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McKamey Manor has moved out of San Diego, but I will be keeping this page up in it’s memory
Ever since I was in high school (late 90’s) I had been hearing about this haunted house in San Diego that was the ultimate horror experience and that nobody had been able to make it all the way through. There were stories of being in rooms with real snakes and spiders, forced into coffins with the lid being shut for a long time, being soaked in blood, blindfolded, forced to eat disgusting, rotten food, etc.
This remained an urban legend throughout the years and I was certain it didn’t actually exist. Turns out it was true the whole time AND this place was sitting quietly in a residential home in Rancho Penasquitos . I truly couldn’t make this up if I tried.
This house is the real deal and being dubbed as the scariest haunted house in America by the Travel Channel, TMZ and other big bangers. You will be on your own personal journey into hell, tapping into your deepest fears. This haunt is designed to test every ounce of you physically and psychologically.
There is a LOT of controversy surrounding the people that run it though. Stories of waterboarding and torture, those going through the haunt being forced to remain silent on their horrific experiences.
They have an online forum where the owners are famous for banning people if you speak up against them (I know for a fact because I was banned after asking a simple question). It is all quite disturbing and mysterious.
I was lucky enough to get one of the people who went through McKamey Manor to finally open up about his experience and let us know a little bit more of what is going on inside. First off, here is his haunt video :
Here is my interview with Steve R.:
Me: Ok, well let’s start from the beginning. What made you want to do Mckamey Manor? Are you really into horror? Was it a challenge you truly thought you could overcome? Or were you mostly intrigued of what was going on in there based off of all the mystery surrounding it?
Steve: I really like horror, plus I found it very intriguing. Looks like a place that has a lot of really cool animatronics. I didn’t think it looked that intense in the videos I saw
Me: So you thought it was mostly smoke and mirrors but that they weren’t truly hurting anyone or causing real trauma? Did you see that most people weren’t lasting more than 10 minutes even though it’s supposed to be a 5+ hour experience?
Steve: I saw that most people were not lasting very long and honestly thought it was more of a hands on haunted house where they could rough you up a bit.
Me: Okay, so what do you think made Russ choose you out of the thousands of applicants? What did you tell him to make him think you’d be an ideal candidate? And how long was the interview before you were confirmed to go in?
Steve: It was like a 10-minute interview. He didn’t ask that many questions. Just asked me basically if I had any health problems or anything like that which I don’t. They just needed someone last minute from what he said. I’m believing he chose me because I sounded serious about it and once again to be honest with you, I think he knew I would fail.
Me: What was it like when you first met up with them? Did they talk to you first and have you sign papers then blindfold you? Or how does it work?
Steve: Russ’ wife met up with us to give us a waiver. We signed it and then they turned us around and then a couple of guys with masks holding socks filled with something started hitting us with them. They then blindfolded us and put us in the back of some kind of car and decided to degrade us all the way to what I’m guessing was a garage. They made us crawl blindfolded with headphones on inside the room or garage or whatever it was.
Me: They degraded you in the car or what do you mean? What did they do to you during the car ride?
Steve: They called us names, made us say yes sir and told us no cussing
Me: But they didn’t hurt or touch you? I’ve seen that many people didn’t make it past being put in the van.
Steve: Yeah they were hitting us with a sock filled with something. It didn’t really hurt it was more annoying and irritating and made me really want to punch them but they cuff you.
Jessica: Okay, so you get into their garage and then what happens? Are you still blindfolded or do they take the blindfold off? And they make you wear headphones, right?
Steve: In the headphones you start to hear some creepy music and a guy talking. They take the blindfold off and put you in a room with a couple of guys who are actors that are trying to act tough but they really start annoying you. You just feel helpless because you have your wrists zip-tied. They put a cloth over your mouth and pour bottled water over it kind of like waterboarding. There are video cameras which Russ is videotaping what is more of torture than a haunted house. He tells you that you are being bet on in Vegas by how long people think you will last. You tell them you want out but they won’t let you out right away. Then they mess with you even more and things get more intense.
Me: What is the guy saying in the headphones?
Steve: It’s just like welcome to McKamey Manor. I don’t recall all of it but it was kind of stupid.
Me: Were you laid down when they poured the water on your head? Did it make you feel like you were going to suffocate?
Steve: Yeah I was laying down in sewer water when they did that and yeah I felt like I was having trouble breathing after that.
Me: Are you sure it was sewer water? Do they check to make sure you don’t have any cuts before going in? That sounds like you could get a major infection!
Steve: It smells disgusting. It wasn’t normal water I can tell you that much.
Me: Do you feel they were doing anything illegal inside?
Steve: I felt like it was all illegal.
Me: What parts specifically?
Steve: I don’t know if it is legal to keep someone confined when they say they’re done and want to go. I told him I wanted out and they put my head in some contraption and pulled my tongue with pliers.
Me: In the waiver did you sign that they can keep you against your will?
Steve: To be honest I don’t recall, but I don’t even know how that’s legal to have a waiver that says that.
Me: How long did you last?
Steve: From when I got to the pickup point to when they dropped me off it was a total of about an hour and a half to two hours. That’s if you include the car ride and everything else. It was probably like 10 to 15 minutes when I said I wanted out but they kept me anyways.
Me: Wow! How long did they keep you inside after you said you wanted out?
Steve: I told them I was having trouble breathing and they started to taunt me after that. They kept one guy with me to make sure I was okay but then they said no you’re not done yet then like I said they put me in a contraption, spit blood in my face and pulled my tongue with pliers. Then they proceeded to threaten me that they would come get me if I were to tell anybody about it.
Me: I feel like I saw that last part on video, them threatening you. Is that why it took you so long to speak up? Did you give them your real address and did you fear they may actually come after you if you spoke up?
Steve: I wasn’t really sure they were serious but they definitely acted that way. I don’t believe they had my address. And who knows if the guy would have had someone come after me. I think he’s nuts. And sorry, after I told him I wanted out they probably kept me for I’m guessing half an hour if you include the five minute car ride back which I was blindfolded and put on top of another person in the backseat of a car again.
Steve: The first 24 hours I was kind of delusional. Like what the fuck just happened? Are these psychos gonna come after me? Actually, I felt that way for a month. They have a place like that so I don’t know what they are capable of. Honestly, I think those two are sick and twisted and probably get off on sadistic stuff like this.
Me: Absolutely. That is very obvious. These are sick people no doubt that will ban you from their group if you question them in any way, even innocently. There are phenomenal brainwashing techniques being used. How do you feel today? Any long-term damage? Do you feel more paranoid and fearful of the world in any way?
Steve: No real long-term damage but yeah, I do feel a little more paranoid. You know, driving around looking at who’s behind you or walking to and from work thinking that someone is after you every now and then. It’s not awful, it’s just annoying.
Me: Do you have anything else you’d like to add? I really appreciate you speaking up. This will hopefully encourage more to do the same.
Steve: They offered me to go there and work and I seriously wanted to go in and videotape to expose them but I didn’t hear back from them after that. Also, they wanted me to go back to try it out again. Hahaha no way. I highly doubt I would have gotten away with any of that though.
