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From Haunted Houses to Zombies: The Most Frightening Scary Horror Games

Do you enjoy the adrenaline rush of being scared out of your wits? Are you a fan of horror movies and looking for a new way to experience fear? Look no further. In this article, we will explore some of the most terrifying scary horror games that will leave you trembling with fear. From haunted houses to zombies, these games will push your limits and keep you on the edge of your seat.

Haunted Houses: A Classic Thrill

If you’re a fan of haunted houses, then horror games that feature eerie mansions or abandoned buildings are sure to provide an exhilarating experience. One such game that comes to mind is “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard.” Set in a dilapidated plantation house in rural Louisiana, this game combines atmospheric horror with intense gameplay. As you navigate through dark corridors and solve puzzles, you’ll encounter grotesque creatures and terrifying jump scares that will keep your heart pounding.

Another notable haunted house game is “Amnesia: The Dark Descent.” In this first-person survival horror game, players find themselves trapped inside an ancient castle with no memory of how they got there. With limited resources and a lurking presence that feeds on fear, this game is guaranteed to make even the bravest players feel vulnerable and terrified.

Zombies: A Never-Ending Nightmare

Zombies have been a staple in horror culture for decades, and scary horror games featuring these undead creatures are always popular among thrill-seekers. One standout title in this genre is “The Last of Us.” Set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by infected humans turned into zombies, this action-adventure game blends intense combat with an emotionally gripping storyline. The realistic graphics and immersive gameplay make every encounter with the infected a heart-pounding experience.

For those seeking a more intense zombie experience, “Resident Evil 2” is a must-play. This remake of the classic survival horror game takes players back to Raccoon City, where a zombie outbreak has turned the population into flesh-eating monsters. With its atmospheric setting and relentless undead enemies, this game will keep you on your toes as you fight for survival.

Psychological Horror: A Mind-Bending Challenge

If you prefer horror games that mess with your mind, then psychological horror games are perfect for you. “Silent Hill 2” is often regarded as one of the best examples of this subgenre. As players control James Sunderland through the foggy town of Silent Hill, they unravel a deeply disturbing story filled with symbolism and psychological torment. The game’s haunting atmosphere and psychological twists will leave you questioning reality long after you’ve put down the controller.

Another mind-bending horror experience is “Layers of Fear.” In this first-person exploration game, players step into the shoes of a disturbed painter as they navigate through a constantly changing mansion. Delving into themes of madness and obsession, this game uses clever storytelling and visual trickery to create an unsettling experience that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Survival Horror: Fight or Flight

For those who enjoy intense gameplay and heart-pounding action, survival horror games provide an adrenaline-fueled experience like no other. “Outlast” is a prime example of this genre. Armed only with a camcorder, players must navigate through an abandoned psychiatric hospital filled with deranged inmates. With no means to defend yourself other than hiding or running away, every encounter becomes a tense battle for survival.

Another standout survival horror game is “Alien: Isolation.” Set fifteen years after the events of Ridley Scott’s iconic film “Alien,” players assume the role of Ellen Ripley’s daughter as she tries to survive aboard a space station infested by one relentless xenomorph. The game’s AI-driven alien enemy constantly adapts to the player’s actions, making every encounter a nerve-wracking game of cat-and-mouse.

In conclusion, if you’re a fan of being scared senseless, these scary horror games will provide an unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer haunted houses, zombies, psychological torment, or survival challenges, there is a game out there that will cater to your darkest fears. So grab your controller and prepare for a night of terror as you dive into these spine-chilling virtual worlds.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

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Why monsters haunt Christmas in Europe but not America

Nothing says Christmas quite like a terrifying monster.

The worst isn’t the screams or the snow or the mind-numbing blare of “ Night on Bald Mountain “ on repeat. It’s the cowbells: a rusty jangle that means the Christmas monsters are coming.

Until Jan. 6, demons, witches and monsters haunt Europe.

The season of terror actually begins on Dec. 5, the eve of Saint Nicholas’ Day, with public parades of the saint’s supposed companions: Across the Italian, Austrian and Slovenian Alps, cowbell-slung demons called  Krampus  storm mountain towns. In France, the legendary serial killer and butcher  Pere Fouettard  (Father Whipper) threatens naughty children with his whip, while in Belgium and the Netherlands, a  controversial child-kidnapper called  Zwarte Piet   (Black Piet) rides through canals on a steamship.

Like relatives returning home for the holidays, more monsters show up with increasing frequency as Christmas approaches. Every night from Dec. 12 until Christmas Day,  the trollish Yule Lads  peep through windows, snatch sausages and gorge themselves on stolen  skyr  in Iceland .  On Dec. 25, goat-footed  Kallikantzaros  goblins emerge from underground and demand piggyback rides in Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey and the Balkans, and Germany’s  Frau Perchta  creeps into homes to slit open bad children and stuff their bellies with straw. Both do their mischief throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas until Jan. 6, when Italian children finally hang their stockings and the witch  La Befana  shows up with lumps of coal. And with legends and names that vary from region to region and even village to village, these are only a few of the continent’s mythical troublemakers played annually by adults in costume.

