The Haunted Mansion
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
Orlando, FL

The Haunted Mansion was the first haunted house I ever
attended. (Leave it to Disney to create a haunted attraction where a 4 year-old
can make it through unscathed) The Mansion’s 999 ghouls have been haunting
guests since 1971, but that doesn’t mean the scares are old as dirt. Disney
continues to update technology, while paying homage to everyone’s favorite
unearthly characters. A recent update includes an interactive queue that allows
guests to play ghastly tunes, help a ‘posthumous poetess’ complete a rhyme, and
decode a ‘cryptogram’. Despite its mild scare factor, The Haunted Mansion remains
a favorite of adults and children alike, providing spooktacular entertainment
that the whole family can enjoy. 

Is it Scary?

Disney says: “The
Haunted Mansion contains some mildly frightening subject matter. But there is
no gore, the ghostly residents are friendly and the experience is appropriate
for all ages.”

The Raven and
Black Cat Says
: Disney’s Haunted Mansion is the perfect introduction to the
Haunt world, particularly for timid guests that want to experience something
spooky without startle scares and gore.  

What We Loved

There are many spooky moments that make The Haunted Mansion a classic. The stretching
portrait chamber never fails to frighten a few unsuspecting children. I always
look forward to the transparent ghastly dancers in the Grand Ballroom. I love
all the singing ghosts in the graveyard; there are so many ghosts you always
seem to catch something you haven’t seen before. The new animation of the
hitchhiking ghosts is really fun.  

What Could Be

In terms of a
family friendly haunt experience, The Haunted Mansion is ‘practically perfect
in every way.’ However, I wish that Disney World’s Haunted Mansion had a Nightmare Before Christmas theme during Christmas time. It’s unfair
that only the west coast gets to experience such a treat. 

Final Thoughts

The Haunted
Mansion is an eerie ride that the whole family can enjoy.  Since it’s open year round, it’s a great way
to experience some spooky Halloween fun at any time of the year. 

The Haunted Mansion Runs


Ticket Information

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom 1-Day Pass

General Admission: $95.00  | Children 3-9: $89.00

Age Requirements

There are no age requirements. 

Additional Information


Haunted Acres
446 Raymond Road
Candia, NH

There’s something about driving down an unlit road through acres of woods that really gets you in the Halloween spirit.  Haunted Acres is the first water park haunt I’ve ever been to and I’m not quite sure what to expect, but the rural setting provides a blanket of darkness to swallow any hints of jovial summer festivities and provides a sinister tone for a spook walk.  The haunt is made up of 5 separate attractions encircling the central bonfire and the Toxic Tavern, where guests are encouraged to hang out and sip on adult beverages or hot cocoa. If you’re feeling extra brave, buy a ticket for the zombie zip line – a zombie themed adventure ride!

There are five haunted attractions to choose from. Cell Block 13: a prison filled with flesh eating inmates, Maze From Hell: a maze cloaked in darkness, 3-D Nuclear Accident House: a sabotaged nuclear plant where a breed of mutant lunatics wait to torture you, Quarter Mile Nightmare Walk: Haunted Acres signature walk-through haunt filled with handmade sets, interesting effects and familiar horror legends, and make your exit through Graveyard of the Damned: an abandoned graveyard filled with real hand cut gravestones, a ‘human floor’ and the creepiest crypt keeper I’ve ever encountered.

Is It Scary?

Haunted Acres says: “Haunted Acres continues to maintain its reputation as the scariest, most terrifying, blood letting attraction in New England!”

The Raven and Black Cat says: Haunted Acres is a nostalgic Halloween experience perfect for those looking to avoid the overproduced store bought haunts packed with gore. 

What We Loved

It’s fun to navigate through the confusing design of Cell Block 13. The false and hidden doors keep you on your toes and allow for some fun startle scares. The Maze from Hell has an equally confusing design, but uses pyrotechnics to startle unsuspecting victims. The Graveyard of the Damned‘s mausoleum and vampire section is incredibly detailed and is really enhanced by the fresh graves and real hand carved headstones. The star attraction is the Nightmare Walk, filled with unique handmade sets, which explore an array of themes from witches to hillbillies, a bloody princess trapped in a castle, even pirates…it’s a fun, nostalgic haunt where everyone will find something to love and something to startle them. My favorite moment had to be crossing an amazing drawbridge –  it’s covered in a thick blanket of fog, a slew of Alice in Wonderland-esque wrong way signs, and a blinding strobe light that sets you up for a brilliant startle scare.

