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Halloween's Hottest Haunted Houses

Looking for a good scare this Halloween? Haunt World has a directory made for you.
Not only has the online magazine ranked the nation's top haunted houses (top 10 listed below), it also offers a state-by-state directory so that you can find Haunted Houses nearby. The site has ranked each house's "scare factor" by getting readers to rate the house's monster/actors; special effects; themes and overall spookiness.

Getting spooked isn't cheap. A quick check of ticket prices found adult admissions ranging from $10 to about $45. And the costliest haunted houses (or hayrides) aren't necessarily the best -- at least according to the rankings.

In California, where five attractions are rated, for example, the spookiest is Thousand Oak's Reign of Terror, which gets 49.9 points on Haunt World's 50-point scale. Admission: $13.

The Haunted Hayride in Los Angeles's Griffith Park, meanwhile, gets 45.6 points out of 50, but costs almost twice as much -- $25 for an adult admission. If you want access to the Haunted Hayride's "haymaze" it's going to run another $10, for a total cost of $35.

Tiered admission prices aren't unusual, by the way. Among others, Haunt World's #1 Rated Netherworld in Atlanta also has two prices -- $22 to see the Gargoyle section of the attraction; $27 to see both that and "Dead Savage."

Haunt World, incidentally, doesn't mention prices, but provides links on the site so you can check them out yourself.

What are the nation's scariest haunted houses? According to Haunt World:

1. Netherworld, Atlanta

2. Bates Motel, Philadelphia

3. The Darkness Haunted House, St. Louis

4. 13th Gate Haunted House, Baton Rouge

5. Headless Horseman, Ulster Park, NY

6. The Beast, Kansas City

7. Spooky Woods, High Point, NC

8. Erebus, Pontiac, MI

9. The House of Torment, Austin, TX

10. Cutting Edge, in Fort Worth, TX

It's worth mentioning that this top haunted house list was compiled in mid-October, but the site appears to be continually taking votes. So, even if you're near one of these top-rated attractions, it's worth checking whether there are others nearby where the ratings have since surpassed these. And certainly click through to find ticket prices.

Just trick-or-treating in your neighborhood? You should know that law enforcement authorities in many cities are attempting to make that experience a little less scary by going door-to-door telling sexual predators that they are not allowed out on kid-centered holidays like Halloween. But if you want to do a neighborhood predator check before sending the kids out the door, a web site called Family Watchdog makes this easy. Plug in your address or zip code, and the site will pinpoint where convicted sexual predators live near you.

Realize, though, that not all predators register their current addresses. While the site lists the known locations of convicted predators, it also shows that these are often only a fraction of the convicted offenders believed to be in the area.

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