Top Ten Icon Haunted Attractions in America Ranked - Best and Scariest

Icons of The Haunted Attraction Industry

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Only the most elite haunted attractions in America reach ICON status, meaning people across the globe plan exclusive trips with the sole purpose of visiting, just for the SCREAM of their lifetime.  Our list of ICON haunted houses considers many factors: years in operation, reach beyond local market, popularity with national media, reality shows, social media influencers, and status within the haunted house industry.  Below is a list of the best attractions to visit in America 2022.  These haunted houses and haunted hayrides are on our list because they’ve achieved ICON status and continually raise the bar for haunt industry standards.  If you’re a traveling haunt seeker looking to find the best and scariest haunted attractions, this list is for you!  (It's our first list of attractions who've achieved ICON status, and each year ahead, will vote in more and more Haunted Houses for this list.) is the web's biggest source for haunted attraction resources, finding haunted attractions near you, and information for all media covering haunted fun.  Hauntworld has been rating haunted houses since 2000 and now we will enshrine haunted attractions annually as ICONS of HAUNTS!
Each haunt has been deemed ICON by and showcases a video produced by an influencer (not the haunted attraction themselves).  Now get ready to SCREAM!

Publisher Note:  This list is based on accomplishments within the haunted attraction industry.  All attractions must be currently in operation.  Each attraction must contribute information and knowledge to the industry as well as influence its direction. Additionally each attraction promotes the haunted attraction industry nationally.  Next year more attractions will be ranked as ICONS of the HAUNT industry.


1) Knott's Scary Farm

Los Angeles, California

The first major haunted event in America.  Knott’s set the standard for the entire haunted theme park movement.  There would be no Universal Studios Horror Nights without Knott’s Scary Farm leading the way with their haunted mazes and annual HANGING SHOW!


2) Haunted Overload

Lee, New Hampshire

This attraction started as a home haunted house and now is one of the single most visited haunted attractions by extreme scream seekers worldwide. Haunted Overload doesn’t feature a single animation and nearly every scene and prop is created by hand in enormous fashion. It's a clear cut artistic horror masterpiece unlike anything you'll ever see anywhere else..


3) Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights

Orlando, Florida

Horror Nights gets a lot of credit for having the biggest and most attended haunted event in the WORLD!  Each year, they take popular horror movies and turn them into haunted attractions while utilizing some of the best sound effects in the industry.



4) 13th Gate

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

The creative team behind 13th Gate Haunted House and now 13th Gate Escape is second to none. Entering into 13th Gate Haunted House, you leave the real World behind and enter an extreme haunted experience like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 13th Gate is one of the best and most realistic haunted attractions the industry has ever known and is ALWAYS found at the top of any haunt industry list for SCARIEST attractions in the world.


5) The Darkness

St. Louis, Missouri

The Darkness started in an abandoned building in 1994 and now creates viral scenes & screams annually. It's two floors of fright with 300 animated fx & stunning scenes. It's been featured on The Discovery Channel's MythBusters, The History Channel's Modern Marvels, The Travel Channel’s America’s Scariest Attractions, National Geographic Channel, Today Show, Fox News Business and USA Today, plus every major YouTuber who covers haunts has featured it.  The Darkness also operates one of the MOST SUCCESSFUL escape room facilities, St Louis Escape.


6) Headless Horseman Hayride

Ulster Park, New York

Celebrating 30 years, Headless Horseman has entertained well over a million guests. Their claim to fame of the real headless horseman himself riding among the screaming guests draws national media attention every season, like USA Today, MTV, AOL, Fangoria, Travel Channel, Comedy Central, Emeril Live, Good Morning America, Nightline, CBS, & The Today Show. Unusual monsters with unique costumes plus amazing illusions & special fx all add to their popularity. Also, Headless Horseman has been an industry leader with their horror gift stores & unique concessions. Headless Horseman Escape Rooms are now operating too.


7) The Dent Schoolhouse

Cincinnati, Ohio

Dent Schoolhouse is known for amazing realism, detail, and the original haunting history of an old schoolhouse. Offering Ghost Tours and their Haunted Attraction, Dent is on the circuit of every famous YouTuber seeking horror filming content. Dent is so amazing and so realistic, Hollywood could film a movie inside. Plus it's been a haunt industry leader with terrifying Lights Out Nights, where guests enter with nothing but a glow stick to light their way.


8) Hellsgate

Lockport, Illinois

Hells Gate is a newer haunt but their actor group, known as ZOMBIE ARMY, is iconic in the haunted house industry. Originally scaring at a legendary attraction called Statesville,  Zombie Army is known industry wide for their dedication to the live actor, and at Hells Gate it's no different. Hells Gate has a group of THE BEST & MOST DEDICATED actors in the haunted attraction industry, and when you couple that with crazy set design and over-the-top realism known throughout, you get to icon status. It's not just a haunted attraction; it's a haunted adventure!



9) Pennhurst Asylum

Spring City, Pennsylvania

Pennhurst Asylum is located inside a REAL historic asylum complex that closed in 1897 after a lawsuit accused the inadequate staff of abuse & neglect that spanned decades. Along with the perfect natural location for a haunted house, the new owners and their team create a haunting atmosphere around every turn. Pennhurst clearly has the most iconic location for a haunted event, but they also have a talented team of artists and special fx crew along with talented actors to round out the show.



10) Field of Screams

Mountville, Pennsylvania

Field of Screams might have the single scariest haunted hayride in the country, plus haunted houses, plus a horror midway. This season is their "30 Years of Harvesting Fears" celebration. In the past, they've been covered by USA Today, Travel Channel, Time Magazine, O Magazine, & Newsweek, and this year media is circling like vultures to cover their 30th year. Rightfully so, they'll get the scream of their life!



Honorable Mentions: 
Bennett’s Curse - Maryland
Spookywoods - North Carolina
Factory of Terror - Ohio 
Fear Factory - Utah
Haunted Schoolhouse -  Ohio
Hundred Acres Manor - Pennsyvania 
Netherworld - Georgia 


About Hauntworld was the first industry website with magazine to rate haunted houses nationwide.  Hauntworld is the only media outlet which produces haunted house how-to articles both online and inside our industry magazine, Hauntworld Magazine.  Hauntworld provides the haunted house industry with information & education and helps haunt seekers find haunted houses worth traveling to each year, or find haunted houses near you at Plus join Hauntworld's 600,000 Followers on Facebook