(Photo credits: McKamey Manor)
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Overall rating 0, difficulty finding 0.
Everyone involved with this so called haunted house,needs treatment for major issues in their lives. Both sadists and masochists, getting off with this process.
October 13, 2018
I hope that anyone wanting to go to help this sadist get his rocks off really thinks about it after the videos of people saying the “safe word” who are not allowed to leave and continue being tortured.
October 25, 2019
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McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house in San Diego is the stuff of nightmares
'live your own horror movie', article bookmarked.
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McKamey Manor in San Diego, California isn't your usual haunted house, instead of sighing at pop-up ghosts you can see fairground operators smoking a cigarette behind, you're bound, gagged, drenched in blood and terrorised for four to seven hours.
Claiming to be the world's most extreme haunted house, it grinds down guests through sheer terror, force feeding them, riding them, shouting in their faces, shutting them in small boxes and much, much more.
Sound like the worst way to spend a night ever yes? Well apparently not, because there's 24,000 people on the waiting list.
Here's a trailer it shot for 2013's Scare LA convention:
All guests are required to sign a waiver before entering and are health checked to ensure they can ensure the stress of the ordeal.
One couple decided to go there straight after their wedding, because what better way to celebrate the joyous union of marriage than by having your heads put in cages full of snakes and being forced to eat rotten eggs?
Still think you could brave it? Here's some nice stills for you:
The trailer caused a huge argument in the ever inflammatory YouTube comments section this month, when one viewer asked how guests could say a 'safe word' with their mouths taped up.
McKamey Manor dodged the question, but did provide some more enlightening info about its safety protocols:
"LOL...you're taking this MUCH to serious, but I do understand. When a person is selected to take the tour...and after they pass all my requirements, than the games begin. The folks who seek us out are true haunted house fans who no longer get scared at a typical "Boo" haunt. So all of them know exactly what the haunt is all about. They have followed us, and seen us on TV and have watched all the movies. So they really do know. But I still try to talk them out of it...but they never listen..lol. These folks want the "Live Your Own Horror Movie" experience. In all our years of running an extreme haunt...no guests have been injured. They think they will be...that's what get their blood going. Its like being on a roller coaster or some other thrill ride. Yes they sign waivers and are well warned. Ant they know that once they are in...there in no escape until the tour is completed. That's why (especially with the new haunt), I have to make sure they can physically handle this little adventure. What you have seen in the past videos is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING compared to how it is now. Just imagine...only TWO guests take this massive tour at a time. That means they can expect to be going through stunt after stunt for at least 4 hours. How scary is that...and THEY LOVE IT! I'm also there every step of the way filming them and making sure they are safe. Safety is alway paramount. It's all a big mind game. We control everything. What they see, what they hear, what they smell etc. We are the puppet masters and they gladly come along for this unique one of a kind adventure. We have folks flying in form all around the world to take the tour. In October we have a couple from England coming all this way to get married and to go through the haunt. We also have a woman who is such a huge fan that she is spending her vacation just to come and see us. She's traveling from Kuwait! Those two will be in the movie called "Haunter The Movie" which has been filming for the last year or so. Soooooo, I hope this explains things a bit. We are just normal folks putting on the scariest and craziest home haunt anywhere. We do all this for the love of the fans, and because we have so much fun entertaining the folks. So please try not to worry...all is fine, and everyone is actually having the time of their lives. But I'm glad my movies freaked you out a bit...I guess that means I was successful...lol."
Anyone who thinks this still sounds like a fun way to spend your money can join the waiting list here .
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McKamey Manor San Diego, CA
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Be warned, this is not your standard (boo) haunted house. This is an audience participation event in which (YOU) will live your own Horror Movie. This is a rough, intense and truly frightening experience. You must be in GREAT HEALTH to particapite . Last year's haunt was absolutely nothing compared to the new McKamey Manor. Currently this is a (VIP), Reservation only event, and is for adults only. A very limited amount of people will be able to attend on any given day/night. One - Two tours will receive a special (Two to Four hour), personalized haunt experience. Only Two guests will attened per tour. Do not wear expensive clothing. Do not bring anything that cannot get wet. This is a very aggressive experience, and our creatures will come in contact with you. You cannot in any way return the contact.
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Not A Haunted House: This Haunted Experience Terrorizes For Hours
McKamey Manor in San Diego is rated among the scariest places in the country every year around Halloween. The interactive experience lasts for hours, and some critics call it abusive.
Beth Accomando goes to McKamey Manor ... and gets a bit more than she bargained for.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
You know those haunted houses at amusement parks (laughter)? Try something truly scary, like an extreme haunt. These are fear-inducing experiences that can last up to eight hours and get so intense, there are a few critics who say they are abusive. Beth Accomando of member station KPBS in San Diego went to an extreme haunt that's called McKamey Manor. She lived to file this report.
BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: My instructions were to proceed to where the road ends, wait at a white barrier overlooking a canyon at a prearranged time and to face forward until my handler approached me from behind.
RUSS MCKAMEY: What do we have here? Keep facing forward do not turn around.
ACCOMANDO: Russ McKamey is not usually so polite. Most people are thrown into a trunk or the back of the van.
MCKAMEY: It would be a lot rougher than what is happening right now. So we either give them a destination to meet at, like we did you, or we actually go to them and kidnap them some time during that day.
ACCOMANDO: But since all I wanted was an interview, he allowed me to sit in the front seat.
MCKAMEY: Now, there's some rules that you need to abide by.
MCKAMEY: And you need to sign a couple of waivers for me.
MCKAMEY: So we'll swap you out. And you're going to first put on these goggles.
ACCOMANDO: I am doing my first interview blindfolded.
After a short drive, we arrive at the destination.
MCKAMEY: Package has arrived.
ACCOMANDO: But instead of being let into the haunt for an interview, my head is bound with duct tape and covered with a hood.
What about the audio gear?
During the course of the next four hours, I would be locked in a coffin.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Screaming) Do you understand how long you're going to be here?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Yes, forever.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Screaming) Forever.
ACCOMANDO: Force-fed unidentifiable food.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #3: Open wide, open wide.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Don't you throw up. Don't you throw up on us.
ACCOMANDO: And confronted by a buzz saw.
(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SCREAMING)
ACCOMANDO: This does not bode well for me. No. And that was the sissy tour.
JOHN SCHNITZER: It's not haunted houses anymore. They're horror experiences - interactive, visceral theatre.
ACCOMANDO: John Schnitzer is making a documentary called "Haunters: The Movie."
SCHNITZER: I've talked people who go to McKamey Manor, and some of them are thrill-seekers, some of them have office jobs, some of them are ex-military. They've been to Afghanistan and nothing, not even a roller coaster, can get their adrenaline going. The extreme haunt kind of blurs the line between entertainment and survival. Its like, can I survive this? What am I made of?
ACCOMANDO: McKamey Manor describes itself as the world's only true, interactive, 4- to 7-hour extreme haunt experience. McKamey asks people to record their reactions right after the exit. Nick Baldwin went the week before I did and posted this on his Facebook page.
