Writing about them all would fill the pages of an entire spellbook so we have spotlighted five of the darkest haunts.
Moxley Manor – Bedford
When: select days Sept. 23 through Oct. 31
Where: 510 Harwood Road
Cost: General admission tickets cost $23 and fast passes are $30
Moxley Manor promises to be doubly daunting when its doors swing open to horror hounds on Sept. 23. Blood and gore enthusiasts can snag a twin-pack fright tour for one lone price this year. That’s because in addition to the manor, the doors of an all-new Pitch Dark Haunted House will also creak open.
The haunted house is one of the most frightening shows in the metroplex, according to the manor, with several fright seekers escorted out each night through "chicken" doors. But don’t expect a refund if a chicken door hits you in the behind, since the spook house will have fulfilled its mission.
The indoor haunt is open rain or shine, which is a really nice way of saying, "come hell or high water."
Zombie Safari – Forney
When: Fridays and Saturdays in October
Where: 8975 FM 740 South – Forney
Cost: $9.95 rider, $24.95 single, $39.95 VIP and $399.95 private cruise
Located in a rural setting outside of Dallas, Zombie Safari is an interactive paintball experience where the deal is sweetened for shooters that are scouting out zombies because … and how cool is this? … “you get to shoot without getting shot back at.”
Potential zombie hunters are warned via website that they may be met with “fog, loud sounds, strobe lights, creepy actors, and props that buzz, hiss, growl, lurch, ooze and spit.”
For $24.95 zombie trackers can buy a ride on a safari vehicle and 100 rounds of ammo. A $39.99 VIP ticket gets zombie chasers a double round of ammo and a fast pass through the line. Those wanting to simply ride and watch can do that for $9.95. In addition, private cruises are available for birthday parties and corporate bashes. Those cost $399.95 and include 2,000 rounds of zombie slaying ammo.
Reindeer Manor – Red Oak
When: Sept. 24 and select days in October
Where: 410 Houston School Road
Cost: $15 one show, $25 two shows, $35 all shows, $50 VIP all shows w/line jumper combo. Discounted tickets for children 9 and younger are also available.
Reindeer Manor presents a triple threat with its 13th Street Morgue, Dungeon of Doom and Reindeer Manor Haunted House. If the mere thought of a tripod of spook houses is not cringe-worthy enough, try delving into the manor’s back story. The Halloween-themed park provides terrifying tales that incorporate a relocated saloon from Arlington’s early days, a barn turned funeral parlor and a love-triangle murder mystery.
“Around the turn of the century there was a small township in a rural area south of Dallas, according to reindeermanor.com. “Curiously, it was also the one community in the state with the largest percentage of graveyards.”
And it was there that Reindeer Manor served as the setting for a revenge-ridden, elite social gathering gone bad.
The Dungeon of Doom claims to be a turn-of-the-century tavern once located in downtown Arlington where the Arlington Museum of Art stands today. But Jennifer Lohmann, who owns and operates the park along with her husband Alex, says the dungeon was actually built about 10 years ago.
Nonetheless, Reindeer Manor’s website weaves fact and fiction for a horrific tale that goes something like this. Walter Sharp had partnered with Sam Shafer who drilled Arlington’s old mineral water well. Sharp went on to drill for oil and form the Sharp-Hughes Tool Company with Howard Hughes Jr. As partial payment for the well, Sharp had acquired the saloon. According to Reindeer Manor, the building was slated to be moved or torn down in the 1950s, so it was moved to the Sharp family’s estate in Red Oak. The former saloon is said to be haunted by four spirits and stood abandoned and weathering for about 30 years before transforming into the Dungeon of Doom.
“Dungeon of Doom was a haunted house located at the Arlington of Museum of Art, so this is sort of a throwback to that,” Lohmann said.
The 13th Street Morgue seems like a catchy name indeed for a horror flick. The structure is a former barn where, according to Reindeer Manor, Sharp’s nephew was discovered hanged. It later served as a funeral parlor where many poor and unclaimed bodies were buried nearby with blank stones marking their graves. The morbidly fictional tale goes on to disclose that the mortician’s two children were also strangled during the night by a man dressed as Santa Claus who shot himself afterward.
“We have really good writers,” Lohmann said, adding that people sometimes call to sift fact from fiction. She also said about 12,000 people visit Reindeer Manor annually, and “they like to go through them all.”
Dark Hour – Plano
When: select days Sept. 23 through Oct. 31
Where: 701 Taylor Drive
Cost: $28 general admission, $35 backstage tour, $50 fast pass, $75 VIP experience
This haunted house spins a twisted tale that begins in a private graveyard where guests are led past rotting smells into a magnificently dilapidated witches den. According to Dark Hour, the coven of hags had fled France for the safety and seclusion of the lower Louisiana swamps where their servants practice voodoo against them in an attempt to gain power over the 13 witches in the coven.
“Each witch, with the specialties she has cultivated through the centuries, fights to be dominant,” says Dark Hour’s website. “Each of them believe their way is the best path for bringing about the Dark Hour.”
Slaughter House – Garland
When: select days Sept. 30 through Oct. 31
Where: 1855 Wall Street Suite B
Cost: $25 or $40 VIP to avoid the lines
The Slaughter House, with its band of crazed clowns who have escaped from a traveling circus to run a meat processing plant, now conducts business in Garland. Slaughter House and J&F House of Terror have joined forces “to double the scare.”
Dallas and Fort Worth both have haunted tours, and Six Flags’ Fright Fest in Arlington offers guaranteed scare zones amid hanging, human-sized cocoons. In addition, the Texas Scaregrounds have transplanted to Alvarado, and the Boneyard reinterred to 3560 W. Camp Wisdom Road.