What would Halloween be without heart attack-inducing, nightmare-causing haunted houses?
One of the best things about Halloween in the Valley is the wide array of haunts available to locals looking for a good fright.
Whether you want to be scared out of your wits or are simply searching for some family fun, Ahwatukee Foothills is the place to be this Halloween.
Chain saw-wielding maniacs, bloody ghouls, headless horsemen and asylum escapees are just a few of the scary creatures you might encounter in the various private and professional haunted houses around town.
Haunted Trail and Hayride
For those looking for something close by, inexpensive and kid-friendly, there is the Eighth Annual Haunted Trail and Hayride at the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center, located at 4700 E. Warner Road.
The event will be open this coming weekend, Friday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 10 p.m. Kids can get in for $4 and adults for $6. The entrance fee includes a hayride through the park and admission to the haunted trail. A designated “less scary” time for younger children will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m., but after that the actors will hike up the fright factor, so beware! Guests who can make it all the way through the trail without chickening out will get free candy.
All proceeds made will go towards the youth programs at the Ahwatukee Community Center. Call (480) 893-3431 for details.
Monster Ball and Family Fun Night
For another affordable deal, visit the Ahwatukee Foothills YMCA, where they will be hosting a Monster Ball and Family Fun Night on Friday, Oct. 23 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. All earnings will benefit the YMCA “Strong Kids Campaign.”
The evening will consist of music, dancing, games and prizes, free trunk-or-treating from 6 to 7:30 p.m., and two haunted houses for younger and older children. Admission is $5 five dollars for the whole family and includes pizza, drinks, popcorn and both haunted houses. A Windy City DJ will emcee and guests are encouraged to wear their favorite or scariest costume. Those who decorate their car for the trunk-or-treat will get free admission to the Monster Ball.
The YMCA is located at 1030 E. Liberty Lane; call (480) 759-6762 for more information.
Doomtown at Rawhide
Rawhide at Wild Horse Pass, one of the most authentic Western towns in Arizona, never disappoints. Halloween time is no exception. Doomtown: The Refuge of the Unwanted has taken over the Western town, transforming it into a true ghost town. This year, even more thrills and chills await guests with characters like headless horsemen and other eerie Old West ghouls roaming the dusty streets.
New to Doomtown and Rawhide are the truly terrifying haunted houses from Cryptic Illusions, The Crypt and The Asylum. Both houses are chock full of monsters, murderers and plenty of chain saws, just be sure not to trip when you run screaming for the exit. The houses are not recommended for children under 7, but the Train of Terror and the Haunted Trail are perfect for smaller kids.
Besides the Halloween-themed activities, Rawhide has the year-round attractions open as well, such as the mechanical bull, burro rides for kids, a Butterfield Stagecoach ride, a Shootin’ Gallery, and a very loud and smoky Six Gun Theater featuring the Rawhide Roughriders.
The Rawhide Steakhouse, with new chefs Jon Anderson and Michael Cairns, is a great place to eat, drink and listen to live music.
Admission is free, but tickets are needed for the haunted houses and various activities. The town is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 5:30 to 10 p.m.
Rawhide is located at 5700 West North Loop Road in Chandler.
For details, call (480) 502-5600.
The Gauntlet, Spooktacular Golf
Golfland in Mesa is always a fun place to be, but during the Halloween season the mini-golf park goes through a frighteningly dramatic transformation. From now until Oct. 31, the park is the perfect spot for Halloween thrill seekers. The Gauntlet is a brand new 5,000-square-foot, multi-leveled haunted house featuring exciting special effects, animatronics, skilled actors and even live animals. The Gauntlet is not recommended for children under 13 and only for those who do not mind squeezing through small spaces
If The Gauntlet seems too intense, guests can visit Spooktacular Golf, the 18-hole miniature golf course with a fun, creepy theme.
The Gauntlet is open from 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursdays, 7 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sundays. General admission is $12, or visit www.golfland.com to print a $5-off coupon.
Spooktacular Golf will be available 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays. The cost is $6.50 for children and $7.75 for adults.
An Unlimited Fear and Fun Package is available for $29.95 and features unlimited visits to The Gauntlet, Spooktacular Golf, bumper boats and race cars.
Golfland Sunsplash is located at 155 W. Hampton Ave. in east Mesa. For more information, call (480) 834-8319.
Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.