Ghoulies, Ghosties and Long-Leggedy Beasties

Ghoulies, Ghosties and Long-Leggedy Beasties

Zombies, aliens, monsters in the closet, slithering things in graveyards – how I love those things! At least in the movies or on TV. Up-close-and-personal haunted houses and hayrides are another story, though. They offer no easy escape, and the spooks are way too real for my taste.

But if you’re an adrenalin junkie, you’ll be delighted to know our region is home to an eldritch assortment of ghoulies, ghosties and long-leggedy beasties straight from your nightmares.

Shall we visit some of them? Fine. You go first…

The Hotel of Horror/Altered Nightmares, Saylorsburg, uses a new script and new characters each year, in the 200-year-old Lake House Hotel. Owner Marlo Ambrosio says paranormal activity groups have declared it to be actually haunted, and the Corey Feldman screamfest “6 Degrees of Hell” was shot in the hotel.

This year, the Hotel of Horror offers “The Miner’s Curse.” Many of the limestone workers who stayed at the hotel in the late 1800s died mysteriously. Their spirits are restless, and roam the premises.

Altered Nightmares presents “2013 Ghosts Spiritus Aeternus,” offering the spectral remnants of the area’s tragic past. You’ll see and feel entrapped energies and the presence of displaced souls.

Feeling especially brave? Then take the flashlights-only tour on Thursdays in October.

And the Exhibition Macabre museum presents antique medical, funeral, prison and asylum artifacts – including a magnificent horse-drawn sleigh hearse.

Open through October 31. 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Fridays; 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. Saturdays; 7-10 p.m. Sundays and 10/31. Hotel only: $20. Nightmares only: $15. Combo pass: $30. Lights-out tour: $25. Museum: $5. Route 115 and Cherry Valley Rd., Saylorsburg. www.hotelofhorror.com; 570.99.BEAST; [email protected]. Download a free app and follow on Facebook.

The Whitehall Fire Department sponsors a truck-drawn haunted hayride through the Whitehall Parkway recreational area on S. Church St.  “We usually have about 10 themes,” says Don Dreisbach, a department officer and director of the event, “ranging from funny, to scary, to REALLY scary.” Patrons might encounter vehicle wrecks, nuclear holocausts, frightening clowns and assorted monsters. “There are all kinds of spots where things can happen,” he adds, “and you never know what to expect.”

All proceeds benefit the Whitehall Active Firefighters Assn., and its year-‘round fire-safety educational activities and programs.

Open Fridays and Saturdays in October, 7 p.m. – 11 p.m., weather permitting. Adults, $10; kids under 12, $7; five and under, free. Dreisbach rates the attraction “PG-13,” and advises parents to use discretion. Additional info: 610.437.5524 ext. 226 or whitehallfd.org.

You might prefer to check into the Bates Motel after experiencing “The Haunting at the Waldorf” in Lehighton. Dozens of terrifying rooms – enhanced with special effects, high-tech lighting and sound, and about 100 actors – will make your blood run cold. “Expect the unexpected,” says co-owner Angela Moyer. “It’s the most realistic experience you can get – like stepping into a horror movie.”

Want more? Then sign up for the Waldorf’s “Terror in the Corn.” It’s a hayride with over a dozen terrifying scenes. And when the hayride’s over… you must finish your journey through the haunted cornfield on foot! Will you make it out alive?

Open 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Sundays in October.  Hotel, $15; hayride, $20; “Scream package,” $30. Become a VIP and skip the line for an extra $10. Very intense; not recommended for children under 10. Proceeds benefit various local charities throughout the year. 6265 Interchange Rd., Lehighton. Additional info: hauntingatthewaldorf.com or 610.82.HOTEL or contact: [email protected]. Free app available.

Located in the basement of an old union hall, Palmerton’s “Halls of Horror” includes 16 “scare zones” and nearly two dozen actors who can burst into view from any direction. “We provide classic scares with our own spin,” says co-owner Charles Knight. Sliding floors and a maze of doors are just two of the challenges visitors face. A new aspect is the complete craziness of the “blood experience” – a full-touch encounter with the hall’s ghastly denizens, each of which “signs” your t-shirt… in blood.