What Could Be Better

Haunted Acres has mastered the art of the startle scare – actors are trained to get in and get out, avoiding that awkward moment when they have nothing else to say or do. That being said, with five haunts to explore you need more variation. Hire a few actors that can improvise and utilize at least one in each haunt. Use actors as living set pieces to breathe life into scenes. The success of the handcrafted Nightmare Walk proves that you don’t need high tech effects or expensive sets to be spooky, but when animatronics are dated and poorly timed or the handmade sets are sloppy it starts to take away from the experience. Retire old animatronics or mask them in strobe and fog as a distraction for startle scares. 

The Maze isn’t truly dark, so try using disorientating effects like extremely bright lights followed by darkness, strobe, fog, unsure footing and unpleasant wall surfaces to make it more challenging and fun. Most of the attractions are missing a final scare – everyone loves a big finish that sends them running out the door. With such a fun Halloween party atmosphere, it’s a shame that so much time is spent waiting in line. You will have happier guests and more business at the Toxic Tavern if you utilize a timed ticketing system.

Here’s A Tip

Haunted Acres is a great haunt for a group to attend. Plan on going on Date Night (Thursdays) when tickets are two for $40 or upgrade to VIP and enjoy a complimentary beverage. The lines will be shorter and you’ll get all the scares without some of the teenage crowd.

Final Thoughts

If your ideal Halloween experience is telling ghost stories by the campfire, you’ll enjoy Haunted Acres. It’s the perfect wooded traditional walk through haunt without all the blood, guts and gore and you don’t have to worry about the actors touching you. 

Haunted Acres 2012 Season

October 5 – October 31 

Ticket Information

Adult Combo: $27.00  |  Child (12 and under) Combo: $19.00

Adult VIP: $39.00  |  Child VIP: $27.00

VIP: Skip the lines and get a complimentary non-alcoholic beverage

Thursday Date Night Adult Combo: 2 for $40 

*Haunted Acres also accepts competitors coupons, so put those $5 off Spooky World coupons to good use. 

Age Requirements

No age requirements are specified.

Additional Information

Happy October!
via Jim's Victorian Halloween Cards

via Jim’s Victorian Halloween Cards

It’s finally October!  The next 31 days should be filled with devilish delight. Enjoy them and let your imagination run free. There’s no wrong way to celebrate Halloween. 


What are your favorite Halloween traditions? 


The Bates Motel
1835 Middletown Road
Glen Mills, PA

Hauntsmith Randy Bates has been scaring area residents for over 20 years
with his top ranking haunted attraction, The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride. Located
just outside of Philadelphia, the Bates Motel, has drawn national attention
with several features on the Travel Channel and in USA Today. So, when I arrived
at Arasapha Farm in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, I had some understandably large
expectations, but I learned very quickly that Mr. Bates does not disappoint.

Visiting the
Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is like experiencing the pivotal scene from
every horror movie on your Netflix queue back to back. Not only do they have a
haunted house inside a full size replica of Hitchcock’s famous “Psycho” mansion,
but Arasapha Farm is also home to an equally elaborate haunted corn maze, and
one of the most incredible haunted hayrides in the country.     

What makes the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride unique isn’t the incredible
Hollywood-quality sets and special effects, but a solid understanding of how sensory
details complete an environment and create tension and distraction for an
audience. For example, no horror movie is complete (or scary!) without a
soundtrack and Bates Motel incorporates detailed customized music and realistic
sound effects to set the tone for each section of every attraction. 

Is It Scary?

According to their Official Website :  “America’s Most Horrifying Motel.”

The Raven & Black Cat says:  Imagine
being surrounded by a series of horror movie sets and special effects in the
middle of the woods. Then add monsters that can touch you.  

What We Loved

A common problem with hayrides is that once the zombies and crazed
killers reach the side of the wagon, they have nowhere to go. This is not the
case at the Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride! When these monsters reach the wagon they launch themselves into it! Realizing
that the usual rules don’t apply creates the ultimate feeling of unease and adrenaline. We
also loved the hayride’s mine shaft section. The sound effects and downward
movement created a chilling claustrophobic feeling of being trapped. Other
highlights include the man-eating crows and gators in the corn maze and the Bates
Motel’s greenhouse and room of taxidermy.   

