Spooky Wisconsin: Eerie Activities for the Halloween Season

As the Halloween season comes around again, we all begin looking for that spooky experience. Wisconsin offers it all, from the spine-tingling-terrifying that haunts you for days to family-friendly spooks that won’t keep the kids awake at night. A giant haunted house? Taking on the zombie apocalypse with paintball? There’s something new every year as scaremasters attempt to outdo each other. Here are a few thrilling tried-and-true options for you and your crew to enjoy together. 

Haunted Houses

While it shouldn’t surprise you that the bigger cities – MilwaukeeMadisonGreen Bay – offer seasonal scare factories, many of the smaller towns get in on the fun too, decking out houses and barns with ghouls and gore to get your heart skipping beats.

Visit the largest “haunted” complex in the Midwest in Neenah for a full night of unforgettable entertainment. Burial Chamber offers multiple different themed events such as Phobia Haunted Woods and Adrenaline Haunted House and you can purchase tickets for one or all. Over 100 actors participate each night! For a more family friendly outing, check out their “I Spy” Experience for a fun, non-scary group game. 

Manitowoc’s Dead by Dawn is the world’s first “Dead & Breakfast” that offers the choice of rooms like Coulrophobia for all the clown lovers, the Nightmare room that embraces all your fears and uncertainties, and the Pirate room which holds the secrets of the deep dark waters. Starting with an “Unhappy Hour” in the Shrunken Head Bar, guests are required to be in their rooms by 11pm for when the real haunted fun begins. 

The Deer District – the neighborhood of the Milwaukee Bucks – becomes the Fear District during the weeks leading up to Halloween. Expect a haunted house and spooky films – kid-friendly by day, not so much by night.

Ghost Tours

There’s nothing like a real ghost story, and Wisconsin has no shortage of tales and tellers of them. Don’t miss the Door County Trolley’s ““Trolley of the Doomed” tour for stories of sunken shipwrecks and  stops at haunted locations on the peninsula.

Take the Dells Ghost Boat that heads up the Wisconsin River at dusk to hear eerie stories before docking for a haunted hike through Cold Water Canyon. 

MilwaukeeMadisonLake GenevaWaukesha – all of them have popular ghost-inspired walking tours. Consider your own tour: get a copy of "Haunted Wisconsin" by Michael Norman and road trip to some of the true paranormal locations of Wisconsin.


Caspar the Friendly Ghost would approve of these fun thrills for the whole family. Pumpkin patches are obviously a go-to and many of those same farms host haunted hayrides or corn mazes. Meadowbrook Pumpkin Farm & Market does a daytime haunted corn maze – nothing gory or startling.

Watch for daylight trick or treat events or costume parties at city zoos, farmers markets, and more. Madison’s Children’s Museum hosts 13 Days of Halloween with Halloween crafts, themed events, and more. Visit Old World Wisconsin for history with a spooky twist when they open for “Halloween Legends and Lore,” featuring members of Kettle Moraine School for Arts and Performance.

Finally, take a fall hike: The Ledge View Nature Center near Chilton lights up their trails with candles and characters for hikes that are more historical than hysterical, so bring the kids.

Looking for an even bigger scare? Pack your bags for a stay at one of Wisconsin's haunted historic hotels

Ready for your next autumn adventure? See real-time, local fall color conditions with Wisconsin's Fall Color Report.

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