NICK BALDWIN: I just got out of McKamey Manor, and I was in no joke. I knew it was going to be rough, and I don't know why I still went - but not that rough.
ACCOMANDO: Despite warnings from survivors, there are 17,000 people on the waiting list. So McKamey Manor doesn't operate only on Halloween. It's a year-round haunt. And it's not alone in offering an extreme experience. Blackout in New York gained fame or infamy for faux waterboarding and forcing people to strip naked, says filmmaker John Schnitzer.
SCHNITZER: Years from now, are we going to look back at 2014 and go, wow, that was the Wild West of haunting, where all you had to do to get people to sign a waiver, and you to get away with anything.
ACCOMANDO: Extreme haunts have their detractors. Critics call them abusive and the people who run them sadistic. McKamey had to shut down one location because of community concern. But McKamey, like the creators of Blackout, comes from a theater background and is first and foremost a showman.
MCKAMEY: I love scaring folks. Once you scare somebody, the first time - your first boo - that's addicting. Now ramp it up about a 1,000 percent and put people in genuine panic mode, you know, sounds mean, but, you know they're OK. In reality, you know they're OK, but in their mind they're not OK. And to see that come together something that you created is very satisfying for sure.
ACCOMANDO: McKamey Manor is like going through horror boot camp. Many of the actors are Marines, and McKamey spent 23 years in the Navy. They do everything they can to break you down mentally and physically, but once you emerge, you're part of an elite group.
MCKAMEY: The people who come here really feel like they're family. They just feel like it's kind of a badge of honor to go through McKamey Manor.
ACCOMANDO: And the cost for this experience - just a few cans of dog food donated to Operation Greyhound. Unlike for-profit professional haunts, McKamey manner is run strictly for - fun? For NPR News, I'm Beth Accomando.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
San Diego's McKamey Manor Takes Haunting To Extremes
KPBS Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando attended ScareLA's Extreme Haunt Panel featuring McKamey Manor, Blackout, and Gates of Hell's Victim Experience. Each Haunt brought along a "victim" to discuss the experience. Here's the audio from the panel. I'm Beth Accomando your resident Cinema Junkie here at the third annual ScareLA Convention. The convention moved to the Pasadena Convention Center because it has grown exponentially over the past three years. It is dedicated to Halloween and home haunts and you can find everything from costumes and masks to fog effects and fog scents so your haunt can smell just right. It is the Comic-Con of home haunting and it also offers panels and seminars. So you can learn how to do scary clown make up or carve a tombstone from styrofoam. I attended the extreme haunt panel on Saturday, August 8 to hears from McKamey Manor, Blackout, and Gates of Hell's Victim Experience. This is the audio from the one hour panel.
If the term haunted house makes you think of something like Disney’s Haunted Mansion, think again. A new trend in extreme haunts offers people the chance to have the “victim experience” and be made a participant in your own horror movie for up to eight hours. San Diego is home to McKamey Manor , one of the top-rated extreme haunts in the nation.
ANCHOR INTRO: If the term haunted house makes you think of something like Disney’s Haunted Mansion, think again. A new trend in extreme haunts offers people the chance to have the “victim experience” and be made a participant in you own horror movie for up to eight hours. KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando takes us behind the scenes of one of the top rated extreme haunts in the nation, McKamey Manor – which is located somewhere in San Diego County. Russ McKamey knows how to market his product. RUSS McKAMEY: You don’t want to come here, don’t do this, it’s not fun, it hurts, I’m not going to let you out, you are going to regret ever coming here. Don’t come to McKamey Manor, it’s not worth it. Watch the exit videos. So I did, including this one posted by Nick Baldwin. NICK BALDWIN: I just got out of McKamey Manor and let me tell you it’s no joke. I knew it was going to be rough and I don’t know why I still went but not that rough um I got beat. I watched more online videos and saw people broken and crying. BABYGABSS: I want to quit I just don’t want to be locked in the dark any more. McKamey Manor describes itself as “The world’s only true interactive 4 to 7 hour extreme haunt experience.” As a fan of horror I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who creates these extreme haunts and who’s crazy enough to go. I decided to ask Russ McKamey but first I had to sign a waiver and read some rules. BETH: Hello welcome to McKamey Manor I have been selected from a list of thousands to participate in my own personalized horror movie. Once I accept this challenge there is no turning back, no quitting, I will not be removed under any circumstances. I accept this challenge freely and without being under any type of distress. RUSS McKAMEY: And you are going to first put on these goggles… BETH ACCOMANDO: I am doing my first interview blindfolded… I’m in the car with you heading to one of your McKamey Manor locations but this is not the typical experience someone would get. RUSS McKAMEY: It would be a lot rougher than what is happening right now, normally we give people a destination to meet like we did with you or we actually go to them and kidnap them sometime during that day. ON WALKIE TALKIE: Package has arrived. The package is me. I knew I’d be blindfolded to get to the location but then I thought I was going to sit down and do an interview. That’s when the duct tape came out. BETH: (SFX Duct tape) What about the audio gear? During the course of the next four hours I would be locked in a coffin… WOMAN (muffled voice inside coffin): Do you understand how long they will keep you here? Forever. Force fed unidentifiable food… MAN: Open wide… don’t you throw up… Repeatedly hosed down… (SFX) And introduced to some interesting devices… BETH This does not bode well for me. (saw SFX) And that was the sissy tour. BETH: Which seems fairly extreme for me… So who are the people willing to take the full 8 hour, no safe word tour? RUSS McKAMEY: Folks who want to come here and the folks who I can’t talk out of going are the hard core extreme fan the ones that want that adrenaline rush, the ones who can’t get scared at other boo haunts, over here they are not going to be bored. That’s because McKamey, with a theater arts background, enjoys putting on a killer show. RUSS McKAMEY: I love scaring folks… once you scare someone for the first time, your first boo, that’s addicting. Then ramp it up about a thousand times and now put people in genuine panic mode, sounds mean but to be that close and see what you created and you know they’re okay in reality you know they are ok but in their mind they are not ok and to see that come together, something that you created, is very satisfying for sure. McCamey Manor is like going through horror boot camp. Many of the actors are Marines and McKamey spent 23 years in the Navy. They do everything to break you down mentally and physically but once you emerge you’re part of an elite group. RUSS McKAMEY: People that come here really feel like they’re family, they just feel like it’s a badge of honor to go through McKamey Manor. If you’re still interested the cost is just a few cans of dog food donated to Operation Greyhound. Unlike for profit haunts, McKamey Manor is a volunteer operated home haunt run strictly… for fun. Beth Accomando, KPBS News. TAG: For a more in depth look at extreme haunts, check out Beth’s Cinema Junkie Blog at KPBS.org and watch for her video tomorrow on Evening Edition.
Russ McKamey knows how to market his product.
“You don’t want to come here, don’t do this, it’s not fun, it hurts,” he tells me. “I’m not going to let you out, you are going to regret ever coming here. Don’t come to McKamey Manor, it’s not worth it. Watch the exit videos.”
