Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enter If You Dare

Magnet # 57:  Downtown Salt Lake City Photo

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Ellen

One of the most beloved Halloween activities here in the United States is paying a visit to a haunted house.  It's a staged environment that's covered with creepy decorations where people dress up as all sorts of monsters and scare visitors.  And some places take it even further, hiring professional set designers, make-up artists, and actors to scare the heck out of paying customers who can't seem to get enough.  There are so many of these bar-raising dens of terror that the Travel Channel has compiled a list of the best of them around the country and airs them on their "America's Scariest Halloween Attractions" program.  And one unlikely city pops up twice:  Salt Lake City, Utah.

When I think of Salt Lake City, I tend to focus on a more mellow environment where the majestic Salt Lake Temple stands and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings its lovely songs.  But I guess there has got to be another side to this city for two such incredible Halloween attractions to operate there.  First is Nightmare on 13th, a mega-center consisting of 45 terror filled rooms with different terrifying themes running throughout.  Oddly enough, they're closed Sundays.  Unfortunately, they don't say much else about themselves on their website, http://www.nightmareon13th.com/, to help me out with this post, because, well, their competitors do.

Castle of Chaos is Salt Lake City's other major scary attraction.  It's been around for nine years and has just now expanded to include a second location, Nightmare Manor, in nearby Taylorsville.  It features four Halloween shows that increase from scary fun to full-blown nightmarish brutality.  At their original location, they choose a different theme to base their scares around every year. One year, it was the Seven Deadly Sins, and they showcased a figure representing each sin in different rooms of the house.  I'm not sure which one they've picked for 2009, they don't list it on their website, http://www.castleofchaos.com/.  Hmm - looks like they're closed Sunday, too.  I wonder if other haunted houses around the country do that, or if it's influenced by their locations in Utah?

Regardless, both venues claim to be "The Scariest in Utah."  Guess there's only one way to find out which is best - try both.  With this kind of competition, it's the customers who win.  And even if you can't make it out to Salt Lake City, there should be some sort of haunted house near you if you want to see what all the screams are about. 

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