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Scare up some fun at Alabama’s haunted attractions



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Happy Halloween (cue the spooky creaking door hinges). Beyond these cobwebbed thresholds are opportunities: ghostly encounters, mysterious rooms and perhaps memories of an old ghoul friend.

A haunting we will go in October, but first, take note: COVID conditions, weather and other factors may alter schedules, so check before visiting your favorite spooky destination. Also, some haunts might be a bit scary for young children, so use discretion. Read on to learn more about the best of Alabama’s things that go bump in the night.

Nightmare at 3008

1731 Decatur Highway, Fultondale

Nightmareat3008.com

Nick and Lori Bryan’s Nightmare at 3008 is known as the “Haunt with a Heart.” Its charitable endeavors include a food drive on Nov. 4-5 with cash and canned items donated to Fultondale’s food bank. But the haunt with a heart makes yours beat faster.

The Nightmare includes two indoor main attractions and an outdoor trail. One theme is a post-apocalyptic underworld. Occupants seek refuge below earth from the blistered surface above. It is not going well.

In total, about 30 to 60 scary costumed actors await your presence at Nightmare’s venues. Some are still alive. Characters in various states of goriness scream, moan and shriek as you walk by, often briskly.

“We are a touch haunt,” says Lori Bryan. “But for guests not wanting to be touched, we offer chicken sticks.” Actors see the sticks and comply with its unspoken message, “do not touch me, for I am chicken.”


Warehouse 31

3150 Lee St., Pelham

Warehouse31.com

Warehouse 31 in Pelham features a wide assortment of ghouls and takes about 30 minutes to tour — unless you’re really scared and do a lot of running. (contributed)

Pelham’s house of horror gave the heebie-jeebies to thousands last year. “We have a little of everything,” notes owner Jason Sills. Gruesomely costumed characters meander through 50 scenes of terrifyingly good times.

The merry mayhem occurs in a former lumber supply warehouse turned horror abode in 2013. As for the cast, these folks are not shy.

“We don’t want to invade people’s space, but we are definitely in your face,” Sills says about the creature crew. Typically one walks through the facility in about 30 minutes – “or faster,” he laughs. “Depends on how fast you run.”

The signature attraction is Rigamortis – a traditional haunted house with high-tech special effects. Other venues include the 3D Experience, Escape Room and Lights Out Lantern Night.

Pro tip: Visit with someone you can outrun. If monsters give chase, they will catch your friend first.


A Literary Nightmare In a Dark, Dark Wood

Ina Pullen Smallwood

Memorial Library

224 Grant St., Chickasaw

251-452-6465

Appropriately for a library, the Ina Pullen Smallwood Memorial Library in Chickasaw stages scenes from classics of horror literature, from Poe and “Dracula” to the works of Stephen King. (contributed)

How cool is it being immersed in a storybook, right? Not so fast.

For starters, these stories are authored by the likes of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe. Tales of horror come to life with you in a supporting role.

A fundraiser for Chickasaw’s public library, past thrillers included such greats as “The Fall of the House of Usher” and “Dracula.” In recent years, guests met the incarcerated Hannibal the Cannibal Lecter, jailed because he enjoys people of good taste, sometimes with ketchup.

Each scenario offers interactive and sometimes embellished scenes. One guide this year is Little Red Riding Hood, who leads the gullible (that would be you) to grandma’s house. But as Chickasaw Library’s director and operations coordinator, Amber Johnson, says, “Little Red isn’t little anymore.”

Johnson adds, “Red takes the approach, ‘if y’all end up being eaten by the Big Bad Wolf, don’t blame me. You should have listened.’”

Other scenes include “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Pet Sematary.” For those preferring a milder alternative, a hayride is offered through the friendly streets of Chickasaw, a Big Bad Wolf-Free Zone.


Mountain Creek Trail of Fear

1802 Chilton County Road 23, Verbena

Trailoffear.net

The Mountain Creek Trail of Fear pairs a spine-tingling walk in the woods with a haunted hayride and also features a Clown Town. (contributed)

The woods of Verbena reveal many secrets along the path in the Mountain Creek Trail of Fear. Joe and Jackie Wilson’s ominous foot path and hayride have delighted and frightened thousands who keep coming back for more. “We want to scare people, but as part of having a really good time,” notes Joe Wilson. Jackie chuckles, “There’s a lot of spookies in the woods.”

Preparation begins in August for the October spectacle as laser lights, fog machines and props are strategically placed for maximum boo factor. Trail of Fear is two segments: A walking trail where one strides and a hayride journey through creepiness. Both are chilling good times on 35 acres.

