After aging out of trick-or-treating, it may seem like there’s not much left to do on Halloween, but the excitement of the spooky season never truly goes away — the activities just get more creative.
With attractions ranging from pumpkin picking to running away screaming in horror, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few attractions in the Valley worth checking out.
American Fright Night
This 40,000-square-foot walk-through attraction built inside of the American Celebration on Parade museum at Shenandoah Caverns is the Valley’s largest all-indoor haunted house. Open every Friday and Saturday in October — with the only exception being the addition of Halloween on Sunday, Oct. 31 — American Fright Night features themed areas deemed Patriotic Chaos, Graveyard, Clown Town and Creepy Christmas.
Mulberry Hills Farm
Looking for a more wholesome way to celebrate the spooky season? Located less than 20 minutes away from Harrisonburg in Mount Crawford, Virginia, Mulberry Hills Farm Pumpkin Patch is owned and operated by the Phillips family. In its 22nd year of operation, the farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visitors can pick pumpkins from the patch or browse a pre-picked selection of pumpkins and gourds, mums, straw bales and corn shocks for sale. The Phillips family also offers a fall-themed photo area and multiple hand-painted picture boards for photo-ops. Stop by any weekend in October to meet their friendly farm animals and enjoy a free hayride from 1-5 p.m.
One of Harrisonburg’s most infamous Halloween attractions, Fear Forest, is in its 16th season, offering three full-immersion haunted experiences. The first, aptly named Fear Forest, is the original and most popular attraction that travels through a walking woods trail with “terrifying scenes, sounds, high tech animatronics and props,” according to Fear Forest’s website. The second attraction, Fear Crops, is an interactive zombie experience that’s new this year. The third attraction, Fear Factory, taps into common fears and brings them to life. Open every Friday and Saturday in October from 7-11 p.m. — with the exception of Oct. 21, 27 and 28, open from 7-10 p.m. — the attraction makes a point to say the event “draws larger crowds Saturday nights, and closer to Halloween.”
At Madame Redrum’s, an 18th century abandoned mill is transformed into a walk-through horror experience. Located in Waynesboro, Virginia, the attraction is described as a sensory experience where “you will be bombarded with sights, sounds, and smells” — “Madame Redrum WILL make you scream,” according to its website. But don’t worry — the attraction makes a point to say that several people are escorted out of the “chicken” doors nightly. All tickets to this haunted house are sold online and in one-hour time slots.
Back Home on the Farm
Open nearly year-round with a variety of activities, Back Home on the Farm offers a family friendly and scare-free environment for the Halloween season. With over 30 farm activities, including a corn maze, pumpkin patch and a “spook-tacular” enchanted garden, there’s plenty to do on this 240-acre farm. For something more private, visitors can even reserve their own campfire and bring along the necessities for an evening of s’mores and scary stories. Tickets can be purchased at the farm, open Tuesday to Friday from 3-6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
Willing to travel a little further to be scared? DarkWood Manor in downtown Luray, Virginia, is “Virginia’s premier theatrical and interactive haunted house,” according to its website. With talented actors, intricate sets and movie-grade makeup, the attraction tells a new story each year about the legend of DarkWood Manor. Open weekend nights in October — 7-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. on Sundays — tickets may be purchased online with specific dates and times.
Nightmare at UREC
For those looking to stay on campus while enjoying a unique Halloween experience JMU’s Nightmare at UREC will take place Thursday, Oct. 28, from 9 p.m. to midnight. Students can choose from many activities, including a haunted house, an escape room, a zombie lab, a silent disco, a dive-in movie and more at no charge. All students need is their JACard for admission, and all guests must pay a $5 fee. Show up in your best costume for a chance to win a prize in the costume contest.
Get the pumpkins ready for carving and the costumes set out because the Halloween season is here. Thrillseeker or not, the Valley offers a Halloween event for everyone, and these activities are the perfect way to get festive.
Contact Megan Crews at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.