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Holladay Journal

Utah's top haunted attractions

Oct 20, 2021 12:51PM ● By Ileana Brown

By Ileana Brown | [email protected]

Every Halloween, a terrifying fever spreads across the country, with frightening haunted houses, scary theme parks, and hair-raising mazes. COVID-19 may have swept the nation with its own kind of scare, but fear not, this year’s Halloween attractions will surely scare you alive. 

Castle of Chaos

Dare to enter Castle of Chaos, celebrating 20 years of fears and one of America’s scariest Halloween attractions, as ranked by the Travel Channel. Utah's only underground haunted attraction provides much more than harrowing walks through gruesome scenes surrounded by horrid creatures. Within the castle walls, you will discover intense Chaos Escape Rooms and Krusebel, a level five, overnight, immersive horror experience. Once you've made it out alive, surviving all of the frightening interactive attractions, you can recover in the Chaos Café.

"Our haunted house is well known for making every visitor shriek in terror, whether they're a nervous newbie or a fear fanatic,” said James Bernard, owner and CEO of Castle of Chaos. “We thrill and entertain a broad audience by offering four different levels of fear to choose and the option to completely exclude your group from the rest of the Castle's guests."

For all who curse the day COVID came into our lives, Bernard would like you to know, "We are ready and willing to follow any local or state ordinances and mandates to ensure the safety of guests and staff as needed. We have hand sanitizing stations throughout our attraction available to staff and customers. We highly encourage our team to get vaccinated. Masks are optional this year but not required due to more and more people getting vaccinated. We continue to sanitize and clean surfaces and social distance when able. We are confident that our customers will not only feel safe, but have a blast this season due to our many upgraded sets, characters, props, and effects, in conjunction with what we always provide—a very unique, personal, interactive haunted experience."

Nightmare on 13th

Nightmare on 13th invites you to its 31st season of scares. Utah’s longest-running haunted attraction is consistently voted one of the best haunted houses in the nation by America Haunts. Nightmare offers one frightening location and two haunted attractions, plus Escape on 13th for those adrenaline junkies who take adventure and escape to the next level. Nightmare on 13th features 13 themed ghoulish nightmares, which include new sets: Black Water, a swamp home to the Hoodoo Queen who protects the unsavory spirits that lurk within the dark swamp, and Deep Freeze, an icy ruin on top of a forgotten mountain, protected by a beast with an icy breath that will surely petrify you. And then there’s X-Scream, a VIP exclusive, “the most interactive and intense experience ever created at Nightmare on 13th. A full sensory experience of lights, smells, sounds and sights,” said Mike Henrie, owner and founder of Nightmare on 13th.

Each year, the attraction features new areas, implementing advanced animatronics, special effects, and professional actors bringing new scares to the haunt. COVID-19 impacted Nightmare on 13th, but, says Henrie, “We were still able to provide a fun experience for all of our guests. There were a lot of things guests didn’t see, like constant room cleaning and actors wearing masks under their masks and costumes.”

This year, Nightmare on 13th continues social distancing, cleaning throughout the night’s haunts and keeping scares true to form without disrupting personal space. “We got really good at cleaning rooms in between guests. We also have a better line experience with distancing and spacing,” Henrie said. “I also credit our staff for making the pivot of being scary without getting into people’s spaces. That is definitely something we’ve gotten really good at. You don’t need to be up close to scare. It’s just as enjoyable from a safe distance. More anticipation awaits.”

Fear Factory

Get ready to face your fear of heights! Fear Factory is one of the top Halloween attractions in the world as rated by BuzzFeed. It comprises six buildings, up to six stories high, with two underground passages, and it’s the only massive haunted attraction in Salt Lake City.

This year Fear Factory is proud to announce its 10th anniversary. The Factory upgraded and added new tricks and treats, including the new immersive Vampire Manor, 150 extra animatronics and pneumatics, a theatrical seance, exclusive VIP photo ops, a five-times faster VIP entrance, limited edition 10th anniversary swag, season passes, and the Behind-the-Sets-and-Screams Tour.

You can now expect a scare every 20 to 30 feet and beware of the three-fourths of a mile walk through skulls, catacombs, swamps, fiery hell, industrial clowns, cemeteries and more. Fear Factory specializes in unique scares and jumps because of its diverse staff. "We hire homeless people, doctors, dentists, professionals; we even have a rabbi on our team,” said Spencer Terry, general manager of Fear Factory. “It is a very diverse group of people which allows us to achieve unique scares. That is what makes Fear Factory so great."

As far as safety goes, Terry said, "Customers can still expect the same love from our team regarding COVID precautions. You can wear a mask, though not required; either way, we want you to feel like you can come and enjoy life. The Factory is very cautious; we continue to put more space between groups, you can find hand sanitizer all over the property, and our cleaning staff works around the clock. We have tried to make sure that while COVID was something we all needed to take seriously, we also did not want it to dominate our lives. We want everyone to attend our haunted attraction, enjoy it, and still be safe this Halloween season."

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