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It’s the most wonderfully spooky time of the year. The leaves are falling, the temperature’s turning, and the twilight of 2019 is approaching. Like many major cities, Salt Lake City has its fair share of urban legends and frighteningly fun October traditions that make the buildup to Halloween both exciting and scary. Here are a few of our favorite activities (and local Halloween haunts) that make living in Salt Lake City scary fun in October.
Scary and historic mansions just go together. Salt Lake City has at least two such haunted mansions known for their occasional ghostly apparitions. Devereaux Mansion in downtown Salt Lake, built in 1857, is said to be haunted by two ghosts—a young girl, who plays tricks on the kitchen staff, and a second spirit, who aggressively protects the old home. McCune Mansion, near the State Capitol on Main Street in Salt Lake City, is also said to be haunted. In fact, it was listed by House Beautiful as the most Haunted House in the entire state of Utah. Now a venue for weddings, the McCune Mansion is believed to be haunted by a man in a black cape and a 10-year-old girl, who enjoys the modern wedding celebrations and whose portrait still hangs in the mansion to this day. You can even take a haunted ghost tour around Salt Lake guided by a professional storyteller familiar with the local legends.
If the paranormal isn’t your thing, maybe axe murderers, scary clowns, and the undead are more up your alley. Salt Lake has several top-notch “haunted” amusement attractions. Nightmare on 13th, conveniently located on 1300 S. in Salt Lake, is one of the city’s largest and longest running haunted houses. It features 36,000 square feet of frights and was even featured on the Travel Channel as a top place to get scared for Halloween. Fear Factory touts itself as the only haunted house in Salt Lake that’s actually haunted. Located in the heart of Salt Lake’s industrial district in an abandoned cement factory, Fear Factory is said to be haunted by the ghosts of workers who died there when the factory was in operation. The multi-story building also features thrills like ziplines, a tower jump, and virtual reality.
For those seeking real thrills, Lagoon, a popular amusement park just a few minutes north of Salt Lake City, shows its dark side every October with Frightmares. Decorated in a Halloween theme, the park features multiple haunted attractions, along with the usual thrill rides and games Lagoon is known for. Salt Lake’s Hogle Zoo also gets decked out for the Halloween holiday with BooLights, a family-friendly event where kids can dress up in costumes, trick-or-treat around the zoo, and see a fall festival of lights. As a bonus, many of the animals are more active during nighttime, which adds to the fun of the evening.
Haunted Family Fun
On the lighter side of Halloween, there are several local pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the Salt Lake area that offer fall fun for the whole family. Pumpkin Nights delights with more than 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins. The Salt Lake Project described it as walking through Disneyland during Halloween. And it’s in the center of Salt Lake City at the fairgrounds. Garden After Dark is located at the University of Utah’s Red Butte Garden and gives visitors a chance to learn about spooky plant life and nocturnal animals that inhabit the area. It also includes a light display and story time sessions. Finally, Pumpkin Days at Wheeler Farm lets you pick out the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween. Plus, you can take a wagon ride through the historic farm in the crisp October air.
No matter how you choose to spend the season—at historic, scary venues or just having a scary good time with friends and family—get out and enjoy the season. It’s the most frightening time of the year, and Salt Lake has something for everyone in October.