Come fall, terrifyingly creative Halloween haunted houses open in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. During September and October, the Twin Cities transform from the good-natured Midwest vibe they are famous for into a hair-raising playground. Many of the area's events are for adults only (they're that scary), but some are fine for children with adult supervision. Area events include zombie paintball, scary hayrides, and terror mazes, with some of the more intense events offering a "low scare" version for smaller children and those just wanting to have a little light Halloween fun.
In 2020, many haunted houses in the Twin Cities have new safety guidelines, including advanced tickets with reserved timeslots, mandatory use of face masks, and limited capacities. Check in with individual businesses before you leave.
One of the area's largest and scariest Halloween events is Scream Town, with a huge corn maze, a haunted forest, and three haunted houses. The main attractions include the Zombie Apocalypse, Santa’s Slay, Oak Blood Forest, Circus Asylum, and other themed walk-throughs. Scream Town, geared for those 10 and over, is open weekends from October 2 until November 1, 2020, and guests must pre-purchase timed tickets to attend. All of the attractions in 2020 are outdoors and groups are limited to ensure social distancing between parties.
Sauk Rapids is an hour northwest of Minneapolis, but it's worth the trek to visit Molitor's Haunted Acres. This sprawling, remote farm has zombie paintball and a haunted hayride through the woods, where ghouls, ghosts, killers, and madmen creep in the shadows. Molitor's Haunted Acres, billed as "Central Minnesota's Scariest Plot of Land," is open on weekends and select other nights from October 2, 2020, through Halloween and runs rain or shine. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
The typical haunted hayride attraction is a walk-through event in 2020 in order to allow more distancing between groups, but that doesn't mean your journey to the Haunted Acres will be any less nightmarish than other years.
After the sun sets, visitors can be scared witless in the huge 3D house of horror and on the mile-long hayride of terror. There's also a corn maze, scary movies, and live music. The Haunting Experience is open on select dates from September 25, 2020, through Halloween night. While the Haunted House and Haunted Hayride are the main attractions for thrillseekers, kids of all ages are welcome at the Haunting Experience and a "Lights On" tour of the Haunted House is also available without the scares. Other kid-friendly activities include pumpkin painting and spin art, so the little ones can stay entertained while the older kids get scared witless.
Hamel Lions Haunted Acres is closed for the 2020 season.
The Hamel Lions Haunted Acres is a fundraising event established in 1997 and located 30 minutes northwest of Minneapolis. This volunteer-run scary house is open Friday and Saturdays and has costumed figures, plenty of spattered blood, and horror-themed rooms to encounter. Admission is $10 cash, and a canned food donation in addition to the admission price is encouraged.
The Trail of Terror is canceled in 2020.
Trail of Terror is created by the same producers who designed the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, so you can be assured of good costumes. This is another large event with a huge corn maze, haunted houses, wicked woods walk, scary rides, a zombie pub crawl, and other attractions.
Valleyfair Amusement Park is closed for the 2020 season.
At Valleyfair amusement park, you'll find a combination of thrill rides and haunted houses. It's pricey but you get access to all the thrill rides as well as haunted houses, a pumpkin festival, survival mazes, and scare zones. With more than 75 rides and monsters prowling the park, there's plenty to do for those 13 years of age and over. ValleyScare is open select Friday and Saturday nights throughout September and October.
During the day, younger children can visit with Peanuts characters in Halloween garb and dance with their friends during the Great Pumpkin Fest. There's a corn maze, costume parade, and a pirate party.