Things to Do

5 Spooky Haunted Houses and Forests Near DC

Creepy hayrides, zombies, paranormal hotels, and more.

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay/Nick Magwood.

It’s that time of year when goblins, ghosts, and ghouls (or, at least, strangers in costumes) prowl around DC-area haunted houses. Sure, the houses may not be real haunted spots, but the screams are certainly verifiable. Here are some of the scariest spots for a Halloween spook.

Markoff’s Haunted Forest
19120 Martinsburg Rd., Dickerson 
Markoff’s in Maryland celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, so expect some additional creepiness. Brave the site’s wooded, mile-long trail where creatures of the night lurk among shadows, or board a 10-minute wagon ride to Markoff’s blood-splattered town, Onslaught Mills, where you’ll dodge its zombified inhabitants. If you’re looking for a budget scare, visit the monsters of the cursed village for free. Lit by Markoff’s massive bonfires, the village also offers music and late-night grub like tacos and “wicked waffles.” Details: September 30 to October 31. Free to $30


Photograph courtesy of Pixabay/barnabasvormwald.

Field of Screams Maryland
4501 Olney Laytonsville Rd., Olney
The five-acre Field of Screams Maryland has combined its two spooky trails into one hour-long trail this year. Pass through 13 stations within a “murderous” campground, and then continue on a walk through the dark forest, where zombies and 13 small haunted houses await. Afterward, you can play games at the on-site carnival town—complete with your bloodthirsty clowns—or brave the stomach-churning slaughter factory where you’ll allegedly encounter the “sounds of grinding bones.” Details: September 24 to October 31. $44. 

Laurel’s House of Horror
935 Fairlawn Ave., Laurel
Built inside an abandoned movie theater that is supposedly rife with paranormal activity (what could go wrong?), Laurel’s House of Horror offers several spine-tingling attractions for those who’d prefer to stay indoors. Travel back in time to the 1940s by navigating the massive “Carlisle Hotel,” and get trapped in several escape rooms that pull patrons into scenes from iconic horror movies. Try connecting with spirits during ghost-hunting tours in the abandoned theater after hours. Details: September 23 to November 5. $25 to $80. 

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay/brandsamon.

Cox Farms Fields of Fear
15621 Braddock Rd., Centreville
The farm hosts a cheery fall festival by day, and then transforms into a rural nightmare at night. Hayrides pass an abandoned circus where spooky acts perform, while a haunted cornfield and half-mile hiking trail promise close encounters with chainsaws and the occult. If all that screaming leaves you hungry, you can grab some apple cider donuts or nosh on carnival-style food. Details: September 23 to November. $25 to $35

Fright Fest at Six Flags America
13710 Central Ave., Bowie
For thrill-seekers who want to throw some roller coasters into their haunted house experience, Six Flags America puts on a “Fright Fest” each weekend in October. After riding the park’s “night coasters,” stealth your way through the amusement park’s scare zones and haunted attractions, such as a journey into the netherworld. Details: September 30 to October 29; $60. 

Correction: This article has been updated to add “Maryland” to “Field of Screams Maryland.” The original version listed the haunted house as “Field of Screams.” It has also been updated to clarify that the entire Field of Screams Maryland trail is 1-hour long. 

Jessica Ruf
Assistant Editor