So I did, including a iPhone video posted on Facebook by Nick Baldwin just after his McKamey Manor tour on Sept. 26.
“I just got out of McKamey Manor and let me tell you that was no joke,” Baldwin said shivering. “I knew it was going to be rough and I don’t know why I still went, but I knew it was going to be rough, but not that rough… I will post one tomorrow more in depth to explain it and warn you why to not go… McKamey Manor, sh-t no joke, it kicked my ass…
"What Russ has done with McKamey manor is unreal, you can’t even begin to scratch the surface of how intense this is… They find what you are scared of and they take that and they will expand on it and try to make it feel as real as possible. You know they are not going to kill you or do anything that will severely hurt you but there are times when you, it gets out of hand, and it definitely beat me… This is my review, McKamey Manor it’s the real deal.”
I watched more online videos and saw people — young women, career Marines, adrenaline junkies, big tattooed guys — broken and crying. McKamey Manor’s website describes it as “The world’s only true interactive four to seven hour extreme haunt experience.” As a fan of horror I wanted to know more. I wanted to know who creates these extreme haunts and who’s crazy enough to go. I decided to ask Russ McKamey.
I wait for him at a designated location where I was told to stand at a barrier and keep my eyes looking forward into the canyon. When he arrives, he’s in a jovial mood and seems genuinely nice – not what you might expect from the man who runs one of the most extreme haunts in the country. He gives me a waiver to sign and then has me read some haunt rules about having to follow instructions and not fight back.
The document also says: “Welcome to McKamey Manor I have been selected from a list of thousands to participate in my own personalized horror movie. Once I accept this challenge there is no turning back, no quitting, I will not be removed under any circumstances. I accept this challenge freely and without being under any type of distress.”
Then Russ has me put on blackened goggles as he leads me to a car where I conduct my first interview blindfolded. The ride I am experiencing, though, is not typical for someone heading to McKamey Manor.
“It would be a lot rougher than what is happening right now,” Russ explains. “Normally we give people a destination to meet like we did with you or we actually go to them and kidnap them sometime during that day. When they reserve a spot for McKamey Manor, they have to reserve the whole day because on a short tour, it’s four and a half hours, and on a normal tour seven to eight hours. We never know exactly what is happening, every tour we do is new and unique to the 28 actors we have as well. We don’t know what’s happening because we are guided along the way by a live audience that is watching this stream. So it’s different for us too.”
What McKamey Manor does is so specialized and customized that only two people get to go on a tour. Friday tours are four hours and Saturday ones are about eight hours.
“It’s audience participation to the max,” Russ said. “And if you don’t believe that four to eight hours will break somebody down, it does. I don’t care how tough you are, if we want to break the individual down to where they want to quit, they will quit, and normally speaking, they quit. Just because either the mind gives out or the body gives out.”
As we drive, Russ tells me, “It’s very fascinating on a psychological level to be that close to a husband and wife, or best friends, people that you think would always stand up for one another and protect one another and just to watch them throw each other under the bus left and right. I can only imagine the car ride home, how fun that must be when the husband’s been like, ‘I’m not doing that, it’s all you.’ Because we’ll give the hubby a chance to protect and save and jump in there and do the stunt instead of the wife and they don’t. They are like 'that’s okay, she’s got it.' It is very interesting to see how people will respond. Fascinating.”
At this point I start to feel bad that I am taking up a Friday night and depriving two of the 17,000 people on the waiting list of an opportunity to take the tour.
“You should feel bad,” Russ tells me. “You’ll probably pay for that tonight at some point.”
As I ponder what that might mean, I hear a man on the walkie talkie say: “The package has arrived.”
Hey, I’m that package! I knew I’d be blindfolded to get to the location but then I thought I was going to sit down and do an interview. Wow, was I wrong. The car stops and Russ takes away my gear. Then I am hooded and hustled into the haunt where I then get tied up and with duct tape wrapped around my head. During the course of the next four hours I will be locked in a coffin, force fed unidentifiable food, repeatedly soaked in cold water, and introduced to some interesting devices and creatures. And that was the sissy tour.
Although I did not expect any kind of a tour and probably would have declined the interview if I had suspected I would be put through any kind of tour, I have to say I was glad I did it. Even though it was a severely watered down version of McKamey Manor, I felt good about surviving some things that made other people crack. (My one truly proud moment I cannot reveal because it involves a secret member of McKamey Manor, damn!) I could easily see how he could break people down through physical and mental stress. And even though I exited McKamey Manor feeling feeling like a wimp, Russ still gave me a big bear hug at the end and welcomed me into the McKamey family.
I had been picked up at 5:30 p.m. and was driving home at 10:30 p.m. shivering, covered in blood and axle grease, and smelling like a combination of mildew, raw sewage and slaughterhouse. It took two showers to get clean and the smell lingered for a day. I know I would never, ever, consider taking the full tour though. I know my limits.
So who are the people willing to take the full eight hour, no safe word tour?
“Folks who want to come here and the folks who I can’t talk out of going are the hard core extreme fans, the ones that want that adrenaline rush, the ones who can’t get scared at other boo haunts,” Russ said.
In a video posted on the McKamey Manor YouTube channel , a group of people emerging from the last tour of 2012 provide these comments: “That was by far the craziest, wackiest thing I have ever done in my life and at the end there you actually had me crying. I’m not an easy person to actually get to break down but you broke me. This is the most ridiculous thing in my entire life and it is by far the greatest thing and I love to hate you, you are awesome… awesome. It wears you out, scarier than sh-t, it was awesome. I’m not going to be able to sleep… it was different, I wouldn’t say fun, damn no… it was awesome, so intense, it was off the hook, it was unbelievable I don’t have words to express it… that was way, fifty times worse that Halloween Haunt at Knotts, that was the most real without dying you can get.”
McKamey Manor is not alone in offering an extreme experience. Blackout in New York gained fame or infamy for faux waterboarding, having people suck on a tampon, and forcing people to strip naked for what some describe as simulated sexual assault. These extreme haunts have their detractors who call the operators everything from jackasses to sadists . Although Russ says McKamey Manor has never been sued, Blackout and Las Vegas’ The Gates of Hell revealed on a ScareLA panel last year that they had each dealt with multiple lawsuits all of which they had won. But Russ did run into problems when he tried to move the haunt to Lakeside.
“In Lakeside and we were going to be on this 11 acre ranch and the city shut us down because people freaked out about having us there,” Russ recalls. “They saw the videos, the videos alone scared them so much that they ran to the city and said no way do we want this haunt in Lakeside. So we had a choice of either, we had all of our permits and paid a lot of money to be out there, and we had a choice of either pay another $50,000 to reapply, no guarantees, or pack it up.”
He definitely has a lot of haters among people who have never taken the tour. There are numerous comments on many videos about McKamey Manor where people accuse Russ McKamey of being a torturer and that his haunt needs to be shut down. Russ admits that people will get cuts and bruises but he follows each person on the tour to make sure they are safe and he says he has medical staff on hand to evaluate people along the way. But everyone who comes through McKamey Manor is given a waiver to sign outlining what to expect and there are a plethora of online videos of people explaining how brutal the tour is and to stay away. So anyone entering should have a good general sense of what to expect even though they may not know what specifically awaits them.
