SALT LAKE CITY — Halloween approaches and with it comes a cornucopia of haunted attractions along the Wasatch Front. Some are great for the whole family, while others are geared for older patrons. If high-octane haunts are your thing, make a goal this year to visit at least one of the many seriously scare-inducing venues.
The Fear Factory is probably the most conspicuous of all the large Halloween attractions around the state. For travelers heading north on I-15 near the 900 South exit in Salt Lake, the large ghouls and macabre murals to the east are hard to miss.
The site is home to a trove of historically haunting events, notably the deaths of cement factory workers who toiled within the unforgiving cinderblock walls during the 1920 and 1930s. The property was purchased in 2010 by The Fear Factory and has been churning out screams ever since.
The Fear Factory has added a “zombie bus” to pick up scare-seekers twice an evening at The Gateway Mall. The ride from the mall to the venue is free with the purchase of an admission ticket.
For whatever reason, clowns can be terrifically scary. Most of us would blame this on a particular 1990 Stephen King mini-series featuring Tim Curry. Strangling Brothers has capitalized off our society’s trepidation for clowns and creepy run-down circus scenes.
Strangling Brothers is in the running to be awarded one of the “Top 13 Haunts” by Top Haunts Magazine . The ‘circus’ is located in Draper and is open on weekends in September and every day excluding Sundays starting October 9.
The Haunted Forest in American Fork has been around for 17 years. The forest is said to be haunted by the ghost of Crazy Annie, a young bride alegedly driven crazy by the sudden death of her fiancee.
New this year, Haunted Forest visitors can also experience “Zombie Warz”, for an additional entrance fee. A large converted school bus transports zombie hunters armed with paintball guns through a forest, with the directive that they are “the last line of defense for Utah against the Zombiapocalyse”. If you’ve ever had a secret urge to unleash a clip of paintballs on zombies, even be they actor-zombies, this is your chance.
Lagoon’s Frightmares attraction is actually many venues in one location. For the top tier haunts, check out the Nightwalk. This is rated five spiders on the Frightmares website's scare rating, or "absolutely too scary for kids".
The Nightwalk, along with all other Frightmares attractions, are included in the price of a regular park admission ticket. Rides run weekends throughout the months of September and October. A little less intense than the Nightwalk, The Zombie Lockdown venue gives visitors the chance to see what it would be like to survive a zombie attack, if they are able to make it to the other side (insert ominous laughter here).
For the real deal when it comes to paranormal activities, check out the “Ghosts of Camp Floyd” taking place Saturday October 19. This event runs for one night only and visitors need to register beforehand (tickets are $5).
Camp Floyd was a small outpost just south of what is now Cedar Fort in west Utah County. The post served as a community for United States army troops, early Mormon pioneers, and Stagecoach travelers from 1858 to 1861, a mere three years. Following the departure of the troops, the post was abandoned. Now the 40-acre area is a historical landmark, and guests can tour the stagecoach, a small museum and nearby cemetery.
On the night of October 19, paranormal experts will be on hand to help visitors detect whatever ethereal presence may still linger. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own digital recording devices and infrared cameras to capture whatever might show up. Many a U.S. army soldier met their fate at Camp Floyd in fights, from illness and in training events. Perhaps their ghosts still remain.