As much as I love haunted houses, I haven't been to that many.
While in high school and college I would frequent the local fare, like the haunted corn maze (it was Northern Illinois!). But I rarely ventured into Chicago or its suburbs where the really impressive attractions existed. For instance, I've never been to the Statesville Haunted Prison in Lockport, Ill., and I've talked about it for years.
Part of the reason is time and the other is money. As fun as these attractions are, you're definitely going to pay to get scared.
Luckily, the Chattahoochee Valley has an awesomely scary haunted attraction in Pope's Haunted Farm.
Pope's features four separate attractions: a haunted barn, a haunted hayride, a haunted forest and a 3D clown maze. When I went a couple of years ago they didn't have the maze, but the other three are definitely worth a trip to Salem, Ala. Bonus for me: it's only about 15 minutes from my house.
I do have a few bits of advice, however. Don't follow another group too closely through the forest -- it'll ruin your scares. Dress like you're going on a hike -- nothing too nice and sensible shoes. It was a little muddy on my trip and you're spending plenty of time among woods and hay.
Pope's Haunted Farm opened for the season on Oct. 5. They're open 7:30-11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturday through the month and 7:30-10 p.m. Oct. 21, Oct. 30-31. Tickets are $12 for one attraction, $20 for two, $25 for three and $5 for the 3D haunted house. Directions are available on their website, www.PopesHayride.com.
If you're looking for something a little more genre specific, I highly recommend Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse.
This is the attraction's third year and each year it seems to get bigger and better.
My husband and I went last year and it was the most fun I have ever had at a haunted house. This year, they've revamped the Zombie Shoot -- instead of standing at a range and shooting zombies with a paintball gun, you get to take the paintball gun into an abandoned building and fight your way through.
They've also broken up the main attraction into two: ZWar and Curse of the Undead.
ZWar sounds similar to what we went through last year, which was a tour of the CDD (Centers for Disease Development) that became overrun with zombies. The actors are fantastic and the zombies are disgusting. Be prepared to run short distances and don't be afraid to interact a little with the actors. So much fun.
Curse of the Undead takes place in an abandoned motel and wooded area and sounds equally fun and terrifying.
It's a bit of a drive and a little on the pricey side -- $20 each for ZWar and Curse of the Undead, $30 for the Zombie Shoot, plus combo deals -- but it's worth it. Find more at AtlantaZombie.com.
Katie McCarthy, firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515.