TPN’s guide to the city’s best spooky spots

By Stephanie Roman / Staff Writer

If you don’t have the patience for an extensive “Haunted Holland” line, perhaps try one of Pittsburgh’s other haunted house options. Halloween in college might be focused on costume parties, but, if you’re still looking for scares, here are some of the best places to get spooked.

The Scarehouse

118 Locust St.

Etna, Pa.

Admission: $24.99

Open daily until Nov. 1

The pride of the Pittsburgh haunted house business, The Scarehouse inhabits a 100-year-old building. Its attractions change yearly, so even previous visitors will find new thrills in its “The Summoning,” “Pittsburgh Zombies: Black Out!” and “Creepo’s Christmas in 3-D” iterations. The Scarehouse exhibits top-of-the-line makeup and prosthetic work, dark, claustrophobic paths and frighteningly loud sound effects and screams. Each attraction tells a story, with the guests usually ending up as fodder for the characters. “Creepo’s Christmas” is likely a no-go for anyone with clown phobias, but “The Basement,” a brand new 18-and-older attraction, will really test its visitors. Before entering, a waiver must be signed and cell phones surrendered. In “The Basement,” the staff touches, hoods and restrains you, while exposing you to extreme violence, sexual situations and profanity.

Phantom Fright Nights

4800 Kennywood Blvd.

West Mifflin, Pa.

Admission: $32.99

Open Fridays and Saturdays until Nov. 1

In 2014, Phantom Fright Nights celebrates 13 years of fear. It’s like an ordinary trip to Kennywood, but with one major difference — all of the rides’ lights are shut off. It’s a trip into utter darkness, and you never know when you’ll run into a machete-wielding madman. Kennywood even supplies a few new amusements, such as haunted mazes, a park filled with fog, strings of electric orange lights and a drained Raging Rapids, retitled “Voodoo Bayou” for the season’s duration. Although it’s more costly than a regular day at the park, there are more than just jump scares and elaborate costumes to make up for the price difference. Phantom Fright Nights encapsulates almost the entirety of Kennywood Park, rather than just segments from its previous forms. As of this year, special openings for Noah’s Ark — “Ark in the Dark” — take place between midnight and 1 a.m. for an additional fee of $10. Creepy enough in the daylight, “Ark in the Dark” flips all the lights out on the ride, forcing a descent into darkness where someone or something may or may not be waiting.

Hundred Acres Manor

1 Hundred Acres Dr.

Bethel Park, Pa.

Admission: $18

Open daily until Nov. 2, events Nov. 7-8

Set in the expansive one-mile estate of the Acre family, Hundred Acres Manor features six vastly different attractions, all connected narratively to the principal family. Some of the stuff inside is positively nightmarish — mazes complete with chainsaw-wielding maniacs, human slaughterhouses in the basement and even a new attraction called “Torture Tank” that tours guests through a seemingly innocuous program of living out sickly brutal fantasies. If blood splatter on your clothes isn’t visceral enough, Hundred Acres Manor also hosts a video game-style “Zombie Paintball.” Fend off the hordes alongside your teammates, make it to a checkpoint and receive an armor and weapon upgrade. But, if you’re overrun, you don’t get a second chance — in real life, there are no do-overs. 

Terror Town

1670 Smallman St.

Strip District

Admission: $18

Open Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 1

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Paranormal Investigation, Terror Town exhibits a strong paranormal presence. Terror Town has the advantage of being completely indoors, so, even in cases of cold or inclimate weather, waiting isn’t a hassle. The owners claim they hear voices in this near-centenary building, so, in addition to the camp of underground cannibals encountered as part of the tour, there might be some otherworldly entities lurking inside. Terror Town designer, Michael Todd Schneider, boasts a resumé with over 10 years of designing haunted houses and directing gory, psychological horror films. After leaving the funeral home staging area, be prepared to meet some ghosts face-to-face.

Leave a comment.