Syracuse Gets Spooky: The Best Haunted Houses in CNY
October 7, 2019
It’s no secret that fall is my favorite season in central New York, and probably why I love living here so much. In addition to the beautiful fall foliage, apple picking, craft fairs, and fall festivals, there are so many things to do to celebrate Halloween! And Halloween happens to be a favorite holiday for my husband and me. Luckily, Syracuse is full of haunted houses, trails, and hayrides to spook us every year! Check out my favorite local haunts and why I love them.
Attractions included in this guide may have been sponsored. Post originally published on October 29, 2018. Updated and republished on October 7, 2019.
The Last Ride – Palermo, NY
Best Haunted Hayride
The Last Ride has been a long-standing favorite of mine since college. Why? Their hayride is the most creative around – the clown tent in particular! The hayride goes through the forest and stops at each “scene” for the actors to do their scares. BE WARNED – the actors DO touch you on this ride, which only adds to the fear factor. If you’re in for a bigger scare, try the hearse ride through the trail! The Last Ride also has an extensive haunted house to go through, but you may not come out! Or will you?
Events & More
Fun fact! A few years ago The Last Ride hosted Tony Moran, the original Michael Myers, to do a special haunt and meet-and-greet. We participated (of course) and got the chance to be scared by Mike Myers in a replica of the Myers’ house and then got autographs from Tony. It was such an awesome experience.
Tips: Cell service can be hard to get at their location, so have your directions ready. When you get there, you might think you’re heading to the middle of nowhere. That’s correct. Just keep going, it only adds to the scare! The Last Ride has a bonfire and a projector showing horror movies while you wait. There is also a small shop for snacks and souvenirs.
$15 each – Haunted House, Haunted Hayride, or Haunted Hearse $25 Combo – Haunted House + choose Hayride OR Hearse
Demon Acres – Hannibal, NY
Best Haunted House
I’d been wanting to go to Demon Acres for years but somehow it never worked out. This year I finally got the chance to visit, and I only regret that I hadn’t gone sooner! Demon Acres is also set in the middle of the woods, and even when you park, you have to walk through the woods to get to the main gate. On site there are two haunted houses and a haunted hayride – the combo ticket for all three is $25. You can also pay extra to do the Insane Asylum, an audio experience. Next to the ticket booth there is a snack bar in case you are hungry. There is also a bonfire and a stage where performers occasionally do shows.
For the hayride (which has no hay, FYI), the props are incredible – particularly the “demon”. He was my favorite. The fx were also pretty awesome. While the trail is a decent length, the tractor rarely stops, so the ride keeps moving past most of the scenes. Also, because of the way the seats are, you can only see one side of the trail. If you’re looking for a lighter scare, sit on the left. If you want a little more, sit on the right. At least that’s what my experience was on the ride.
Now for the haunted houses. Jailbreak is an awesome concept. They actually handcuff you to begin the haunt, and then your goal is to escape the jail. Really well done. Even better? Demon’s Den. I absolutely LOVED this haunted house. My new favorite in Syracuse. The actors were fantastic and definitely got me several times. I jumped. I screamed. So did my husband and my friend who were with me.I almost punched a monster in the face (on accident!). The house just kept going and incorporated so many cool elements. Go discover it for yourself. You’ll love it too.
Tips: Demon Acres is CASH ONLY. Be prepared! Or be willing to pay the fee at the ATM onsite. This haunt is also open the latest, so if you’re trying to hit more than one in an evening, choose this as your second. On busy nights, you can also pay extra to have express entry to each of the haunts.
2019 Dates & Cost:
Open October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 Fridays & Saturdays 7pm – 11pm
$10 – Jail Break $15 – Demon’s Den $14 – Depth’s of the Forest $30 Combo – All 3 attractions $5 – Insane Asylum $50 Combo EXPRESS (includes Asylum)
Frightmare Farms – Palermo, NY
Best Overall Haunted Experience
Best Sensory Friendly Experience
Frightmare Farms has been another favorite of mine… and many others in Syracuse! They have the best set-up for a haunted attraction. Located in the middle of the woods (of course), Frightmare has something for everybody! Besides the two haunted houses and the haunted trail, there is a 5-minute escape room, multiple concession stands, photo opportunities, a bonfire, picnic areas, a souvenir shop, and a projector showing horror movies. It’s definitely the haunt with the most to do. They also have their actors wandering around entertaining people throughout the crowd and while you’re in line. They make the experience that much better! My favorite part this year was the horse and her headless rider at the ticket line. So cool!
My favorite attraction at Frightmare Farms? The main haunted house. It’s always fantastic! Frightmare also has amazing actors throughout all of the attractions, making the scares even better. They are also really well organized. Toward the end of the evening, they have a recommended order to do the attractions because they also close in that order. So do the house first, the labyrinth second, and the trail third. Enjoy!
Sensory Friendly Experience
NEW for 2019, Frightmare Farms has partnered with Kulture City to provide a sensory-friendly experience for anyone needing it. This is landmark achievement and makes Frightmare the first haunted attraction in the world to accommodate sensory sensitivities. Any guest needing this accommodation will be able to ask a staff member for a sensory bag. These bags include “noice canceling headphone, fidget tools, verbal cue cards, and weighted lap pads.” There is also a dedicated quiet area available.
