Pillbox

Scare hunting in the city

If you find yourself looking for something to do this Halloween (other than knocking on the doors of local Pittsburghers begging for fun-size chocolate bars), fear not. If you’d like to stay relatively local, Allegheny County has a few great options ranging from amusement parks to haunted tunnels; the county offers several options if you’re looking for some scares.

One attraction is the Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House, located in South Park. Here, visitors get to roam through the old house, meeting some ghosts and spirits along the way. And people’s desire to be scared will be appreciated by the folks at Hundred Acres Manor, as all of the proceeds from admission go directly to Animal Friends and the Allegheny County Homeless Children’s Education Fund. Hundred Acres Manor is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays between 7 and 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays between 7 and 11:30 p.m. Tickets cost $13.

If you’re looking for an unconventional (and free) way to spend Oct. 31, South Park Township is also home to two “haunted” tunnels. According to an urban legend, Green Man’s Tunnel is home to a spirit of a man who hid away after he was electrocuted and disfigured. Not far away is Corvette Tunnel, the alleged site of a drag-racing-gone-wrong incident. Rumor has it that if you drive through the tunnel right as the clock strikes midnight, you can see the lights of a Corvette and hear screeching tires, a revving motor, and the racer’s screams. Alongside this tunnel, there’s a creek that also is believed to carry a dark history: It’s said that a man chopped up his wife and tossed her body into the creek. And, of course, she couldn’t resist coming back to haunt everyone, so it’s said that while walking through the tunnel, the wife’s spirit will pull at your legs, begging for help.

If you’re up for a more adrenaline-filled Halloween, then Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood is your best bet. In addition to riding roller coasters in the dark, Kennywood offers seven attractions whose descriptive alliterations (Fear Festival, Mortem Manor, Villa of the Vampire, etc.) enhance the macabre atmosphere of the holiday. Kennywood is open on Fridays and Saturdays between 7 p.m. and 1 a.m. Tickets cost $25.

Also in Allegheny County, the ScareHouse offers an experience a la The Shining by taking guests into the old Etna Elks Lodge. ScareHouse consists of three separate “haunts” consisting of complex costumes and ghoulish make-up. Rampage thrusts you into an apocalypse-esque war where zombies and mutants in gas masks lurk around corners; Delirium 3-D offers you a “party” inside a demented and deranged mind (complete with neon clowns), and The Hall of Nightmares is a walk through a house with angry clowns and a guy with no skin. If you’re looking for a guaranteed thrill, it’s safe to say this one can do it for you, since *Hauntworld Magazin*e has ranked ScareHouse the number 5 Best Haunted Attraction in the country and Travel Channel called it one of “America’s Scariest Halloween Attractions.” ScareHouse is open on Sundays and Tuesdays through Thursdays from 7 to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 p.m. to midnight. Tickets cost $17.

Outside the city, in the neighboring Washington County, are three chilling tours. First is Castle Blood, a highly-interactive experience whose theme this year is “Night of the Vampire: The Dark is Calling.” Castle Blood prides itself on the fact that it doesn’t need any chainsaws or axes to deliver a scare factor, focusing instead on the characters and special effects. Castle Blood is open on Fridays through Sundays from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $13.

Down in Monongahela, the 17-room McCue Mansion has been transformed to allow visitors to experience the horrors of the residence. Like Castle Blood, Demon House doesn’t rely on chainsaws to give you the chills; instead, it plays upon the house’s history (that nine men disappeared early on, and the house remained empty for 110 years) to give visitors a haunting “experience.” McCue Mansion is open on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 7 to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to midnight. Tickets cost $17.

Reminiscent of something you might see on the Travel Channel, Nemacolin Castle serves as the site for ghost tours. While walking around the castle, illuminated only by candlelight, you can hear stories of others’ experiences in Nemacolin. The castle is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 6 to 10 p.m. Tickets cost $7.

Even if you choose instead to dress up and tell jokes to folks in Squirrel Hill next Saturday, at least there is a haunted tunnel in South Park or a mansion with a dark history in Washington County available this weekend. Unfortunately, fun-size Kit Kat bars are not given out at any of these haunted castles.