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Drive-Thru Halloween: 10 Haunted Attractions That Are Adapting Their Scares for the COVID-19 Era

Even coronavirus can’t cancel Halloween…entirely.

Halloween is going to look very different this year. No crowded parties where you try to explain your costume over the sound of Thriller blaring from the speakers. Pumpkin carving sessions held over Zoom. And what is trick-or-treating but a perfectly calibrated super-spreader event? But that doesn’t mean one favorite tradition—haunted attractions—are entirely off the table. While some famous haunts, like Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights and Knott’s Scary Farm, are shuttering their creaking doors for the 2020 season, some attractions are pivoting to coronavirus-compliant formats. Across the country, haunted mainstays and new attractions alike are finding new ways to ensure that you still can still (safely!) have a scary good time this fall. Whether it’s with contactless drive-thru experiences, live-streaming events online, or taking every precaution possible, these 10 haunted attractions will be keeping the (socially distanced) thrills and chills coming.

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PHOTO: LA Haunted Hayride
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Los Angeles Haunted Hayride: Live Drive-Up Experience

WHERE: San Dimas, California

Every year, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride brings the mazes, escape rooms, hayride, and—of course—the ghostly denizens of Midnight Falls to Griffith Park. This year, the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride is heading a little further east to San Dimas where they’ll be putting on a Live Drive-Up Experience. The experience will feature a story that plays out on a 40-foot screen that becomes even more immersive with sets and creepy cast members that will take over Bonelli Regional Park.

The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride Live Drive-Up Experience will run select nights from September 25 through November 1.

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PHOTO: The Haunted Road
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The Haunted Road

WHERE: Orlando, Florida

This contactless drive-through haunted attraction in Florida will take guests on a journey through a world populated by terrifying creatures. Guests will drive from scene to scene (putting their cars in park first, of course) where they will find themselves immersed in a story that’s told with the help of actors, lighting, special effects, and an accompanying soundtrack played over your car’s radio (a la drive-in movies). A daylight hours family-friendly version will also be available on select weekends.

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PHOTO: courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary.
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Night Tours at Eastern State Penitentiary

WHERE: Pennsylvania

Philadelphia’s annual Terror Behind the Walls is one of the most famous haunted attractions in the U.S. thanks to its location in East State Penitentiary, a former prison. And while Terror Behind the Walls won’t be taking place in its original format, you can still have a nocturnal autumn-time experience at East State Penitentiary this year. On select nights from September 18 through November 15, their Night Tours takes visitors through the prison’s yards and cell blocks and includes exhibits about prisons and causes of mass incarceration, art installations, and an audio guide performed by Steve Buscemi. To ensure safety, advance tickets are required, staff and guests are required to wear masks, capacity will be at 25% to allow for social distancing, and high touch areas will be frequently cleaned.

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City of the Dead

WHERE: Denver, Colorado

The creators behind some of the Denver area’s most popular haunted attractions are mounting a drive-in haunted attraction. Guests of City of the Dead: Drive in Haunted House will experience the haunt from inside their parked vehicles, immersed in terrors that will come from original multimedia projections as well as the city’s ghoulish citizens.

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Stranger Things: The Drive Into Experience

WHERE: Los Angeles, California

This immersive adventure, inspired by the Netflix hit series Stranger Things, takes visitors to Hawkins, Indiana circa 1985. Guests drive scene to scene as the terror of the Upside Down unfolds around them. The event will allow fans to experience locations from the show and the chance to explore new secrets without ever having to leave their car.

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PHOTO: Panic Fest
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Panic Fest

WHERE: Kansas City, Missouri

Genre film festival Panic Fest is hosting a special virtual event over Halloween weekend this year. The “Tricks and Treats” online event will not only have feature and short horror, sci-fi, and thriller flicks for your at-home Halloween celebrations, they’ll also be hosting live streaming events including podcasts, a live script reading of Halloween 3D, Q&As, and a few other spine-tingling surprises along the way.

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PHOTO: Stream n’ Scream
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Stream n’ Scream

WHERE: Orlando, Florida

At Stream n’ Scream, you’ll be immersed in your own personal horror movie as you’re transported back in time to 1997 for a night at the drive-in, only to find you’re being pursued by someone—or something—lurking in the shadows. This Drive-Thru haunt is brought to terrifying life with fog, lighting, audio, and live performers.

Plus, you can take socially distanced photos (if you dare) with the terrifying Bog Queen and there’s a (daytime) family-friendly Trick or Treat Drive that allows kids to have a contactless trick-or-treat experience. Looking for a unique, only-in-Florida Halloween experience? Take one of their Haunted Nighttime Airboat tours to learn about the creatures (both real and supernatural) that call the swamp home.

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PHOTO: Haunted Drive
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Haunted Drive

WHERE: Splendora, Texas

This Houston drive-thru haunt has extended their road in order to pack in more scares for motorists daring enough to brave the road’s many thrills and chills. The drive will have themed areas where visitors will encounter ghoulish characters and animatronics. The Haunted Drive will be open starting September 25 and will run through November 1.

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PHOTO: Museum on Main
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Virtual Ghostwalk

WHERE: Pleasanton, California

Museum on Main’s popular Halloween walking tour will be taking its guided tour of Pleasanton’s haunted locations to Zoom. Two ghosts will virtually bring the city’s most chilling stories to life. Plus, your tickets will get you a customized ebook filled with recipes to further outfit your Ghost Walk experience.

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PHOTO: Dread Hollow
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Dread Hollow

WHERE: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Extreme haunt Dread Hollow is taking numerous precautions to ensure both guests and employees are safe while scaring and being scared. Tickets and entry are timed, staff and guests receive health scans upon entering, are required to wear masks that cover the nose and mouth (which, as their FAQ points out, you can take this as an opportunity to show off your creativity and Halloween spirit). Hey, just because you’re about to be scared out of your wits doesn’t mean you can’t be safe about it!

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