Get spooked: The best haunted attractions from Scranton to Philly – Pocono Record

On a hayride with 17 strangers, headless bodies hung from trees and bloody clowns waited in the distance.
About 30 minutes in, I realized there was no way out of Reaper’s Revenge, a terrifying haunted attraction in Scranton.
The adventure, now in its 13th year, is the brainchild of “haunters” Paul Kotran, Todd Fedyshyn, Mike Hefner, Travis Rhodes and Matt Herzog. Haunters are a community of people who work in the haunted attractions industry and enjoy scaring people through their creative and imaginative amusement rides and walk-throughs. 
Fedyshyn was introduced to the life early on. 
‘When I was young, my uncle brought me up doing home haunting and I was really entertained my it. I was in a haunt when I was a teenager (ran) by my local theater department. And when I saw Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” at the age of 10, I remember thinking, ‘that looks like fun,’” he said. “I never knew what haunting really was, but it never really got out of my blood. I became a home haunter and did that at my house for 10 years, but at one point, I thought, there has to be a better way to do this.”
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And at Reaper’s, he and his fellow haunters have accomplished just that. 
Guests of the park engage in five worlds: Delirium, Pitch Black, Lost Carnival, Sector 13, and my personal fave, the Haunted Hayride. 
Pitch Black, the scariest of them all (many people skip it all together, according to Fedyshyn) traps attendees in a completely dark house where they must solely rely on senses to survive. Seriously, there’s a reason for the front disclaimer sign warning those with health issues and pregnant women to think twice before entering.
Inside the newest addition, Delirium, you might feel as if you’re part of a nuthouse as you walk through. 3-D glasses only enhance the experience as monsters chase you through a neon lit, loud (watch out for the drop-down doors) and never-ending asylum. 
Those who get a kick out of “It,” “Poltergeist,” and other clown horror flicks, will dig the details of the Lost Carnival, where you’ll find spooky dolls, hair-raising stuffed animals, an authentic and antique Ferris wheel, merry-go-round and wooden roller coaster. 
If you manage to make it the end, the final world is Sector 13, a doomsday type haunt filled with cannibalistic mutants who attempt to feast on the innocent. 
“Sector 13 is a great and aggressive part of the show,” Fedyshyn said. “But my favorite scene is Pumpkin Hill (during the hayride) Delirium makes me grin from ear to ear because it’s so cool. There’s some really neat and weird stuff going on in there.”
Over the years, Reaper’s has garnered industry accolades, including in 2012, when the cast made an appearance at the Legendary Haunt Tour, a trade show that rates the top haunted attractions in the U.S.
If you go: From the state-of-the art sound system blaring spooky sounds and voiceovers throughout the night to the 185 actors (guaranteed to scare even the most stoic man) Reaper’s Revenge is a must for thrill-seekers on the “haunt” for something fun this Halloween.  
Cost: $65 or $95 for VIP (includes shorten wait time and less lines).
Hours: 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday, 5:30 – 9 p.m. Sunday
Info: 460 Green Grove Road, Blakely, reapersrevenge.com
Test out your fear factor and learn some historic facts at Eastern State Penitentiary’s Halloween Nights. 
The attraction, which runs through Nov. 13, features four haunted houses, an immersive psychedelic walk through the prison, three interactive performances and the chance to to explore the penitentiary’s cellblocks, history, and relevance today with a 35-minute guided tour narrated by actor, Steve Buscemi (“Boardwalk Empire,” “The Sopranos”).
There are also four spooky-themed bars and lounges to grab a drink and snack before life on lockdown begins. 
Just don’t try to escape — you never know who’s watching.
To give the prison an old time feel, the search lights have been reactivated. Many of the dates are sold-out, so it’s best to book reservations in advance. 
Cost: Starts at $34 per person
Hours: Vary by date
Info: 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, easternstate.org
You may pick up some paranormal activity at the The Hotel of Horror and Altered Nightmares haunted house inside the former Lake House Hotel. 
According to organizers, “The sinister subconscious of the Hotel of Horror feeds off the dark energy that stains the lumber skeleton of this once pristine mountain resort, while Altered Nightmares celebrates the chaos that grows stronger as each soul travels through its decaying halls and abandoned rooms.”
Both haunted houses are indoor and walk-through and open rain or shine with a covered waiting area. 
Cost: $30 – $40 
Hours:  Varies by date. Open Friday-Sunday through Nov. 6. 
Info:  5105 Cherry Valley Rd, Saylorsburg,570-992-3278, hotelofhorror.com/
The Waldorf Estate of Fear’s resident ghoul, Oliver, is said to be wandering the halls looking for damned souls.
He is joined by his fellow spooky spirits in this attraction, which uses high-tech lighting and trickery to scare its guests. 
You can also be the star of your own slasher flick in the “Terror in the Corn,” a 20-minute outdoor walk (or run for those scaredy cats out there) through a corn field where you’ll encounter demonic characters based on horror films from the 80s and beyond.
Depending on who you ask, the hotel is said to be haunted. And don’t even think about going into the basement: It’s locked and latched.  
Cost: $20 for the hotel, $20 for terror in the corn or $30 for both attractions. $15 for VIP upgrade
Hours: 7 p.m. – 10:30 Friday – Saturday through Oct. 31 and 6 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 17 and Oct. 31
Info: 6325 Interchange Road, Lehighton, 610-824-6835, waldorfestateoffear.com
Micaela Hood is a features reporter with the Pocono Record and the USA TODAY Mid-Atlantic Region features team. Reach her at [email protected] 

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