Halloween 2013: Haunted Houses and Ghost Tours

Treehouses of Horror

The moment when Simpson references are no longer cool is the moment I no longer wish to be an inhabitant of this planet. Well, haunted houses are still cool, so I guess it's not so bad. Read on for our top picks:

Gravesteen Haunted Productions Presents: The Curse of Frau Mueller
50 Florida Ave. NW

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Go get haunted by the ghost of a middle-aged housekeeper!

In those words, it sounds admittedly less creepy, but apparently Frau Helga Mueller was nothing short of true evil. After a slew of kids were kidnapped, eventually authorities went to question old Frau, but they never got the chance.

According to legend, the bodies of the missing children were found in her home, but Frau never was. A message, "Ich komme zuruck," or "I will return," was found in her place. A definite creepville. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Wicked Woods Haunted Forest
6220 Massey Road, Spotsylvania, Va.

A trifecta of spooky, Virginia's Wicked Woods offers a haunted forest, haunted asylum and a haunted house. How a single owner could fall into (and consequently capitalize) off such misfortune is beyond us, but who are we to question the fates?

The haunted forest takes you on a quarter-mile trek through fear, complete with special effects and "high-tech animatronics." The haunted asylum, cleverly called the Insanitarium, was first opened in 1861. From our research, that's all you need to know. Pre-Dorothy Dix-reform asylums are not to be trifled with. 

Lastly, the haunted house features guest actors from "The Walking Dead" and has the reputation of being associated with an 1861 asylum. Can't argue with that. Tickets can be purchased online here, and bundle deals are also available. 

Darkwood Manor Haunted House
104 N. Hawksbill St., Luray, Va.

Billed as "Virginia's premier theatrical and interactive haunted house," Darkwood Manor stands as one of the D.C. area's most highly anticipated haunted houses.

Go to hear "Mother Grimwood's Deadtime Stories" (eep), but don't blame us if you stay up all night with the lights on and the doors double-locked once you get home.  Tickets can be purchased at the gate (cash only), or in advance here.

Bennett's Curse
8024 Max Blobs Park Road, Jessup, Md.

The Travel Channel called it one of America's scariest halloween attractions, and those guys have been known to go looking for ghosts. This outdoor-friendly (wear boots/shoes that can outrun zombies) attraction has won numerous awards and titles for being one of the scariest places to spend your Halloween.

It's not for the faint of heart, so proceed with caution to purchase your tickets here.

Markoff's Haunted Forest
19120 Martinsburg Road, Dickerson, Md.

A scare with a cause. Markoff's Haunted Forest offers a rain or shine haunted forest experience complete with casual while-you-wait zombie hunts and ziplining. As if offering ziplining wasn't enough to bring the cool kids out, every year Markoff's also donates a portion of their proceeds to charity.

Find the full list of charities and other info, online here. To purchase tickets, click here.


D.C. loves its guided tours, after all. Play tourist (of the supernatural) at one of these scary-ish dives into ghostly "history."

National Building Museum Ghost Tours
401 F St. NW

This tour is recommended for ages 10 and up, so feel free to bring your kids along on this one. Tales of mystery, murder and ghosts are just a few of the things you can expect to hear. If legend is to be believed, you may see a few things of interest as well.

Tours are offered weekly in the fall, so visit the museum site for more details.

Natalie Zanin's Ghost Story Tour of Washington
Lafayette Square, NW D.C.

Started in 2001, this tour bills itself as the district's longest running ghost tour. They must be doing something right (or wrong, to keep having these undead spirits haunting around them all the time). The Ghost Story Tour is another family-friendly attraction (children age eight and older are welcome). Purchase tickets online here.

Washington D.C. Ghost Tours
1520 H St. NW

These tours are getting more and more family-oriented. The Washington D.C. Ghost Tour prides itself on providing accurate information on the rich (and sometimes scary) history of the nation's capital.

The tour takes place in Lafayette Park, which is also known by the less inviting "Tragedy Square," and seeks to be one of the most creepily informative tours you'll ever take. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Old Town Ghost and Graveyard Tour
21 King St., Alexandria

The lantern-lit Ghost and Graveyard Tour will walk you down six blocks' worth of ghost stories, unsolved mysterious, and revenge. The hour-long tour culminates in with your 1800s-garbed guide abandoning you in a cemetery. No, really.

Tours depart (yes, we said it) at 7:15, 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. on Halloween night, but tickets are available through the end of November for other times. Tickets can be reserved online here.

Leesburg Ghost Tours
21 S. King St., Leesburg, Va.

Unlike most tours, this one actually seeks to dispell the notion of the ever-scary ghost, by scaring the ever-loving fear right out of you. Wait, what? Yep, this Leesburg tour is more of a learning opportunity than anything.

Find out about paranormal research, paranormal investigations and more. And more. To book tickets for this edutainment tour, visit their site online here

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