Nothing quite says Halloween is here like a spooky, creepy, crawly haunted house. And while getting the crap scared out of you is super fun for a lot of adults, when you have kids, it may be harder to find haunted houses appropriate for the whole family — and even middle schoolers. If you live in Georgia, you may be wondering where there are kid-friendly haunted houses in Atlanta (or around the city) for the whole family to enjoy if you’re not ready for that next-level terrifying Netherworld stuff.
Haunted houses are pretty popular all over the country. According to the Smithsonian website, “The scariest haunted house of 2016 is in a 40,000 foot office park on the outskirts of Austin, Texas,” called House of Torment. There are zombies, clowns, and other “maniacal beasts,” to scare the wits out of you. People with heart conditions are even warned against participating, because it’s that intense.
But how did haunted houses begin and were they as scary as some of them are today? The first haunted houses back in 19th century London consisted of kids going house to house to people’s basements and experiencing “scary scenes,” according to the Smithsonian website. However, the haunted house didn’t become a “cultural icon” until Walt Disney created the Haunted Mansion in 1969, “nearly two decades after Disney first approved the beleaguered project."
"The attraction, which was designed in the style of the Evergreen House and the Winchester Mystery House, quickly became a success. In a single day shortly after its debut, more than 82,000 people passed through the Haunted Mansion. The attraction's centerpiece is the Grand Hall, a 90-foot-long ballroom sequence of dancing ghouls at a birthday party,” the website noted.
While not as epic and high budget as the Disney Haunted Mansion exhibit, there are some attractions right here in Georgia that are just about as kid-friendly as the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland and Disney World.
Fear the Woods: Stockbridge, Georgia
Fear the Woods is located on the south side of metro Atlanta in the city of Stockbridge at Yule Forest on Highway 155, where they also have Christmas trees at Christmas time, berry picking for spring and summer, and a pumpkin patch and haunted house, along with some zombie fighting, according to the haunt’s website. The special Halloween attraction includes the haunted house, where you take a tour of a barn at night and “mysterious events take place,” a haunted trail, where the farmer’s “crazy Uncle Eddie” scares trespassers, and a brand new attraction, a “pandemic frontline haunted combat,” where it’s an “interactive, competitive combat” with “advanced laser tag” and you have to shoot zombies on a trail ride while trying to “stay alive.” The package for all three attractions is $33, and the age suggestion is middle school kids and up. They’re open every weekend in October starting at 7 p.m. For more information, call 770-954-9356.
2The Tribulation Trail: McDonough, Georgia
If you’re looking for more of a Jesus is coming and getting scared into being a Christian vibe, the Tribulation Trail is also available in Stockbridge’s neighboring city of McDonough at Eastside Baptist Church. Though it’s not super young kid-friendly — I’d say maybe 11 and up — it’s a great pick if you’re into fire and “brimstone-ing” your kid into going to church via scaring them at a haunted house. It shows guests what would happen if you don’t “accept Jesus as your savior” and the rapture comes and you’re left behind. The premise is based on the book of Revelation in the Bible, and consists of a 12-scene reenactment while you’re walking through the woods.
Full disclaimer, I grew up in McDonough and went to this as a first “date” with someone when I was 14 — great date, huh? It was pretty intense and scared the Jesus into me at least until I went to college. The Tribulation Trail is open every Friday and Saturday night during the month of October, and according to the trail’s website, “Last year, almost 8,000 people crowded in with a result of 390 professions of faith and over 400 re-dedications.” For more information, call 770-860-0400.
3Buford Corn Maze: Buford, Georgia
The Buford Corn Maze offers several activities in addition to a 5-acre corn maze. There’s a Popcorn Jumping Pillow, Combine Slide, Hey Hey Hayride, Pumpkin Picking, a Corn Box, pony rides, animal viewing, fall-themed photo opportunities, and a Haunted Forest. Their website noted the haunted forest is “family friendly for kids who are 10 and and older.” Tickets are $15 for the corn maze only, $25 for the haunted forest only, and $25 for a combo ticket to participate in both. The haunted forest opens September 22, and the hours are Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from dark until the maze closes. For more information, call 678-835-7198.
Randy's Pumpkin Patch: Lawrenceville, Georgia
Randy's Pumpkin Patch offers a ton of activities in addition to a "soft haunted house." They have a trackless train, a bunny petting zoo, pony rides, an inflatable 50x50 corn maze, three bouncy houses, an inflatable rock climbing wall, a zipline, bungee jumping, and of course, pumpkins. There's no entrance fee, according to their Facebook page, and tickets for events are around three tickets each. Tickets cost $1, and you can get 25 tickets for $20. They're open Sunday through Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Who knows, maybe you'll see The Great Pumpkin while you're there? For more information, call 404-216-4512.
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