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Scare Packages 

A roundup of this season's high-profile Halloween haunts.

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JAMES-DILLEY
  • James-Dilley

In case you couldn't tell by the fact that grocery stores start rolling out the decorations sometime in mid-August, Utah loves Halloween. It is no surprise, therefore, that Utah also loves its haunted houses, from the "home haunts" crafted by enthusiastic amateurs to the full-fledged professional operations. The times we're in are plenty scary on their own, and some folks understandably aren't ready yet to visit indoor facilities while COVID still rages. For those who are, or who saw these places operating with enhanced safety measures last season, here's a roundup of some of the higher-profile haunts and what to expect for 2021. Visit each location's website for operating dates and hours, which vary from weekdays to weekends, as well as for post-Halloween operating dates.

Asylum 49 Haunted Hospital (140 E. 200 South, Tooele, asylum49.com): The haunted hospital theme provides the foundation for a spot considered not for the faint of heart, as people can and often will be separated from their groups for (safely) nightmarish experiences. No COVID restrictions are currently in place, and both no-touch and full-contact ticket options are currently available.

Castle of Chaos (7980 S. State, Midvale, castleofchaos.com): For two decades spanning multiple locations, Castle of Chaos has been an award-winning favorite, and now serves as the state's only underground haunted attraction. Guests can select from one of five intensity levels (from "keep your distance, monsters" to "yeah, you're definitely going to get grabbed and taken somewhere") for their scare experience. Vaccinations and masks are encouraged, but not required, for guests, and reservation ticketing is spaced out to allow for social distancing.

Dead City Haunted House (5425 S. Vine St., Murray, deadcityhauntedhouse.com): One of the newer additions to the local screamscape—conveniently located next to the Murray Cemetery—expands to include three new areas this year in its 30,000 square foot space. Experience "Season of the Witch," "Temple of Doom" and "Army of Darkness," all with custom-designed special effects created by the founder, Timothy Riggs, an electrical engineer who is also a veteran of haunts like Castle of Chaos and Rocky Point. Masking is not required but encouraged for guests who feel concerned; ticketing is not timed, but the outside waiting area allows for socially distanced spacing between guests.

Fear Factory (666 W. 800 South, SLC, fearfactoryslc.com): An honoree from Buzzfeed as the No. 3 haunted attraction in the entire country, Fear Factory celebrates its 10th anniversary operating in six buildings with two underground passages, and more than 100 actors nightly serving up the scares. Those in the downtown area can avoid parking hassles by taking advantage of the Zombie Bus, departing from the south end of The Gateway (Rio Grande St.) every 30 minutes to bring guests to the building. Capacity limitations and timed-reservation ticketing are in place, and all guests are required to wear masks. Anyone exhibiting symptoms can reschedule their visit for free for another date; a signed waiver is required of all guests, available at the website.

Lagoon "Frightmares" (375 N. Lagoon Dr., Farmington, lagoonpark.com): As the stalwart local amusement park's season winds down, the evenings traditionally shift to this spooky-themed collection of activities. Admission includes access to a range of haunted happenings, from kid-friendly to truly scary, though anyone is able to purchase a "no-scare" glow-stick to ensure a less stressful experience if that's your preference. Weather can affect availability of some events, so schedules are subject to change on short notice. All of the COVID-19 policies and procedures from standard park operations are in effect; visit lagoonpark.com/guest-policies/ for complete details.

Nightmare on 13th (388 W. 1300 South, SLC, nightmareon13th.com): The distinctive, grim-looking castle structure near the Ballpark Trax station brings a 30-year history of chills to its latest season. The main attraction features 13 themes areas, including brand-new-for-2021 Deep Freeze, Nightmare Alley, Dark Ride of Terror, I Scream and the Louisiana bayou-themed Dark Water. VIP customers also get access to a separate experience, X-Scream, which is still a "no-touch" attraction just like the main attraction. Online advance ticketing is available for a reduced price, but tickets are also available at the door. Timed ticketing is in place to allow for spacing of guest groups; all unvaccinated cast members will be masked, and masks are recommended (but not required) of all unvaccinated guests. Visit nightmareon13th.com/covid-19-page/ for full list of health and sanitation protocols.

Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus (632 E. 1500 South, American Fork, stranglingbros.com): A creepy back-story about a traveling circus and disappearing children anchors this popular haunt complete with a mix of live actors and animatronic scares, lighting and sound effects and plenty of unsettling characters. And let's face it: We all know that there are few things creepier than clowns.

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