By Jeniece Smith
Here in Wisconsin, we don’t do haunting halfway. From your typical houses and hayrides to spooky adventures on the water, rails and underground, we’ll give you plenty of options for a terrifyingly fun time.
Check out a few of our favorite fright destinations for the next time you need a good scare.
Scream Your Way Through a Haunted House
We don’t have just any haunted houses, we have the best – the Wisconsin Fear Grounds in Waukesha. Previously named the top haunted house in America by Haunted Attraction Magazine and also voted the finest in the country on hauntedhouseratings.com, this twisted attraction celebrates its lucky 13th year in 2016 with a new extra-eerie experience.
In addition to three haunted houses, the Fear Grounds is offering Anguish - all new 60 minute Escape Room Adventure. Once you have stepped into Anguish, it's not a matter of When you'll get out but rather If you'll escape at all.
Go Batty Underground in a Cave
If you like your fright with a side of claustrophobia, head underground to get your kicks this year. Eagle Cave in Blue River, Wisconsin’s largest onyx cave, is a year-round destination for exploring and camping, and every October for more than two decades they’ve pulled out all the stops for the Haunted Cave tour. Groups can choose between two levels of fright or opt for no scare at all.
All Aboard the Terror Train!
You may have heard of Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway’s Pumpkin Express, which departs from a haunted depot in Osceola, but Rock River Thresheree offers a coal-chugging, hair-raising train ride in Edgerton select weekends in October. A kid-friendly version is offered in the afternoon before more serious scares after dark on the Haunted Train of Terror. Train rides last 15 to 20 minutes.
For a similar ride-and-shriek experience, head to the Wisconsin Dells for an intense hour-and-a-half Ghost Boat tour up the Wisconsin River. You’ll hear local ghost lore before disembarking for an after-dark walk through Cold Water Canyon or Witches Gulch.
Run (for Your Life) in the Zombie 5K
Organizers of the 5K Zombie Run through Spooner’s spooky woods say you should plan to run with friends because “you may need a hand to hold!” Held in conjunction with the community's Jack O’ Lantern Fest, this fun run awards prizes to the participant with the best zombie getup.
If you’re into Sci Fi, check out the Chamber of Horrors’ and channel your inner Star Wars cast member.
Stay Overnight and Just Try to Sleep
Wisconsin has some legitimately haunted hotels, but where can you find the world’s first “dead” & breakfast? That would be Manitowoc! At the adults-only Dead by Dawn Dead & Breakfast, “your host’s top priority is an unrestful night’s sleep.”
Your spooky experience kicks off with an “unhappy hour” of drinks and hors d'oeuvres, followed by a night of frights that will have you wondering whether you’ll make it to the breakfast table in the morning.
Check out several more Wisconsin destinations offering community ghost walks and haunted experiences at restaurants and bars.