Nightmares in Utah

Outside+of+Fear+Factory+in+Salt+Lake+City+Utah.+%28Photo+by+Cassandra+Palor+%7C+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

Cass Palor

Outside of Fear Factory in Salt Lake City Utah. (Photo by Cassandra Palor | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Adelina Whitten

‘Tis the season for charming old horror movies and cheesy halloween costumes. What’s actually frightening, though, are the haunted houses stapled across our great state. Some offer a walk through while others allow masked actors to push, pull and grab. Whatever it is you’re looking for, Utah will have it this Halloween season. Here’s a sneak peek at some of Utah’s most terrifying haunted attractions.

Nightmare on 13th

Prepare for the scare of a lifetime at this haunted experience. Named one of America’s scariest attractions by the Travel Channel and one of America’s best haunted houses by USA Today, you’re sure to get your money’s worth here. If you’re sick of the same old haunted experiences each year, no need to worry. A new nightmare is introduced each year in addition to the horrifying setups from the year before. Annually, Nightmare on 13th is one of the busiest haunted houses in Utah. Not only is there 36,000 square feet of room, but you’ll be in there for approximately an hour.

Nightmare on 13th is right off of I-15 and is easily accessible by UTA Trax. Tickets to the all-ages attraction start at $25 and can be purchased at the gate or online. I suggest you purchase your tickets online, however – it’s cheaper than in person.

Fear Factory

Have you seen the movies where workers get caught in equipment and meet an unsatisfactory death? Well, Fear Factory is a little like that. Back in the 1800s, this Salt Lake City haunted attraction didn’t even exist. The building used to be an actual cement factory called Portland Cement Works. Many company employees met an untimely end doing exactly what they were paid to do. Workers were crushed, mangled and burned in the 100-year-old industrial site. Eventually, it closed and the factory was turned into the popular Halloween attraction in 2011.

It might be more than just a holiday attraction, though. The staff of Ghost Adventures was sent to investigate the property in 2014 after employees reported torment from paranormal activity. Zak, Nick and Aaron experienced all sorts of scary stuff. There were unexplained noises, disembodied voices and even physical contact. While Fear Factory certainly received business from the episode, it’s hard to deny the evidence laid before us.

Perhaps the location’s 666 address has something to do with the frightening activity or maybe it’s all in our heads. Either way, Fear Factory stands to be one of the scariest and worthwhile Halloween attractions in SLC. Plus, there are discount coupons available online, and there’s a free Zombie Bus to the factory. Even more, a new attraction called the Vortex Tunnel will be open this season where people can experience vertigo and lack of equilibrium. What more do you need? Fear Factory is open on Friday and Saturday from 7:00 p.m. until midnight through Oct. 1. Starting Oct. 2, Fear Factory will be openly nightly. Get tickets here.

Castle of Chaos

One’s scare level can only go so high without physical contact. Luckily, at Castle of Chaos in Midvale, you can literally be touched by the actors. Rated one of the top 10 best haunted houses in America, it’s safe to say you’ll hardly be bored. The haunted house’s five levels of fear will keep you peeking around the corner while the chaos light system keeps you separated from your peeps. Level 1 is for the scaredy-cats who want a wand to fend off the monsters. Level 5’s ultimate hands-on horror drastically differs. You can be restrained, picked up, moved and threatened, assuming you’re 18 or older. If you’re not too keen with the supreme physicality, try Level 2’s general admission or Level 3’s light version of the hands-on scare tactics seen in the higher levels. Plus, this haunted house is underground. No other haunted attraction in SLC can say as much. You’ll find whatever type of experience you’re looking for at Castle of Chaos, I’m sure of it.

While levels one through four are technically all ages, Castle of Chaos is not recommended for children under 11. The haunted house attraction runs through Nov. 3 and tickets start at $25. Grab your tickets now. 

Asylum 49 Haunted Hospital

Kimm Anderson sought to keep children off the streets and out of trouble. What better way than to open a haunted house? He opened 13th Street Haunted House and volunteered at March of Dimes Haunted House back in the day. Eventually, he started Asylum 49 which remains open today. If you’re looking for quite a bit more of a thrill, try a private ghost hunt. This all-ages adventure will take you on a guided tour of the hospital. You’ll learn the history of both the hospital and paranormal activity which has permeated the property. When staff are done teaching, guests are free to roam and investigate the hospital at their own leisure. Who knows, maybe you’ll encounter real-life ghost activity. If not, tell your comrades you weren’t spooked by your reflection in a shiny surface, I’m sure they’ll believe you.

Closed Sunday and Monday, Asylum 49 spends the rest of the week scaring people right out of their shoes. Tickets start at $25, but open days are variable. Check the Asylum 49 website for more details.

Haunted Forest

Arguably one of Utah’s largest haunted houses, this American Fork Halloween attraction will scare you straight. You tread through swamps, trees, mineshafts and more until something jumps out and grabs you. While you might not actually be grasped, you’ll definitely be seized with terror as the night progresses. Watch out for the trained actors, because it’s their job to creep you out.

Haunted Forest is entirely outside, so make sure you dress accordingly. Long pants and a thick jacket are recommended for those chilly October nights. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased online.

Haunted Hollow

13 acres of shadows and darkness await you at Haunted Hollow. Like Haunted Forest, this attraction is entirely outdoors and surrounded by trees. Watch out for corners because demons, ghosts and ghouls lurk in preparation. Think you can handle it? It’s one thing ambling inside, but it’s completely eerie trudging outside. You never know who or what is prowling behind you. Be careful or it might just get you.

Nighttime will be fairly cold, so it’s important to stay warm. Dress appropriately and prepare for the chilly weather. Tickets start at $21, making Haunted Hollow one of the cheapest spooky attractions.

Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus

Clowns are eerily creepy, especially when they were found in obscure places across the state. No, I do not want to see the jokers on my late-night sprint through the city. In fact, I don’t want to see them at all. Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus is especially haunting since the painted hooligans are paid to creep you out. Did I mention the professional productions? Not only do you get a good scare from sinister clowns, but you also get high-quality lights and costumes with professional productions. If you’re up for the challenge, tour the Haunted Circus or the Eskaped haunt. If you survive, test the Tunnel of Foam. No matter what you decide to do, the nightmares you receive will last a lifetime.

Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus opened Friday, Sept. 14 and runs until Nov. 3.

Dead City Haunted House

As a recent addition to Utah’s haunting scene, Dead City Haunted House will be something you’ve probably never tried before. There will be 50 rooms of terror and a 3D nightmare you’ll have to traverse to make it safely out. Interestingly enough, the owner and founder of Dead City Haunted House is an electrical engineering major from the University of Utah. Timothy Riggs began working on the 30,000 square food attraction in 2017. Like I said, this brand new project will be unlike any another you’ve toured.

Dead City Haunted House opens Sept. 21, with varying times and days. Tickets can be purchased online.

Haunted houses in Utah are affordable and absolutely petrifying. I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Halloween than exploring some of these houses with friends. Take some time to head out to a ghostly attraction and start the Halloween season off right.

[email protected]

@adelinaydg