What you find amusingly scary may scare the stuffing out of your children and their young friends, so before you take a stroll through a true haunted house, take your little ones to a less traumatizing option. These places offer plenty of spooky fun without the subsequent nightmares. With options for all ages, these haunted houses are perfect for the whole family this Halloween.
13159 New Parkland Drive
Herndon, VA 20171
Oct. 26 and 27
“On Halloween night, if you stand near the bridge, you can hear the children’s cries.” With a catchline like that, you are probably thinking you can’t take your kids here, but they’ll be just fine. Bradley Farm boasts that it’s appropriate for the entire family. That doesn’t mean staff won’t try its best to scare you. If you are still worried about your kids, there are special kids activities during the day, including a brighter haunted house that children 10 and younger may trick or treat in. You can get spooked and have your kids appropriately scared in the same day.
13710 Central Ave.
Bowie, MD 20721
Sept. 29 to Oct. 28
Price: $59.99 general admission/$37.99 children shorter than 48 inches/free children 2 and younger
Fright Fest is one of the most popular Halloween-themed events in the DMV for kids and kids at heart. During the day, the squeamish may have fun trick or treating, watching pirates, dancing and going on hayrides. Once the sun goes down, you might need to take those kids home. With names like Toxic Fallout, Backwoods Bloodshed, Blood Factory and Bridge of Terror, the kids that enjoyed the events in the Looney Tunes Spooky Town will probably be too young. Kids who are a bit older will enjoy the haunted attractions and themed rides. You might even get a chill or two.
The National Zoo
3001 Connecticut Ave. Northwest
Washington, DC 20008
Oct. 26 to Oct. 28
Price: $30 nonmembers/$10 parking/$20 FONZ members/$5 parking
More a Halloween party than a haunted house, this annual family friendly event attracts flocks of people to have fun with the animals. Nothing here should terrify you or your children, just lots of candy, fall decorations, and plenty of people dressed in costumes. Your kids will have a blast learning about animals while they eat snacks from over forty treat stations. The only thing that may scare you is who your kids become once they get a sugar rush.
Prince George’s Stadium
4101 Crain Highway
Bowie, MD 20716
Oct. 5 to Oct. 31
If you are a family with older elementary-school or junior-high-age kids who like haunted houses, this is probably more your speed than Boo at the Zoo. On the 20-minute walk through the haunted “house” you will encounter special effects, more than 30 live actors and, of course, props. It may not scare your pants off, but its PG-13 rating is more than likely warranted. Take your pre-teens and younger kids at your own risk.
Related: Once Upon a Crafty Halloween
8024 Max Blobs Park Road
Jessup, MD 20794
Sept. 21 to Nov. 3
Price: $30 general admission
The family that screams together, stays together. This one is not for the average kid, but it’s great for scaring the bejeezus out of your teens. A combination of three attractions, House of Vampyres, Zombie in Kingdom 3D and Sanctuary of Insanity, this haunted house aims to take your breath away. You must travel through all three houses as your senses are assualted before you can exit, so it might succeed in its mission.