Every Day Is Halloween

Local haunted house attraction gets national award ahead of scaring season.

Mr. Creep of the House of Torment:
Mr. Creep of the House of Torment: "You like me, you really like me!" (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Everybody has that one thing that sets their spine on edge and their teeth chattering: For owners of Halloween haunted house attractions it's not snakes or zombies or ghouls, it's waiting for the announcement of the Top 13 Professional Haunted Attractions contest, the Oscars of the haunted attraction world. When the 2008 winners were announced on Wednesday, Austin's own House of Torment (which opens for its fourth year at its current Highland Mall site on Sept. 19) catapulted in at number 6, pushing past legendary haunts like Philly's Bates Motel and NoLa's House of Shock. House of Torment vice-president John Love explained, "We've been hoping we were on the list. They review hundreds of haunted houses, and we submitted our materials because we thought we were doing something really special. Thankfully, our peers saw it that way."

Halloween is a $6 billion-a-year industry (second only in gross revenue to Christmas in non-travel spending), with major industry gatherings, a trade body (the Haunted House Association) and its own trade journal, HauntWorld, which hands out the awards. "Every house that's on that list puts on big shows," said Love, "and this is the first year we've really exploded on the national scene."

See full list below the jump. If you dare!

1. 13th Gate, Baton Rouge, La.
2. The Darkness, St. Louis, Mo.
3: Netherworld, Atlanta, Ga.
4. Haunted Overload, Lee, N.H.
5. Scarehouse, Pittsburgh, Pa.
6. House of Torment, Austin, Tx.
7. Bates Motel, Philadelphia, Pa.
8. Headless Horseman, Ulster Park, N.Y.
9. Dead Acres Columbus, Ohio.
10. Spookywoods, High Point, N.C.
11. House of Shock, New Orleans, La.
12. Erebus, Detroit, Mich.
13. Cutting Edge, Dallas, Tx.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Halloween
10 of Austin's Best Halloween and Día de los Muertos Parties and Events for 2019
10 of Austin's Best Halloween and Día de los Muertos Parties and Events for 2019
These haunted listings won't be here long

Oct. 16, 2019

David Gordon Green's <i>Halloween</i> Trailer
David Gordon Green's Halloween Trailer
First real look at the Austin director's horror classic sequel

Richard Whittaker, June 9, 2018

More Business
AGLCC Awards Make Season Bright
AGLCC Awards Make Season Bright
The AGLCC celebrates the holidays and its year

Lawrence Everett Forbes, Dec. 20, 2013

Come Out to StartOut
Come Out to StartOut
Bi-coastal non-profit, StartOut, may add Austin as its third home.

Tyler Pratt, Sept. 18, 2012

More by Richard Whittaker
Sci-Fi Film Festival Foresees a Hybrid Future for Its In-Person Return
Sci-Fi Film Festival Foresees a Hybrid Future for Its In-Person Return
Other Worlds comes to Galaxy Highland and beyond

Dec. 3, 2021

An astounding performance at the heart of this strange tale of identity

Dec. 3, 2021


Halloween, Business, House of Torment, HauntWorld, Haunted House Asociation

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle