Think you’re too tough for haunted houses? Think again. These houses are not for the faint of heart.
Halloween is my favorite time of year. I was born the day before Halloween, so it’s always held a special place in my heart. This year, I decided to get into the spirit early and visit two of the scariest and most entertaining haunted attractions in the region.
I don’t frighten easily, but I will be completely transparent about the fact I left these houses dripping in sweat. Does fear makes you perspire or am I just a sweaty Italian man?
13th Floor – Regency Court
Produced by Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, the world’s largest Halloween themed entertainment company, 13th Floor features top quality set designs, costumes and actors all curated by an experienced and passionate team of the highest caliber. The team emphasizes that any haunted house may be frightening, but it’s what inside it that takes it to the next level.
13th Floor features one huge haunted house (about a 25-minute walk-through), axe throwing and mini escape games. And beware of monsters lurking in the parking lot.
The house tears at all five of your senses. From the ground you walk on to the air you breathe, no detail is overlooked creating a truly immersive experience. Work your way through multiple story arcs with new scares around every corner and elaborate performances by actors throughout. This year’s house features three different story lines: Bad Blood, where visitors experience the ancient feud between werewolves and vampires; Dead in the Water, an abandoned steamboat from the 1800s haunted by spirits and surrounded by a swampy river filled with evil creatures; and The Doll Maker, proving the scary old lady who lives in the creepy house at the end of the street really is THAT scary.
Scare Factor: 8/10 Production: 10/10 Overall Entertainment: 9/10
Haunt Nights – Adventure Landing
To say that the scares at the site of the former Jacksonville Beach waterpark caught me by surprise would be an understatement. Last year’s event was put on hold due to the surge of COVID-19, but, man, was it worth the wait with two separate houses, a scare zone and roaming actors, as well as Adventure Landing’s massive arcade.
Dark Fables is the area’s largest 3D haunted house. Throw on your 3D glasses and wind your way through psychedelic colors avoiding the frightening characters along the way. Payne Manor, an indoor/outdoor house, was one of the more frightening haunted houses I’ve ever been in. Gruesome jump scares kept me on my toes the whole time.
The scariest of the attractions was the walk-through scare zone. Set up like a maze, the scare zone was blanketed in smoke making it difficult to tell which direction was right and even more difficult to see the monsters creeping within. Good luck finding your way out of there: I got lost, cornered by creatures and had to be escorted out by security.
For old time’s sake, check out Haunt Nights for the last time at this location (Adventure Landing is currently looking for new real estate). And don’t forget to put on your big boy/girl/person pants.
Scare Factor: 8/10 Production: 7/10 Overall Entertainment: 8/10
Live Zombie Shoot and Haunted Trail
GTF Paintball, Think you would be the last human standing in a zombie apocalypse? Test your shooting skills on GTF Paintball’s Haunted Trail with “live” zombies popping up along the way. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to experience this one firsthand due to the gnarliest lightning storm North Florida has seen in recent memory, but from what I’ve seen and heard about it, this experience is not one to miss.
Other Scary Attractions and Tours to Check Out
A Ghostly Encounter Tour, St. Augustine Ghost Tours (St. Augustine)
Amelia Island Ghost Tours (Fernandina)
Halloween Spooktacular, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
The Haunted Wanderings Tour by West Gate Paranormal Tours
Ghost Tours, GhoST Augustine (St. Augustine)
Ghost and Gravestones Tour (St. Augustine)
Hair-Raising History Train Tour, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! (St. Augustine)
Haunted Castle Investigation, Ripley’s Believe it or Not! (St. Augustine)
Haunted Pub Crawl, GhoST Augustine (St. Augustine)
The Old Jail After Dark paranormal investigation, Ghosts and Gravestones (St. Augustine)
Paranormal Investigation, Ghosts and Gravestones (St. Augustine)
Sheriff’s Ghost Walk Tour, 32 St. George St. (St. Augustine)