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Scream Hollow
Photograph: Two Keys Photography

The best haunted houses in Austin for Halloween

Get spooked at the best haunted houses in Austin this Halloween season

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Contributor
Cindy Brzostowski
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Ready for a jump and a scream? October isn’t all about Oktoberfest, it’s also a time to embrace the frightful, freaky fun of Halloween at the scariest haunted houses in Austin. You see, down here, getting your pals together (especially the ones prone to crying) and running through room after room of ghastly sights is a tradition during the spooky season. The more squeals the merrier. So when you’ve warmed up at the local movie theaters and stuffed your faces with pumpkin everything, terrifying towers are just the recipe for an end-of-fall release. Here are six Austin haunted houses guaranteed to give you and your buddies a fright, and if you need some dutch courage, pre-game at Austin’s best bars before the ride there.

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Best haunted houses in Austin

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Hailed as “one of America’s scariest haunted houses” by the Travel Channel, House of Torment is celebrating 20 years of delivering sheer terror. Their 40,000-square-foot attraction at 2632 Ridgepoint Drive routinely includes a haunted manor, bloodcurdling penitentiary and nightmarish carnival. House of Torment takes scares seriously; they combine hundreds of skilled, costumed actors with advanced animatronics to create a truly spine-chilling experience. For added fun, they also have escape games, axe throwing and a tavern on-site. Fast pass and skip-the-line tickets are available.

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Situated on 20 acres of dense, isolated forest in Bastrop County (149 Split Rail Lane in Smithville), Scream Hollow consists of five horrifying haunts (Mansion of Terror Coven, Lost Pines Asylum, Sinister Circus, Hell on Wheels Haunted Hayride and Wicked Darkness: The Maze) across multiple buildings. During a visit here, you should be prepared for a thrilling, highly interactive experience where you may have to work with your environment to find a way out. Admission varies based on how many of the five haunts you want to brave.

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One of this year's top events from experience wizards, Fever, Murder Mystery: The Abandoned Mansion will take place in an undisclosed location in Austin. It promises to be an immersive game themed to a wealthy old window found dead in her home. You’ll be part of an investigation team, searching multiple rooms draped in chandeliers and fine china to find clues, interrogate suspects and crack the mystery. One for the budding detectives and great with a gang of pals. Tickets start at $35.

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Scaring and caring go hand in hand at Scare for a Cure. This volunteer-run, interactive haunted adventure donates its profits to local cancer-related charities and organizations. Previous themes included Return to Mutant Wasteland, and tickets usually get you admission to their maze event, The Boneyard: Nightmare Wasteland. It all fittingly takes place at J. Lorraine Ghost Town, just a short drive from the city in Manor. Just make sure not to wear nice clothes or open-toed shoes—you may need to crawl or climb to escape and you just might find yourself covered in “blood” or slime by the end. You’ve been warned!

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The Austin Zoo has been helping animals through rescue, rehabilitation and education efforts since 1990, and for almost that entire time they’ve been joining in on the Halloween festivities with their Boo at the Zoo event. Tickets are $19.95 each and will get you a pass on their haunted train and unlimited walks through their haunted house (which is actually their converted Peacock Barn). The event is friendly for all ages since they check in with each group beforehand about just how scary they want it to be and cue their staff inside accordingly. Costumes and picnics are encouraged.

A fully immersive, huge entertainment complex dedicated to all things Halloween and horror, Bat City Scaregrounds is just 15 miles from downtown. On it, there are three intricately decorated haunted houses (Castle Orlock, Ancient Evil and Clownocalypse), live music on Saturdays, Vegas-style performances, seasonal food and much more. Tickets are $30, but you can upgrade to a Fast Pass for $40, or get deals on group bookings.

 

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