Spooky costumes, haunted houses, pumpkin carving, apple bobbing, changing trees, falling leaves, crisp air and apple crisp – the Halloween season is simply the best, and Wisconsin does it right, whether you’re up for a day on the farm or a night of fright. Here are some of the state’s most beloved Halloween activities:
- Abandoned Haunted House Complex (Mount Pleasant)
[Photo by @nicholsadventure, Instagram]
Voted Best Overall Haunted Event and Best Haunted Houses by the Chicago Halloween Guide, Abandoned is a state-of-the-art haunted house with spine-chilling attractions. Hysteria is the horrifying interactive haunted house while Ambush is the high-startle and attack haunted house. Shoot-A-Freak lets guests take out frustrations on a taunting clown, and Stalker is a walk-through haunted cornfield sure to spook the “unspookable.”
- The Wisconsin Fear Grounds (Waukesha)
[Photo by @wifeargrounds, Instagram]
Considering the Wisconsin Fear Grounds was rated the #1 Haunted House in America by Haunted Attraction magazine, HauntedHouseRatings.com and CNBC, I’m pretty sure this place was made for the self-proclaimed “fearless”. If Morgan Manor, Twisted, Unstable, and Zaszu (its four hair-raising attractions) do prove to be too much, however, the surrender rule allows anyone to quit when too petrified. Sign up now for the only haunted Saturday Night Slumber Party in Wisconsin and real-life horror film, “Night Terrors: 13 Hours of FEAR!” (I sure won’t be there, but have fun!)
- Chamber of Horrors Haunt & Zombie Hunt (Fall River)
Thunder Ridge Mansion is plagued with zombies who relentlessly follow anyone who enters. Take a ride into the quarantined city overrun by zombies and open fire with paintball guns – humanity is counting on you to stop the plague from breaching the quarantined area! Mini donuts, soda, hot chocolate, hot cider, popcorn, candy, hot dogs, nachos, hoodies and tees await you in the concession area. All proceeds go back into the community through the Fall River Chamber of Commerce.
- Ghost Boat: Season of the Witch (Wisconsin Dells)
[Photo courtesy of Dells Boat Tours -- Ghost Boat]
Set out at dusk on a boat filled with explorers who believe that the wilderness of Wisconsin Dells is home to an ancient and evil monster. Listen to legends and folklore of the Dells as you cruise up the river, and then walk through a haunted forest leading to the witch’s canyon crypt. (Again, I’ll be at home watching cartoons – enjoy!)
- Scare USA (Two Rivers)
[Photo by @scare_usa, Instagram]
So scary that it is not recommended for anyone under the age of 16, Scare USA claims the title of “Wisconsin’s Most Extreme Haunted House” and features movie-quality sets and costumes. It takes place in a building where unexplained noises and happenings are known to occur, so you’ll never be too sure who’s an actor and who…isn’t.
- Zombie Shoot (Little Suamico)
Climb aboard the 20-passenger zombie-killing vehicle and shoot at the walking dead with special “zombie stopping” tracer paintballs. Zombies will be coming out of pirate ships, castles and wooded villages to attack you. When (or if) you’ve survived the ride through the spooky zombie village, you’re not quite done yet; it’s time to walk through the Haunted Wicked Woods, a haunted maze full of terrifying surprises. Finish your ghostly adventure with Zombie Laser Tag – you won’t get hit, but you might get bit.
- Gothic Milwaukee Walking Tour (Milwaukee)
[Photo by @localfirstmke, Instagram]
Milwaukee’s history goes back hundreds of years, and with that comes hidden pasts, dark secrets, hauntings and folklore. Take the Gothic Milwaukee tour and look beyond the bustling city of today and open your eyes to Milwaukee’s restless spirits and eerie sightings. Available June-November, this already ominous tour is especially spooky during the Halloween season.
- Zombie 3k (Sparta)
Run for your life to escape the Zombie SPARTApocalypse in this 3k dash! You’ll be given two “lives” (flag football flags) to tie around your waist. If runners lose both flags, they’ll continue to the finish line and receive a haunted house pass. If a runner survives the apocalypse and is the first human to cross the finish line, they’ll receive two Spook VIP passes and become the SPARTApocalypse Survivor! You can also sign up to be a zombie who chases the runners while trying to collect as many flags as possible. The zombie with the most flags is King or Queen of the Zombies!
- Mommsen’s Pumpkin Patch and Orchard (Rice Lake)
[Photo by @hauntguy, Instagram]
An impressive 40-acre farm, Mommsen’s Pumpkin Patch and Orchard offers hours of entertainment through two corn mazes, a petting farm and kids entertainment area, weekend hayrides, pumpkin artillery (which involves medieval catapults, a pumpkin cannon and apple shooter – a real spectacle), pick-your-own apples, local crafts and delicious treats.
- Helene’s Hilltop Orchard (Merrill)
[Photo by @kristenfinstad, Instagram]
My personal favorite and a yearly tradition during my college years at Stevens Point (and beyond) is Helene’s. With apple tours, pumpkin tours, hayrides, a corn maze, live music and delicious fall baked goods (the source of my last four birthday “cakes” – an apple pie that is to-die-for), it’s clear why hundreds come back year after year.
This is just the start of some of Wisconsin’s best Halloween season activities; thrill seekers and pumpkin pickers across the state enjoy a wide variety of haunted houses, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and apple orchards. Share some of your favorites in the comments below or on social media using #DiscoverWisconsin!
Kristen Finstad is a member of the Discover Wisconsin crew. Having grown up in River Falls, attending UW-Stevens Point and now living in Madison, she’s a Wisconsin girl through and through. Watch Discover Wisconsin TV Saturday mornings at 10 on Fox Sports Wisconsin. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)