Time for another ghoulishly good time as the approach of Halloween brings out goblins and gore galore. Haunted houses aren’t the only option for scaring yourself silly this month. Consider this range of terrifying settings. Several are all-volunteer efforts whose proceeds help local charities.
Haunted carnival – A former millwork factory in Merrill began earning money for Boy Scout troops as a haunted sawmill in 2010. Scouts remain beneficiaries, but now the setting is the Nocturnal Carnival, complete with creepy clowns. Visit from 6-11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, plus noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 27 (a family show for all ages) and 7-9 p.m. Oct. 31. hauntedsawmill.org
Haunted cave – Operators of the biggest onyx cave in Wisconsin provide three options: full-scare, half-scare and no-scare tours from 7-11 p.m. Oct. 26-27. That makes Eagle Cave, at Blue River in Richland County, good for both the timid and the fearless. The difference between tour options is the amount of light involved. richlandcentertourism.com
Haunted cemetery – Hear about the ghosts inside a church, a cemetery and a cave during this 90-minute introduction to the darker side of Wisconsin Dells. Narrated tours via trolley happen at least daily this month and on several days in November. Transport from local hotels is possible. dellstrolley.com
Haunted cornfield – Expect flashing lights, loud noises, uneven ground and terrifying encounters at Spooky Stalks Haunted Cornfield, at the edge of Milwaukee. Not appropriate for ages under 12; ages 18 and under must visit with an adult. Open at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. spookycornfield.com
Haunted fairgrounds – A part of Waukesha County’s fairgrounds turns into Wisconsin Fear Grounds during this time of year. The trio of haunts – Morgan Manor, Torment and Slaughterhouse – ranks as among the best in the nation. Set aside time in Anguish, a new and hourlong escape room. Open 7-11:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, plus 7-9:30 p.m. Oct. 21 and 25. wisconsinfeargrounds.com
Haunted farm – On most autumn days, Treinen Farm near Lodi is all about a pumpkin patch, hayrides and a 15-acre, family-friendly corn maze. Visit 7 p.m. to midnight Oct. 27, and all that changes as zombies take over the acreage. Dress like a zombie for this Zompocalypse, then prepare to scare and be scared amidst bonfires and dance music. treinenfarm.com
Haunted forest –This is no urban playground, 10 miles from downtown Hudson and near Willow River State Park. Expect to stick with a guide because what this haunt lacks are escape routes. Linger at the bonfire before or after. Ages under 13 not admitted. Dreadwood Haunted Forest is open 7:30-10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. www.dreadwoodhaunt.com (must use the “www.”)
Haunted greenhouses – Wentworth Gardens, near Superior, is going out of business but not before hosting another eerie maze indoors. Round up the little ones for gentle fun from 6-7 p.m. on Saturdays. Or meet prospective nightmares head on, as ghastly goons pop up after sun sets, 7-10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. superiorchamber.org
Haunted golf course – Hickory Hill Country Club, Chilton, turns bone-chilling at this time of year, and thermometer dips are only a part of it. Take a seat on a six- to eight-person golf cart, whose driver will meander through the 18-hole course after dusk. Although spooky, it’s a kid-friendly outing from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. travelcalumet.com
Haunted hill – A snippet of local history mushrooms into a spine-tingling adventure at The Hill Has Eyes, on the 45-acre Rock Sports Complex in Franklin. On the former quarry and landfill is a ski hill, whose lift – for this purpose – provides a hair-raising transition. Open Thursday through Sunday evenings. hillhaseyes.com
Haunted Hustle – What sounds spooky is more about high-tailing it through a half-marathon race course that begins at KEVA Sports Center in Middleton on Oct. 21. A stroller derby, 5-kilometer, 10-kilometer and kids’ races happen before dusk Oct. 20, followed by a bonfire with s’mores. Costumes are encouraged for all. hauntedhustlemadison.com
Haunted saloon – The 1864 Old Baraboo Inn, Baraboo, ranks among the Food Network’s top 10 haunted restaurants in America. Ghosts in residence purportedly include a long-ago prostitute at this former boarding house and brothel. Mini ghost hunts begin with a slide show and history talk on the nights of Oct. 25-27. Then get a map to explore as you dare, and don’t be surprised if you are “ghost bombed.” More details are on Facebook.
In search of additional ways to frighten the daylights out of yourself and your friends? Check out the dozens of ghost walks, haunted houses and other creepy events at hauntedwisconsin.com. The site also organizes and describes perfectly tame autumn destinations, such as corn mazes and pumpkin patches.
Hankering to learn the basics of ghost hunting? Watch paranormal investigators at work at The Brumder Mansion, Milwaukee, during a couple of night shifts on Nov. 9 and 10. milwaukeehauntedhotel.com
The bed and breakfast inn, built in 1910, occasionally hosts live entertainment in its 55-seat theater. On stage this month is “Arsenic and Old Lace,” a Milwaukee Entertainment Group production. milwaukeemansion.com
Find other reportedly haunted structures at hauntedhouses.com.