Scary Halloween Amusement Parks

By the light of day, America's biggest amusement parks entertain families in friendly, wholesome ways. As the sun sets, these same parks transform into spooky dens of phantasms and specters. Mazes and haunted houses fill darkened corners, while in many cases actors skulk and skitter through pathways, pouncing on unsuspecting guests. But then, that's what everyone is here for.

Looking for more haunted places to visit? See which creepy locations our panel of advisors chose for Travel's Best Halloween Attractions 2013. Prepare to be spooked!

Six Flags Great Adventure

Fright Fest

This Jackson, NJ, theme park offers several new scares during this year's Six Flags Great Adventure: Fright Fest, including Shipwreck Cove -- where zombies have come ashore; Wasteland -- a mutant-filled forest; Voodoo Island -- a reality show gone the way of black magic and cannibalism; and Insanity: Gears of the Mind -- where doctors and devils want to experiment on you. Five new Monstertainment shows have also been added, and some of the park’s biggest thrill rides remain open during Fright Fest, which runs select nights through Oct. 28.

Best scare: Circus of Thrills -- spin the Wheel of Destiny in this scary circus and see what frightening prizes await.
Six Flags Great Adventure

1 Six Flags Blvd, Jackson, NJ 08527

Get Directions

Phone: (732) 928-2000

Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights

One of the standards by which all other theme parks’ Halloween transformations are measured, Universal Studios Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights is a true thrill-seeker’s dream. The darkly humorous live shows, jarring street encounters and haunted houses themed around AMC’s hit horror show The Walking Dead, shock rocker Alice Cooper’s nightmares and the popular video game Silent Hill can be intense: The event is not recommended for kids under 13. Held on select nights throughout October, this hard-ticket event is now in its 22nd year.

Best scare: Penn & Teller Newkd Las Vegas, a new haunted experience based on the twisted humor of this comedy-magic duo.
Universal Studios Orlando

6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819

Get Directions

Phone: (407) 363-8000

Busch Gardens Tampa


This Tampa, FL, theme park's 335 acres are remade into a sinister playground where adult scares replace light, family fun. Among the new offerings in its 13th year, Busch Gardens Howl-O-Scream dares guests to experience the Blood Asylum, where a serial killer runs rampant, and the Circus of Superstition 3-D, where the daring must face 13 superstitions designed to impede their escape. Leave this one to the adults, who will experience violent scenes, blood and manufactured gore.

Best scare: Nevermore, a haunted house based on the classic works of Edgar Allan Poe.
Busch Gardens Tampa

10165 N Malcolm McKinley Dr, Tampa, FL 33612

Get Directions

Phone: (888) 800-5447

About the Author

Bill Burke is an award-winning humor columnist and writer with 20 years experience in the newspaper and magazine industry. He is the author of Mousejunkies (Travelers' Tales 2009) and Mousejunkies: Second Edition (Travelers' Tales 2011) --a humorous look at Walt Disney World addiction.

You Might Also Like

Most Psychic Places in America

Delve into the metaphysical world ...

Scariest Halloween Attractions

Travel Channel has picked ...

Taste of Halloween

When it’s trick-or-treat time, ...

Haunted Tales from the Grave

Get the creepy details and scary ...

Gift of Travel

More Travel Inspirations

American Outdoor Adventure Sweeps
American Outdoor Adventure Sweeps

Enter for a chance to win an adventure getaway, plus $25k!

Food.com Holiday
Food.com's 50+ Top Holiday Food Gifts

Give them what they really want!

HGTV Dream Home
HGTV Dream Home 2015

Take a tour of the home we’ll be giving away. Look inside HGTV Dream Home 2015 now!


See Also

Hosts' Favorite Halloween Attractions

From frightening attractions like 13th Gate ...

Travel Hosts in Costumes

Can you recognize Andrew Zimmern, Don ...

Ghost Adventures: Island of the Dolls Pictures

The Ghost Adventures crew conducts a special ...