SALT LAKE CITY — Fear-lovers are flocking to haunted houses all over the state before they close for the season. But with so many options, how can people know which one is the best to go to?
There is no exact rule, no scientific measurement to determine what is scary and what isn't. It's subjective. Something that's benign for one person may be terrifying for another. So, it may be impossible to say which haunted house is the most frightening.
We're going to try anyway.
We asked four volunteers to sample five haunted houses along the Wasatch Front. They went to Cornbelly's at Thanksgiving Point, The Haunted Forest in American Fork, The Fear Factory and Nightmare on 13th in Salt Lake City, and the Strangling Brothers Haunted Circus in Draper.
Yes, we know there are a lot of haunted houses out there and we missed a great deal of them. We'll have to try to judge those at a later date. I'm sure one of our volunteers, Chase Cook, wouldn't mind at all.
"Oh, it's an adrenaline rush, every time," he said. "Once you're out, you're shaking your head and saying, ‘Wow that was crazy.'"
Word of mouth seems to be how Cook hears about most of the haunts he goes to.
"You'll hear about it from just about everybody. [You'll hear] ‘Oh, so and so went to this one and they nearly peed their pants.' When that happens, you want to go there to see how bad it really is."
Bladder problems aside, our volunteers said the five haunts had different things they liked. For example, they all agreed Cornbelly's was the most family-friendly.
Maddi Cook said, "Cornbelly's was fun. They had a lot of other things to do for the littler kids. The haunted house was pretty scary, too."
Cook said there are things for children to do there while the adults go to get scared.
Members of our group also said The Haunted Forest felt more open, and they felt more prone to being separated from the rest of their group, hence, feeling more frightened.
They also said Nightmare on 13th lives up to its reputation as a mainstay for fear-lovers. One of them said going to Nightmare on 13th is like a rite of passage all teens have to go through.
One of the people in our group, Kalena Blatter, thought The Fear Factory was the scariest.
"It was more adult-based and more for older kids. It just had more of those pop-out, scary, grab-your-attention kind of creatures," she said.
But the rest of the group agreed that the most frightening place was The Strangling Brothers' Haunted Circus. Jake Evans said he was really freaked out when he was put in a dimly lit room with strobe lights going off while clowns were running all around him.
"One moment they're [at one place] then they're closer and closer. You get adrenaline going through you very fast," he said.