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  • Writer's pictureKATE GREENWELL '25

Haunted Houses: Halloween Horrors

As fall draws near and Halloween is just around the corner, many residents of Cincinnati look forward to the cool fall weather and the changing leaves, but also to the start of haunted houses! From the dim lit entrances and suspenseful music to dressed up clowns waiting to scare those entering, haunted houses are the perfect way to celebrate this spooky season!

This tradition first came to be during the time of the Great Depression in early 20th century America as a solution to keep teenage boys from playing tricks on the rest of their townsfolk. During this time, Halloween was seen as the one night of the year where scheming had no particular consequence, meaning tricks among youths were encouraged. However, when these “tricks” developed into something more elaborate and dangerous, such as stealing and vandalizing corpses, adults became concerned for the safety of both their children and the rest of the townspeople. In their efforts to create a diversion for children that kept them off the streets, out of trouble, and still in tune with the Halloween spirit, parents in these states created the haunted house. Adults gathered to decorate the basements of old houses by draping fur, liver, and hairnets on the walls to create an eerie and suspenseful mood for the children. These early haunted houses were small and makeshift, made in the basements of American commoners’ homes, but paved the way for this tradition that would carry on and grow for many centuries to come.

Here at SUA, we are very fortunate as Cincinnati features some of the scariest haunted houses in the United States, including the Dent Schoolhouse, Halloween Haunt at Kings Island, and USS Nightmare. As each house features a different type of spine-chilling experience as one journeys through the house, they all attract many different crowds and raise popularity for haunted houses in Cincinnati.

The Dent Schoolhouse

Located in an old public school in Hamilton County, the legend of the Dent Schoolhouse frightens many as it speaks of the disappearance of children from the abandoned building. Today, Dent is ranked in the top 10 scariest haunted houses in the U.S. and attracts visitors with its variety of additional options for experiencing the house. These features include lights on tours, behind the scenes tours, and ghost tours making the schoolhouse friendly to people of all ages as it allows variety in experiencing the level of “spookiness.”

Halloween Haunt at Kings Island

Located at Cincinnati’s own Kings Island amusement park, each year Halloween Haunt transforms the park into a mysterious area filled with fog, clowns, monsters, and so much more roaming throughout the park. The park contains a variety of mazes, houses, and live shows all included in the price of one ticket. The unique feature about Halloween Haunt at Kings Island is that it allows people going to haunted houses to also experience the amusement park as the roller coasters are kept open to the people. Saint Ursula sophomore, Molly Heffernan, says “I really enjoyed hanging out with my friends and taking in the cool lights and dressed up people. My favorite part of the Haunted House experience was riding a rollercoaster with my friends. The line was incredibly long, but was very much worth it. It was the highlight of my night, and made my time at Haunt memorable with my best friends.”

The USS Nightmare

The USS Nightmare is a haunted house built on a steamboat known for having a sinistor history as many men died in its presence and construction in Newport, Kentucky. This haunted house features one of the area’s longest tours of 30+ minutes as people journey through the haunted decks of the ship. The USS Nightmare is also family friendly as it includes unique lights on tours that allow people to tour the ship without the fear of being scared in the dark!

As the SUA community enters this scary season, the timeless thrill of haunted houses lives on, further keeping the spirit of Halloween alive. If one dares to enter the chilling atmosphere of a haunted house this Halloween it just may be a trick, or a treat.


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