The best way to describe McCamey Manor is that it’s like going through horror boot camp. Many of the actors are Marines and McKamey spent 23 years in the Navy (he used to make haunted houses on the ships). The McKamey staff do everything to break you down mentally and physically but once you emerge, you’re part of an elite group.
“People that come here really feel like they’re family, they just feel like it’s a badge of honor to go through McKamey Manor,” Russ said. And if you watch some of his videos you will also see him giving out some big bear hugs to people who emerge from the haunt. A quick scan of his Facebook page reveals a huge following of adoring fans who love what he does and can’t wait to take the tour. Even the people who emerge broken and crying give him props for running an intense haunt. Plus, many of the people who survive the haunt become actors in it. In fact, the only way to become an actor is to go through the haunt.
Critics may call these extreme haunters sadists but the creators consider themselves showmen. The guys behind Blackout come from experimental theater, The Gates of Hell is run by a filmmaker, and McKamey was a theater arts major. On the ScareLA panel, they all said that they just love to put on a killer show, something that will make an indelible impression on the people that partake.
“I love scaring folks,” Russ said with glee. “Once you scare someone for the first time, your first boo, that’s addicting. Then ramp it up about a thousand times and now put people in genuine panic mode, sounds mean but to be that close and see what you created and you know they’re okay in reality, you know they are ok, but in their mind they are not ok and to see that come together, something that you created, is very satisfying for sure. Of course I love it when they lose it because I’m there taking all this fantastic footage of them, the special Kodak moments.”
But Russ confesses that he would never go through his own haunt.
“I built them around my fears,” Russ confesses. “Things that freak me out. So there’s no way in the world I would ever, ever be able to do my own haunt. You would never see me through a McKamey Manor. I created it and it scares the heck out of me.”
If you’re still interested the cost is just a few cans of dog food donated to Operation Greyhound . Unlike for profit haunts, McKamey Manor is a volunteer operated home haunt run strictly… for fun.
There is currently a Kickstarter campaign going on to raise money for the documentary " Haunters : Your Nightmares Are Their Dreams," which features McKamey Manor.
Watch for my video tonight on Evening Edition and for my discussion of a broad range of haunted attractions on Midday Edition Thursday, Oct. 30.
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Inside the world’s scariest haunted house where NOBODY lasts more than six hours and ‘guests are waterboarded and have their heads shaved’
There are around 24,000 people on the waiting list for the experience in San Diego, California, which can last up to eight hours
- Published : 8:01, 9 Oct 2018
- Updated : 8:39, 9 Oct 2018
- Published : Invalid Date,
THE world’s scariest haunted house experience puts its guests through a psychological nightmare – shaving their heads and even allegedly waterboarding them.
McKamey Manor is run by Russ McKamey in San Diego, California, where a few participants every day are bound, slapped and even compelled to eat their own vomit.
There are around 24,000 on the waiting list for the experience which can last up to eight hours.
Guests are made to sign a waiver before they take part and McKamey insists on doing a background check to ensure those taking part do not have any serious medical conditions.
Despite this a guest suffered a heart attack during the experience in 2008, McKamey told The Guardian .
Special effects, animatronics, actors and live animals such as tarantulas, spiders and rats are used to send guests away shivering and crying.
McKamey films each volunteer to make a "mini movie" of each ordeal which are then posted on his YouTube channel which has nearly 39 million views.
Though he says he’s invested more than half a million dollars into the event, animal lover McKamey doesn't ask his guests for any money – just a dog food donation for Operation Greyhound.
He told Fox News : "It really is like watching somebody live their own horror movie right there, six inches in front of their face.”
While no one was ever lasted the full eight hours, McKamey says that in 2014 the record holder, known as Sarah P, lasted six hours inside the house before giving up.
Some of its most extreme moments occur on a morgue table, including the use of a live tarantula.
McKamey said: "You want to see true fear? You put live spiders crawling on somebody's face, and the tears are just flowing down their eyes in silence.
“It's like you're watching a silent movie.”
The fright fan says he does it "for the love of the haunt," simply wanting to put on the "biggest, craziest show" anyone's ever seen.
In 2016, Amy Milligan, of East County, San Diego, claimed she had been waterboarded at the haunted house – an allegation McKamey strongly denied.
She told the San Diego Union-Tribune that her head was repeatedly pushed under water while her hands were tied.
Milligan claimed that actors pushed her under the water again and again despite her begging for the experience to stop.
She said: “You give them so much trust and they just break it by waterboarding you and slapping you."
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But McKamey denied those claims, telling the Union Tribune: “We do not waterboard, we do not even kind of waterboard.
“It’s psychological what we’re doing. They’re safe all the time.”
McKamey Manor was recently featured on an episode of Netflix series Dark Tourist.
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Infamous haunted house leaving town
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For those brave enough to enter its doors, McKamey Manor is the scariest haunted house in the world. Those hand-picked from its 27,000-name waiting list need a doctor’s note that their heart can survive the fright. They have to sign a 10-page waiver agreeing to force-feeding, ice water dunking, head shaving and being gagged and bound, not to mention close encounters with tarantulas, cockroaches and snakes.
The terror went on hiatus Tuesday, when proprietor Russ McKamey shut down the long-running haunt at his Rancho Peñasquitos home and began moving his infamous attraction to Illinois, where he said it will reopen bigger and scarier than ever next fall.
McKamey Manor is what’s known as an “extreme haunt,” an interactive, full-contact experience that gives ticketholders the experience of living their own horror movie. The three to four hand-picked participants invited to experience the manor each weekend traveled from all over the world to endure the terror-filled eight-hour challenge. Very few lasted to the end.
McKamey Manor is so notorious, it’s heavily featured in “ Haunters: The Movie ” a documentary that will be released in theaters this fall. Filmmaker Jon Schnitzer of The Brain Factory compiled more than 200 hours of footage at extreme haunts around the country, including Delusion, Blackout and Reign of Terror. He said McKamey Manor tops them all in sheer horror.
“It lives up to all the hype. For sure that’s the only haunt I filmed that gave me nightmares,” Schnitzer said. “I dreamed about what I saw there. It was awful and scary. I couldn’t get the sounds and smells out of my head. I’m fascinated by it, but I wouldn’t last 10 seconds in something like that.”
While McKamey Manor is an icon in the haunt community, it’s been the target of numerous campaigns to shut it down. Foes have launched a petition drive , a Facebook page and a YouTube channel to put McKamey out of business. They describe the attraction as a shadowy business that kidnaps and tortures its unsuspecting customers, all in the name of entertainment. McKamey said the “haters” are simply uninformed.
“Yes, it’s tough to go through, physically and psychologically… but we’re squeaky clean,” he said. “It’s an adventure… like an Indiana Jones ride on steroids.”
