With every passing day, the temperatures get cooler and the days get shorter, which can only mean one thing… fall is almost here! Cool Minnesota nights in autumn make for a perfect spooky atmosphere, so grab a hot beverage to keep warm, and, if you’re like me, someone to hide behind, and let’s get going.
First up is Northern Frights in Garden City. Out of a wealth of strange objects found at parent company Bid Kato, Northern Frights was born. Manager Jen Willodson says that Bid Kato gives them a unique position, as the business provides them with the opportunity to furnish Northern Frights with “unique pieces found in storage units that you could never find in a store.”
Coming into their second year of existence, Northern Frights is introducing new attractions sure to provide chills. One attraction of note is Killer Clowns in 3D, which takes visitors through a building of florescent painted walls and floors. You are given a pair of 3-D glasses upon entrance, which, along with the strategically painted floors, creates a distortion effect of epic proportions.
When asked about the most popular attraction, Jen described the Zombie Outbreak – a collection of about 25-30 zombies in a post-apocalyptic Mankato. She joked that during her walk-through each night, she still gets spooked by the attractions that she’s coordinated.
The high-quality makeup and unique technology lend perfectly to a spectacularly spooky atmosphere. Note this year’s ticket is an unlimited wristband that can be purchased at the gate (don’t forget to bring cash!), and gives access to all of the horror that Northern Frights has to offer.
Next on our list is Rochester Fright at the Farm. Located on a 1920s homestead, Fright at the Farm has the ambience that makes for a super spooky night. Theatrical tour guides lead visitors through the haunt’s many buildings and scenes, which run the gamut from a killer Santa to a collection of creepy clowns.
Live performances are featured at every stop, including a Psycho Hippie Bus that is parked on the grounds (new to Fright at the Farm this year). It’s also worth noting that a portion of its profits are donated to Brighter Tomorrows – a nonprofit organization supporting families touched by childhood cancer – and to pediatric cancer research at Mayo Clinic.
If you’re looking for another scary good cause, don’t miss the Monster Bash Haunted House in Harmony. Monster Bash is an annual attraction put on by the Fillmore Central High School Music Department that also serves as a fundraiser for the Fillmore Central Music Department.
For those with young kids, or visitors just looking to participate in some mildly-spooky fun, visit the Monster Bash on their opening night, Oct. 19, for some fun without the terror. The rest of the season provides visitors with a more intense experience.
Last, but definitely not least, is Scream Town in Chaska. Scream Town is situated on 35 acres and features a multitude of spooky situations that aren’t for the faint of heart. Matt Dunn of Scream Town notes that one attraction, the phobia house, provides visitors with a safe word should their fear reach a peak.
Another popular attraction is the Oak Blood Forest, which visitors navigate without a guide and only a lantern for light. As for tips and tricks, Matt suggests visitors come early in the season, and early in the night, for a less crowded, more authentic experience. A new attraction is typically added every year, but props are swapped in and out each season so every year is a different experience.
New this year is Santa’s Slay, a play on the Christmas tale of Krampus which Matt describes as “taking Christmas and making it scary.” Want the full Scream Town experience? Consider a VIP ticket that helps you breeze past lines and gain access to all attractions Scream Town has to offer.
Southern Minnesota has a multitude of activities for the experienced fright fanatic, as well as those that are looking to participate in the spooky spirit of fall without being scared out of their wits.
Whatever your Halloween fancy, spooky or otherwise, be sure to check out one or more of southern Minnesota’s most festive haunts.
Northern Frights – www.northernfrightsmn.com
Rochester Fright at the Farm – www.rochesterhorror.com
Monster Bash Haunted House – www.fchsmonsterbash.com
Scream Town – www.screamtown.com
For a searchable list of attractions, both kid-friendly and not, check out www.minnesotahauntedhouses.com.