Haunted Houses of SLC

It is that time of year again. Halloween is around the corner, and haunted houses in Utah are primed and ready to handle the hoards of people waiting to be scared out of their wits. The attractions change every year, so they can be enjoyed by fear fanatics old and new. But how exactly do some of these purveyors of panic compare to one another? The Growl staff had a chance to explore two of Salt Lake’s scariest attractions. This is just a preview of what we learned.

Nightmare on 13th – 300 West and 1300 South, Salt Lake City (31 years of operation)

Zhen Duy

The belief in a classic Halloween experience is the groundwork for this crowd pleaser, holding true to its touch-free fearfest. Despite this, Nightmare does not fail to deliver a show.  “We try to give enough change to keep people happy, while still keeping some of the favorites and awesome scares around,” says Nightmare on 13th manager, Jake Mayeb. With the intention to keep fans coming back for more, they change around a third of their attractions every year. 

The theme at Nightmare on 13th differs from other haunted houses in the area, as it goes for more of an old gothic fantasy feel, similar to the Halloween classics. Throughout the complex are 13 different attractions plus X-Scream. One of the most well-loved attractions is called Blackwater. Based on New Orleans, Blackwater gives the feeling of an old town half-sunk into the bayou, with a Voodoo queen ready to hex you when you cross her path. Research for this attraction came straight from some of the development team traveling to New Orleans and spending a week there to get a feel for it. 

Zhen Duy

Another popular attraction is called Deep Freeze. Mimicking snowy mountains, this area has a massive monster bringing in the deep freeze of winter, with a cold breath that may just freeze you if you aren’t careful.

If you purchase a VIP ticket, the X-scream attraction is great for anyone who wants to take their haunted house experience to the next level. It has an interactive queue, making the wait much more entertaining. This completely dark walkthrough keeps you on your toes. With only your hand on the wall to guide you through, you will get lost if you are not careful. The wall is furry and the floor is shaky, and you’re not sure if you’re even halfway through or walking the wrong way altogether. By the time you make it out, you will be thankful the main room has lights.

All in all, Nightmare on 13th provides a spooky scenery with a mix of human actors and animatronics, perfect to frighten the nearest scaredy-cat or provide a freaky fun walkthrough for the horror fanatic in your life. It is an exhilarating experience you won’t want to miss this Halloween. Tickets are just $25 for general admission and $40 for a VIP ticket.

Fear Factory – 666 W 800 S, Salt Lake City (10 years of operation)

Constructed in a factory with a fascinating history, Fear Factory is a six building, six story attraction that requires a waiver for entry. The building and its grounds are home to 11 historic deaths throughout its time as Portland Cement Works. After the PCW closed its doors and the factory was left in disrepair, Fear Factory picked up the location, finding great use in all the silos and tunnels left behind.

This location offers all sorts of opportunities to scare the wits out of anyone inside. With experience options like the touch pass, you can drastically up the ante. There are plenty of events to experience: the grated catwalk that goes across the top of the factory is perfect to freak out the local acrophobic. This leads to areas mimicking scientific atrocities, circus creepshows, and other anxiety-inducing events. Overall, no description does the real experience justice. With primarily human actors, the experience will be different every time. General Admission starts at $29, while VIP admission starts at $39. All tickets can be upgraded to include the touch pass for $4.

While both are exceptional frights, it is hard to say one of these places is better than the other without experiencing both for yourself this October. With both locations within 15 minutes of each other, visiting these haunted houses would make for the perfect night out with friends or family.