Here is Dec. 5  Krampus  procession in Tarvisio, Italy, an alpine town close to the Italian borders with both Austria and Slovenia:

A Dec. 5 Krampus procession.

Masked mayhem has always marked celebrations around the winter solstice (the night of Dec. 21, this year). In Roman times, December brought Saturnalia, a festival that reversed the social order: masters served dinner to their slaves, the rich gave gifts to the poor and to each other, and everyone went out in disguise—including slaves disguised as free men—to gamble and drink.

Even before the Romans, points out historian Stephen Nissenbaum, author of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated book,  The Battle for Christmas , December was a disorderly time: “By some time at the end of November, the harvest and post-harvest work was done. What followed, if you were a man, was a period of leisure. Furthermore, the  beaujolais nouveau  was in, as it were… People were getting drunk.”

Back when Christmas was more about drinking, America had monsters too.

In the 1600s, early Bostonians celebrated Christmas disguised as animals, as members of the opposite sex or with face paint, in order get drunk and disorderly without being recognized, explains Nissenbaum. Caroling at the time meant dancing. Wassailing meant going door to door demanding food, alcohol and money.

The annual debauchery got so bad–think public orgies—that from 1659 to 1681, Massachusetts’ Puritans banned Christmas altogether. But the monsters never left; later, around Christmastime in 19th century Appalachia and Pennsylvania Dutch Country, wealthy families would be mobbed by requests for drinks and their children frightened into niceness (as a service) by masked marauders and  cross-dressers called   Belsnickels .

Of course, Christmas in America has since lost its dark side. All we have now are minimum-wage mall elves. The  Belsnickel  is practically extinct. Disguises expire after Halloween. And although the mood has changed for many reasons, you can probably thank—or blame—a New Yorker named Clement Moore for killing off our monsters.

In 1823, Moore published the poem   A Visit from St Nicholas,   explains Nissenbaum, and introduced Americans to a fat new elf known as Santa Claus. Like a Christmas monster, Santa broke into people’s houses, but only to leave presents. His face was still covered, but with soot from the chimney. He didn’t take anything or disturb anybody, and he would soon eclipse all other Christmas characters, teaching Americans with a silent “wink of his eye and twist of his head” that there is nothing to dread at Christmastime.

Today, some hope to restore dread to Christmas by  importing the  Krampus   to unlikely new homes like Los Angeles. But bloody masks, flaming torches and whippings may not be necessary; nearly  half of all Americans already feel stressed  by the mere thought of giving or receiving Christmas gifts.

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride


Why Humans Scream, Make Crazy Faces When Terrified

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Whether it's because of an outing to a haunted house or due to watching fright-night flicks that make you leave the lights on for days, fear is a deliciously terrifying emotion. For many of us, a sudden scare leads to a scream — a reaction so normal that we rarely consider its scientific origins. But why exactly do we react to fear with an eyes-wide, jaw-dropped, super-loud vocalization?

Well, there's power in the faces we make. As our hosts Julie Douglas and Robert Lamb explain in the Stuff to Blow Your Mind video above, even if there's nothing scary afoot, simply making a scared face will cause you to be more alert. Your eyes will open wider and move faster, allowing you a wider range of vision and better ability to spot impending danger. You will breathe faster, with your nostrils working off a heightened sense of smell (super-handy in case of zombies). And a scared face can affect your emotions. Actually, many different types of facial expressions can impact your emotions, says psychologist William James. Just like smiling can make you feel happier , making a look of terror can create instant vigilance and a total-body fight-or-flight response.

Despite this universal mask of fear, not everyone's faces have the same muscular ability to make it. The risorius muscle is a muscle that controls expression of extreme fear and is usually located on the sides of the mouth. This muscle only appears in about two-thirds of the population, and even then, it ranges greatly in size from one person to another. Some people have this muscle on both sides of the face, while others only have it on one side. The absence or length of the muscle affects the potent form of nonverbal communication known as a look of terror .

As for the scream itself? The theory is that it functions as an audible defense, much like a vehicle's loud alarm system or a baby's cry — impossible to ignore. Studies show that the more irregular, chaotic and animalistic a scream is, the harder it is for others to ignore it. Perhaps that's why those scary movies and their screaming victims are so spellbinding.

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Five facial muscles give people the ability to make expressions of happiness, anger, surprise, fear, sadness and disgust, while up to 14 additional muscles are responsible for more nuanced expressions. However, as much as 60 percent of the population does not have all 19 facial muscles.

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The Dead End Hayride

Minnesota's Most Terrifying Haunted Attraction


Minnesota haunted hayride

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Minnesota’s Most Terrifying Haunted Hayride!

September 22nd – october 31st.

