HALLOWEEN SCARES! Places to be fightened in DC Metro Area this weekend

Field of Screams, Mountville, PA - Image: Jerad Joseph

WASHINGTON, October 30, 2014 – A good scare makes the Halloween season and this weekend’s expected fall weather makes a walk through a haunted forest all the more fun.  A few tips to make your visit the most amount of fun:

  • Dress for the weather but also realize it can get warm in the mazes.
  • Don’t carry a purse or backpack. Don’t carry anything you don’t need, though make sure you carry id in your pocket.
  • Don’t rush! The haunted houses and mazes are filled with gruesome, well done, displays. Take a moment and look.  Too many people put their head down and run.
  • The actors don’t touch you – you should not touch them.
  • The haunted houses and maze are not appropriate for young children.  Not just because of the content, but the flashing lights and music can be too assaultive for young people.
  • Always check online for coupons.  Places to look include Groupon.com.

This weekends sliver of a crescent moon in a darkened sky should make your evening forays into the scary that much more fun – and there are some great places to spend some time.

For a full night of fun, King’s Dominion Haunt features the best haunted house mazes and scare scare zones, but then the movie themed park in Doswell, Virginia should. They have years of experience.  Personal favorites mazes are Doll House, where the makeup is spectacular (take the time to look) and the Slaughter House – because it is just really, really scary!

Zombie High is a new addition while Blood Bar continues to curdle your essential liquids.

But the best part was walking through the dark park and the scare zones.  Tons of fun walking through the fog to find that you have an unexpected companion.


King’s Dominion “Haunt” is free with a general admission ticket price (starting at $35). For those thrill-seekers with some extra coin in the pocket, purchase a “Fright Lane Skeleton Key” pass (starting at $40 extra) to not only skip the long lines but gain access to additional scare rooms in the haunted mazes.

One of the nicest parts of the theme park haunt is that you can go back through again and again to make sure you do not miss a scare.

King’s Dominion “Haunt” is open Friday, 7 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to midnight; Sunday, noon to 10 p.m. (open through Nov. 1.).

Bennett’s Curse requires a shorter time commitment, perfect for Sunday night and it is without a doubt the most exciting haunted maze.

The maze has been built in a large – 22,500 square foot – half domed structure in the fields of Jessup, Maryland.  A value option, attendees might looking for a whole evening of excitement, might be disappointed in that maze is the only attraction.


But it is without a doubt the best, and longest, maze in the area and it takes you through horror inducing environments — “Medieval Underworld,” “Sanctuary of Insanity” and, new this year, “Inferno 3D”.

Alan and Jill Bennett began building Bennett’s Curse in 2001 and the more than a decade of growth has created great rooms that do not feel as though they were hastily built in the months coming up to the holiday. Throughout is great makeup effects, animatronic creatures and extensive set designs.

The que is worth walking through as guests anticipation grows beneath limp bodies on pikes and a guarding dragon looking down from above. Entering the castle and dungeon maze and find the ages old conflict of the vampire knights and armor-encrusted humans played out in gory splendor all reminiscent of the film “Army of Darkness.”

“Inferno 3D”  uses fabulous 3D effects to bring Dante’s “Inferno,” to life. Effects are really well done with a favorite room being filled with day-glo 3D paint that hides a horned minotour waiting to escort you to your hell. He really causes a startle.

Though hardly as scary as real life these days, the “Sanctuary of Insanity” brings out the psychotic fears of human experimentation, unescapable mazes and for good measure, a bit of cannibalism. The heavy fog and caged humans crying for help that marks the end of this journey is a special pleasure.

Let those whose only goal is to get out alive move past and take the time to embrace the horror, the effects and the skill. Lots to look at, lots way to easy to miss, and I would say it is worth taken a second trip through the maze

Bennett’s Curse is open Thursday and Sunday, 7 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 7 to 11 p.m.; also weeknights of Oct. 27, 28 and 29, 7 to 9:30 p.m. (open through Nov. 1).  $30 for general admission to all three areas or up to $60 for “VIP Admission” and next-in-line privileges. YOu might be able to find online coupons that will reduce the price.

Olney Maryland’s Field of Screams is the popular Olney Boys & Girls Community Sports Association’s annual Halloween fundraiser.  The scare’s return for their 14th season offering four attractions filled with teen-adult scares, but also plenty of fun for the under 13 set.

