The history and horror stories of Paxton Manor are enough to have you visit this Leesburg home. Built in 1877, the Carlheim Mansion was home to the wealthy family of Charles and Rachel Paxton. And the place is rumored to be truly haunted.
During Shocktober, this 32-room house is turned into a place many souls visit. The haunted tour takes about 30 minutes to completely walk through, and it is terrifying at every turn. Nothing is held back from this attraction. The props are well done as well as the actors. Each room has its own creepy story. Though the rooms are mesmerizing, don’t stay to stare for too long.
After the haunted house, walk through the Well of Souls. This is the underground basement portion of Paxton Manor that consists of an underground lake. The lake is home to many ghost stories and legends. Beware: It is pretty dark and creepy down there. The basement is large and seems to never end. The ceiling is low and the floor wet from the lake—definitely no faking with this one.
To this day, Paxton Manor has been used to help children in need in respect of Rachel Paxton’s wishes. All proceeds from this attraction go to support the The Arc of Loudoun at the Paxton Campus. Shocktober was able to raise $200,000 in 2014 for this nonprofit organization, which allowed them to create two new programs.
Every weekend in October, Shocktober sets out to “scare because we care.” This haunted mansion and its attractions are not for young kids as it is rated a strict PG-13. If you do find yourself a bit too frightened, you can purchase a no-scare glow stick that lets the ghouls know to leave you alone.
Shocktober takes place every Friday-Sunday this month from 7-10 p.m. rain or shine. You can purchase your ticket online or at the door. –Nelia Dashiell
Your worst fears come to life at D.C’s Scream City. From the makers of Field of Screams in Olney, Maryland, comes Washington, D.C.’s haunted mansion. Open through Nov. 1, the mansion is full of your worst nightmares. Trek through rooms as clowns, zombies, demons and murderers get up close and personal.
Winners of A&E’s National Haunted House Design/Build Competition 2014, Steelhead Productions brings all of their frightful knowledge to the area. Even though the “Exorcism Estate” and adjacent “Slaughter Factory” are under a tent in the parking lot of RFK, as you weave your way through the maze of rooms your focus is on those enticing you to enter their playrooms, chasing you with chainsaws, and those who mysteriously appear next to you muttering incomprehensible diatribes.
Scream City DC is not for the faint of heart. Expect darkness, lurkers, caves, strobe lights, blood, jumpers and chainsaws. On our recent trip, there were many adults who could not handle the theatrics these actors were throwing their way, and dipped out before the making it to the end. The mansion is not recommended for those under the age of 13.
RFK Stadium/D.C. Armory, 2400 E. Capitol St., Washington, D.C.; through Nov. 1, Fridays, Saturdays and most Thursdays and Sundays, from 6-10 p.m. or 11 p.m.; $30 to $40
Fright Fest at Six Flags hosts an array of new themes and entertaining attractions this season. During the day children can still participate in the park’s “Thrills by Day,” but around 6 p.m., the ghosts come out to play for “Fright by Night.”
The night begins with a feature called “The Awakening,” which sets the tone for the night with a display of dancing, some fight action and a sneak peek of the different monsters that will haunt the park that night. After “The Awakening” ends, the monsters are set loose in the park to keep participants company during their visit.
Following “The Awakening” is the opening of the rest of the Fright Fest attractions. Stop by the “Terror Toy Shop,” a new attraction introduced this year. Here the theme was based around the man himself, Santa Claws. Visit his haunting toy shop as his elves (dead or alive?) are hard at work to prepare for the season. There is definitely a scare at every corner.
Need a break? Catch the “Dead Man’s Party” show at the Crazy Horse Restaurant & Theater. Here, the ghouls put on a display of entertaining choreography to go along with a few of Halloween’s best-known theme songs. It provides a relaxing but entertaining break from the rest of the terror the night brings.
Fright Fest brings back “Twisted Fairy Tales 3D Haunted House.” In this attraction, childhood fairy tales come to life, but not in the way that you hoped. Put on your 3-D glasses for a display that, though frightening, is mesmerizing and sure to lure you in.
Probably the must-see attraction of the whole Fright by Night event has to be “Immortal Covenant: A Stunt Revolution.” These award-winning stunt performers put on a spectacle that is definitely not for the weak at heart. You will definitely be mesmerized by this coven of vampires’ battle against the humans and all the blood and gore that comes along with it. –Nelia Dashiell
More haunted venues:
Oct. 23-24, 6- 9:30 p.m. // Journey into Leesburg and visit various historical yet haunted sites. This 90-minute tour allows the participants to actually venture inside certain sites and attractions to explore. There will be a storyteller at each site prepared to tell you about the ghosts and bumps in the night that occur right there where you stand. / Meeting point Leesburg Town Hall: 25 W. Market St., Leesburg; $20 online, $25 at the door
Oct. 24, 7 p.m.// The popular Bunnyman legend returns again this year in Clifton, VA. On only one night this year, walk the haunted trail of this town known for its numerous Civil War battles. Filled with rumored ghost sightings and a haunted bridge, Clifton never disappoints. / Buckley Park: Chapel Street, Clifton; adults $15, children 12 and under $10
Every Friday and Saturday night in October and Nov. 1, 7:30-11 p.m. // Cox Farms presents a night full of attractions that will definitely make you jump. Cox Farms has over 20 acres full of different scares like the Dark Side Hayride, Cornightmare and of course a walk through The Forest. Definitely guaranteed to be entertained. / Cox Farms: 15621 Braddock Road, Centreville; tickets range from $13-$25
Chantilly High School Hosts 6th Annual Haunted House
Oct. 24, 1-5 p.m. & 6-10 p.m. // Chantilly High School does it again with their frightening anuual haunted house. This year’s new scares and thrills will help raise efforts for the school’s field hockey and soccer programs. Come out and show support while getting a good scare or two. / Chantilly High School: 4201 Stringfellow Road, Chantilly; ChantillyGSOC@gmail.com; $10 for all ages
Oct. 1-31, 7:30 & 9 p.m. // Come visit historic Alexanddria and experience a tour only by lantern light. Visitors will hear the numerous legends, folklore, and stories about revengeful ghosts. Come only if you dare. / Tour begins at Ramsey House Visitors Center: 221 King St., Alexandria; adults $13, children (7-17) $7, children under 6 free
Oct. 30-31// Celebrate Halloween at the Bracket Room this year. The lounge will be hosting the biggest Halloween Costume Party in Clarendon. There will also be a costume contest picked at midnight on Halloween and the winner will win $500. And as usual, Bracket Room will provide its guest with great food, drinks and entertainment./ Bracket Room: 1210 N. Garfield St., Arlington; 703-276-7337