Haunted Houses You (And Your College Wallet) Will Love
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Haunted Houses You (And Your College Wallet) Will Love

A review of all the haunted houses I've visited this year

Haunted Houses You (And Your College Wallet) Will Love
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It’s that time of year again! The best time of year. The ACTUAL most wonderful time of the year. I know some of you eager beavers out there are thinking I mean Christmas, but that would be incorrect. I’m talking about Halloween, the season that spans approximately a month and a half, beginning with the opening of some haunted houses allll the way until the Halloween hangovers are gone on November 1st. For some, it’s a chilling time when their worst fears come to life in the form of haunted houses or scary movies, but for the rest of us, it’s a time to scream, play dress up, and enjoy the little time of the year we have that lets us be really freaking weird.

My favorite part of Halloween is always the haunted houses. Since I was 12 years old, as soon as the first leaf falls, I’m online buying passes to Howl-O-Scream. Now that I’ve been there, done that (many many times) I’ve expanded my haunted house hunt to the corners of the boonies in Richmond. After about five years of expansive research on haunted houses (including working for a few!) I’d like to share my findings for those haunted house rookies who are looking for some scares this Halloween. So, in no particular order, here are my full takes and reviews on the haunted houses I’ve been to in Richmond (and the surrounding areas) and Virginia Beach.


The Haunt: Ashland Berry Farm

Where: Richmond

When: This last weekend runs Thursday, the 27th through Monday, the 31st

Spooky? YAS

This haunt was about a 25-minute drive from where I live and it was worth every minute. There are four different haunts and depending on which one you want to go in, you pay a different price. I got tickets to all four for $30. Yeah, I’ll admit the price is the one thing about this that caught me since I try to keep my spooky fun down to at least $20 (because being a broke college student is a VERY REAL stereotype), but again this one was pretty worth it. There is everything to be scared of inside this haunt: clowns, chainsaws, the dark, creepy people who follow you around, the laughter of small children, it's all there! The coolest part? Most of it is made out of tarp and plywood. Someone had a farm and was like “You know what would be really cool?” and just built a haunted house. And a really good one at that. HA! Take that you corporate-controlled, expensive haunted houses.

Cool tips:

-If you go after it rains, wear shoes you don’t mind getting muddy.

-There is a substantial amount of walking involved and even some mild crouching. Don’t hit this one up after leg day.


The Haunt: Creepy Hallow Scream Park

Where: Richmond

When: October 27th- October 31st


When you arrive, you’re sent out to meet a man near a campfire who tells you the creepy story about the woods nearby, and the various rules of the house. You’re then sent down the path into the woods. The woods lead you to an old mill and from there you tour Axl’s fun house (this part isn’t for a person who's afraid of clowns).

This house really went to show that some of the scariest things aren’t the jump scares. There were a lot of jump scares in this one, don’t get me wrong, but some of the most spine-tingling, hair-raising moments were those where the actors just stood there and stared at my group while we begrudgingly walked forward. I think the scariest part was when this girl just kind of crawled toward us! There were also a few parts where you have to find your way through a completely pitch black room. It was terrifying! Another really cool thing about this is that most of it was a homemade haunt. A lot of it seemed to be built with pre-existing materials or buildings, or things that you can buy from a Halloween store or at least online; however, they had a few really cool, really expensive type animatronics that did a great job at actually scaring the guests.


The Haunt: Hunt Club Farm

Where: Virginia Beach

When: October 25th- October 31st

Spooky? Pretty darn spooky

I do have to admit, I have just a LITTLE bias toward this one because I worked there one season. But it was just one season and I promise I won’t let that affect the review. This is the most well-known haunted house in Virginia Beach. Ask any middle to high school age student what their plans are for the Halloween season and probably 95% of them will mention Hunt Club. It isn't a long drive away like Howl-O-Scream, and isn't super expensive. For $25 you can scream your heart out in three different attractions (including a scary hayride) as many times as you want. Most all the props and sets are made out of previously owned easy-to-get props, but you couldn’t tell! It looks as professional as any $80 amusement park you would go to. The actors are all fantastic. They are well versed in the ways of fending off drunk patrons while staying in character and managing to scare everyone else. My personal faves are the two chainsaw-wielding clowns that prowl around outside scaring guests. If you haven’t stumbled across this haunt, I would absolutely recommend going if you are looking for a fun scare.


The Haunt: Frightmare

Where: Virginia Beach

When: Check out their Facebook page, where they post the times and dates things are going down weekly


Okay, so this house is horrific, as most haunts are, but it's also utterly unique. First of all, the staff is the coolest haunted house staff I’ve ever met. They are very polite and easy to work with. They let you pick their brains for a few things you should know about this haunt before you go in. Second, this house has been built up in an old tanning salon. It’s literally located in a shopping center off of the highway. I think that is a very creative use of an empty space. But the creator’s creativity doesn’t end there; the first part of the haunted house is an escape room and there is something just EXTRA scream inducing about rooting through some deceased man’s cobweb-y possessions.

Cool tips graciously supplied to me by Frightmare’s sole proprietor:

-There is a different theme every year so guests can go back and always be scared!

-Currently one of the few “adults only” houses in Tidewater

-Best to get there at 7pm when they open

-Finally, their owner is ALWAYS there making sure everything runs smoothly and scaring guests before they even go in

If you’re looking for something new, I would head here. They are only 2 years old and a really wonderful addition to all the other cool haunts in Virginia.


I won’t be doing a review of the bigger theme parks like Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens because they are really expensive and mostly the same each year, so many people have already gone and experienced what I would be reviewing. Also, a key thing to remember about haunted houses is that they are what you make of them. If you go through and you're being rude and loud, you aren’t going to have fun. If you go into a haunted house and point out all the scares or try to act like you aren’t scared at all, you won’t have fun. Remember folks, the people in these houses are living humans. If they see behavior they don’t like, they aren’t going to come up to you and scare you. So, sit back, relax, let your guard down, and be prepared to scream! I hope all of your Halloweens are mysterious, fun, safe, and just a little bit scary.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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