In some cities, haunted houses are a rite of passage, but the cost of being spooked can be quite frightening. Fear not. The prospect of finding an affordable haunt may not be as grave as you think.
Here are some tips that may keep you from being buried. In debt, that is:
Go during the week. Many haunted houses offer discounts to people who visit Sunday through Thursday, since Friday and Saturday are their busiest nights.
Take advantage of combo discounts. If you’re planning to visit more than one haunted house, a combo ticket might be your cheapest option. For example, The Edge of Hell and The Beast in Kansas City, Mo., are owned by the same company. If you want to see both, the combo ticket will save you $10. The Bates Motel in Glenn Mills, Pa., has three separate attractions (the motel, a haunted hayride and a corn maze). If you’re going to hit them all, you’ll save $10 with their combo ticket.
Look for coupons or other discounts. The first place to look for haunted house coupons is on the website of the haunted house you’re planning to visit. The 13th Gate in Baton Rouge, La., has a blurb on its home page that tells you they’ll give you a $5 discount if you bring an empty Dr. Pepper can to the gate. But not all deals are that obvious. If you don’t see a discount on the haunted house’s home page, look for a tab that says “promotions” or “discounts.” If you still don’t see a coupon, try the FAQs tab. You might also find coupons on your city’s convention and visitors bureau website, or on your local Living on the Cheap site.
Check out community haunts. The Parks & Recreations departments in some cities hold community events that often include haunted attractions. For example, the City of Raymore, Mo., has an annual Harvest Night that includes haunted hayrides. The cost is $5 per person. Some high schools put on haunted houses as fundraisers. For example, Boulder High School in Boulder, Colo., does an annual haunted house fundraising event with a new theme each year. The cost in 2012 was $5 for students and $10 for the public.
Create your own. One of my favorite childhood memories is partitioning off our garage and creating a neighborhood haunted house. Each section featured a different ghoulish scene. I think we charged a quarter per person to go through, but these days you could probably get a bit more.
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