What Could Be Better

The set design and special effects are so complex and detailed.
It would be incredible to see the same time and attention applied to the acting.
A complex character (with a back story) that reacts to their environment and
moves with intention is more real and infinitely scarier. 

Final Thoughts

The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride is perfect Halloween entertainment that will scare most and captivate all. Even the most fearless will enjoy visiting the dark and imaginative
world of Randy Bates.

The Bates Motel 2012 Season

September 28 – November 4

Ticket Information

  • Haunted Hayride: $12 – $20
  • Bates Motel:  $12 – $15
  • Corn Maze: $12 – $15
  • Combo Special (All 3):  $25 – $40
  • VIP Pass (No Waiting):  $60 – $75

Discount Tickets

  • 13Haunts Coupon: $5 Off Combo Tickets (Sunday Thru Thursday) – Click Here!
  • Wed., October 17th is Military Appreciation Night: 50% Off w/ Military ID. (All Vets get group rate any night w/ ID.)
  • Wed., October 24th is Family Night: $10 Off the Combo Ticket when you Buy 4 or More.
  • Sign up to have Discount Coupons Emailed to you.

Age Requirements

 Children ages 2 and under are free with a paid adult. 

Additional Information

The Bates Motel

The Bates Motel

The Haunted Hayride

The Haunted Hayride

The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride

The Bates Motel & Haunted Hayride


New York City’s Nightmare Haunted House celebrates its 10th year with Nightmare: KILLERS 2, a continuation of Tim Haskell and Steve Kopelman’s smash hit serial killer haunted house. Expect terrifying encounters with a whole new cast of psychopaths, including Harrison Graham, Aileen Wournos and Charles Manson. KILLERS 2 opens September 27th and runs through November 2, 2013 in NYC. 

We are thrilled to announce that Nightmare NYC will be awarding a ticket to one very luck reader of The Raven & Black Cat. 

Read Our Review of Killers: A Nightmare Haunted House (2012) 


The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on October 4, 2013.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Click Here to enter using your mobile device. 

Nightmare: KILLERS 2


(107 Suffolk Street, NYC)

September 27 – November 2

Tickets: $30.00 – $60.00

Additional Information



[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eovcv-Iq9V8?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=640&h=480]


Freakling Bros.’ Trilogy of Terror
2321 North Rainbow Boulevard
Las Vegas, NV

A pedophile priest has asked me to sign a waiver and a
fire-breathing clown has bitten my ear. ‘S’ & I are waiting to enter “Gates
of Hell,” the R-rated Freakling Bros. attraction and we can already tell that
this is going to be one hell of a good time.  

Freakling Bros.’ Trilogy of Terror looks like a small carnival
in a shopping center parking lot. You’d never guess that a semi-circle of
trailer haunts would house such brilliant and horrifying immersive theatre. “Circus
of Horrors” and “Castle Vampyre” are thematically detailed, interactive and full
of creative startle scares. They are excellent one-of-a kind haunted houses,
but the R-rated “Gates of Hell” is where Freakling Bros. really shows off. The
excess and shock value of Vegas is channeled into an extreme haunt that can not
only touch you, but lift you right off your feet. “Gates of Hell” utilizes
intense physical contact, professional wrestlers and the legal amount of
electricity that can be used for entertainment purposes. It is deliciously
intense and well worth a trip across the country.

Is It Scary?

According to their Official Facebook Page: “We have the most
intense haunts in town!”

The Raven & Black Cat says: Freakling Bros. Trilogy of
Terror is the most intense and terrifying haunt in Las Vegas. 

What We Loved

Freakling Bros. has mastered the art of theatrical illusion
and they pair it with over the top interactive concepts that are terrifying and
fun all at once. We loved struggling to escape the room filled with large
rubber balls, surviving the firing squad, and swinging on a rope over a very convincing
bottomless pit. The detail is impeccable. Each room contains an unsuspecting
surprise and they take great care to make you feel very safe right before they
pull the rug out from under you. Inside “Gates of Hell,” I watched a
camouflaged attacker appear out of nowhere, grab ‘S’ by the foot, then knock
her down and drag her away down a long hallway. Easily one of the most frightening
visuals I have ever experienced inside a haunted house.  

