As a resident of Western Pennsylvania, I don’t think I could let the Dark Season pass without paying homage to the some of the haunts in the area. I’ve compiled this little list for any haunts in the Pittsburgh who may read to act as a guide to the haunts, while for the rest of you, I see this is an opportunity to show Pittsburgh and Western PA’s haunting legacy.
First, I bring to your attention Dark Works, a home haunt put on Terror Syndicate Productions. Don’t let the label of “home haunt” fool you – this thing is a force to be reckoned with. Always creating innovative and original methods to scare its patrons, this haunt has a visual style that I cannot put my finger on. Its part backwoods, part zombie, part I really don’t know what. It is rustic, creepy, decaying, dark, disorienting. This is truly a haunt that stands alone, forging its own unique path. What’s even cooler is that absolutely everything in the haunt is handmade – from the masks to the music, to the animatronics and sets, which range from minimalist to insanely detailed, Dark Works is truly one of the great haunts.
Up next, our little jaunt through Pittsburgh brings us to Hundred AcresManor. Claiming to be Pittsburgh’s Most Extreme Haunt, the Manor offers six sick attractions: Dead Lift, Damnation, South Valley Hospital, The Family: Unearthed, The Maze, and Brine Slaughterhouse. This haunt proudly favors the blood ‘n’ chainsaws approach, and is definitely not made with more timid haunt fans in mind. It has killer sets, tons of gore, and a very high intensity factor. What’s cool is that the proceeds go to two charities, AnimalFriends and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund. So if you’re looking to piss your pants in the name of a good cause, this might be your haunt.
Now, if you’re looking to keep your pants unsoiled but still have a creepy good time, perhaps Castle Blood Haunted Adventure Tours are more your style. This haunt has been going strong for over twenty years, and is unique in that it provides an interactive, theatrical Gothic experience. As your tour this beautifully detailed haunt, you must solve puzzles and collect tokens as part of a challenge, with prizes awarded to groups who exit the haunt with all their tokens. Certainly one the most unique haunt experiences around.
If you’re the kind of haunt goer that is looking for more than just a haunts in their Halloween experience, head over to Phantom Fright Nights. Hosted at Kennywood, the largest amusement park in the area, Phantom Fright Nights feature haunted houses, scare zones, thrill rides, music, and tons of other features. It even has a haunt, BioFear, that was designed by Terror Syndicate Productions, the same folks behind Dark Works. This haunt consistently gets good reviews among local haunt fans, so check it out for yourself.
And last but certainly not least, we come to what is one of my favorite haunts, TheScarehouse. A slick, professional haunt with the look and feel of a Hollywood movie, Scarehouse is actually three haunts in one: The Forsaken, a creepy atmospheric descent into madness; Creepo’s Christmas in 3D; and Pittsburgh Zombies, a blood-soaked homage to Pittsburgh’s living dead legacy. This year, they are also featuring an extreme, adults-only haunt called The Basement, which promises "high voltage effects, very low lighting, tight spaces, strong scents, profanity, moments of complete darkness, water, physical contact, sexual and violent situations". Fun for the whole family. By far, I think Scarehouse ties with Dark Works as the best haunt in Pittsburgh.
Well, there you have it, Specters. I hope this helps you in selecting what haunts you choose to visit, or at least provides you with inspiration for your own.