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Halloween activities that may actually give you nightmares

haunted house in the halloween night
Photo credit: winyuu/Getty Images

The bewitching season is upon us! You’ve been waiting patiently all year long to let your dark and twisty sensibilities take over, and your time has finally come. With October comes Halloween, sure, but Halloween doesn’t have to be the only day to indulge your inner darkness. No, no, no. You can partake in scare-inducing Halloween activities all October-long.

From festivals, to ghost walks, to haunted hayrides, there’s practically a “spooky” Halloween activity that will appeal to everyone. But what if you’re not, you know, everyone? What if you want to really amp up the creepy factor this year? If that sounds familiar, we’ve got you covered.

Forget about the standard stuff that everyone else will be doing — you want to take the chill factor to the max, right? Look no further, because these creepy Halloween activities may just scare the living daylights out of you.

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Go to a zombie survival camp

Yes, this is 100 percent as badass (not to mention moderately terrifying) as it sounds. At zombie survival camp, trained instructors will teach you what to do in a doomsday scenario. Located on a 60-acre facility, the camp is isolated enough for the zombie apocalypse to feel like a distinct possibility.

Take a haunted road trip

Road trips are, by nature, one of the most fun adventures you can have. But haunted road trips will get your adrenaline pumping even more. Syfy’s pro ghost hunter Steve Gonsalves recommends a route that starts in Salem, Massachusetts, ends in Louisville, Kentucky, and spans 1400 miles.

Stay the night at an insane asylum

Suffice it to say, this sleepover is not for the faint of heart. At the iconic Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in West Virginia, you can bunk for eight hours in the same halls that were designed for 250 souls — but once housed a staggering 2400 in abject conditions. Or, you could look into staying at Kentucky’s legendary haunted Waverly Hills Sanatorium, where visitors claim to hear paranormal screams and see moving shapes where patients have died.

Download a ghosthunting app

Who knew this was a thing?! If you fancy yourself a bit of a paranormal buff, why not put your paranormal skills to good use? You can do so by downloading apps that (*claim* to) help you detect paranormal activity — some, like Digital Dowsing’s “Ovilius” EMF radar, have even been featured on TV shows like Ghost Adventures.

Order a haunted mystery box

For those of us who’ve watched any movie in the Annabelle series, this might actually prove too spooky. But if you’re not terrified at the thought of bringing a possibly possessed item into your household, you can order a mystery box from eBay or Etsy purportedly filled with haunted items — think vintage porcelain dolls or a men’s broken pocket watch said to bear the lingering presence of something paranormal.

Play a spooky game

Remember when you were young and brave and used to do all manner of terrifying things before you grew up and got some good sense about you? Well, throw all that good sense out the window, because it’s time to bring back an oh-so-creepy childhood Halloween activity: playing spooky games. From the “Charlie Charlie Challenge” to the “Gambler’s Game,” prepare to test your mettle.

Pitch a tent at a haunted campground

People often talk about staying at haunted hotels and, sure, those can be shiver-inducing. But there’s no denying that being outside, in the dark, in a truly creepy place is unnerving in a heightened way. That’s why we recommend locating a haunted campground near you to pitch a tent. Need inspiration? Campers at Hard Labor Creek State Park, Georgia’s most haunted campground, are rumored to be tormented by all types of paranormal spirits (including two particularly malevolent entities).

Join a paranormal investigation

Let’s be real: It’s entirely possible that, even if you download every ghosthunting app available, your DIY paranormal investigation won’t turn up anything. For a more authentic ghosthunting experience, find a paranormal investigation tour near you. In Charleston, South Carolina — one of the country’s most storied haunted locales — Bulldog Tours will take you inside of the Old City Jail to measure cold spots with an infrared thermometer, try to pick up paranormal energies with tools like a spirit box and EFM meter, and much more.

Visit an abandoned building with an eerie history

A place doesn’t have to be explicitly haunted to be really frickin’ creepy. Don’t take our word for it, though; do a little digging into abandoned buildings in your hometown that have a dark history (Atlas Obscura is a great place to search). You might stumble upon a spooky gem like Wisconsin’s Buckstaff Furniture, a now-dilapidated factory that once churned out caskets and coffins.

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Board a haunted train ride

Haunted hayrides get all the attention, but haunted train rides are even better. Maybe it’s the sheer number of trains depicted chugging through the night in horror movies, but there’s something about a vintage locomotive that simply feels… unsettling. If that’s a feeling you’re willing to chase this October, you’re in luck — there are haunted train rides all over the country in varying degrees of terrifying.

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