Since he started the attraction 14 years ago with his lifelong best friend and business partner Carol Schultz, McKamey said he has gradually ratcheted up the fear factor because that’s what his customers demanded. Schnitzer said that’s the same trend he’s seen at other extreme haunts, which have skyrocketed in popularity since the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
“When you’re scared, you get an adrenaline rush that feels good. If you can do something and beat your fears and come out OK, then it makes you feel incredible. You feel like you can handle the next news flash about something terrible and uncontrollable happening in the world,” Schnitzer said.
McKamey said his love for horror started at age 4, when he crawled through a cardboard tunnel to reach a bowl of candy one Halloween.
“I was hooked from that point on. As I grew up, I was always the guy putting on the show, whether it was in my one-bedroom apartment or out to sea on a ship,” said McKamey, who spent 17 years in the Navy as a command career counselor. After he retired, he and Schultz launched McKamey Manor, which grew from a run-of-the-mill haunted house to a five-location scare-athon that Schnitzer, the New York Daily News and the U.K.’s Guardian call the most famous and scariest extreme haunt in the world.
“I love this stuff. I love to entertain, make people smile and give people a show they’ve never seen before,” McKamey said.
Because the manor was in a residential neighborhood, McKamey couldn’t run it as a business. To keep traffic down, he never accepted more than a handful of visitors each week. The cost of admission was four cans or a bag of dog food for his greyhound rescue organization. He and Schultz pooled their savings to decorate the house and the 25 actors who haunted the attraction were volunteers. As word of McKamey Manor spread internationally, its waiting list grew into the tens of thousands.
Because participants waited months, if not years, to visit, they agreed to preserve the secrecy of their experience. McKamey said this led to the spread of urban legends about what true horrors happened inside. He describes his manor as “very PG-13” with no cussing, sexual touching and religious iconography allowed. But because participants can’t use a “safe word” to quit — McKamey decides when they’ve had enough — Schnitzer said it teeters on the edge of unacceptable.
Schnitzer and his camera crew followed several participants through the manor and most broke down after just 20 to 40 minutes inside. One couple who flew in from England lasted less than 10 minutes. But when another woman from Kuwait was removed, because she appeared to be going into shock, she stood outside for four hours arguing to be let back in. Schnitzer said she was allowed to finish the experience and happily handed out celebratory T-shirts afterward.
“What’s torture to you and me is a lot of fun to somebody else,” Schnitzer said.
Besides being the most extreme haunt, Schnitzer said McKamey Manor is also the most elaborate. McKamey and Schultz have spent more than $500,000 over the years on props, sets, costumes, masks, animatronics, lights and sound equipment.
“Russ buys the same props that theme park haunts buy, like a $15,000 giant robot being electrocuted. And it’s on a massive scale, like what you’d see if you lined up three to four theme parks’ haunts and put them all in one location,” Schnitzer said.
It cost the pair about $500 every week to host the haunt, which he helped pay for with his earnings as a veterans advocate at Camp Pendleton and as a wedding singer. In June, he started a crowdfunding campaign but so far it has raised just $3,300. And when McKamey lost his advocate job last week, he asked the global horror community for help. A fan in McLeansboro, Ill., offered him her 10,000-square-foot commercial warehouse, where he plans to re-create McKamey Manor as a for-profit business. He left for McLeansboro with his first truckload of horror props on Tuesday morning. He expects the move to take about three months. He said the move could cost up to $60,000 and he’s hoping his fans can step up to help with the move.
McKamey said he has also been invited to produce a small-scale McKamey Manor at Long Island’s Chamber of Horrors in November.
While he’s sorry to leave San Diego, he sees a bright future for McKamey Manor.
“They thrive on Halloween in McLeansboro and they’re excited to have us there,” he said. “All kinds of great things are happening for us now.”
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“The scariest haunted house in the world”
Now that we're knee-deep in pumpkins and candy corn, you've no doubt had butt-loads of people telling you about the "like, scariest haunted house ever, you guys." Maybe if you're into loose, rubbery masks and underpaid high school theater kids, otherwise you're probably going to be disappointed. However, if you're really looking to be terrified this Halloween, there's one place where shit gets so real you have to sign a waiver. The McKamey Manor isn't your typical haunted house. There are no corn mazes, no hay rides, and absolutely no kids. As it turns out, their minimum age of 18 proved to be too scary, so you can't even enter the place unless you're 21. Once you're inside, things get pretty intense, so intense that the Manor has been labeled the scariest haunted house in the world. There are a few rules, of course. Only two people can make the dark trek at once, and before you can step foot inside McKamey Manor, you must sign a release form where you swear that you're "in excellent physical health", and allow the employees to touch you. And by touch you, I mean tie you up, gag you, throw a burlap sack over your head, and generally torture you up to the point where things are just legal. Oh yeah, and a typical experience can last anywhere from 4 - 7 hours. Yeah, you read that right. McKamey Manor is so serious about its scares that not just anyone can visit, either. Potential guests have to not only sign up on the website, but that doesn't mean that you're guaranteed a spot. You have to be picked. Lucky you, I guess? If you aren't quite convinced at how insane this place is, just check out their promo video from last year. And get this - if you can't make it out to California by Halloween, don't worry - they're open all year. UPDATE: Illinois, brace yourselves. McKamey Manor is leaving California for a bigger, badder location... an abandoned warehouse in McLeansboro, IL. The highly controversial experience was being run on a small scale in a residential neighborhood, but a GoFundMe campaign and the new space in Illinois are allowing the madmen behind the brutal experience to grow McKamey Manor. And yes, those plans include a more traditional haunted house experience! Worlds only "EXTREME" (TWO - FOUR HOUR), Haunted Attraction...dinner included. As seen on Travel Channels "Making Monsters" and Halloween "Craziest". New Location, New Sets, Bigger Thrills, More Extreme then ever! Must be 21 or above in excellent health. Reservations Only. This is Not Your Grandmas Haunted House!
Reviewed by JessLAporte
I would love to send u my ex boyfriend ahahaha
Reviewed by repulsiverainbow
Lol you allow people to be touched and pushed around tied up and almost beaten to death for fun haha my boyfriend could do ten times better then this and still not need a waiver to have people be tied up and beaten
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13 BEST San Diego Haunted Houses [2023 Halloween Guide]
Make the most of the scary season with this list of the best San Diego haunted houses for all ages!
Are you one of those people who takes the “spooky” in “spooky season” to a new level?
Do you love being scared to your core? Are you an enthusiast for all things horror, gore, and terror?
If your favorite part of Halloween is the scare factor, you’ll be in luck in the San Diego area. There are tons of freaky attractions awaiting you there this Halloween!
If you’re looking for things to do in San Diego on Halloween , check out some San Diego haunted houses for some of California’s best haunted attractions.
But don’t worry; it’s not all gore and terror, and there’s nothing on this list as extreme as the controversial McKamey Manor.
You’ll also have many options if you want more “boo” than screams of fear.
There are also several delightful, spooky attractions for kids and those less excited by the more intense hauntings.
With options for the whole family alongside adult-only and age-restricted terrifying experiences, you’ll have no trouble finding spooky fun in San Diego County this Halloween season!