2019 Dates & Cost:
Open October 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 Fridays & Saturdays 7pm – 10pm
$17 – Choose 1 Attraction $25 – Choose 2 Attractions $30 Combo – All 3 attractions $45 Combo VIP (express lines) Save $2 per ticket for military, police, fire, EMS, or college ID
Looking for more places to celebrate Halloween? Check out these options!
Okay, I have to be honest with you. I avoided Fright Nights when it was at the fairgrounds for years because I hadn’t heard great reviews of the experience. But this year they’ve moved to Eastwood – in an old 82,000 square-foot factory – and I knew that I had to check them out. I am SO glad that I did – it’s a really great experience! And you definitely get a good amount of entertainment for your money.
There are so many features that make Fright Nights unique, so it’s no surprise that it’s been named one of the best haunted houses in the country. When you walk up to the building, you’ll feel like you’re at a carnival or fair. There are food vendors, trinket sellers, carnival games, and even wine! (You know that I got myself some hot spiced apple wine. Yum!)
This year’s attraction had 5 different houses. It’s most definitely worth it to spend the full $25 to get access to all of them. One of the best parts is that Fright Nights is now located indoors. So you don’t need to worry about the weather if it’s rainy or cold. Plus, there are actors wandering around to scare you while you’re waiting in line. But because there are 5 different lines, none of them take very long to get through. If you want to split up the houses, take a break at any of the photo opportunities or grab a snack from one of the food vendors.
Penny’s Playhouse – If you’re afraid of clowns, this will be your worst nightmare!
Jurassic Dark – Explore the Jurassic period in this house full of moving dinosaurs!
Pygmy Giant – This house is completely inflatable and you’ll work your way through the intestines of the fallen giant.
Lady Lamson’s Cursed Voyage – The setting for this ‘house’ is actual a pirate ship, but it also is very unique because it’s in 3D. You’ll get 3D glasses when you enter and the paintings on the walls look like they are coming right at you!
Burgen Manor – Walk through an old mansion and find all of the spirits lurking around. (Side note: this house had the best props of them all!)
$10 – Choose 1 attraction $25 – All 5 attractions Save $3 on your combo admission if you print out this ticket!
Raven Haven – Liverpool, NY
Best FREE Haunt
2019 Dates: October 18, 25, 26, 31
Looking for a scare, but on a really tight budget? Don’t worry, I’m here to help! Raven Haven is a haunted house in the oversized shed in the backyard of a private home in Liverpool. The owners are such Halloween fanatics that they want to share their love with you. They have both a haunted house and a haunted yard, you can choose to do either or both – for free! There is a spot to leave a donation for the family if you’d like. I always do, both to show my appreciation and to help support their efforts!
The house is short, of course, but really well done. And you know that the family and friends who run it absolutely love what they do. The entire front and back yards are completely decorated, and there is usually added traffic to the neighborhood, so drive carefully. While you’re waiting in line for the house, be prepared to be spooked by some of the actors who move throughout the crowd.
Tip: If you are easily frightened or bringing a child, the actors will adjust the scare-level. Just ask the person at the front door to the shed for a lantern. When you go inside and they see the lantern, they tone down the fright.
Raven Haven is also one of the only haunts in Syracuse that is open on Halloween night!
Looking for other Halloween-themed activities?
Hafner’s Fall Festival
Chuck Hafner’s hosts a Fall Festival for the kiddos on weekends in October. Many of the activities are even free! Bring the kids to ride ponies, check out a kid-friendly haunted house, do crafts, get their faces painted, and play games. While you’re there, you can pick up your pumpkins and seasonal squash. Yum! This year food trucks were onsite as well.
Enchanted Beaver Lake
Beaver Lake Nature Center in Baldwinsville hosts an extremely popular jack-o-lantern festival every October. Enchanted Beaver Lake features over 400 donated carved pumpkins, lining the walking trails around the nature center. The family-friendly event also includes activities for the kids like face painting and fortune telling, as well as hot drinks and snacks. Tickets go on sale in early September and always sell out quickly.
The Run of the Dead is also popular activity among my friends and family. It’s a 5k obstacle course/mud run where you have to escape the zombies! You can volunteer to be a zombie or sign up to do the race. Runners get two flags like in flag football, but the zombies are coming after them! If you finish the run with at least one flag, you win! After the run, zombies and runners both can enjoy music, refreshments, and a bonfire.
Looking for some new treats to serve at your Halloween party? Check out Chocolate Pizza Company and their Halloween specials! Chocolate Pizza is located in Marcellus, NY, so it’s a local company. Don’t worry if you’re not nearby, you can still order online at chocolatepizza.com.And if you use the code “GHOST”, you’ll save 20% on your order!
Chocolate pizza is made with quality Swiss chocolate, topped with yummy goodness, and served in a pizza box. My favorite is the “wings” – potato chips coated in peanut butter and dipped in chocolate. SO GOOD!
If you’re looking for even more haunted fun, be sure to check out Scarycuse.com for a full list of haunted happenings! So which haunted house in Syracuse is your favorite? Do you agree with my top choices? Let me know in the comments. Happy haunting!