Ghosts, Goblins and Ghouls - Oh My! Thrill Industry Experts Select Best American Haunted Houses for Halloween 2008

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'America's Best Haunts' Names Year's Top Frights for Thrill Seekers

America's Best Haunts (, the authority on premier haunted houses across the country, announces its second annual list of the top 11 thrill parks and fright fests for the 2008 Halloween season. Established to recognize superior thrill industry attractions throughout the U.S., America's Best Haunts is the only resource of its kind that solely focuses on selecting the best frights for its site. After reviewing and visiting hundreds of attractions over the past year, only 11 will bear the seal of "America's Best."

"Haunted houses have long been a Halloween tradition, evolving from simple tents and street fairs to the much more sophisticated attractions we have today that can cost an upwards of $500,000 to create," said Steve Kopelman of America's Best Haunts. "From small towns to major theme parks, our jury of experts has found the best attractions that meet consumers' growing expectations for gorier, scarier and more lifelike thrills."

With more than 30 million Americans visiting a haunted house in 2007, today's more elaborate fright factories feature state-of-the-art technology and special effects to meet the demands of a growing market of consumers that want to truly experience the "show" and feel a part of the scary attractions. Around the nation, long lines of thrill-seekers pay an average of $20 - $50 per ticket for an hour or more of controlled fright.

To compile the 2008 list, America's Best Haunts selected an esteemed panel of judges with more than 100 cumulative years of experience in the thrill park industry to evaluate haunted attractions from coast to coast based on an extensive list of criteria, including:

  • Special Effects
  • Overall Detail of Attraction and Characters
  • Consumer Value and Appeal
  • Fear Factor
  • Marketing
  • Longevity in the Marketplace
  • Safety

Following is America's Best Haunts official 2008 list:

  • Bennett's Curse, Baltimore, MD: In operation since 2001, Bennett's Curse - House of the Vampyres is the Mid-Atlantic's can't miss Halloween attraction. Revolutionizing fright entertainment, its unique theming, special effects, and attractions are sure to leave visitors screaming. From the Dominion of Darkness to the Sanctuary of Insanity, its mazes and paranormal illusions filled with amazing monsters, incredible animatronics, and live actors combine to create an unforgettable experience. (

•Woods of Terror, Greensboro, NC: For over 17 years, Woods of Terror has been the largest and most professional haunted attraction in North Carolina. Located in Greensboro, twenty acres of rural woodlands is transformed into one of the most intense and terrifying haunted trails in the Southeast. Woods of Terror "victims" experience realistic scenes through the creative use of movie quality sets, special effects makeup, high tech props and lighting. Over 75 actors help transform the rural countryside into a frightening haunted trail worthy of any Hollywood movie set. (

  • Screamworld, Houston, TX: Screamworld, with five haunted attractions at one location, is Houston's longest running haunted scream park. ScreamWorld has consistently been voted the number one haunted attraction by the Houston Chronicle, the Houston Press, and New for the 2008 season: numerous scene changes with stunning attention to Hollywood quality detail of the scenes. (
  • Thrillvania, Dallas, TX: Thrillvania is the nationally-acclaimed thrill park featuring eight different haunted attractions, a midway with fun and games, food and beverages and a haunted store. Founded nearly 20 years ago, the renowned park is located on 50 acres of haunted property approximately 30 miles east of Dallas. Attracting more than 25,000 visitors each Halloween season, Thrillvania is the premier area attraction for discerning thrill seekers. (
  • Nightmare: Ghost Stories, Miami, FL: Deemed "America's #1 Haunted House" by, Nightmare: Ghost Stories will bring its famed interactive haunted house to Miami this September. The event has been scaring record-breaking crowds of happy ghost seekers on Manhattan's super-hot Lower East Side for four years. Psycho Clan conducted an online poll of people's paranormal experiences, took the creepiest collected stories and campfire tales and crafted an exceptional ghostly experience from them. In addition to the haunted house there are two other hair-raising attractions that will keep your heart racing: Nightmare: Old School is a smaller haunted attraction filled with classic horror icons like zombies, vampires, Frankenstein and other haunted-house fixtures you remember from your neighbor's garage. Finally, Mortuary is a fun, immersive experience set in a funeral parlor where the dead put the living to rest. (
  • Terror on the Fox, Green Bay, WI: 2008 will mark the 11th season for one of Wisconsin's top Halloween traditions, Terror on the Fox. This leading spooky attraction tests the limits of fear with vertigo, claustrophobia, chainsaws, darkness, rats, snakes and much more. (
  • Realm of Darkness, Pontiac, MI: The Realm of Darkness transports more than 25,000 visitors each year back to medieval times with an adventure deep into this enchanted castle. Visitors control their own destiny, traveling through the spooky castle walls. If they choose their path wisely, they'll be rewarded. If not, their fate will surely be grim. (
  • Twisted Big Top, Glendale, AZ: New this season! From the producers of The Nest and Alice Cooper's Nightmare, Twisted Big Top is poised to be the best clown themed haunted attraction in its premier year. State of the art effects, coupled with mind boggling costumes makes Twisted Big Top a welcome addition to this list. (
  • The Haunted Mansion, Disneyland, Anaheim, CA: Established in 1969, visitors to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland first experience the mysterious stretching room and portraits that transform before their eyes. Later, a "Doom Buggy" waits to transport visitors to a world of humorous houseguests, silly dances and ghostly galas. As they depart, the 999 happy haunts wish them well. (
  • Busch Gardens, Howl-O-Scream, Williamsburg, VA: Five different mazes, four different scare zones, and five different shows give the patrons a complete night of Halloween horror. Our personal favorite is the Tormented Tales, a twisted take on fairy tales with an extreme level of fright. (
  • FrightFest, St. Louis, MO: Each October, Six Flags in St. Louis hosts FrightFest, a Halloween celebration that is tough to stay away from. The celebration features haunted houses, frighteningly entertaining shows and beloved Warner Brother's characters. Entertaining for young and old, FrightFest provides fun and terrifying excitement all in one place. (

About America's Best Haunts
Established in 2007 to recognize superior haunt attractions, Americas Best Haunts ( is the only expert resource of its kind on the Web, identifying the top haunted attractions in the country for today's discerning fright lovers. With more than 100,000 visitors in 2007, ABH is a comprehensive site offering consumers extensive attraction details and contact information, photo galleries, event calendars, ticket information and directions to haunts that bear the seal of "America's Best."


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Lindsay Stout
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