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
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Table of Contents
Scary San Diego Haunted Houses
Scream zone at the del mar scaregrounds.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Erwin Chin (@erwin_chin_yk)
When : Select dates in October Where : Del Mar Fairgrounds , 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA Cost : starting at $32.99 [based on last year]
**Not recommended for children under 12
The Scream Zone at the Del Mar Scaregrounds is home to a laundry list of haunted attractions.
Here, you’ll find Southern California’s original haunted hayride, Stars of the Silver Scream, the Mind-Bending Midway, the Hell-Billy Hootenanny, and the Passage Maze.
Super brave visitors to Scream Zone can expect zombies, iconic horror figures, critters, and many ghoulish characters hiding around every corner.
As you navigate the creepy lands at Scream Zone, there will be many food vendors, drink options, games, a virtual reality experience, and more.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to snap iconic Halloween photos on-site. It’s a carnival of fear!
The Haunted Hotel: Disturbance – Mission Valley
When : Closed for 2023 🙁 Where : Mission Valley Center, 1640 Camino Del Rio North , San Diego, CA Cost : Last year, it started at $27.99
** Not recommended for children under 12
CNN named the Haunted Hotel one of the “10 Best Haunted House Attractions” in the US.
This annual San Diego haunted house is a must-see if you’re seeking terrifying haunted places in the San Diego area.
Disturbance at The Haunted Hotel includes three separate haunts, making it one of the overall best San Diego haunted houses.
It also features the 3-D FreakFest and Stars of the Silver Scream, all included in your admission, giving the other spooky spots in San Diego a run for their cob-webbed cash!
On top of that, light shows, axe throwing, roaming characters, a new VR section, live entertainment, DJs, and so much more will be available for your gory pleasure.
Much like the popular Savage House, the Haunted Hotel looks like it’s not operating this year. We’re sad to see them closed this year, but hopefully, both Savage House and the Haunted Hotel will be back in the future!
The Haunted Trail, Balboa Park
When : 2023 dates TBD Where : Balboa Park , San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $27.99
**Not recommended for children under 10
As seen on the Travel Channel, the Haunted Trail located at Balboa Park is recognized in CNN’s “Top 5 Best Haunted Attractions in America.” It’s a favorite for San Diego locals looking for a scream around Halloween.
The giant maze spans over 3,500 square feet. The mile-long haunted trail through Balboa Park to Marston Point is open throughout October.
Enough ghouls, zombie rodeo clowns, and terrifying characters populate the trail to give you nightmares for weeks.
Guests will come out on the other side shaking, but it’s all part of this unique experience.
Seaworld San Diego’s Howl-O-Scream
When : September 15th – October 31st Where : SeaWorld , 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $48.99
Howl-O-Scream , located at San Diego’s SeaWorld, is one of the best haunted houses in San Diego and one of the most popular San Diego attractions.
SeaWorld is famous for its extensive haunted houses. Its many nooks and crannies hide ghosts, creepy photo ops, terrifying live performances, haunted rides, Halloween-themed cocktail bars, and plenty more fun events throughout the fall.
Discover SeaWorld as it transforms into the Howl-O-Scream at night after dark.
Remember when you buy tickets that this is their scary version of Halloween, and there is a family-friendly version during the daytime. You don’t want to bring the kids to the wrong event!
The Famous Thomas Whaley House
When : ongoing, with booking Where : Whaley House Museum , 2476 San Diego Ave, San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $19
The famously haunted Thomas Whaley House is perhaps San Diego’s most haunted house. Around Halloween, it’s one of America’s best haunted houses!
Located in downtown San Diego, visitors will travel back to the 1800s as they walk through the preserved history of real-life ghost stories. Discover the mystery of the Whaley house spirits.
The Whaley House After-Hours Paranormal Investigation Experience is available for those seeking ghost hunting and contact with spirits.
With a guide, you’ll explore the different rooms in the Whaley house using ghost-hunting equipment and partake in an actual paranormal investigation.
Pro tip: If you’re excited about San Diego haunted house tours, check out these other real haunted landmarks open to visitors located in San Diego County:
- Old Point Loma Lighthouse
- The Horton Grand Hotel
- El Campo Santo Cemetery
- Hotel Del Coronado
Old Town Trolley Ghost and Gravestone Tours
When : ongoing nightly, with booking Where : Old Town , San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $39
If you love immersing yourself in the Old Town for Halloween festivities, then the Ghosts & Gravestones Tour will be a good one for you to check out.
Located right in Old Town San Diego, this tour embarks on a journey into San Diego’s ghostly past.
The Trolley of the Doomed will take you through some of the most haunted historical places in the city, such as the Thomas Whaley House, El Campo Santo Cemetery, Pioneer Park, and many more haunts.
You’ll hear all the ghost stories of San Diego on this tour, running at night through September and October.
Salem Haunts Mira Mesa
When : October 31st Where : 10908 New Salem Cir , San Diego, CA Cost : Free
Looking for a neighborhood haunted house in San Diego? Salem Haunts Mira Mesa is a homegrown haunted Halloween experience that’s funded and created entirely by the local community.
Every Halloween since 2012, the neighbors who live at the intersection of New Salem Circle and New Salem Street in the Mira Mesa neighborhood of San Diego create this front yard attraction.
Salem Haunts features costumed actors from the local community. Around every corner, you can expect anything from a chainsaw-wielding gorilla to a scary clown.
Although the content might be horror-filled, the vibe is decidedly wholesome as this attraction is completely volunteer-based and free to the public.
Scotty’s Haunted Amusement Park, El Cajon
When : 2023 dates TBD Where : Marshal Scotty’s Playland , 14011 Ridge Hill Rd, El Cajon, CA Cost : $20
This Southern California attraction located in El Cajon is an abandoned amusement park filled with ghosts, ghouls, and terrifying folk.
The Historically Haunted Marshal Scotty’s Playland now hosts Scotty’s Haunted Trail during the Halloween season, and it just may be one of San Diego County’s scariest Halloween events!
This one is lots of fun and a proper scare! Wind through the trail of abandoned 1960s amusement park rides.
Use 3-D glasses to take in some terrifying visuals through the Circus Maze, the graveyard, the House of Curiosities, the slaughterhouse, haunted houses, and so much more.
Family-Friendly San Diego Haunted Houses
Carlsbad strawberry company: pumpkin patch & haunted corn maze.
When : throughout September & October Where : Carlsbad Strawberry Company , 1050 Cannon Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92008 Cost : $5
Get tickets to Carlsbad Strawberry Company and bring the whole family for their annual Halloween spooktacular; it’s a family favorite located in San Diego!
They’ll have corn mazes, kids’ haunted houses, a pumpkin patch, and a general store. Expect Halloween decorations for photo ops and lots more family-friendly fun to discover on their farm.
Looking for more options? Check out our complete list of the best pumpkin patches in San Diego .
Fort Cross Haunted Harvest Hayride
When : October 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th Where : Fort Cross , 4425 CA-78, Santa Ysabel, CA Cost : $30
There’s plenty of family fun at the Fort Cross Haunted Harvest and Hayride.
Instead of a scare, you can prepare for spooky fun in the spirit of Halloween at this festive event located in Fort Cross.