Field of Screams Olney is literally 40 acres of fun that includes a Hades Hayride, a trek through the corn fields that harbor variety of ghoulishness emerging from the stalks and Zombie Paintball Apolcalypse where riders clim aboard a double decker trailer to peg zombies with paintballs.

Image: Jerad Joseph

Lusion Manor brings a turn of the last century orphanage back to … death. Plenty of creepiness – from the autopsy suite to the manor’s caretaker. Some great environments that once again require the thrill seeker to take a deep breath and open their eyes – come great things to see.  The actors in Lusion Manor are really top notch!  They truly helped to bring the scares alive.  Might not be suitable to the young or faint of heart!

Starting with  an zombie protected house, the Field of Screams forest walk is not for anyone whose heart is not sturdy – both due to the scares and the length and sometimes strenuous walks through the darkened woods of Maryland.

Image: Jerad Joseph

Be scared every Friday and Saturday (6:30 to 10 p.m.) and Sundays and Thursdays (6:30 to 9 p.m.) until Nov. 1. Events remain open until last ticketed customer leaves. Costs range from $14 for individual attractions to $84 for a “Total Terror Pack” however Groupon.com has offered some great half-price deals in the past.

Six Flags America’s Freight Fest is tons of fun. Plenty of ghoulish song and dance numbers and zombie’s crawling out of of corners to give you a freight.

Image: Jerad Joseph

The mazes are fun, ok for 13 and older set to walk through.  For this haunt fiend, the best part of Six Flags was the Haunted Forest walk that is your only opportunity to get up close and personal with one of Maryland’s most haunted places and the story of Eleanor, who died in her family home, now rotting on the theme parks back acreage.

Plenty of stories about Eleanor Hall haunting the park and its said that when the unexplainable happens, park employees say “It’s Eleanor again.”

Image: Jerad Joseph

Once again the actors make this event. The scare zone outside the Haunting of Hall Manor forest walk is one of the best.

Image: Jerad Joseph

All this happens at night.  During the day, younger Halloween fans will enjoy some much less scary options like the “Pumpkin Patch Hay Maze,” “Monster Mash Bash,” “Trick or Treat Trail” and “Little Monsters Kiddie Hayride,” all mainly contained in “Looney Toons Spooky Town.”

Six Flags Freight Fest is open Friday, 5 p.m. to midnight; Saturday, noon to midnight; and Sunday, noon to 9:00 p.m. (open through Nov. 2).  Cost for your scare starts at $56.99 for unlimited park and “Fright Fest” access. Again, don’t forget to search online for price busting coupons!

Saving one of the area’s oldest, and best, haunts for last is the original Field of Screams in Mountville, Pennsylvania.  It is well worth the approximate two hour ride from DC to play.  Some serious screams and scares here folks.  A great place to take a date – he will be very, very scared and hold your hand.

Image: Jerad Joseph

Gene and Jim Schopf have been crafting scares and a midway style scary place to play. The “Haunted Hayride” is a 20-minute journey through a cornstalk maze. Along the way, the trailer pulls into warehouses and infront of diaramas filled with all manners of utter creepiness and feat.

Favorites include the psychotic pig farmer, the working guillotine and a visit to a reptile-infested greenhouse. The effect of the large balloon coming down to smother riders is one that keeps chilling all night.

“Nocturnal Wasteland” is a trail of toxic terror, featuring mutants, a living forest, a bus filled with death and an homage to Nikola Tesla, all culminating with a sweaty escape amid the sewers.

Image: Jerad Joseph

“Frightmare Asylum” (a four-story mental hospital) is absolutely my favorite haunt!  Again it takes of courage and physical stamina to survive the attractions, including areas requiring bending way down, crawling, squeezing and climbing into those dimly lit stairwells.

Image: Jerad Joseph

Younger adventurers should not attend the evening activities but can stop by with parents earlier in the day for the “Corn Cob Acres: Field of Fun.”

Field of Screams in Mountville, Pennsylvania is open weekends through Nov. 9 — Friday, Saturday and Sunday 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.  $14 for individual attractions to $33 for a “Scream Pass” make this a budget minded way to spend a scary night!

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