New Orleans is steeped in colorful and creepy history, so you know there’s plenty of spooky places to explore and haunted tales to uncover in the city around Halloween. But for thrill seekers and horror fans, only a proper haunted house will do. This is the perfect year to hit the city’s haunted attractions: the most well-known one, House of Shock, is closing after this season. The Mortuary has the benefit of being located in what is purported to be an actual haunted house, and this year has a very current zombie theme. Check out New Orleans’ two most famous haunts this season.
The House of Shock
After 22 years of living in New Orleanians’ nightmares the House of Shock, co-founded by Phil Anselmo, lead singer of the homegrown heavy metal outfit Pantera, and Ross Karpelman (also a musician), is closing. This haunt, which has been featured on many national “Best Haunted Houses” lists, is not for the faint of heart: big-budget horror movie-quality makeup, costumes and special effects lend a disturbing verisimilitude to the whole experience. The 25,000-square-foot haunted house is filled with ghastly characters around every corner and features a “post-apocalyptic theme chainsaw maze.” If you decide at the last minute that you can’t hack it in this haunt, or if you need some liquid courage before entering, there’s a Halloween festival outside the house with a bar, live music and other entertainment of the heavy metal, circus freak show variety. It’s free with haunt admission ($25 general; $50 VIP with line-skipping privileges). House of Shock is located right outside of New Orleans near the Huey P. Long bridge. Check out the website for more information.
If you’re into real haunted history but also the horror-movie feel of a haunted attraction, The Mortuary in Mid-City has a little bit of both. Claiming to be “actively haunted,” this manor located on Canal Street – not too far away from a cemetery – once functioned as a funeral home. After the upkeep required for this 130-year-old home started to take its toll, the building changed owners and was slated to become a spa academy – but Hurricane Katrina changed those plans. In 2007 when Mortuary owner Jeff Borne bought the house, which was suffering from neglect and storm damage, to turn it into a haunted attraction, paranormal investigative units took interest in the property and began to corroborate some of the weird occurrences past visitors had experienced. The house offers tours for “ghost hunters” outside of Halloween season. But during Halloween, the Mortuary hosts a haunted attraction beyond the regular paranormal experiences the house supposedly offers. This year the haunt has a zombie apocalypse theme, and you can even take a photo with one of the undead outside the attraction. Admission is $25 general; $35 VIP with line-skipping privileges. Check out the website for more information.