Haunted Houses, Trails, and Rides Near Boston for 2020 Halloween Thrills
Do you have a big kid (or one at heart) who lives for the thrills and chills of Halloween time? While some area haunted houses remain shuttered until 2021, there are several haunted attractions and even some new spooky experiences (including nighttime "swamp" ride) that are open for scary business in Massachusetts or just over the New Hampshire or Rhode Island borders—all with safety policies in place to allow for social distancing. Best for older children, these Boston-area haunted attractions feature ghoulish scenery, jump scares, and even some wickedly good storylines to put everyone in the spooky spirit.
Too scary? No worries: Our Halloween Guide is packed with seasonal parades, crafts, and other activities that are just plain fun.
2020 update: Attractions will all enforce mask wearing and social distancing. Be sure to check with each attraction before heading out to check on reservation policies and other safety measures.
Witch's Woods—Westford, MA
Nashoba Valley Ski Area turns dark in the fall, with Witch's Woods cropping up to scare the bejeezus out of Massachusetts 'tweens, teens, and grown-ups. Kids can take a haunted hayride and also visit a scary "screampark." At Witch’s Woods, guests are confronted by witches, zombies, vampires, and werewolves, among other ghoulish characters. It's open every Friday through Sunday and select Thursdays in October, and timed tickets must be purchased in advance.
Hammond Castle—Gloucester, MA
Hear the spooky story of a doomed investor and his haunted castle in this spine tingling tour of grand, old seaside museum. This scary story and environment is best for 'tweens and teens. Timed tickets are required for entry.
Phantoms and Fire at Old Sturbridge Village—Sturbridge, MA
This locally beloved living history museum puts a colonial-times spin on Halloween with a haunted outdoor experience, new for 2020. Explore the wooded grounds and village green after hours to discover bats, bonfires, ghosts, hidden candy, and even a headless horseman. Attractions range from spooky to scary, with encounters suitable for most age groups. Timed tickets are required.
Visit this bus stop; if you dare! Photo courtesy of Monster Mash Scream Park at McCray's Farm
Monster Mash Scream Park at McCray's Farm—South Hadley, MA
A scary hayride, walking trails full of jump scares, and a visit through a haunted "mansion" are included in a visit to McCray's, which is in Central MA (making it a fun stop on the way home from a Berkshires fall day trip). It's open every Friday and Saturday and select Sundays from the second weekend in October through Halloween, and timed tickets are required.
Swamp Scare—Central Falls, RI
Take a spooky, 20-minute boat ride on Blackstone River, where swamp creatures may lurk beneath the surface. Goodie bags are given afterwards. Best for older kids and adults. There are four boat rides per day, running at 1/3 capacity to allow for social distancing. Costumes are encouraged and masks will be required.
A 45-minute drive from Boston and closer for many Metrowest 'burb families, the Spooky World experience includes three haunted walk-through attractions and a very scary hayride. There are no age restrictions but is best for older kids (parents know their children best). It's open Fridays through Sundays through October and timed tickets are required.
Fright Kingdom—Nashua, NH
While all of the attractions on this list are plenty scary, Fright Kingdom is terrifying enough to cause many visitors to advise against bringing children younger than 'tweens or teens. (Fright Kingdom officially recommends "parental discretion for children under 12.") Consistently ranked among the best haunts in the U.S., though, it bears mention here. Expect several walk-through experiences with themes ranging from the apocalypse to killer clowns.
Originally published October 2014