By Benjamin Leatherman | Phoenix New Times
A resident of the House on Camino.
The House on Camino
At first glance, the two-story home located in a quiet neighborhood in the eastern part of Mesa seems rather ordinary and relatively nondescript. But pay a visit to the place, which is located at 4055 East El Camino Street, during the latter part of October and you’ll witness scary scenes unfolding in the garage. Each year, the space becomes a DIY haunted house populated by ghosts, skeletons, and members of the undead. It’s a big hit with the neighborhood children, not to mention kids of all ages.
2017 Hours and Pricing: The house will be open nightly from 6 to 10:30 p.m. on October 30 and October 31. Admission is free but donations are accepted to Child Crisis Arizona.
Think every kid is an innocent soul that’s pure of heart? You’ve obviously never seen The Omen, The Good Son, or The Brood, bub, nor have you paid a visit to Mount Mayhem. This impressive-looking home haunt in north central Phoenix has been frightening people since 2009, and is teeming with corrupted preteens and adolescents known as “darklings.” As the story goes, they’re all refugees from an orphanage that have sworn to do the evil bidding of an insidious swarm of creatures known as The Glomung. It’s sort of like Lord of the Flies meets Children of the Corn. Try to keep all this in mind as you traipse through this DIY-style haunted house situated in a backyard while creepy kiddos let loose with bloodcurdling screams.
Hours and Pricing: Mount Mayhem operates from October 26 to 29 and again on October 31. It will be open from 7 to 9:30 p.m. each night. Admission is free.
EXPANDThe Gauntlet at Golfland is in need of some fresh meat.
The Gauntlet at Golfland in Mesa
Golfland’s castle goes from utterly kooky to supremely spooky during the month of October, when its second floor transforms into The Gauntlet, a twisting and turning fear factory where patrons are called “victims,” the doors open by themselves, and there’s something waiting around every single corner that’s almost guaranteed to make you jump. That includes its large array of pneumatically powered or automated thrills, and creatures that are triggered by motion sensors (the most out of any local haunt) and that are truly shocking, like the winged succubus that comes from the darkness and appears to fly straight for your head; cackling clown heads that leap out jack-in-the-box style; and, downright sickening, a swirling infestation of roaches that are projected along one wall. The Gauntlet’s actors, however, seem to do their damnedest to freak you out and tend to get especially unhinged. Or maybe they’re just acting like normal teenagers.
Hours and Pricing: Operates Fridays and Saturdays until October 7, Thursdays through Saturdays from October 12 to October 28, and on October 30 and October 31. Doors open at 7 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $20 per person.
EXPANDThe spooky scene outside of Chris Birkett’s house in Scottsdale.
Chris Birkett’s Haunted Graveyard in Scottsdale
It isn’t hard to guess which two holidays Scottsdale resident Chris Birkett enjoys the most. Drive past the five-bedroom home he shares with his wife and children during the buildup to either Christmas or Halloween and you’ll witness eye-popping and interactive multimedia displays devoted to the respective occasion. The 42-year-old goes beyond the pale and far beyond most other decorative yard setups seen around the Valley, as he spends half the year (and likely some serious cash) planning his annual ode to each holiday.
With all that said, we’re more partial to the Haunted Graveyard, his Halloween-time display that encompasses his front yard, garage, and part of the backyard. It offers some legit scares. A genuine sense of claustrophobia creeps over you while meandering around the cramped hallways winding through his garage that resemble a foreboding and decrepit mansion cloaked in dim light, choked with spiderwebs, and imbued with creepy thrills. A mix of influences ranging from macabre illustrator Edward Gorey and Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion are evident throughout.
Hours and Pricing: Nightly, 6:30 to 10 p.m., from October 27 to October 31. Admission is free, but donations are requested.
EXPANDYou never know who or what you’ll encounter in the corn at Field of Screams.
Courtesy of Tolmachoff Farms
AZ Field of Screams in Glendale
There is most definitely something lurking out in the vast cornfields of Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale. And no, it’s not Shoeless Joe Jackson, but rather something similarly ghostly and undead. Sinister creatures like leather-faced freaks, evil clowns, and bloodied brutes are eager to make your acquaintance throughout the six-acre field and inside a few haunted structures scattered along the way.
And believe us, when demonic denizens of Field of Screams’ lengthy maze jump out at you, it’s definitely going to startle and alarm. There are little in the way of lights, so your pulse is likely pounding from the darkened and disorienting experience of wandering along the narrow paths where the corn seems to be closing in around you from everywhere, probably because it is, and helping to hide whoever – or whatever – is out there.
Hours and Pricing: Open on Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 11 p.m., through October 28, and on Halloween night. Admission is $20 per person or $25 for a combo ticket that also includes access to the family-oriented corn maze.
Scarizona Scaregrounds in Mesa
A quarry on the edge of Mesa serves as a suitably scary setting for this new addition to the Halloween scene, which debuted last year. As its name implies, it’s akin to a fairgrounds or carnival of sorts with live music on the weekends, games like zombie trivia, sideshow entertainers, a beer and wine garden, vendors, and the chance to run a gauntlet of characters with chainsaws or blast the undead in a zombie-filled paintball course.
There are actual scares to go along with the eclectic cavalcade of activities, courtesy of two different haunts on the property – Epic Fear, a blackout course shrouded in total darkness, and Slayer’s Slaughter House, a revoltingly gore-adorned abattoir with rotting corpses and rancid flesh. We’re willing to hazard a guess that you won’t be visiting any of the on-site food vendors after rolling though it.