You won’t be herded through the halls, either. “We allow only small groups to enter,” Knight says, “and no other is admitted until the earlier one is finished. Once you go into the Halls of Horror, you’re on your own.”

Open 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays to November 2. Admission: $15. Not recommended for children under 12. 320 Delaware Ave., Palmerton. For additional info: hallsofhorror.net or [email protected] No phone listed (just as well… you never know what might answer!)

You’ll think you stepped into a Tod Browning classic when you visit the Freak and Fun House (go ahead – say it fast!) in Bowmanstown. Crammed with horror, animations, live-action skits, gore and freakish creatures, the house is “fun for the whole dysfunctional family,” says co-owner Troy Muffley. “It’s packed with thrills, but you’ll laugh, too.”

The attraction features two sections, and admissions are spaced so that only one group occupies each part. “It might take longer to get in,” Muffley says, “but we think it’s worth the wait.”

Open 7 p.m. – 11 p.m., Saturdays in October. Admission: $10; children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. 422 White St. Bowmanstown. Additional info: thefreakandfunhouse.com 484.629.5428 or [email protected]. Find them on Facebook.

“The Haunted Mill” in Clinton, NJ, just might provide the eeriest hour of your life as you wander through multiple locations in a 10-acre area, accosted by up to 100 actors sporting professional make-up and themed costumes.

Crime scene investigations (CSI) is this year’s theme. “We’ve reframed both floors of the mill house’s interior to create a discombobulating series of hallways, drop-down panels and moving floors,” says Amy Boyce, curator of public programming at the Red Mill Museum Village.

That’s followed by a complex maze, a tractor-drawn haunted hayride along the length of the property, and a frantic foot trip along the Terror Trail. At its end, you’ll experience even more in-your-face horrors.

Open 5:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from October 11 – 26. Admission: $25, $45 for “express tickets.” Various discounts available; purchase online at theredmill.org or at the door. 56 Main St., Clinton, NJ. For additional information: theredmill.org or 908.735.4101.

The Travel Channel called Shocktoberfest “one of the scariest places in America,” and it’s no wonder. This 30-acre festival of fright includes four main attractions – the Unknown, the Prison of the Dead, Zombie Revenge, and Club Shock – plus the Monster Midway.

Owner Patrick Konopelski says the fest uses advanced pyrotechnics and electronics to give patrons an unforgettable experience. “They’re the same systems used by Universal and Disney,” he says, adding that scares will be further enhanced by proprietary 3-D effects.

94 Park Ave., Sinking Spring. Open 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through November 3. Tickets range from $15 – $34. For more info: shocktoberfest.com, 610.375.SCREAM or [email protected].

Dorney Park’s Halloween Haunt includes ten separate areas of pulse-pounding adventures. It’s like experiencing all of your nightmares at once.

Just a few examples:

• The Asylum:  Every step through its corridors chips away at your sanity.  If you’re committed to entering the Asylum, be aware: you may need to be committed when you leave.

• BloodShed: Desperate hillbillies Otto and Cletus have holed-up at the Solomon farm. The FBI is on the way… but might not arrive in time to save the terrorized Solomon family. Or you, either.

• Desolation: When catastrophe struck a Pennsylvania town 60 years ago, the feds locked it down. The survivors have undergone shadowy experiments, with purposes unknown. You’ve never heard about it? Then the government cover-up is still working.

Goblinettes and their families can also enjoy plenty of scare-free, daytime activities and shows during the park’s BOO! Blast events.

Halloween Haunt: 7 p.m. – park closing on Fridays and Saturdays through October 26, and Sundays, October 6-27.  Not recommended for those under 13.  BOO! Blast: noon – 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through October 27. Ticket prices vary, and discounts are available. For more information:  dorneypark.com/haunt, 610.395.3724 or

[email protected].

So round up some (still-living) friends and have a spooktacularly good time! As for me, I think I’ll just watch Carnival of Souls again… with the lights on…

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