Opinions are like pumpkins: Everyone has one (at Halloween). This is especially true when it comes to what makes us scream during this ghoulish month. With that in mind, we asked Star Tribune readers on Twitter and Facebook to wax poetic about their favorite haunted houses.

The Twin Cities area is filled with haunts for all tastes — from the Haunted Basement to the kid-friendly portion of ValleyScare. Readers chimed in with some surprises, too. East metro people, we hear you — you guys really like the Ramsey County sheriff’s Fright Farm.

Here’s what you can expect from each haunt, plus a social-media sound bite from readers.

The Haunted Basement

Scares: The haunt that changed the game. You know the drill — gotta sign a waiver, must be 18-plus, say “uncle” if you want out. For its eighth year, the gnarly basement under the Soap Factory is once again transformed. New this year: Every patron must wear an identical mask and go down in a big group. Whom will you trust? Not even your friends. Also new: blood explosions. So don’t wear your Sunday best.

Readers say: “I just found out the Soap Factory is actually haunted by demonic forces, and ghost hunters who visit the place have to bring priests with them. I’m going for my first time this year. I am shocked to find out I might be forced to do some questionable acts to a complete stranger. What am I getting myself into!??” — Jodi Simmons, via Facebook

Info: 6 p.m.-various closing times Wed.-Sun. (no show Oct. 8) through Nov. 2. 514 SE. 2nd St., Mpls. $25-$27. www.soapfactory.org.

Farmington Fright Night

Scares: Located in the 4-H building on the Dakota County Fairgrounds, this might not be as showy as the rest — but the cause is a noble one. All proceeds go to a Support Our Troops nonprofit. The haunt is produced by an all-volunteer staff, many of them providing their own costumes.

Readers say: “Farmington Fright night … good cause & a good scare!!” — Annika Dushane, via Facebook

Info: 6:30-9:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. 4008 220th St. W., Farmington. $5 suggested donation. Recommended for ages 7 and older. www.supportourtroopshh.com


Scares: There are frights for the whole family as Valleyfair is turned into a haunted amusement park. Kids get Planet Spooky, plus the Cock-a-Doodle-Zoo petting zoo. Adult stuff: 400 creatures occupying 11 scream-filled mazes and “scare zones.” New this year is the Skeleton Key experience. The key, purchased with a Fright Lane Pass, allows you to “unlock” exclusive access to five secret interactive rooms located within the mazes. Once inside, the fear factor gets amped up — tight spaces, “extreme situations” and not-so-friendly encounters (recommended for ages 13 and older).

Readers say: “I really enjoyed ValleyScare. The waits for the haunts weren’t unreasonable, in fact, quite enjoyable because it gave the opportunity to make new friends. … The haunts were very fun, so much so that we focused more on going through all of the Halloween attractions rather than riding the rides.” — Maria Wozniak, via Facebook

Info: Planet Spooky 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Fri.-Sun. plus Oct. 16 through Nov. 2. Halloween Haunt 7 p.m.-midnight Fri.-Sun. plus Oct. 16 through Nov. 2. 1 Valleyfair Dr., Shakopee. $30.99-$44.99. www.valleyfair.com.

Ramsey County Sheriff’s Fright Farm

Scares: This one flies under the radar, even though it’s been going strong since 1996. It’s located in a true haunt: an old turn-of-the-centry “poor farm” (where Ramsey County housed indigent people). That’s right, there are real ghosts milling about. Watch out. The Maplewood barn and other haunted attractions are run by volunteers, with all proceeds going to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Foundation to support community programs. There’s also a “low scare” matinee for kids.

Readers say: “My favorite is definitely @FrightFarmMN, very high quality haunt worth checking out!” — @steph_mess1 via Twitter

Info: 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Oct. 31. Low-scare matinee noon-4 p.m. Oct. 26. 2020 N. White Bear Av., Maplewood. $10 at the door. Recommended for ages 12 and older. www.frightfarm.org.

Scream town

Scares: When it comes to haunted real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. This one is out in the woods — so it’s naturally scary (and dirty, so wear “outdoor shoes”). The “town” includes several haunts, including the “Redneck Resort” (eek!). Make sure you experience “Abandoned,” where they send you out into the backwoods all by yourself with only a small lantern. Be warned: You will get touched.

Readers say: “Terrifying for all the right reasons. … It’s in the middle of nowhere. … I was scared before I even purchased my tickets.” — @FaRuun, via Twitter

Info: Weekends and a few other nights through Nov. 1. 7410 Hwy. 212, Chaska. $20-$50. Recommended for ages 10 and older. www.screamtown.com.


Tom Horgen • 612-673-7909