Sizing up the Scares

Sizing up the Scares

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Just as with all holidays, Halloween has its many traditions. Trick or treating, carving pumpkins or dressing up in crazy costumes come to mind, but Cincinnati also brings us some awesome haunted haunts! Whether you are looking to get scared to death or just have a good time with friends, get out before it’s too late to these spooky sites suggested by our readers and staff!


CIncy Chic Staff and Reader Picks

USS Nightmare

101 Riverboat Row
Newport, KY 4107

(859) 392-7568


Jesse Hanson of Highland Heights, KY., likes the USS Nightmare in Newport, KY., and not just because she works there — she apparently shares the opinion of others. Hanson passed on the scoop that the USS Nightmare is one of the top 20 scariest haunted houses in the country!

“It's a lot of fun to work, and you can tell people are getting their money's worth by the crazy screams coming from every direction every night,” Hanson says.

Cincy Chic Editor and Publisher, Amy Storer also likes this haunted riverboat. “It's a unique idea and they change it each year. Plus it's in a great location so you can eat and watch a scary movie afterwards,” she says.


Land of Illusion

8762 Thomas Rd.

Middletown, OH 45052

(513) 423-9960


Beth Back and Jill Walsman of Cincinnati, and Cincy Chic's Public Relations Specialist Dana Wiskur all raved about The Middletown Haunted Trail (Land of Illusion). This place is known for its multiple trails and its frightfulness. You can pay for individual trails or get a package deal, but this writer has gathered that it’s best to splurge — it’s well worth the money. Walsman gives a helpful tip: get there early. The lines get longer throughout the night, but as she says, “They were worth the wait,” Wiskur remembers from her trip a year ago. “[Middletown Haunted Trail]…is awesome though! I went there last year, it’s freaking crazy. It’s on something like 10 acres and you walk in the dark with only tiki lights so you couldn’t see before the trail even started!”


Haunted Village

(Inside Sharon Woods Park)

1450 Lebanon Pike

Sharonville, OH 45241

(513) 563-9484


Cincy Chic's Online Editor and Writer Maureen Jacob of Florence, KY., gets spooked by things of a different nature — literally. Her thriller is the Haunted Village at Heritage Village Museum, located inside of Sharon Woods Park.

“There is definitely something sinister about being in the middle of the woods, on a crisp fall night, under a glowing moon that no movie-mask-wearing-dude-whirring-a-chainsaw can match,” Jacob says.

Getting shivers up your spine yet? “You go walking through this village from the 19th Century that has been preserved, and there's something just creepy about traipsing around the trees and leave-strewn paths, as you go from house to house to hear frightful tales of what life must've been like years back,” she adds. It actually reminds me of "The Village," the 2004 movie by M. Night Shayamalan and "The Blair Witch Project

“I think with an active imagination, a love of the eeriness of nature and a historical appreciation, you too might find the creepy charm of this venue,” Jacob says.


The Dent Schoolhouse

5963 Harrison Ave.
Cincinnati OH 45248

(513) 598-4600

Diedra Brunicardi of Dayton loved the Haunted Schoolhouse in Dent, which is officially sponsored by the radio station 102.7WEBN, when she lived in the Cincinnati area. “The tunnel that spins at the end was a blast! It felt like the bridge was moving and that you were going to fall right over the rail,” she says. I agree. Thinking fondly back to my last visit, I did go over the rail, only to be pulled back over by my friends! Brunicardi’s only setback? The dreaded clowns. “There is something just creepy about them!”

Tom's Corn Maze

4677 Germantown-Liberty Road

Germantown, OH 45327

(937) 866-2777


Want something not so scary, but just as fun? Roy Withrow of Hamilton is crazy about Tom’s Corn Maze in Germantown. “It’s so amazing; I want to go again this year,” he says. This 8 acre maze just isn’t a labyrinth. You actually have to solve pieces of a puzzle to make your way through the walls of corn.

“It’s better to go at night when you use flashlights to make your way through the maze. Plus it’s really fun to go with people who are afraid of the dark,” Withrow says. Another bonus about Tom’s is it offers party packs for large groups. When you get done Tom’s sets up a bonfire for your group to sit back and reminisce over.

Other popular Cincinnati ghoulish places include Paramount Kings Island's Halloween Haunt (formerly known as Fearfest) and the Cincinnati Zoo's HallZOOween, both free with admission, as well as the historic Loveland Castle, where you are sure to have a ghostly “knight” (permission to groan Wink).

Five Fun Fright Night Tips

  • Unless you want to kiss a goodnight’s sleep goodbye ‘til Christmas, leave the youngsters at home.
  • Wear appropriate clothes. Stiletto boots — probably not a good idea.
  • Know how much the cost is before leaving. You might end up having to lead the pack if your friends have to cover for you, and let’s admit it, nobody wants to go first.
  • If you tend to “cling,” clips those nails before you claw up the arm of the person next to you.
  • Most important: Go to the bathroom BEFORE getting in line. Being so scared you almost peed your pants is way different than actually doing it.