What Could be Better

When we visited there was a flirty (ear biting)
fire-breathing clown entertaining guests waiting in line. (Scorch The Clown) The spacing in between
groups is near perfection, but it means that lines can be a bit lengthy. A
timed ticketing system would cut wait time significantly and open up potential for
additional entertainment like creepy games and performances. 

Final Thoughts

Freakling Bros. has been terrifying Las Vegas for more than
30 years. The ‘Trilogy of Terror’ is a must-see for horror enthusiasts, adrenaline
junkies, and anyone who’s never before been scared by a haunted house. 

Freakling Bros. 2012 Season

September 28 – October 31

Ticket Information

Circus of Horrors:  $12.00  |  Castle Vampyre:  $12.00  |  Gates of Hell :  $15.00

Freak Pass (All 3):  $30.00  |  All Night Pass (Unlimited Trips Through All 3): $40.00

Add On:   T-Shirt VIP Line Pass (Good All Season):  $10.00

Age Requirements

Circus of Horrors & Castle Vampyre: No one under 7 years old admitted.

Gates of Hell :  Must be at least 17 years of age unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Additional Information

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOT-xhwvQ8I?feature=oembed&wmode=opaque&enablejsapi=1&w=854&h=480]

Circus of Horrors

Circus of Horrors

Circus of Horrors

Circus of Horrors

Scorch The Clown

Scorch The Clown

Cardinal Sin & Gates of Hell

Cardinal Sin & Gates of Hell

Scorch The Clown 

Scorch The Clown 



Few things divide haunted house fans like whether or not they want to be touched by the horrifying characters lurking within. Here is our list of haunts that push the limit by invading your personal space and literally wrap their icy fingers around you.    

Note: This feature is updated frequently. Please email contact@ravenblackcat.com regarding any information that is no longer accurate or to add a haunted attraction.


Our list ranges in intensity from the most extreme (haunts that grab you violently, lift you off your feet, grab you by the throat, have sexual undertones or touch you with electricity, ect.) to a subtle and spookier use of an unexpected soft touch or touch with an object. 

New York, New York

18+, Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Must Enter Alone, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word.


Las Vegas, Nevada

Gates of Hell Attraction: 17+, Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Uses Electricity, Must Sign a Waiver, Rated-R. There is a safe word.


Pataskala, Ohio

Extreme, Violent, Sexual Undertones, Parental Advisory Explicit Content


North Conway, New Hampshire

18+, Extreme, Violent, Must Enter Alone, Encounter Live Animals, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word. NOTE: The Cult will not return for 2013. **Fingers Crossed For 2014**


Suffolk County, New York

Completely New Every Year, 16+, Violent, Must Sign a Waiver. There is a safe word.


New York, New York

Violent, Being Touched is Optional, Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 10 will be admitted.


Spring City, Pennsylvania

No age requirements are specified.


Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

No age requirements are specified.


Mountville, Pennsylvania

Not recommended for children under 10 years old.


Mishawaka, Indiana

Use of light touch. No age requirements are specified.


Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania

Use of light touch, No age requirements are specified.


Jefferson, Louisiana

No age requirements are specified.


Taylorsville, Utah

Optional 18+ Hands-On-Horror and X-Scream Upgrades, Must Sign a Waiver.


Newnan, Georgia

Optional 13 XTREME Attraction, 18+ and Must Sign a Waiver.


Abington, Massachusetts

For 2 Nights Only, Barrett’s Haunted Mansion turns off the lights and allows their ghouls to touch you. There is a safe word. Not recommended for children under 7.


Cedar Rapids, Iowa

On Specific Nights: 18+, Must Enter Alone, Must Sign a Waiver.


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For The First Time Ever: Being Touched is an Option, Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No children under 7 will be admitted.


San Diego, California

18+, Extreme, 2-3 Hour Experience, Must Sign a Waiver.


Etna, Pennsylvania

18+, Enter 1 or 2 at a time, Sexual and Violent Situations, Must Sign a Waiver.


Los Angeles, California

17+, Interactive Horror Theatre, Must Sign a Waiver.


Los Angeles, California

18+, Secret Location, Psychologically Spine-tingling Experience, Must Go Through Alone, Must Sign a Waiver.


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