Hours and Pricing: Scarizona Scaregrounds is open from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and 7 to 11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from September 22 to October 29. Hours are 7 to 9 p.m. on Halloween Eve and 7 to 10 p.m. on Halloween night.
Admission is $22 for a single haunt or to play the “Operation Zombie Storm” paintball game. A two-attraction pass is $28, and an “all access” combo covering everything is $39.
EXPANDThe occupants of the Sanctum of Horror in Mesa are dying to meet you.
Sanctum of Horror in Mesa
The M.O. of Sanctum of Horror, which originally started in 2012 at the home of local Halloween fanatic Shawn Kaul, has remained the same over the years. Basically, they want to scare the crap out of anyone who rolls through. “When you walk through our haunt, we’re going to try to scare you as much as we can,” Kaul says. Now located outside of Superstition Springs Mall in Mesa, the original haunt still packs plenty of thrills and chills within its collection of themed rooms, including a creepy nursery, a recreation of The Ring, and a squalid laboratory where (staged) experiments are being conducted on kidnapped humans. Ditto for Sanctum of Horror’s second attraction, the claustrophobia-inducing and bunker-like scare zone The Breach
Hours and Pricing: Sanctum of Horror opens at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays from September 29 until October 7. It will then be open at 7 p.m. from Friday until Sunday from October 13 to October 15 before operating nightly from October 19 to October 31. Admission is $15 for one haunt or $22 for both.
Dr. Vantas welcomes you to The Asylum.
The Crypt & The Asylum
The names of each these side-by-side attractions, which are situated next to Fiesta Mall, reveal the nature of the sort of thrills and chills you’ll find contained within. The Crypt is a foreboding funerary-themed creepshowthat’s guarded by a pair of Grim Reaper statues outside and populated with ghoulish figures quite eager to fit you for a coffin and help you shuffle off the moral coil.
Next door is literally a madhouse of crazy scenarios (like an ultra-gory autopsy room strewn with severed limbs or a claustrophobia-inducing closet straight out of Hoarders) and an even crazier cast of deranged inmates, led by the insidious Dr. Vantas, who seemingly have little regard for anyone’s personal space. They’ve also got a Chaos Maze filled all manner of frights and thrills. The fact that both are located outside can heighten the eerie atmosphere at both, especially when there’s a certain chill to the night air that adds some extra punch to some already spooky scenes.
Hours and Pricing: Opens at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday only on September 22 and September 23. It will then expand to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the following weekend before operating every night through October 31. Admission is $15 per haunt, $25 for the “Ultimate Fright Pass” covering everything, and $35 for access to all three haunts plus a VIP Fast Pass.
13th Floor Haunted House
All the rumors you’ve heard about 13th Floor are true. Horrible and disfigured ghouls will most definitely stalk you while waiting in line outside. And yes, this haunted house is indeed one of the most frightening experiences in the Valley. Its staff in either of the two equally thrilling and chilling attractions comprising this gargantuan and fantastic-looking wonderland of terror are rigorously trained in scare tactics, boast some of the best makeup and costumes around, and aren’t afraid of putting you through rigors both emotional and physical.
And you can find them inside any of 13th Floor’s two action-packed attractions. There’s Ancient Evil, an ominous attraction set in a maze-graveyard that’s been infested with both werewolves and vampires. (And no, before you ask, they’re not the sparkly or hunky kind you saw in the Twilight series.) You might also come across a mummy or two. There’s also Zombieland: Biohazard, where patrons will run for their lives while being pursued by hordes of mutated beings, the unfortunate result of medical experimentation gone horribly awry.
Hours and Pricing: Things kick off at 13th Floor from Friday, September 29 to Sunday, October 1. It will also be open from October 6 to October 8; October 11 to October 15; and nightly from October 18 to October 31. Special events will also take place on Friday, October 13, and Saturday, November 4. Hours are from 7 to 11 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $26.99-$33.99 per person for general admission. A “fast pass” offering admission with limited wait time is $36.99 and “skip the line” privileges are $46.99, which includes admission.
Fear Farm’s resident evil clowns Tremmors and Flinch.
Courtesy of Fear Farm
Fear Farm’s boast of being the largest Halloween event in Arizona ain’t notall tale. Located on 27 acres, it offers enough room for its cast of hundreds to hunt you down or just cause you to flee in terror. A total of five different haunts are spread throughout the property, including one inspired inspiredby sinister clowns called The Dark Carnival and another that’s been dubbed Legends of the Witch.
If you’ve still got some gumption left over, there’s also Chainsaw Mayhem (with hordes of characters pursuing you while brandishing roaring chainsaws equipped with actual blades) and the alien-themed area The Bunker: Area X filled with evil extraterrestrials that will make you want to avoid any sort of close encounter. There’s also Fear Farm’s annual “haunted hayride,” which includes plenty of thrills, and one of the largest corn mazes in the Valley is also on-site. You can also partake in a variety of carnival rides, a live entertainment stage, and several food trucks, just in case you still have an appetite after getting the fright of your life.
Hours and Pricing: Fear Farm will be open on Friday, September 22, and Saturday, September 23. It will also be open from September 29 to October 1; October 5 to 8; October 11 through 15; and then nightly from October 18 through Halloween. Special events will also take place on Friday, November 3, and Saturday, November 4.
Hours are from 7:30 to 11 p.m. each evening. Tickets are $26.99-$33.99 per person for general admission. A “fast pass” offering admission with limited wait time is $36.99 and “skip the line” privileges are $46.99, which includes admission.