Fine Arts and Fest

Haunted Happenings

Lisa Sanchez
It's that season again. Every autumn Ohio's production of nightmare fuel and male tears quadruples with hundreds of haunted houses opening across the state. Ohio appears to be the perfect location for having more haunts and fake blood per capita than people. Whether it is the plethora of abandoned warehouses, cornfields, or penitentiaries, Ohio takes what would be considered eye-sores 11 months out of the year and turns them into adult-sized monster playgrounds. Considering the ability for every Freddy, Jason, and Chucky to host their own blood-bath in their dimly-lit basement or creepy murder cornfield the options are limitless for Ohio residents. The following is a small selection of the most diverse and interesting attractions spread throughout Ohio in everything from major cities to tiny bergs.

1.) Haunted Prison Experience - Mansfield

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Formerly the Ohio State Reformatory, the prison officially shut down in 1990 due to disrepair and the building’s ability to murder indiscriminately despite being inanimate. “The Reformatory” as residents simply call it, has been the site of numerous films including Shawshank Redemption and Air Force One. Not to mention Ghosthunters has investigated the prison numerous times. Whereas some other haunted houses on the list split up their scares among several different locations, The Haunted Prison Experience keeps the guest safely nuzzled in the hellish embrace of one 45-minute-long fieldtrip through the gothic prison. The excursion takes you through multiple levels including cell blocks, common areas, and solitary confinement cells. Seriously, a walkthrough of The Reformatory is terrifying enough during the day. You have to be a special brand of 100% bat-shit crazy to go through solitary confinement, in total darkness, with masked men chasing you with chainsaws. Have fun never sleeping again.

Fun fact: The Haunted Prison Experience is right next to the maximum security Mansfield Correctional Institute. You can see it from the parking lot and the barbed wire and high-power security lights really add to the sense of desolation you feel even before entering the real haunted house.

Admission: $17
Address: 100 Reformatory Rd. Mansfield, Ohio 44905

2.) 7 Floors of Hell - Middleburg Heights

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7 Floors of Hell is one of the mainstays of the Halloween haunted house scene in Ohio. Spoiler alert: It’s actually seven different houses, not vertical floors. So if your real fear is walking up stairs you can just check that phobia at the door. Each house features a different genre of night terror the guest gets to walk into including Body Snatchers, Zombie Apocalypse, House of Nightmares, Clown House, Blood Barn, Killer Theater, and Mental Ward. 7 Floors of Hell features movie-quality makeup and special effects. So, you thought you could distance yourself from being scared by saying it doesn’t look real? Scratch that too, your worst anxieties have manifested into a bloody mold of human faces and leaping acrobatic corpses. 7 Floors of Hell is lauded as the number one haunted event in the state (which numerous others also claim), but the sheer volume of experiences at ones disposal makes it a must-see for the season.

Admission: $25
Speed Pass: $33
Address: 19191 Bagley Road
Middleburg Heights, OH, 44130

3.) Halloweekends, Cedar Point - Sandusky

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If you’re an Ohio resident you’ve most likely been to Cedar Point at least once. Halloweekends changes the game because now, not only are the screams from sheer delight and thrill at conquering rollercoasters, but now they harbor a more sinister “I-may-need-new-pants” twinge. If Cedar Point sold special plastic under-garments in their gift shops they would make a killing this season. The haunted houses are spread throughout the park and have a number of different themes including Zombie High school, Cornstalkers, Blood on the Bayou, and many more. Although Cedar Point tickets are more expensive than any regular haunted house ticket, you not only get more than 10 haunted experiences, but all of the roller coasters you can handle at your disposal. Cedar Point has the means and money to create a Universal Studios-quality display with disgusting indoor and outdoor horror chambers, plus eccentric performers who live off of your screams.

Admission: $39-$49
Fright Lane (fast pass): Additional $35
Address: One Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio, 44870

4.) Factory of Terror - Canton

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The Factory of Terror has the distinction of being the “World’s Longest Haunted House” boasting an impressive 160,000 square feet of delirious fear meltdown. The ample terror machine that is Canton’s Factory of Terror is housed in, you guessed it, a real, abandoned factory building formerly known as the Hercules Engines Plant. As if the widespread, Midwest job decline wasn’t scary enough, you get to walk through a relic of America’s former industrial glory filled with relics and old auto parts. Plus, the factory is split into four different sections which feature full immersion into claustrophobic expanses and realistic effects, putting you right in the deep with all the creepy crawlies.

Admission: $26
Speed Pass: $36
Address: 4125 Mahoning Rd NE, Canton, OH 44705

5.) Lake Eerie Fear Fest - Sandusky

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As if Sandusky wasn't scary enough already...

Although this exhibit is Cedar Point-adjacent, Lake Eerie Fear Fest offers a spooky Halloween option for haunted house fans without all of the amusement park overhead. Lake Eerie Fear Fest is like an endurance test for adrenaline junkies. It’s a six-acre long excursion featuring five differently themed haunted houses including Ghostly Manor, Darkmare, Eerie Chateau, Quarantine, and Caged. Lake Eerie Fear Fest’s Ghostly Manor house is open all year, but the other four features are only available during the Halloween season. So, prioritize your house visits wisely and hit up all of the available scare action in one awesome visit.

Ghostly Manor Admission: $15
All 5 Houses Admission: $25
Fast Pass Ghostly Manor: $25
Fast Pass 5 Houses: $35
Address: 3319 Milan Rd, Sandusky, OH 44870

6.) Haunted Cave at Lewisburg - Lewisburg

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Just read that heading again real quick. That’s right. “The Haunted Cave” terror adventure that is encased in limestone 80 feet under Lewisburg, Ohio. The creators are geniuses because they just cut their fake bat budget in half. The Lewisburg cave is actually home to 30,000 native bats and you just pissed them off by disturbing their sleep. Like being underground isn’t reminiscent enough of death, the attraction is set up in an abandoned mine-shaft, which are the pinnacle of old-world safety, right? For one price you get to experience an excellent haunted house, go into a real Ohio cave, and possibly find Batman’s hideout. Count me in.

Adult Admission: $16
Kids Admission: $5
Address: 4392 Swisher Mill Road, Lewisburg, OH 45338

7.) The Dent Schoolhouse - Cincinnati

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Factories, prisons, caves, and warehouses are all well and terrifying, but what is honestly your worse nightmare of all time? If you think about it, I'm sure you'll discover it's the nightmare about all of your peers and teachers turning against you in a horrendous pelting of cafeteria food. The Dent Schoolhouse captures that pubescent fear of public schools that lives, deeply buried, in all of us. The Dent Schoolhouse is split into two separate experiences including the new "Queen City Slaughter House". The pig on the logo looks deceptively happy, but I'm sure it's just to lull you into a false sense of friendly-piggy security. The Dent Schoolhouse looks and feels like a real dilapidated school building complete with desks, chalkboards, swinging dead bodies, maniacal clowns...the average educational experience, of course.

Admission: $20
Fast Pass: $30
Address: 5963 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati, Ohio 45248