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

"Been going to DEH since 2016 and I’m still wowed every time I visit!" A Google Reviewer
"Tonight was my first night at the Dead End Hayride and I will say it did not disappoint! From the 20+ minute hayride to walking through all of the sets it took around an Hour! This was a fantastic time! Well worth the money!" A Google Reviewer
"Tonight was my first time going to dead end hayride and I was extremely impressed!! The monsters were terrifying and I was spooked through the entire attraction." A Google Reviewer
"Very fun experience. High production value- it felt at times like walking through a horror movie set." A Google Reviewer
"It's amazing and all the actors are awesome!! If you're looking to get scared or simply have an amazing time with friends/family, I'd recommend the dead end hayride." A Google Reviewer

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The Dead End Hayride is located at  28186 Kettle River Blvd N, Wyoming, MN 55092

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

28186 Kettle River Blvd N, Wyoming, MN 55092

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

the Haunted Hayride

The History of Haunted Houses: From Folklore to Fright Fests

Embark on a chilling journey like no other at The Haunting Experience’s haunted hayride, the scariest attraction in Minnesota. Join your family and friends on this spine-tingling adventure aboard the longest consecutively running hayride in the state, boasting a terrifying legacy of over 37 years. Brace yourself as you pass through deep tunnels and twisted trees, encountering the remnants of a deranged family with a haunting history that spans centuries.

This haunted hayride is not for the faint of heart, so bring your bravest companions to share in the terror and excitement. As the tractor trails lead you through the horrors of Wilhelm Steelworks and the chilling haunted forest, be prepared to scream and jump out of your seat at the sight of lurking creatures. Surviving the entire harrowing trip, you’ll find yourself face-to-face with cannibalistic monsters and madmen.

Beware, this is only the beginning of the horrors that await you at The Haunting Experience. Gather your courage and prepare for an experience you won’t soon forget – if you make it out alive.


minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

It would not be a trip to the Haunting Experience without hopping on the scariest haunted hayrides in Minnesota. Gather your family and friends, jump onboard, and take a ride on the longest consecutively running hayride in the state. With over 37 years of operation, we have a legacy of terror that our family has honed to leave our guests terrified.

So, if you dare to tread upon the haunted trails in MN, prepare for an unforgettable experience filled with fright and suspense. Minnesota’s oldest and most frightening haunted hayride attraction features deep tunnels and mysterious gnarled trees. You will also encounter the remnants of a twisted two-century old family, their bodies disfigured with insanity, age and the horrors of their past. Perhaps, they’ll invite you to stay with them in the Halloween hayride…or force you to haunt the stalks with them forever.

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride


If you think you can handle the terrors of one of the most terrifying haunted hay rides in MN , round up your toughest friends and family. We’re waiting for you, rain or shine.

We are the best and longest haunted hayride in MN, and our guests agree! Here’s why they love it:

  • The haunted hayride is a great bonding experience . When you are all alone (at least, when you think you’re alone), you will need your friends or family to help you see through this whole trip. Even those who hate horror found themselves entertained by our creepy creatures who came their way. It is definitely worth your money!
  • It is worth the trip. Fear fans flock from all over the country to ride our renowned haunted hayride attraction. We are just 20 minutes away from the Twin Cities area. There may be a long wait on weekends with so many guests dropping by, but the drive and wait will be worth it when you experience the legacy of terror we have made. If you want to beat the long lines, you can always purchase a fast pass.
  • An unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a group of grown men or a party of teenagers, everyone is welcome to enjoy one of the best-haunted hayrides in MN – as long as you can handle a good scare. Many of our guests leave with an unforgettable experience, one that meets more than their greatest expectations.

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

10900 E. Pt. Douglas Rd. Cottage Grove, MN 55016

651-459-3001 [email protected]

We're A Top Rated Halloween Attraction and Haunted House

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

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The 6 Scariest Haunted Hayrides In Minnesota (2022 Update)

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Fall is a beautiful time of year that we get to enjoy in Minnesota. It brings nice cool air to relieve us of the humid summer, but it’s also the last glimpse of sun and beauty before winter sets in. Many people enjoy spending a nice Sunday at the apple orchard or corn maze, while others like to take full advantage of the spooks and haunted hayrides Halloween brings.

While the leaves change and the nights are cool, here are some scary attractions you and your friends can check out, if scaring’s your thing of course. Keep in mind, these are definitely adult-level scary, so leave the little ones at home, and face your fears at these Halloween haunts !

Orange pumpkins in the fall; haunted hayrides

6 Scariest Haunted Hayrides In Minnesota

The abandoned hayride .

The abandoned hayride in Chaska, MN is one of the newest haunted attractions Minnesota has to offer. It includes 4 different stages for a completely immersive experience. You will begin with a haunted hayride, which will drop you off at the start of a maze. Then you, and one other person will be exiled and left to find your way out, only to enter a delirious, confusing final attraction that is sure to leave you terrified. This experience is unlike any other, and best suited for those looking for the ultimate thrill.

The Abandoned Hayride

7525 Highway 212 E

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Chaska, MN 55318

The Haunting Experience on Highway 61

For 33 years, Highway 61 in Cottage Grove has spent every Halloween season scaring people with their haunted hayride, and multiple haunted houses. They also offer a “low scare” experience during the day on weekends, for a discounted rate, and for the whole family. They even have a lights on, no jumps, tour of their haunted houses for the older kids. With the oldest haunted hayride in Minnesota, they know what they’re doing!

