Things to Do

15 Haunted Houses and Ghost Tours For an Absolutely Terrifying Halloween

Photograph by NeilBradfield/iStock


National Building Museum: Stroll through a pitch-black museum during a lantern-lit tour and hear ghost stories about the former Pension Building, including a tale about a 19th-century “death mask.” One-hour tours offered at 8 and 9:15 PM on October 23, 25, and 31. $22 for members; $25 for non-members.

Scream City at RFK Stadium has bloody corpses, clowns, and skeletons. Photo by Lauren Joseph.

Scream City: Two different haunts have taken over RFK Stadium’s parking lot—a slaughter factory and a Victorian mansion. Expect to come across zombies, clowns, and corpses within the 20,000-square-foot indoor space, along with 35 hidden actors waiting to elicit blood-curdling screams. $30 to 40; if you drive, parking costs $20.

Washington Walks: These three walking tours take you across some of the most haunted places in DC: “Capitol Hauntings,” a spooky look at the Library of Congress, US Supreme Court, and Folger Shakespeare Library; “The Most Haunted Houses,” including the Stephen Decatur House, the Hay-Adams Hotel, and the White House; “Ghosts of the Octagon,” a walk through the Northwest DC museum. $25.

Congressional Cemetery: On October 16, 17, 23, and 24, between 6 and 9 PM, take a twilight tour of the Congressional Cemetery, where more than 65,000 people are buried. Costumed interpreters lead the tours and share tidbits from the lives of those laid to rest there. Bring a flashlight. $20.


Field of Screams: Take a 35-minute stroll through the woods and explore the 13 mini-haunted houses on site. Have you outgrown the haunted trail? Kick it up a notch with Nightmares in 3D, where a pair of 3D glasses can make the robots, sound, and sites of a haunted house even more intense. Paintball apocalypse–because who wouldn’t want to shoot a zombie with glow-in-the-dark paint?–and haunted hayrides are also on site. $15 to 35.

Laurel’s House of Horror: When Charlene Dudek and Richard Blankenship bought an abandoned movie theater for their haunted attraction a few years ago, they recruited a haunt consultant from Salem, Massachusetts, to turn the 28,000-square-foot theater into faux movie sets inspired by their favorite horror films, such as the Exorcist, My Bloody Valentine, and the Purge. Now in its second season, the theater hidden in the corner of the Laurel Centre Mall claims to have real ghosts. “There’s definitely—from what we can tell—two of them,” Dudek says, adding that one may be Blankenship’s uncle who suffered a heart attack in the theater last year. The theater also has 50 to 75 actors on site and vortex tunnels “that often get people disoriented.” $25 to 35.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest: Try one of two forest trails, each lined with its own assortment of creatures, including vampires and clowns, or take a shuttle into an old town full of huts and skeletons ($25 to 30). If walking through the woods at night isn’t quite your thing, take a hayride around the farm, test your luck in a maze, or zip-line above the festivities.

Nightmare Manor: The ghost of a greedy quarry manager and his abused family haunt this 200-year old estate after an unsolved tragedy trapped them there forever. Tour the haunted hallways of the manor, where whispering voices, mysterious footsteps, and ghost sightings are said to occur regularly. $25 to 35.

Vampire Manor: Get spooked for a cause; proceeds from this haunted house go to non-profit organizations, including the Charles County Dive Rescue Inc., the Bel Alton Volunteer Fire Department, and local high-school drama programs. $12.


Cox Farm: Visit this Centreville farm for 20 acres of scares, including a corn maze packed with zombies and clowns, a hay ride, and haunted forest trails. Enjoy a less spooky setting at the Firegrounds, where you’ll find bonfires, a dance party, games, and kettle corn. $13 to $25.

The Haunted Forest: Here’s the storyline: An evil caretaker was fired from an elite boarding school, then 13 children mysteriously vanished. Walk through the woods where their bodies were found, hear their screams, and catch a glimpse of the caretaker, who’s known to dress in full clown garb. If the story doesn’t grab you, a dark walk in the woods just might. $18 to $25.

Hill High Farm: Test your courage in a haunted house, moonlit hayride, or the buried alive simulator, where you step inside a casket and experience what it would be like to be stuck underground.The farm also offers kid-friendly spooks, such as an inflatable haunted house and actor-less maze. $12 to $15.

Old Town Alexandria: Follow an 18th-century-costumed guide through Alexandria’s historic district during the Ghost & Graveyard Tour. For 33 years, visitors have enjoyed the ghost stories, unsolved mysteries, and romance tales of colonial Virginia by lantern. Tours start at 7:30 and 9:00 PM every Friday and Saturday this month. $7 to $13.

Paxton Manor: Walk through the haunted Paxton Manor and its basement—named the Haunted Well of Souls. Don’t be surprised if you see zombies, corpses, and mutilated figures roaming about. $30 to $35.

Weems-Botts Museum: Take a $10-tour of the haunted museum every Friday and Saturday this month. Swap your own ghost stories over hot chocolate and a campfire afterwards, or spend the night in the museum for $75.