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Each year, we at the site go into full-on Halloween mode for the entire month of October. Actually, our season began earlier this year with The Empty Grave’s early August launch. After each season, we like to take a look back and rank our favorite haunted attractions by various criteria. Here is the list of haunted attractions we got to visit this season as well as our awards!

Haunted Attraction Reviews 2013

Best Value

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Big Worm’s Sherwood Scare Home Haunt – This small home haunt located in Northridge, CA has some excellent narrative elements throughout its haunted house as well as a great deal of production value. Plus, you get to give $3 dollars to a good cause of fighting CF – just look out for the “man in the lake”!

Most Scary

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Universal Studios Hollywood’s Halloween Horror Nights – Universal Studios might not have been quite the behemoth of scare that it was last year, but it still brought the terror in several of their well-produced mazes such as Evil Dead: Book of the Dead and Insidious: Into the Further. Their handling of these IPs was masterful and they made me jump several times during our visitations. For that, I am calling Halloween Horror Nights the “Most Scary” haunted attraction that I visited this season.

Best Monsters

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Knott’s Berry Farm’s Halloween Haunt – The monsters of Knott’s Halloween Haunt have been in the scaring business since the park began its haunted event in 1973. A great deal of these monsters spend the other 11 months of the year continuing to perfect their talents at gatherings and impromptu rehearsal sessions. Many of them even create their own characters and personalities to bring to bear against the park guests and we salute their dedication and talent. Unlike some haunts where the talent feels robotic, Knott’s monsters are dynamic and truly scary.

Best Set Design

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Reign of Terror Haunted House – We ended up doing a night of home haunts and other attractions we usually don’t get to reach in North LA County and I am so glad we did. The Reign of Terror haunted house in Thousand Oaks, CA features some truly amazing set design which makes guests feel like they are actually in the various sets found throughout the large attraction space. From the amazing textures on the walls to the creative use of animatronics built into the sets, the Reign of Terror is hauntingly-beautiful.

Best Overall Haunt Experience of 2013

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The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride – This year, the LA Haunted Hayride once again gave Southern California something that it simply doesn’t have: A Midwestern Halloween carnival (with substantially higher production value). Aside from the frightfully fun hayride experience, guests can find delicious carnival eats as well as a talented cast of monsters and even ghost hunter presentations, fortune tellers, and a creepy walk-through maze, all set in the lonely and dark woods of Griffith Park’s “Old LA Zoo”.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com