Halloween is the unofficial kickstart of the holiday season. It's as good an excuse as any to act like a child, dress up in absurd costumes, and scare the living daylights out of people. It's also the only time of year most people would pay for someone else to scare them. Hey, sometimes being on the verge of a panic attack just hits the spot and makes you feel alive.
This is where the services of South Florida's various haunted houses comes in. They've returned to scratch your itch to be terrified. And because locals have plenty of choices when it comes to good scares, the region's fear factories are constantly trying to top one another's frightful tactics.
Here are some of the
6. Dr. Wilde's Creepy House at Zoo Miami
Once again, Dr. Wilde’s Creepy House will turn Zoo Miami into "Boo" Miami. (Sorry, that was too easy to pass up.) The house plays on a wide variety of fears, from the mundane — a roach-infested kitchen — to the macabre: Is that a zookeeper in the freezer? Children who want no part of the haunted house can enjoy ghoulish carousel rides for $2, creepy-crawlies, and candy stations at the children’s zoo.
October 28 through 31 at Zoo Miami, 12400 SW 152nd St., Miami. Admission to the haunted house costs $14.95, or $12.95 for zoo members; zoo admission is separate. Visit zoomiami.org.
photo courtesy of Lockbox Escape Room
5. Lockbox Escape Room
Years ago, two brothers were watching Saw 2 and decided they wanted to make their own "Saw House." Lockbox Escape Room is the idea birthed from these dreams, or nightmares, depending upon how you look at it. The Lockbox Escape Room is a year-round business that's
This isn't the usual haunted house, but it's a terrifying experience nonetheless. They treat this pretty seriously, so you and your group need to make an appointment for your experience.
8490 W. State Rd. 84, Davie. Admission costs $30 per player. Visit lockboxescaperoom.com.
4. Demented Haunt
The Demented Haunt in Coconut Creek might be a drive-and-a-half for South Dade scream queens, but it promises to be worth the effort. Scenarios here include a butcher room, a clown-of-fears experience, an escape room, and an insane asylum. None of this sounds pleasant, and all of it sounds like the exact thing you're probably into if you're still reading this list.
Open October 30 and 31 at 3600 Coral Tree Circle, Coconut Creek. Tickets cost $4.50. Visit dementedhaunt.com.
3. Enigma Haunt
Enigma Haunt offers three levels of terror: Realms of Terror ($20), Triple Terror ($30), and the R.I.P. Priority Pass ($45). At this haunted themed event, you can experience the Realms of Terror, Into Oblivion, or the Pandemic haunts, or do all three with the Triple Terror pass. This is not a place for those who scare easily.
This park is 19,000 square feet of terror covering two floors of space. Enigma promises "pure evil in many forms, tortured souls, demons, and undead abominations, all from a realm that appears to have crossed the boundaries into reality." Yikes.
Open October 14 through 16, 20 through 23, and 27 through 31 at 21069 S. Military Trail, Boca Raton. Admission costs $20-$45. Visit enigmahaunt.com.
2. Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds
Beginning October 13, you can experience a myriad of Fright Night attractions. There's the Sunnyville Schoolhouse, where "the school may be closed, but no one told the demons within"; the Void, "a terrifying trip into darkness where evil lurks in the shadows"; and Pestilence, a Walking Dead-like scenario in which a plague ushers in "Nosferatu's blood reign." At the Doll Factory, fright-seekers will discover "what lives behind [the dolls'] empty smiles and glassy eyes." Bet it's not a sunny disposition.
Open Thursday through Sunday from October 13 through 29, and October 30 and 31, at 9067 Southern Blvd., West Palm Beach. Tickets cost $25 for general admission, or $30 for Total Terror. Visit myfrightnights.com.
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1. House of Horror - Haunted Carnival
House of Horror returns this season with a collection of scary oddities at its Freak Emporium; Gates of Phobia, a 3D experiences that promises to "lose your reality"; and 1455 Asylum, a haunted insane ward. Its Hellzapoppin haunt is a stunt show mixed with a rock 'n' roll circus. On November 6, HoH will host a Chainsmokers concert (which was pushed back because of Hurricane Matthew).
Open now through October 31 and November 6 at 1455 NW 107th Ave., Doral. Tickets cost $29, or $100 for the Chainsmokers concert night. Visit houseofhorrorpark.com.