Top Halloween haunts to incite fear and fun

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Haunted attractions are making their way to Utah as Halloween quickly approaches. (Photo courtesy of Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus.)
Haunted attractions are making their way to Utah as Halloween quickly approaches. (Photo courtesy of Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus.)

Halloween is quickly approaching, and students don’t have to look far for Halloween haunts that are fun, affordable and, most importantly, scary. Here’s a preview of the four scariest haunts within 30 minutes, and one family-friendly option right here in Provo.

Castle of Chaos

Castle of Chaos boasts the longest haunted house, as it takes over one hour to go through four different haunts.

Founder James Bernard opened the Castle 13 years ago and now has five different terrifying locations, the newest one located in Orem. He said Castle is everything he’s always wanted in a haunted house.

“What sets us apart is the hands-on horror,” Bernard said. “We started allowing actors to touch the guests, and it really makes it more intense.”

Guests must sign a waiver to allow Castle actors to touch them, according to what level they are comfortable with. ‘Basic’ is simply touch, but not moving. ‘Extreme’ allows the actors to pick you up and abduct you. ‘Executioner’ is for the bravest and most fear-seeking guests. Details of this level aren’t provided, but for those willing to do anything, Bernard insists this level is the most fun.

“We’ve won basically every award there is to win in Utah,” Bernard said. “We were featured on the Travel Channel as one of America’s scariest Halloween attractions.”

Castle of Chaos is located at 165 E. University Parkway and tickets are $20. Dates and times can be found at castleofchaos.com.

The Anguish Asylum is located in the parking garages under the Cinemark theater at Provo Towne Center. (Photo by Anguish Asylum.)
Guests will travel through haunted graveyards, gas chambers and an insane asylum during their visit to the Anguish Asylum. (Photo courtesy of Anguish Asylum.)

Anguish Asylum

Anguish Asylum is back at Provo Towne Center with new and more scary features than ever. In one feature, real snakes and spiders litter a jungle floor that can only be crossed by way of a rope bridge. Guests can also travel through a haunted graveyard, a gas chamber and an insane asylum during their visit.

Owner Randy Lay believes the Anguish Asylum’s attention to detail sets it apart from other haunting attractions.

“Our focus is that gray area of insanity we all feel at some point in our lives,” Lay said. “Trying to grasp what is real and the horror of not being in control. Psychological terror, so to speak.”

Anguish Asylum is open from Sep. 27 to Nov. 2 in the parking garages under the Cinemark theater at Provo Towne Center.  Entrance is $18.  Guests also have the option of taking a coffin simulator ride for $5. For more information, visit anguishasylum.com.

Strangling Brothers Circus

Strangling Brothers Circus brings a unique twist to typical haunted attractions. Instead of being set in a building, guests make their way through a maze of 23 custom tractor trailers filled with deranged circus freaks.

Guests make their way through a maze of 23 custom tractor trailers filled with deranged circus freaks at the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus. (Photo courtesy of Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus.)
Guests make their way through a maze of 23 custom tractor trailers filled with deranged circus freaks at the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus. (Photo courtesy of Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus.)

Bob Tillotson, Strangling Brothers Circus co-owner, has been in the haunt industry for 25 years and said this haunt attraction is completely unique.

“We make it an experience so that guests are entertained from the minute they walk in the tent,” Tillotson said.

Guests are entertained with a show in a circus tent while they wait to enter the maze, eliminating the long wait times that other haunted houses experience.

“We know how to exploit every possible fear,” Tillotson said in a press release. “Our unusual circus freaks and unnerving environments are uniquely designed to scare all who enter the haunted circus with a new dimension of terror.”

Top Haunts has nominated them to be one of the top 13 haunts in the United States.

Strangling Brothers Circus is located in Draper, east of the Bangerter Highway exit. Tickets are $22. The circus is open Oct. 4–Nov. 2 with varying dates and times. Schedules can be viewed at stranglingbros.com.

Castle of Chaos guests must sign a waiver that allows Castle actors to touch them during their tour through the haunted house. (Photo by Elizabeth Wilhelmsen.)
Castle of Chaos guests must sign a waiver that allows Castle actors to touch them during their tour through the haunted house. (Photo by Elizabeth Wilhelmsen.)

Insanity Point

Insanity Point at Thanksgiving Point offers a unique experience for all. The scream scale that rates the intensity of each attraction allows guests to pick their own level of insanity. After making their way through one of the eight haunted attractions, guests receive entry to Cornbelly’s, the non-haunted section, for a variety of activities such as a corn maze, campfire and hayride.

Emily Stewart, a senior math education major from Gig Harbor, Wash., went to Insanity Point last year and enjoyed her experience.

“It was probably the scariest I have ever been to,” Stewart said. “It was well done. It was a thrill.”

Insanity Point opens Oct. 4, with ticket prices ranging from $15.95 for a basic ticket, $17.95 for a combo ticket and $34.95 for a season pass. The combo ticket allows guests to choose an additional activity such as bull riding, rock wall and paintball that they can participate in during their stay. To view the scream scale and purchase tickets, visit insanitypoint.com.

Halloween Cruise

For those looking for a family-friendly option, the CLAS Ropes Course is holding its annual Halloween River Cruise. For $8, riders can hop aboard a ship that will take them on a 25-minute ride down the Provo River.

More than 100 hand-carved pumpkins are lit up to reflect off the water, and children are entertained by a scary story and song.  A pirate might even attack the ship and bring candy for all aboard.

The ship holds 40 people and can be reserved for $175–$195. The cruises run Oct. 1–31. Visit clasropes.com for more information.

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