Haunted Outdoor Attractions DC, MD and VA

haunted outdoor attractions dc, md and vaHalloween has come into its own in recent years with consumers spending eye-popping amounts on trappings such as costumes, decorations, and party supplies. And that’s just the adults. It’s gotten to the point where the only thing scary about Halloween is November’s credit card statement. If you’re longing for a good old-fashioned scare and spending some quality time with the family, then you may want to consider the many haunted outdoor attractions in the DC metro area.

There is everything from haunted houses to “Fright Nights” at area theme parks, but for something that puts the scare back into the holiday and something you can do with the whole family while getting a healthy dose of nature and the great outdoors, then check out one of the many haunted park trails or haunted farms.

To kick things off, you’re going to need a pumpkin or three. A great family outing that even the youngest kids will enjoy is a visit to a local pumpkin patch. Fortunately, you’re in luck as there a many pumpkin farms as well as orchards that offer row upon row of the orange gourds. A few of the more popular ones are listed below. Many of them also host fall festivals complete with mazes, rope swings, farm animals, hayrides, and lots more:

The haunting fields

The DC metro area also has no shortage of scary outdoor Halloween destinations. And the horror is taken to some pretty extreme heights by the proprietors. Sound effects, elaborate props and costumes combined with carefully choreographed acting is certain to put a scare into even the most jaded participant. Below are some of the more sensational haunted outdoor attractions that DC, Maryland and Virginia have to offer:

  • Steelhead Events and Productions offers Halloween attractions in Ocean City, MD (Screams Haunted House), Field of Screams in Olney, MD, and Scream City in Washington, DC.
  • Legends of the Fog in Aberdeen, MD is a 4-in-1 attraction that offers a haunted hayride, hotel, circus, and maze.

Tips for a frightfully good time

Most of the after dark haunted outdoor attractions draw big crowds during the weekends leading up to Halloween. Wait times for some like Steelhead’s “Field of Screams” can stretch for two to even three hours. But you can spare yourself a large chunk of waiting in line by purchasing your tickets in advance online. Check the event’s website to see if they offer online ticket purchases.

And like with movie ratings, consider the ages and maturity of any kids you’re thinking about bringing along. The “Field of Screams” FAQ page recommends 10 as the minimum age for visitors. After all, you’ll be out after dark, dealing with large crowds and potentially long lines, and most of these attractions are pretty scary. Guess that’s the point. Themes center around horror, death, mutilation, and other practices that could unsettle impressionable minds. Smaller ones will have a more enjoyable time at a daytime outdoor event such as a visit to a pumpkin patch or fall festival.

Unlike amusement parks and sporting events, food and concessions aren't a major component of the experience, though food and drinks (alcohol is strictly prohibited at all of them) is available for purchase. Better to have a filling dinner beforehand and then head out so you don’t get distracted by the scary grumblings coming from your belly later on. And since you’ll be outdoors after dark on a late October evening, expect a chill in the air. So be sure to dress yourself and any youngsters accordingly.

Every season has opportunities to be outdoors and enjoying nature and fall provides some of the best. There’s the rich palette of fall color, temperatures ranging from delightful during the day to crisp during the evening, and the official kickoff of the Holiday season. Halloween heralds Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year. It’s an extremely bountiful time of year that should be embraced and celebrated by young and old alike and there is a wealth of events in our area to coax you outside to share in the fun -- and screams!

Featured image: a commercial outdoor holiday installation courtesy of the Inside Out Holiday Decor Division

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