Phoenix's Best Haunted Houses: Our rankings and reviews

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

By Martin Cizmar In the last month I've seen a lot of chainsaws. Quite possibly more than I've seen in the rest of my life combined. Why almost every haunted house in the Valley ends with a chainsaw-wielding dude chasing you out the back door is a mystery to me, but they do.

It's been a long October for me, but I'm happy to now present a comprehensive guide to area haunted houses, just in time for your yearly pilgrimage. My rankings aren't totally comprehensive, it's true, with a few opening only this weekend, and a few others not getting back to us about tickets, but I'm fairly certain that this is all you need to know. Because, really, if they couldn't get back to us about tickets and weren't googling to see reviews of other houses, it's probably a pretty shoddy operation anyway.

Besides, where else are you going to find this information, some sloppy web site that has listings for houses that have been closed for years? Or some website that appears like an objective source but is actually a direct link to the worst haunted house in town? Or, God forbid, some story in The Arizona Republic that pimps what turned out to be a terrible attraction?

Scary, indeed.

So here goes: Up on the Sun's 2008 Haunted House rankings with grades, comments and links to the full reviews.

Fear Farm
99th Avenue and McDowell
 in Glendale

Grade: A

Fear Farm has a great reputation and it's deserved. This house is staffed by skilled and experienced monsters and is very well designed and decorated. Part corn maze, part indoor attraction, it's the biggest attraction we toured and, at $18, a very good bargain, even if you have to drive out to Glendale.

Full Review.

Arizona's Original Scream Park
 McDowell and the 101

Grade: A-

Arizona's Original Scream Park is a real throwback house. The sets are amazingly detailed here, and great actors bring them alive. The night we went there was a little too much dead time between scares, but that may be fixed now as one would assume every available actor is working this week.

Full review.

 Country Club and The 60

Grade: B

Ghoulfland's The Gauntlet is itself short and sweet - a smallish maze packed with actors popping out when you least expect it. For a ticket that costs about the same as what you can get elsewhere you're able to go through multiple times, though, and the other attractions on site make for a full night of fun.

Full review.

Doomtown at Rawhide
 The 10 at Wild Horse Pass

Grade: B-

Rawhide got the 2008 Best of Phoenix award for "Best Halloween Scare" but I wasn't all that impressed with Doomtown's two haunted houses. There were a few cool scenes – the medical curtain maze is one of the best rooms in town the houses were too short and a little thin on live monsters.

Full review.

Shadowlands at Fiesta Mall Alma School and The 60

Grade: C+

No house in town tried harder than Shadowlands, which must've invested lots and lots of time and money in to the detailed and unique sets that make up it's three attractions. Ultimately, however, haunted houses are about delivering scares and this one comes up short on that front. With a few changes – like ditching the overly complex storyline and using the actors as monsters instead of annoying victims pleading for help – this could be a great attraction.

Full review.

Twisted Big TopWestgate City Center

Grade: D

The Nest and Alice Cooper’s Nightmare had pretty good reputations around town. Unfortunately, neither exists this year, with Glendale’s Twisted Big Top and Mesa’s Haunt of the Living Dead taking their place. Short, cheesy and expensive, Twisted Big Top should be skipped by everyone by hardcore haunted house enthusiasts and people terrified of clowns.

Full review.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.