Attractions include Jug Band Music, a Halloween Hoedown, “Ghost Stories,” and even a Haunted Hayride.
This one takes place in the evening. There are time slots between 7 pm and 8 pm to select for your hayride, so make sure you plan accordingly.
SeaWorld San Diego’s Halloween Spooktacular
When : Weekends throughout September & October Where : SeaWorld , 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $64.99
SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is the “spooky, not scary” version of Halloween fun located at SeaWorld. This one is perfect for the whole family.
Here, you’ll find haunts for children filled with vibrant Halloween characters, scavenger hunts, dance parties, trick-or-treating, and many more activities.
There’ll even be craft beers and other refreshments for the adults. Be sure to grab your tickets!
Legoland Brick-or-Treat Party Nights
When : Select dates throughout September & October Where : Legoland , San Diego, CA Cost : starting at $89
Located in Carlsbad, Legoland hosts an annual Halloween party that runs through September and October. There’s nothing quite like Halloween at LegoLand, California.
This attraction is more of a Halloween bash than a haunt. Tickets for Brick-or-Treat include lots of shows, hands-on activities, family photo ops with beloved characters, a 3-D movie experience, and many more events.
America’s Lego-verse comes alive for Halloween, so discover this unique experience located at LegoLand this fall!
The Count’s Halloween Spooktacular At Sesame Place
When : Select dates September 16th – October 29th Where : Sesame Place San Diego , 2052 Entertainment Cir, Chula Vista, CA Cost : $99.99
If you love Sesame Street as much as I do, The Count’s Halloween will be your favorite option. Here, you’ll get to have Halloween fun without the scare; you’ll be giggling down Sesame Street!
Halloween at Sesame Place has been an annual Halloween tradition in “America’s finest city” since 1997.
Buy tickets so the kids to experience all the wonders of this special Halloween event located in Chula Vista, San Diego.
Guests don elaborate costumes for the neighborhood fall street party to trick-or-treat into the night’s wee hours. Find character photo ops for the family amidst this California park, and even some mini corn mazes!
Can’t get enough of spooky things to do in San Diego? Read our guide to the best ghost tours in San Diego .
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Taylor is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, yoga instructor and frontline worker who spends most of her time in her van (Vannigan) winding through the coastal and mountain roads of California where she feels most at home. From navigating the realities of van-life to the fluctuations in diverse climates and landscapes, Taylor is excited to bring everything she’s learned about California to fellow wanderers seeking beauty and adventure.
Looking for more San Diego and fall travel guides? Check out our related articles below!
Best Pumpkin Patches in San Diego
Best Halloween Events in Orange County
Best Halloween Events in Los Angeles
Best Halloween Events in Sacramento
Best Halloween Events in San Francisco
Best San Francisco Haunted Houses
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Best Ghost Towns in California
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Ultimate Guide to Little Italy, San Diego
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7 Haunting Year-Round San Diego Experiences
Be prepared to get scared at these spooky san diego spots.
You're invited to discover San Diego's year-round spooky side.
7 Haunting Good Times in San Diego
Have you ever thought of giving your attendees a scare? From historic haunts rich with mystery and rumors of paranormal activity to year-round ghost and gravestones tours, San Diego is a haven for spots guaranteed to frighten even the bravest ghost hunters.
Tour one of America's Most Haunted Houses and immediately feel a chill! While you're perusing Old Town San Diego, be sure to stop at the Whaley House . See something out of the corner of your eye that you can't explain? Hear the sound of a ball bouncing off the wall but don't see it? The house is open year-round and offers group tours.
The Davis-Horton House
If you're meeting in the Gaslamp Quarter, head off the beaten path to give your attendees a fright! Formerly known as the William Heath Davis House, this historic structure is the oldest standing building in downtown proper. This space is believed to be haunted by the patients who passed throughout its ten years serving as a hospital.
Hotel del Coronado
The beloved Hotel del Coronado's is home to more than its famous red turret roof — a ghost named Kate Morgan. It is said that the young woman checked into the hotel in 1892 and never checked out. Legend has it that her third-floor guestroom is said to experience haunting happenings — flickering lights, inexplicable sounds and shifting items. She has also been said to roam the halls and beach.
Horton Grand Hotel
Downtown is a lively San Diego place for a meeting or event — even spirits tend to stick around, especially at this particular spot. Fans of the paranormal flock to the Horton Grand Hotel to experience the strange happenings at this vintage-inspired San Diego hotel. In the famed Room #309, it is said that guests have experienced an array of spooky experiences, including shaking beds, the sounds of footsteps in the middle of the night and the classic flickering lights.
Ghosts and Gravestones Tours
If your attendees are looking for an off-the-beaten-path experience, this 'frightseeing' tour is unlike any other. Run by Old Town Trolley Tours , Ghosts and Gravestones provide year-round tours showcasing all the spooky spots San Diego has to offer, from historic haunted houses to graveyards to spirit hangouts rife with paranormal activity.
This iconic attraction draws visitors from all over the world to San Diego, so attendees will definitely enjoy stopping by. But according to USS Midway museum curator David Hanson, all historic ships are haunted, and the USS Midway is no exception. Hanson is the leader of San Diego's largest paranormal group and has dubbed the Midway a hotbed for paranormal activity. Guests have reported encountering ghosts and spirits of the ship's former crewmen.
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Abundant, flexible space and five-star service make the San Diego Convention Center the meeting planner's choice for hosting major conventions, trade shows, meetings and special events.
The San Diego Convention Center
The San Diego Convention Center is the meeting planners' choice for hosting major conventions, trade shows, meetings and special events.
7 Unique Tours
Outside of keynotes, seminars and the conference floor, attendees are looking for quick but comprehensive ways to experience the destination. Whether you plan an afternoon excursion or set aside a full day experience, San Diego offers many ways to explore the city. From vintage trolleys to electric bikes, double decker buses to segways, there's plenty of unique ways for attendees to enjoy an overview of San Diego.
For attendees, destination appeal is a key factor in attending a meeting. San Diego's historic sites provide authentic experiences that educate and entertain. Book San Diego, where history becomes a highlight of your guests' experience.
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Del Mar-Carmel Valley, CA | Featured Event
San dieguito county park fall festival, costume contest & bounce house 2023: del mar.
Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023 - 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
San Dieguito County Park, 1628 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Del Mar, CA
From Nature Collective :
"Join us for our nature-themed Fall Festival and discover that creepy crawly creatures are not as frightening as they seem!
• Costume contest at 11:00 am and 12:30 pm, prizes for the Most Environmentally Friendly costumes • Eco-friendly craft-making • Live Animal Encounters featuring bats, reptiles, and raptors • Interactive nature activities • Bounce house • Activities available in English + Spanish
"This event follows a zero-waste approach to maximize recycling, minimize waste, and reduce consumption, ensuring that items provided at the event are either reusable or recyclable.
"If you can, please bring your cup. Complimentary coffee and fruit offered.
"Presented by Nature Collective + San Diego County Parks and Recreation."
MORE INFO & RESERVATION LINKS HERE
--Image via Scott Anderson/Patch
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