Located on Highway 61 at

10900 E. Pt. Douglas Rd.

Cottage Grove, MN 55016

Molitor’s Haunted Acres

Another Halloween tradition located deep in the woods is especially spooky at night, and Molitor’s makes sure of it. With ghouls, ghosts, and other horrifying sights, you’re sure to be scared out of your wits after a hayride, and haunted house to top it all off. For decades Molitor’s have been putting on a scary attraction that can’t be missed.

3571 5th Ave NE,

Sauk Rapids, MN 56379

Dead End Hayride

One of the most popular Halloween attractions in Minnesota is the Dead End Hayride. They feature a haunted hayride, a haunted house, and a haunted corn maze. When you finish all the other Halloween attractions and have had your fill of scares, they now have Dead End Patio. New in 2019 is a cash-only bar for 21+ guests to enjoy a drink before or after the attractions.

28186 Kettle River Blvd N

Wyoming, MN 55092

Voted one of the top 8 Haunted Attractions in the country this year, Scream Town is the place to be. They have 9 different scary haunts to walk through, plus a giant corn maze and on their last weekend after Halloween will be doing a special lights-out weekend. Just you, a glow stick, and a signed waiver. Sounds spooky!

7410 US-212

Chaska, MN 55318

Trail of Terror

Trail of Terror is a staple in Minnesota for Halloween. They have an annual Running Dead 5K, a Phantom’s Feast in a haunted mansion, and tons of other haunted attractions sure to help you celebrate Halloween in fear.

3525 145th Street West

Shakopee, MN 55379

Plus More Halloween Attractions!


Every Fall, the popular Shakopee amusement park Valleyfair turns spooky for a Halloween experience you won’t forget. They open up the park for a dimly lit haunted walk through the amusement park. Their on-site buildings turn into haunted amusements, and you get to ride their thrills rides in the dark. Valleyscare is a great option for adrenaline seekers. Don’t worry, during the days they have a family-friendly Halloween park with fun for all ages.

1 Valleyfair Dr

Nightmare Hallow Scream Park

27500 Kirby Avenue

Chisago City, MN 55013

Fright Farm

2020 White Bear Avenue North

Maplewood, Minnesota 55109

Haunted Basement

Rosedale Center

Roseville, MN 55113

Fright at the Farm

47385 US-52 Blvd

Zumbrota, MN 55992

Pumpkin patch field on a farm in the fall with hayride; haunted hayrides

Time is running out, so if you want to get some scares in, get your tickets online! Most of the attractions go through November 1st or 2nd, the weekend after Halloween. So there’s still two more weekends of fun! Check their websites for more information, linked above. site. With Halloween being the last day of the month, it can be a busy time, but don’t forget that if you are in the market for a new apartment, check for our openings coming up on November 1st, or December 1st. Bigos wants to make your move easy, and your Halloween fun! So check out our availability here .

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

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The Abandoned Hayride


The most terrifying hayride experience in Minnesota! An experience leaving you screaming for your life! Get ready to be transported to a world of horror and suspense, where every twist and turn will leave you on the edge of your seat. This haunted hayride is unlike any other in the country, with immersive illusions and spine-chilling scenes making you feel like an unwilling participant in a nightmare. Buckle up, hold on tight, and prepare to be horrified!

NEW FOR 2023 – NEW SCARES & Effects and SO MUCH MORE!

Due to recent rains, we recommend an outdoor shoe such as a boot.

” "Totally re-invented the hayride" - The Haunt Finder
” One of the best experiences I have encountered in 40 years. ...cried and wanted more of it! it was thrilling experience! - RAMAR HARPER Google Reviewer
” Absolutely, hands down, GENIUS !! Phenomenal! The effects were insane! It was scary, fun, exciting and would do it over and over again. - Haueter Family Tik Tok Superstars

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride


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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

  • Attractions


This Haunted Hayride In Minnesota Will Make Your Hair Stand On End

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Betsy Rathburn

Betsy is a Minneapolis-based writer who's lived in Minnesota for 20 years. If you know of any amazing Minnesota restaurants, nature areas, or other attractions, feel free to let her know about them at [email protected] or on Twitter @betsyrathburn.

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By day, Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, Minnesota, is a charming and homey place to spend a fall afternoon. You can drink hot chocolate, pet cute animals, and pick out the perfect pumpkin. But at night, the farm takes an entirely different form. When the sun sets, the haunted hayride becomes the star of the show. The folks here have one goal in mind: to scare you as much as possible. Sound interesting? Here’s what you can expect from a hair-raising trip to this haunted hayride in Minnesota.

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

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Take A Ghost Walk Through Historic Stillwater, Minnesota, Then Dine At The Haunted Afton House Inn

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

And if that’s not enough to convince you, check out this freaky trailer from the 2015 hayride.

For more information, visit the Dead End Hayride website. Have you ever been brave enough to ride? Are you going this year? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to take a drive to check out these beautiful fall destinations in Minnesota . Don’t worry, these spots aren’t spooky, they’re scenic.

OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article.

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Haunted attractions in minnesota.

What are the most haunted places in Minnesota?

