The Most Terrifying Haunted Houses in Michigan
It’s October at last, and all the tell-tale signs are telling tales: the strip malls are teeming with Spirit Halloween stores, the temperatures are wildly fluctuating between 80 and 50 with no warning, and the haunted houses are opening their creaky, bloodsoaked doors. But which haunted house is right for you? Are you looking to go the traditional route or something a bit more spectacular? Whichever way you lean on the scare spectrum, our round-up of terrifying warehouses, sprawling scream parks, and even spooky ships has you covered throughout the whole state of Michigan. If it gets a little too spooky for you, you can just settle for our calendar of all the fun things going on in Detroit this fall.
USA Today’s Readers' Choice 2019 just named Erebus the best haunted attraction in the whole dang country. And it makes since -- Erebus has been going since 2000 at the hands of brothers Ed and Jim Terebus, two haunted attraction die-hards who mortgaged and sold homes to purchase the attraction’s base: a 100,000-square-foot, four-story commercial building in downtown Pontiac. Until 2009, Erebus was in the Guinness World Records as the longest walk-through haunted attraction in the world. While it has since lost that title, it’s still plenty long. Plus, Erebus features top-of-the-line sets and costumes, a cast of eager, talented ghouls and monsters, and Hollywood-quality special effects.
The attraction’s website features a laundry list of “Do not enter if...” warnings, so you should probably only hit this one if you’re in tip-top shape and are super down with the prospect of being bitten or buried alive. If you or your friends are too freaked out to go, there’s now an Erebus Escape Room for all the fun without any of the fear.
Cost: $20-29, depending on the day
Madison Heights, Michigan
Azra Chamber of Horrors debuted only last year, but it blew everyone away. The haunted house-buff website Scare Factor ranked it not only the best in the state, but placed it in the top 20 of the entire country with an impressive score of 9.24 out 10. Expect multiple floors of an unsettlingly immersive maze. The story alludes to the building’s actual previous life as a beloved laser tag arena.
Oh, and the titular Azra is a dragon who feeds on fear, which by itself is reason enough to go.
Cost: $25, or $40 for a VIP fast-pass or $80 to cut to the front
Hush proudly tells you on its homepage how many outlets have featured it, so you know you’re in for a seriously freaky ride. This highly immersive and impressively elaborate haunt actually has three separate attractions: Descent, where you get stuck in a mine; the Coven, where you explore a witch coven’s lair; and Rosecliff Hall, a good old-fashioned haunted house.
If you go on November 1 or 2, you’ll be able to explore these three attractions with all the lights off, with only the help of a single glow stick for your entire group.
Cost: $25-28, or $35-38 for a fast pass or $48-50 for immediate admission
The Niles Scream Park is no small production. Their six attractions -- plus escape rooms -- sprawl out over a whopping 44 acres, and they rebuild everything anew every single year. Their haunted house, in particular, is astoundingly large -- they claim you’d have to go at least seven times to see all 100 possible paths you could take. In addition to other classics, like a maze and a hayride, their scariest attraction involves blindfolding, an 18-or-older rule, and signing a waiver, so they truly mean business.
Cost: $5-14 per attraction, or get a pass for $35
Combining the themed-zone vibe of Disney World with all the monsters, zombies, and chainsaws George Romero could ever have hoped for, Scarefest Scream Park packs a whole universe of terror into its secluded woodland setting. The park contains four distinct attractions, which are mercifully rated by how scary they are: the Hayride of Doom is family-friendly, the Terror Zone Maze is mild, the Forest of Darkness forest walk is for the braver. The crown jewel, though, is the Castle of the Dead, an intense haunted house with over 20 distinct rooms.
Cost: Free entry, $15 per ride, $45 all-inclusive
Jonesville's DarkSyde Acres creeps out its thrills into 70,000 square feet, or 38 acres. Although their claim to be one of the biggest attractions in the world seems a little hyperbolic -- it’s not even the biggest in the state -- it is, indeed, impressively big. Its five attractions include a chainsaw maze, Michigan’s only haunted pirate ship, and the Rusthole, an industrial horror experience designed to toy with visitors mentally and that comes with an extreme violence warning. There’s also a “3-D Haunted Clown Adventure” called KlowneTowne, in case the It movies and American Horror Story: Cult didn’t quite get the scary clown job done for you.
The Haunt recently upped its already formidable game -- it’s long been a favorite among haunted-house aficionados. The Haunt’s five attractions now take place over 50,000 square feet, with 144 rooms, nearly 100 actors, and 62 animatronics. Visit the dubious Manikin Factory and its creepy population of beasts out back, or venture into the demented life of Tinkles, whether through his childhood home, the sanitarium where he was held, or his family’s circus.
Cost: $25, or $40 for a fast pass (if you order online)
1860 Martin, Bay City
There are plenty of haunted houses for you to go to, but what about haunted ships? The Edson Incident is staged aboard the decommissioned USS Edson, a real-life Vietnam-era Navy Destroyer. As such, the Edson offers five different levels of fear, all based on the idea of a terrifyingly misguided military experiment. The attraction promises a final fight between good and evil, although the punny tagline (“we’ll scare the ship out of you”) might just be the scariest part of the whole thing.
The Edson -- again, a very real Naval vessel commissioned in 1958 -- fired more five-inch shells than any other destroyer of her era, garnering the nickname "Gray Ghost of the Vietnamese Coast." After the Edson’s decommission in 1988, the ship entered its second life in museums, finally landing at the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum in 2013. The Edson Incident, in addition to scaring “the ship” out of you, also supports the museum and is manned by volunteers.
Cost: $15, or $25 for a fast pass
If you’ve ever dreamed about fleeing a cannibalistic murderer, Bates Saw Mill of Torture can make that nightmare a reality for you. The 20,000-square-foot attraction treats captives -- er, guests -- to 30 different scenes centering on an evil, woods-dwelling flesh eater. Your evening of despair starts with a long, dark walk through a wooded maze, where the attraction’s many dark and twisted souls jump out at the unwary. Once you pass the maze, the action continues in some of the scariest trailer homes imaginable.
Cost: $14 for the haunted sawmill, $10 for JP'S Axe House, $20 for both attractions
Mackinaw City, Michigan
Located way up north, Mackinaw Manor’s claim to fame is that it’s a fully automated haunted house, using animatronics, special effects, and a statex-of-the-art sound system to terrify its visitors. Although diehards may consider it downright cute compared to some of the other attractions on this list, this family-friendly spookshow still has plenty of creepy thrills and chills. The owners are hands-on, knowledgeable, and always happy to share a story or explain a bit of the tech behind the scares. The haunted mansion also has a seance room, in case you’d like to know what Bram Stoker or Mary Shelley think of the current state of scary.
Cost: $7 (general admission), but it’s always free for military members and Native Americans
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