It’s the time of year that spooks even the most die-hard haunter: the Holidays. The gleeful smiling faces of shoppers and blaring Mariah Carey Christmas songs are proof that the true scares in this world aren’t confined to just Halloween. Thankfully, a few dedicated haunt crews have decided that the season is just a little too cheerful and have constructed their own holiday horrors. While we found over 30 haunts across the U.S. that celebrate the holly-jolly days with fear and fright, we chose to feature eleven attractions (in no particular order) that really caught our attention.
1. SANTA’S SLAY – BRIGHTON ASYLUM (Passiac, NJ)
First and foremost, how could you resist such a great name! Santa’s Slay – get it? See what they did there? That’s gold right there, folks. We don’t even need to go in to love it. Judging by the provided pictures, a lot of people won’t want to go in, either. Between the machete wielding ice-zombie and the undead elf gnawing on reindeer antlers, it looks like Brighton Asylum is scaring just as hard even outside of Halloween. Open exclusively Saturdays in December, the 13,000 foot attraction also promises a sadistic Santa that isn’t wielding a chainsaw for the purposes of cutting down some trees for the fireplace.
We here at FrightProps would also like to point out that the geniuses at Brighton Asylum are open many other days throughout the year — there’s an evil Valentines Day haunt in February, Zombie Prom Night in May, and Zombie Paintball in June.
2. A TWISTED NUTCRACKER CHRISTMAS – ZOMBIE MANOR (Arlington, TX)
Although the name makes me cringe (the term “twisted nut” brings a bad idea to mind), the concept is extremely cool and innovative. The famous Zombie Manor converts their space into a surreal Nutcracker tale gone awry. If the disturbing painted face of the toy soldier didn’t send you hiding under the tree, then maybe you’d be able to handle the Gingerbread Zombies, Evil Sugar Plum Fairies, and scary ballerinas that decked the halls with blood in 2013.
3. YULETIDE TERROR – FALLSBURG HAUNTED HOUSE (Louisa, KY)
Unfortunately, there weren’t a whole lot of still images available for this haunt open in mid-December. But there is a pretty cool trailer where one of Santa’s sinister little helpers (appropriately named “Smokey”) appears to eat a cigarette. Makes you wonder what sort of crazy thing the guy does inside of the haunt, right?
4. WINTER WONDERLAND – GHOSTLY MANOR (Sandusky, OH)
While not technically a Christmas “haunt”, the Forbes magazine featured Ghostly Manor outfits their attraction for a family-friendly holiday walk-through, calling it “Winter Wonderland”. Using UV black-light sensitive paint and festive strings of light, the scary theme is washed away with the joyous warmth of Christmas. Winter Wonderland also offers a free light show every 30 minutes and a “Sleigh Ride” movie in their Motion Theatre. Watch a nice lady in 3D glasses use a spatula as a microphone give a short overview in the video at the top of the entry.
5. HAUNTED MANSION HOLIDAY – DISNEYLAND (Anaheim, CA)
Is it really that much of a surprise to anyone that Disneyland manages to pull off some seriously cool stuff for the holiday season? Jack Skellington acts as Sandy Claws, bringing Halloween Town to the park’s infamous Haunted Mansion. The attraction features a 13 foot tall, 500 lb gingerbread mansion/advent calendar with over 150 pounds of icing on the sucker.
If that wasn’t enough, there’s over 400 candles and 100 jack-o-lanterns on the outside of the mansion while the inside is caked in snow and covered in over 20 gallons of UV paint. An animatronic Oogie Boogie caps the display off as he’s perched next to a roulette wheel, tempting guests with a game. Cool stuff, but would you really expect anything less from the world’s most famous theme park?
6. NOT SO MERRY CHRISTMAS – SINISTER POINTE (Brea, CA)
With their large cast of interactive freaks, if there was a prize for upsetting creativity, Sinister Pointe might take it home. Hosted by a mangled, drunk pervert “Santa”, the real Santa lays chained to a bed, farting as he is force-fed snack cakes. As there’s so much to see at this holiday haunt, we’re grateful that the hard-working minds at Theme Park Adventure managed to document this California masterpiece. Make sure you watch out for the spitting toilet. Throughout Sinister Pointe’s Christmas haunt, you’ll encounter terrifying elves, red and green clad mutants, deranged oompa-loompas, a spitting toilet, and even meet a few ghoulish residents of Dr. Seuss’ Whoville.
7. CREEPO’S CHRISTMAS IN 3-D – THE SCAREHOUSE (Pittsburgh, PA)
The Scarehouse is repeatedly one of the more intriguing places in the wide world of haunts that we can’t stop watching from afar. Housed in the zombie capital of the world, this professional Pittsburgh haunt is always demented and immersive. Their expertise in their field shows as The ScareHouse has been featured on the Travel Channel and in USA Today.
“Creepo’s Christmas in 3-d” features the loveable clown, Creepo, in a dirty Santa costume, and is actually one of three haunts that The Scarehouse features around Halloween. So technically, Creepo’s Christmas may be a Christmas-themed Halloween haunt, but we’ve found some evidence that on December 28th, The Scarehouse will be outfitting their chilling basement for the holidays. Legendary for their scares so real that they require a signed waiver, we can’t wait to see what they have in store for their tormented guests. Oof! Those elves with the UV face-paint are burned into my memory.
8. CHRISTMAS FESTEVIL – SCARE KINGDOM (Blackburn, United Kingdom)
Santa Claws and his minions produce terror across the pond with 2013’s Scare Kingdom’s Fest Evil, a twenty minute long theatrical production that promised to haunt you through four dimensions. Visitors are taken on a journey by a cheekily-named american realtor, Maximillian Dollar, as you weave your way through the Mistletoe Bough Manor and into places such as The Twisted Toy Room to encounter Christmas creeps like The Gingerdead Man and Teddy Scare. And for the truly brave, they also open up the Psychomanteum, labeled the UK’s “sickest attraction.”
9. FRIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – FRIGHT KINGDOM (Nashua, NH)
In mid-December, the 150,000 sq ft Fright Kingdom converts to “Fright Before Christmas”, a haunt geared around the tale of Krampus – the beast responsible for doling out punishment to wicked children everywhere, dragging them to hell by their ears. Fright Before Christmas also boasts of cannibal elves, rabid reindeer, and crazed carolers.
10. KRAMPUS CHRISTMAS – 13TH DOOR HAUNTED HOUSE (Beaverton, OR)
Fairly similar to “Fright Before Christmas”, 13th Door’s “Krampus Christmas” is found on the entire opposite end of the country in Beaverton, OR. In addition to decorating their haunt, they also keep it clever outside of the Halloween season, holding a hearse rally and attracting guests with fire dancers and of course, DONUTS.
11. TINSEL TOWN TERROR – THE FEAR FACTORY (Mays Landing, NJ)
Last on our list is The Fear Factory’s Tinsel Town Terror, a 30,000 sq ft haunt that underwent a Christmas make-over last year. The holiday attraction took participants through the home of Santa “Claws” and into ice caves, a deer “sleigher’s” barn, and the deep recesses of Santa’s basement where his captive elves build evil toys. And to show that they’re not a bunch of Scrooges, The Fear Factory reduces their prices and even donates a portion to charity. Head over to Nightmares Blog for a more detailed review and don’t miss the gallery below with more pictures of all the featured haunts.
When not guest posting at TYoH, Drew can be found selling high-quality props and accessories for haunted attractions at FrightProps, and compiling macabre musings for your reading pleasure at the FrightProps blog.