The most haunted places in Minnesota include:

  • Palmer House Hotel
  • Roselawn Cemetery
  • St. Cloud State University

There are so many haunted places in Minnesota, that we’d have to break them down into categories. When it comes to haunted hotels in Minnesota , many people believe the Palmer House Hotel to be the most haunted. For haunted cemeteries in Minnesota , a visit to Roselawn Cemetery would turn even the hardest of skeptics. And don't think that schools are off-limits to ghosts, because St. Cloud State University has had its fair share of paranormal activity, too. Of course, nothing beats Anoka, a city in Minnesota that’s known as the Halloween Capital of the World.  

What are the most popular ghost stories in Minnesota?

One of the most popular ghost stories in Minnesota is that of Glensheen Mansion.

One of the most famous ghost stories in Minnesota centers around one of the most haunted places in Minnesota, and that’s Duluth’s Glensheen Mansion. As the story goes, Elisabeth Congdon was found murdered in the family home in 1977. She had been suffocated and she was found in her older sister’s room, as well as Elisabeth’s nurse, Velma. There was never enough evidence to convict the suspected killer and that may be the reason that so many people have claimed to have seen the apparitions of two women standing in an upstairs window. Others have witnessed lights flickering, objects moving on their own, and even strange mists appearing and disappearing. Could these things be signs that Elisabeth and Velma are trapped between worlds?

What are the creepiest places in Minnesota?

The creepiest places in Minnesota include:

  • Timber Lake Road
  • County Highway 21

The creepiest places in Minnesota are often the ones you least expect, like roads. You might be surprised to learn that there are a few haunted roads in Minnesota and you can drive down one of them and see for yourself if the stories are true. Two of the most famous haunted streets in Minnesota are Timber Lake Road in central Minnesota and a stretch of County Highway 21 near Sherack.  

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  • One Of The Most Haunted Cemeteries In Minnesota Is Also The Most Beautiful
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'scare actors' reveal how they try to terrify at minnesota's dead end hayride.

As sundown approaches at Pinehaven Farm near Wyoming, Minn., one of the barns is stuffed with cowboys and scarecrows. Butchers and sheriffs. Prisoners and aliens. But because their stage is the sprawling, woodsy acreage of Dead End Hayride , these so-called "scare actors" play a blood-soaked, walking-dead version of the above — a soldier bears a large gunshot wound, a pasty-white monk looks like he just crawled from a crypt.

The scene resembles an enormous Halloween bash, with professional-caliber costumes. Upstairs, in the makeup booths, artists airbrush on fake blood (some of it mint-flavored!). Despite their realistic-looking bruises and gashes, the actors don't seem so scary as they down Monster-brand energy drinks to fuel themselves for the long night ahead.

Once dusk descends and a cowbell signals the call for "places," a crazed-looking clown snuffs out a cigarette and an undead nun hits the porta potty. As soon as the sky turns black, all of these eerie characters become hauntingly real.

Some 200 scare actors are the telltale heart of Dead End Hayride, which has grown from a modest family-run operation into one of Minnesota's largest haunted attractions, welcoming 5,000 guests on a sold-out Saturday night.

Their job is to startle and spook, moan and groan, make creepy conversation, and deftly react to the occasional visitor whose fight-or-flight response causes them to lash out, freeze or panic.

The goal is not to traumatize people, said Dead End's owner Jeremy Hastings, who sold his sports car to start the attraction on his family's farm over a decade ago in his early 20s. He hopes visitors are entranced by the spectacle — and dosed with a hearty adrenaline rush.

"We're not trying to be the scariest, most horrific haunted house," Hastings explained. "Our goal is that our customers are walking to the parking lot kind of looking over their shoulder, but laughing about the experience."

Contortionist Cody Bowen shows off his flexibility while waiting for the show to begin in the actor barn.

Scare tactics

What should newbies do to steel themselves against Dead End's frights? A group of return guests offers advice as they wait in the hayride line. Pretend you're not scared. ("They sense fear.") Close your eyes. Or, you can run — but you might get chased. Last year they raced through the cornfield tailed by a guy with a chainsaw.

The hayride sets off through a dark woods to a Wild West ghost town. Suddenly, a massive fireball explodes, radiating heat for extra realism. In the early years, one of Dead End's sets was little more than a chain-link fence accessorized with garbage bags and strobe lights. Today, there's a sprawling maze of scenes that suggest a Hollywood back lot: a multi-room prison; a mirrored funhouse; a seedy motel with dismembered dolls hanging from the ceiling.

Staff members built this season's new vampire castle scene from foam blocks coated in concrete. Each year, Dead End might spend six figures on props. Some are animatronic creatures created for movies. Other oddities are found on Facebook Marketplace, including the Vietnam War-era helicopter in the military encampment and a sunken ship slated to carry a zombie fishing crew.

Each set is elaborate — rows of skulls lining the crypt were hand-cast; the graveyard contains real headstones, rejected for typos — and enhanced with eerie lighting and fog machines. But it's the actors who bring the scenes to life.

By day, they are personal-care assistants, parents, HVAC technicians, even the branch president of a credit union. By night, they're united in their love of putting on a spooky show.

"They form this kind of ragtag family of unique individuals who all really, really enjoy Halloween," Hastings explained.

Echo Longworth gets airbrush makeup in the actor barn. Dead End provides actors with costumes and makeup to achieve a consistent look.