Encounters feature a maze, Clown Town, an old barn, doll house, tunnels and other pursuits, if you dare. The woods host many creatures along the path. Ready or not, here they come.


Spooktrail Haunted Maze, one of the state’s longest-running horror attractions, features a quarter-mile of wandering among the monsters and misfits. (contributed)

Spooktrail Haunted Maze

17327 Alabama 269, Mile Marker 24

Quinton

facebook.com/SpooktrailHauntedMaze

With 31 years in operation, Spooktrail Haunted Maze is one of the longest-running fear factors of its kind in Alabama. Visitors also come from Tennessee, Mississippi and elsewhere to unite for fright. They are not disappointed.

Site owner “Spook’’ explains the unwritten mission statement: “This is a quarter-mile-long maze through the woods in an old junkyard, and we try to scare you.” Mission accomplished.

The trail takes about 20 to 30 minutes. One meanders through a green forest on a black night. You are not alone but might wish you were.

Lurking nearby are an array of monsters and misfits. “We consider what we do here as a family haunt,” Spook says. “If you want your whole family scared, bring ’em in.”

The usual suspects are there – vampires, zombies and goblins of note. Concerning intensity, Spook notes, “We try to customize the experience to the groups coming through” – perhaps less intense for the timid. Spooktrail offers a discount to the adventure in exchange for a canned food item to benefit Forever and Always Patriots’ food pantry.


Arx Mortis

4051 U.S. 72

Killen

Arxmortis.com

Arx Mortis is one of the most detailed haunted houses in the U.S. The complex, including a 50,000-square-foot facility of monsters galore, is about 10 miles from Florence, in – wait for it – Killen, Alabama.

The detail and special effects rival Disney World’s. Sheri Grosso, who co-owns the hobgoblin-infested property with husband Vinny Grosso, explains, “Each room takes you through scenarios as the story unfolds.” Guests walk through dungeons, prison, insane asylums, cemeteries and evil doctors performing dubious experiments.

Two main venues are available. One features live actors. “It is rated five skulls in the fear factor,” Grosso says. The other is an encounter hosted by animatronics (think of Disney’s Hall of Presidents with fangs). “It’s scary too, but not as frightening as the live action,” says the owner. ‘I’d give it a three-to-four skull rating.”


The Haunted Chicken House in Heflin drew more than 13,000 visitors last year, touring in small groups for maximum shock value. (contributed)

The Haunted Chicken House

7522  U.S. 431

Heflin

Thehauntedchickenhouse.com

An ominous presence lures visitors to Heflin. Behold, the Haunted Chicken House, where the cluck stops here.

Guests are lured to a flock of fright. Inside are costumed evil clowns, mad scientists and swamp creatures of dubious character. They join forces for good times, a great scare and live chickens.

Be warned, this is not poultry in peril. These yard birds are not frightened. You are.

Eighteen rooms of horror, each with a different scene and theme, interact with the brood – your brood, not the chickens. “I’ve seen a 4-year-old girl laugh all the way through it,” recalls site owner Dan Hopkins. “I’ve also seen grown men tremble.”

Hopkins adds, “Last year was our best ever. We had over 13,000 visitors.” He advises, “come early.”

The closer to Halloween the larger the crowd, which enters the 440-foot-long chicken coop one small group at a time, about 5 minutes apart.

The Haunted Chicken House is a fundraiser for the area’s emergency response team, Hollis Fire and Rescue.


Pope’s Haunted Farm

450 Lee Road 724

Salem

Popeshayride.com

This east Alabama Halloween tradition celebrates its 28th year of “terror at every turn,” and owner Troy Pope and his team change it up every year.

The haunted hayride is about a mile-and-a-half long, with scary scenes and sets and state-of-the-art animatronics. Then there’s a haunted barn, where eight to 10 people go through without a guide; there’s also the haunted forest, outside through the woods, which features more “chicken outs” for those who can’t make it through, the website says.

Troy says it’s a “PG-13” kind of frightful, “but we try to make it as chilling and thrilling as we can.”

Why keep it going this long? Pope and his team have a passion for Halloween, he says, with great family and friends and people who come back every year. He says it takes about 180 people, including dozens of live actors, to put on the event, and the planning for it is year-round.

From funny to frightful, haunted adventures await discovery across Alabama. Be safe, have fun and if things become too scary, wave your chicken stick.

This story originally appeared in Alabama Living magazine.



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