By Adele Chapin
Sure, you could fire up Netflix this month and watch The Silent Hills Have Eyes or whatever horror schlock you’ve seen a million times. But here’s another option: fork over $20 or so and run screaming through the woods while being chased by a teenager wearing zombie makeup. Now that’s really scary, and luckily there are plenty of places near DC to get your horror fix this weekend. Here are five cool haunted Halloween tours (just don’t blame me if any of these causes nightmares or pants-peeing incidents).
Markoff's Haunted Forest
For the past 20 years, Markoff's Haunted Forest in Poolesville, Md., has been setting the gold standard in chainsaw-wielding maniacs. Just think about how much fake blood they must've gone through over two decades. Pony up $25 on a weekend night to get really freaked out on one of two haunted trails through the forest populated with evil clowns, hillbillies, and a few hunchbacks thrown in there for good measure. Plus, while you wait, warm up with bonfires and wholesome games like a Zombie Head toss. If you don't have a care, check out this bus trip to Markoff's that departs from Dupont Circle.
19120 Martinsburg Rd, Dickerson, Md.
Rumor has it that historic Paxton Manor in Leesburg really is haunted by the ghost of Rachel Paxton, the lady of the house who died at age 95 in 1921. This month tour the house, which turns into a full-out $20 fright fest complete with a “Haunted Well of Souls” in the creepy basement (for $5 extra). For fraidycats, a "no-scare" glow necklace is available at the door that you can wear so the ghosts won't pick on you. Bur remember, with that option, you'll have to leave your dignity and self-respect at the door, too.
601 Catoctin Circle NE, Leesburg, Va.
Hallow Inc's The Warehouse Project 4.1
This project bills itself as an "urban haunted house." What does that mean? Well, it's metro-accessible, for one. Located right near the White Flint Station in Rockville, this haunted house specializes in zombies. The backstory for this $30-per-ticket, fully indoor attraction involves government nuclear testing and radioactive fallout. What that means for you: try not to spaz out as you traipse through a series of rooms filled with the undead.
11840 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Md.
Field of Screams
In Olney, Md., Field of Screams is fitting as many screams and girlish yelps as possible into one evening, offering three different scary tours in one location. You've got your haunted hayride, your haunted forest rail, and your haunted manor complete with creepy attic. But at $45, the "thrill pack" price tag for all three attractions might be the scariest part...
4501 Olney-Laytonsville Road, Olney, Md.
Anyone can have a haunted forest or haunted mansion, but what about a haunted farm? In Warrenton, Va., a day on the farm at Haunted Hollow is not so wholesome. The $15 tour takes you through an eerie barn with a Civil War ghost backstory.
8275 Maple Tree Lane, Warrenton, Va.