Horrifying roles

The hayride pulls into an old sawmill, complete with circular blades roaring. Out of nowhere, a tattooed millworker in stained overalls leaps out, revving his chainsaw (it's real, but with a protective cover). Riders scream and duck.

Chainsaw guy is actually Byron Brown, a mechanic from St. Paul, whose skin is still splattered with grease from a car he worked on earlier. He figured it fit with his look, which suggests he's taken a sawmill blade to his face.

Some actors like to repeatedly scare the same visitor. Or eavesdrop on conversations to creepily address guests by name. Brown's favorite scare tactic is the bait-and-switch: One actor distracts the guests while he leaps onto the wagon. "All of a sudden, you're right there and 'boom,' they jump out of their seats!" he said.

After passengers are dropped off outside the prison, they go on a long walk through one scene after another. Some scares unfold slowly, such as the tension-building tiptoe through the aisle of a prison-yard bus, where shadowy figures slump in the seats. Others are literal shockers, including an electric chair execution gone awry.

In the salvage yard, a bloodied mechanic with black eyeballs (costume contact lenses) steps out from the shadow of a junked car. It's Oliver Bauer, a high school thespian from Vadnais Heights playing a role very different from the one he holds in his school production of "Clue."

Bauer likes to bang on oil drums, or crouch under a wreck and grab ankles, or follow guests and trail his fingers up their back while growling and hissing. Unlike many haunted attractions, Dead End allows its actors to touch guests (with limits). It helps break the "fourth wall" and makes guests feel like they're actually in a horror movie instead of just watching it.

"We have people who drop to the floor," Bauer said. "We have people who cry. We have people who pee themselves, and they announce it to everyone, like, 'Omigod, I just peed myself.' "

Scare actor Danelle Rydeen jumps up on the haunted hayride and spooks the riders.

Symbiotic scaring

As acting gigs go, Dead End is no Guthrie. Roles pay about $15 an hour, can stretch into the wee hours and include acting in the rain and mud.

"Sometimes it's not glamorous," Hastings admits. "It's an incredibly physical job. You lose your voice."

Yet each year, a majority of the staff comes back, in part due to the camaraderie Dead End cultivates. (There are post-show meals and pre-season parties.) Sometimes even the owner joins right in the fun. Last season, Hastings spent a night hiding in the show, deploying his signature "jumpscare" (exactly what it sounds like). "I haven't laughed and been so entertained all year," he recalled.

Scaring, Hastings said, is a symbiotic relationship: The scare-ers get as much thrill as the scare-ees. "The customer gets an adrenaline rush from your scaring them, as those brain chemicals get their heart pumping. But as a scare actor, you get that rush, too."

Once they all had their makeup and costumes on, the undead prisoners took a selfie with each other outside the actor barn.

Rachel Hutton is a general assignment reporter in features for the Star Tribune. 

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Haunted Shack & Hayride

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  • 1781 County Road 1
  • Carlton, MN
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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

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Have you been to Haunted Shack & Hayride? Then share photos of your experience!

Hours of Operation: 7 pm - 9 pm - Sundays, Thursdays 7 pm - 10 pm - Fridays, Saturdays

Admission Costs: General Admission: $20 With student or military ID: $15 Express Pass: $30

- event open dates

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Recent Reviews

Awesome love the new location.

I haven't been in several years. They now have a permanent location. Haunted Hayride. Wasn't too scary but it was good, the Haunted trail thru the corn was terrifying. The actors were all amazing and into there parts. My daughter and her boyfriend peed themselves. They have a maze at the end that around every corner there was another scare. Took us awhile to find our way out. Then the Haunted Shack portion which is what I remembered from there last location. This was way better than it has ever been. My wife only made it to the 1st scene and went back out. They have this elevator thing you get into and it feels like you don't know what direction your going. Up/down all over. The pneumatic pop out props are everywhere and you don't know if it is a real or fake person. Absolutely lovee it and can't wait for this 2023 season. I will be back. - The Hoeer Family, Roseville,Mn

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Email Verified Pleasantly surprised!

First timers 2021. Wasn’t expecting too much as this is volunteer based, however it was good! The hayride part wasn’t the best, but I believe it was because they were short on volunteers the night we went. There were many empty stations throughout the ride that if filled would have made that part so much more exciting. The corn maze was killer! They have amazingly healthy, high corn which adds to the scare factor with many actors throughout. The haunted shack was also very good with many actors and exciting events throughout. We will be back!

5 out of 6 found this review helpful

Email Verified Disappointed

Very unorganized. We got “fast passes” to get on the hayride. Ended up standing in like for 20 minutes until we saw where the fast lane was. I went up there and asked if that was the fast lane and the lady was rude and said no, there is no fast lane. We went back and stood in line. We still kept seeing people get on in the other lane so I went back up there and the people in line told me it was indeed the fast pass lane. So we got in the line and got on right away. Went through the woods, little set ups throughout the woods but nothing intimidating. Walked on the very edge of the corn field for about 5 minutes, nothing scary or jumping out at us there. Went through the shack which was decent. Then it was over. Would recommend to have people dressed up walking up to the hayride to scare people, maybe have them jump on the wagon and ride along for a good scare. Definitely have people dressed up walking in the corn to make it somewhat spooky.

