you around every twist and turn.
Forgotten Forest: This is no ordinary woods walk. The Forgotten Forest is a place shrouded in mystery. Many people have gone searching for answers to the unnatural events that occur in and around the forest, but none have ever returned. Only the bravest should dare enter these trees and IF you make it back out, you will not be the same as when you went in.
NEW: Psychosis: Around every dark corner awaits disturbing scenes of horror that will pull you further from reality. Get the yell scared out of you as you wind through the dark maze-like pathways trying to find a way out. Or surrender to the darkness and join the horror in a permanent state of Psychosis.
Dates: Sept. 28-Oct. 27 (Friday and Saturdays only). The ticket office opens at 7 p.m. and closes at midnight.
Cost: $15 for the hayride, $12 for the Forgotten Forest; $8 for Psychosis ($27 for all)
😱RIVERSIDE JAYCEES HAUNTED CASTLE OF CARNAGE, TRAIL & 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. The thing that makes this haunted attraction so special is that it is run entirely by volunteers and proceeds support the non-profit’s community projects year-round.
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.
Dates: Sept. 20-Oct. 27 (Fridays through Sundays)
Cost: $15 (general admission), $25 (fast pass). You can jump to the front of the line for $10 more on Fridays and Saturdays until midnight.
😱DAYTON SCREAM PARK
5117 Valley Pike, Dayton | (937) 397-2273
This haunted location promises to throw everything at you, including the haunted kitchen sink. Hillbilly Hay Ride attractions, Haunted Trail with 30 scenes and 40 live monsters and Rat Trap Maze.
Details: The Dayton Scream Park has continued to tinker and expand on its more than 20 acres of bloodletting madness. Their trails feature over 30 scenes with more than 60 live “monsters” and “insane clowns.” One ticket gets you into all attractions
Dates: Open through Nov. 2 (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, this attraction continues to add to its creep factor. This annual haunt boasts five attractions that, if not entirely new in 2019, have received an extreme makeover.
Details: Here’s what to expect:
•Death Trap: The attraction formerly known as Buried Alive is not for the faint of heart. Six people will enter a room. Five people will each be assigned a different gory task. Only until all five have completed their tasks will their friend be set free. The haunt is also keen to remind you that you assume all liability for anything that happens in the Trap. So, be prepared.
•The Ride: The Ride’s famous fire-breathing semi-trucks will chase you through a course filled with obstacles and demons. Beware the Rattlesnake Mine and Farmer Dave.
•Eville Asylum: When Dr. Eville bought this asylum from the state, he sequestered not only his patients but his medical staff, freeing them to torture their patients with impunity. Would you like to see the resulting living and dead? (Hint: the dead are still mobile, too).
•Slaughter Hotel: This underground hotel was built by a disfigured eccentric who had an unhealthy interest in “afterlife reanimation techniques.” Rumor has it his lab is still buried in the hotel somewhere, and there might still be something living within it.
New in 2019, a “line entertainment” game will test your knowledge of horror trivia as you wait to enter the various attractions, making those long line waits a little more bearable.
Dates: Sept. 21-Nov. 2 (Fridays and Saturdays). Open from 7:30 p.m. until midnight.
Cost: $22-$28, $48 (fast pass), $5 (death trap), free for children 5 and younger. CASH ONLY
😱KINGS ISLAND HALLOWEEN HAUNT
6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason | (513) 754-5700
It’s only appropriate that a park featuring thrill rides should have a popular annual Halloween attraction. Indeed, the King’s Island Haunt contains nine haunted mazes, four outdoor scare zones, and three live shows. Plus the rides! You many need to ride the Diamondback just to calm down.
Details: This year, a few new scares are in store including:
• Shipwrecked: Explore a town full of ghoulish merchants, pirates and ruffians that would’ve scared Blackbeard himself.
• Rivertown Reaping: Rivertown was a thriving mining and logging community until its population was wiped out by a plague. Do you dare interact with the ghosts who remain?
• Zombie Mall: This is the only market where a good deal costs you a few body parts.
• International Street Fear: Strange and mysterious creatures lurk in the shadows and leap out of every corner on this thoroughfare that transcends time and place, life and death.
Other scares include a circus freakshow, bloody masquerade ball, evil farmers and more. When you need to take a break, check out some light-hearted (but still plenty spooky) shows, such as Haunted Homecoming, Monster Rock and, new this year, Drums of the Dead, celebrating Dia de los Muertos.
Dates: Sept. 20-Oct. 27 (Fridays and Saturdays)
Cost: Starting at $33.99
😱FACE YOUR FEARS HOTEL OF TERROR
1291 Cold Springs Road, Springfield | 937-605-1040
Face your fears is an intense haunted house, that will take you back in time to a hotel from the 1850s. Each room in the haunted house has a “hotel theme.” Guests will receive their room key upon arrival, hang-out at the bar, walk by the library, and visit the “swamp” outside of the house. Last year, the Hotel of Terror was voted the #1 Scariest Haunt in Ohio out of 160 haunted attractions by Scare Factor. The hotel also made the top 10 must-see haunt list.
>> PHOTOS: Hotel of Terror ranked scariest
Dates: Sept. 27-Nov. 2, 8 p.m.
Cost: $15 per person; Touch Pass an additional $2 per person.
A FEW LAST HAUNTS ...
Horror Acres: Sept. 20-Oct. 26, 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays at Horror Acres, 6995 Springfield-Jamestown Road, Springfield. The Legends are back! What would Halloween be without the gruesome foursome? Freddy, Michael, Jason and Leatherface are together again to invade your nightmares. Admission: $16 for the Haunted House; $10 for the corn maze. Combo ticket to both attractions $20. For more information, call 937-206-4066 or visit www.horroracres.com.
VFW VFW Post 9936: Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 2, 6-11 p.m. at 1720 E. Third St. The VFW invites you to come see a real haunted house and explore four rooms of fright. cost is $10 for veterans and $15 for others. Proceeds will support a different non-profit each weekend. More info: Facebook.
Haunted Wagon Rides at Young’s Dairy: Sept. 27-Oct. 26, 7:30 to 10 p.m., Fridays & Saturdays at Young’s Jersey Dairy, 6880 Springfield Xenia Road, Yellow Springs. 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. A responsible adult must accompany all children under age 11. This is a family fun activity that will help get you into the proper Halloween spirit. $13 for adults and children ages 5 and older; Ages four and under are $5. For more information, call 937-325-0629 or visit www.youngsdairy.com.
Have a favorite spooky haunted attraction we should check out? Let us know about it: email@example.com