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Haunted Havens

These Valley haunts are anything but safe

 by Si Robins
 published on Thursday, October 12, 2006


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It's October and that can mean only one thing: the Valley is once again home to all things haunted. From haunted houses and ghost towns to mazes and cornfields, all things evil have come to Arizona.

This October packs a double whammy, because it includes not only Halloween on Oct. 31, but also the ever-feared Friday the 13th. What better night to go and get your haunt on? With so many choices in town, SPM gives you the lowdown on where to go and what to expect.

Alien Extreme

Alien Extreme "dares guests to enter the depths of a full-sized alien UFO and scientific outpost overrun by bizarre and frightening creatures from other worlds," says marketing director Deborah Molique. This east Mesa haunt features a chilling combination of live actors, realistic props and - new this year - 3-D special effects. A 10-acre corn maze on the property also promises to test those who enter.



4011 S. Power Road, Mesa

Closed Tuesdays

7 to 10 p.m. (open until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays)

$15 (haunt), $20 (with maze)

www.alienextreme.com



Arizona Fright Nights

If you're looking for a terrifying maze in the Valley, Fright Nights is the place. This dark-as-night maze planted over an old graveyard "will surely make your blood boil," says owner and operator Paul Boyd.

"We offer the Valley's best scares with a staff of actors who are veterans in the haunted house industry," Boyd says. "[These are] not kids running around in rubber masks like our competitors."



5726 N. 75th Ave., Glendale (Talmachoff Farms)

Open Fridays and Saturdays

Also open Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 29 through 31

7 to 11 p.m.

$10

www.azfrightnights.com



Festival of Fear

For those who don't want to trek too far from ASU, Festival of Fear is located at Arizona Mills in Tempe. It includes three extensive haunted houses, including "Toxic Terror," where you "smell the fear," according to its Web site. Yuck. The event covers over 100,000 square feet. Unique to Festival of Fear is the "Cut Throat Cafe" for refreshments. "Evil Jack's Arcade" is a stop that includes creepy games to play for big prizes.



5000 Arizona Mills Circle

(Arizona Mills Mall)

Open Thursdays to Sundays

Also open Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 30 and 31

7 to 10 p.m. (open until 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays)

$20

www.3dfearfactory.com/tempe



Doomtown

For a tamer experience, take the short trip south on Interstate 10 to Rawhide, as it is converted into "Doomtown" for nine scary nights. Ghosts and goblins will roam the faux Western town's streets, but nothing will jump out at you or drip fake blood on your shoes. You also won't get lost for hours in a maze.



5700 W. North Loop Road, Chandler (Rawhide)

Open at 6 p.m. nights of Oct. 20 through 22 and Oct. 26 through 31

Admission to Rawhide is free, Doomtown events run $3 to $6.

www.rawhide.com



Arizona's Original Scream Park

Long known as one of Arizona's most reliably scary haunts, Scream Park returns with four separate attractions for 2006: Alice's House of Nightmares (a twisted take on "Alice in Wonderland"), a "fear factory" indoor maze (in 3-D), a large-scale outdoor ghost town, and a castle "where creatures come to life at night."

"Why should ASU students come here? Simply to get the scare of their lives," says Scream Park director of actors Jim Jacobson. "The park has the coolest, most entertaining haunts imaginable."



8823 E. McDowell Road,

Scottsdale

Open Thursday through

Sunday, Oct. 12 through 15

Open every night of the week, Oct. 19 through 31

7 to 11 p.m. (open until 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays)

$24 (discounts available)

www.azscreampark.com



The Nest

If you're looking for some real-life scares, the Nest in Queen Creek provides a truly terrifying experience. Based on the Arizona legend of serial killer Jacob Kell (who allegedly killed 35 people in the 1940s), the Nest mimics the killer's habitat in three different attractions: a haunted barn, a graveyard and a torture chamber. All of these lead up to a chain maze you'll have to run through to escape.

"It's a haunted house that will totally and absolutely scare somebody," says house director Steve Kopelman. "I've been doing haunted houses for 23 years, and this is as good as it gets."



24810 Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek (Schnepf Farms)

Open Thursdays through

Sundays

6 to 10 p.m. (open until 12 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays)

$24 (student discounts

available)

www.frightened.com


Reach the reporter at Si.Robbins@asu.edu.



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