4 out of 6 found this review helpful

Email Verified Highly disappointing

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year and I love going to haunted attractions. I drove with three friends, an hour and a half, to basically take a walk. We paid extra for the VIP tickets (50 dollars for two), which is supposed to allow you to jump the line and get into the attractions first. You start with the hayride and then get dropped off at the corn maze, both of which are toddler approved. After you walk through the ‘corn maze’, you get in line for the hah ted shack portion. I was hoping that my disappointment would be relived once we got in. And as a “VIP” ticket buyer, I stood outside in the rain for 30 minutes before even getting inside to take a 5 minute walk about. Needless to say, next year, I will be going somewhere else.

Email Verified Horrible

Had to wait in line for 2 hours for the hayride and then there were only a couple scares. absolutely nothing in the so called scary corn maze.

6 out of 7 found this review helpful


This was totally amazing. They had a headless horseman that came out of no where on the Haunted Hayride. Actors were awesome in the woods. Best Hayride they put on yet. The Haunted Shack had added to the venue with more scenes and twist and turns than ever and was scary then ever. The Hellevator and Vortex Tunnel are always awesome. Cant wait for the 2016 season to begin. Highly recommend this event to all haunted attractions enthusiast. and its all for great causes. Special Olympics Food Shelf and Coats for kids.... I cant believe its all volunteer organization totally amazing.

Good time, good cause

Fun haunted house in Duluth benefiting the Special Olympics. The hayride is SUPER cheesy, but it's still fun to be outside. No scares in that part, but who cares. Then you go to the indoor portion and it's WAY better. They put lots of time between groups of people so the actors have a better chance to scare you (not like the Haunted Ship). No story line that we could figure out, but it was fun.

This is a MUST SEE!

I went last night, and boy was it amazing!!! We LOVED the headless horseman during the hayride, and they did a fantastic job on the haunted shack also! The actors were very good at what they were doing, scaring us! I would definitely recommend going to this! The only thing I suggest for people who are going to this, is dress warm and be prepared to stand 2-3 hrs waiting in line. It IS worth the wait, though!!!

4 out of 5 found this review helpful

Totally Awesome and great Special Effects

I go every year to the Haunted Shack. There special effects are totally amazing. This last year they had a "Hellevator" a ride in an elevator that is so awesome and they also had there Tunnell of Terror. It is a rotating tunnel that makes you feel as if you are going upside down. There actors are amazing. Only thing is come early there's long lines. We waited over an hour to get in but it is all for charity. Totally awesome.....

3 out of 5 found this review helpful

The scariest haunted town

There is a sneak peek of thee haunted town , and there is some real haunted houses in the town. and there is some really scary for childrends 10 and up . so dont bring your kids in something really scary and kind inappropiate

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minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Minnesota haunted houses, hayrides and trails to visit this fall

(FOX 9) - Spooky season is approaching, and Minnesota is home to numerous haunted houses, hayrides and trails to get your horror fix. 

Here's a look at haunted offerings, as well as some less spooky venues for families:

Haunted houses

Anoka Haunted House:

  • Location: 3200 St Francis Blvd. NW, Anoka
  • Tickets: $12 per person

Head to the Halloween Capital of the World for this unique haunted house. The creatures in this house are local high school students raising money for their activities. The house has been operating for over 30 years.

Duluth Haunted Ship:

  • Location: 301 Harbor Drive, Duluth
  • Tickets: $10-$27 per person

The ship, the William A. Irvin, transforms into an October haunt where ghosts come alive. Starting in the engine room, you will travel through the ship until you find your final destination, below Lake Superior's freezing waters in this maze of terror. The belly of the boat is pitch dark, and there may be ghouls around the next corner.

While these haunts may be manufactured, there is a history of paranormal activity aboard this vessel. Three paranormal investigation groups have come aboard the Irvin to check out the potential activity.

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

The William A. Irvin, which is said to be haunted, is home to a haunted house in the fall.  (Melissa Turtinen/FOX 9)

Fright Nights:

  • Location: 105 3rd Ave NE Glenwood, MN
  • Tickets: $20 per person

This house features claustrophic passages, jump scares, uneven floors, total darkness, and more! Skull Boy, Zippy, and Buzzkill are three characters that frequent this eerie place! This haunt is not handicap accessible.

The Haunting Experience:

  • Location: 10900 E. Pt. Douglas Road, Cottage Grove
  • Tickets:  $24-$48 per person

This haunted house boasts over 35 years of experience. Guests have to navigate the winding corridors of this terrifying house. An abandoned hospital and the madmen inside greet visitors this year. There is no touching during this attraction, although minimal contact may occur.

Henning Haunted House:

  • Location: 606 2nd St., Henning
  • Tickets: $5 per person

With its low admission fee, the Henning Haunted House is the cheapest haunt in the central Minnesota area. The admission fee is donated to community organizations and projects. Last year, the Henning Lions Club began selling food across the street, so you can have dinner and a show.

RELATED: Halloween spending to reach record $10.6B: NRF

Molitor's Haunted Acres:

  • Location: 3571 5th Ave. NE, Sauk Rapids
  • Tickets: $29-$58 per person

This walk-through haunt added trails through their haunted woods and new thrills throughout the houses for this Halloween season. 

The trail is uneven, so wear appropriate shoes. This haunt is not recommended for children under 12.

Molitor’s Quarry Grill & Bar is steps away from the walk-through, where they fully celebrate the haunted season. The staff organizes themed weekends throughout October, so guests will be sure to find extra entertainment when they sit down for a meal.

Monster Bash:

  • Location: 150 1st St. NW, Harmony
  • Tickets: $13 per person

Monster Bash is a nonprofit haunted house and donates the bulk of its earnings each year to support the arts in the local area. They have donated over $107,000 to music, theater, and arts programs over the years. Each season is uniquely themed, and this year's theme is Slim Chance. 

Nowhere Haunted House:

  • Location: 5300 S Robert Tr. #300 Inver Grove Heights, MN
  • Tickets: From $28 per person

Nowhere Haunted House is a new addition to the haunting options in Minnesota this year! This event is produced by Haunt Armada, a group that aims to expand the scope and quality of the Twin Cities’ Halloween-themed activities and attractions.

After Halloween, Nowhere   will offer holiday haunts at Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and May Day, and immersive theater productions throughout the year.

Scream Town:

  • Location: 7410 US-212, Chaska
  • Tickets:  $34-$149 per person

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Scream Town is considered one of the best Halloween attractions in the Minneapolis St. Paul Twin Cities area. (Scream Town / Supplied)

This house was rated one of the top ten haunts in the country by CNN in 2019. 

This year's attractions include:

  • A psychedelic circus.
  • A zombie apocalypse.
  • A demonic forest.
  • Alien abduction.
  • A labyrinth.
  • A Christmas-themed haunt.
  • A possession-themed house with VIP access only.

Scream Town also offers food, including pizza, burgers, cheese curds, cookies, and more.

Haunted hayrides and haunted trails

The Abandoned Hayride:

  • Location: 7525 US-212, Chaska
  • Tickets:  $30-$149 per person

This hayride has new sets, effects, scenes, and scares this year. There are three parts to this haunt, beginning with the hayride. After being abandoned in the woods with only a small lantern to light the way, attendees must find their way out of the creature-infested woods. Guests will then be exiled with one other person. They have to find their way out or risk being banished forever! 

There is a touch element to this haunt, and the experience lasts roughly 45 minutes.

The Dead End Hayride:

  • Location: 28186 Kettle River Blvd. N, Wyoming
  • Tickets:  $12-$47 per person

This hayride travels down trails, through the woods, and into haunted barns and structures throughout the ride. The woods are infested with creatures that appear at every turn. The 2022 season brings back a minimal level of interaction, including touching.

Harvest of Horror:

  • Location: 4108 200th St St. Augusta, MN
  • Tickets:  $29-$49 per person

This haunt begins in the fields of St. Augusta as guests enter into a spooky hayride. If they make it off the hayride alive, they'll be tormented in the woods! The Harvest of Horror is open, rain or shine, and tickets are sold until 10:45 p.m.

This attraction is the oldest haunted hayride in Minnesota. It passes through gnarled trees and deep tunnels, passing into the territory of a two-century-old monstrous family. Other haunts on this ride include cannibalistic monsters, madmen, creatures, and more

There are stairs, steps, and uneven ground throughout this experience, so be sure to dress appropriately. There is no touching during this attraction, although minimal contact may occur.

Family friendly Halloween celebrations

ValleyFair Halloween:

  • Location: One Valleyfair Drive, Shakopee
  • Tickets: $29.99-$34.99 per person

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

Valleyfair transformed their Halloween celebration this year. Rather than offering Valleyscare, the theme park is opting for a family-friendly option called Tricks and Treats. (Valleyfair / Supplied)

Halloween at ValleyFair looks different this year. Rather than their traditional ValleyScare, the theme park is introducing Tricks and Treats, a family friendly Halloween event with seasonal treats, drinks, and candy.

The land of treats has two areas: Everfall and Sweet Tooth Acres. Everfall creates the perfect fall oasis with pumpkin decorating, flannel, and softly glowing candles, while Sweeth Tooth Acres is reminiscent of a childhood favorite, Candyland.

The land of tricks features Ickyville and Spooky Spires. Ickyville brings all things creepy and crawly to this Halloween festival, including worms, zombies, and bugs. Spooky Spires is a 1920s gothic village with a silent disco and macabre carnival games. 

Family friendly activities will be available throughout the park, so this event will be fun for everyone.

Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular:

  • Location: 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley
  • Tickets: $20-$24 per person

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Minnesota Zoo

The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular runs Oct. 1-Nov. 5 at the Minnesota Zoo. The event features hundreds of artist-designed pumpkins.

Follow the trails at the Minnesota Zoo to see thousands of artistically carved pumpkins. This year's walk will lead you on a journey through a 'Night at the Library,' featuring new artists' work and plenty of seasonal fun.

Animal viewing is available in Discovery Bay until 8 p.m. The animal buildings close at 4 p.m.

minnesotas most terrifying haunted hayride

The Minnesota Zoo in the fall hosts a Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular.


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