The 11 Best Haunted Houses in Austin, Texas

By Joshua Davis •  Updated: 07/30/22 •  13 min read

They’re not for everyone; but, for those who enjoy a good scare, there’s nothing quite like a haunted house.

As for us, we’re a family divided: my wife, Heather, and youngest son, Jack don’t much care for getting scared stiff in haunted houses or even during a respectable zombie movie.

My older son, Luke, and I can’t get enough of it.

Each October, this father-and-son duo pays money to have their socks scared off in an old haunted barn at a local Halloween Fest. And while it provides a fantastic fright, we’ve kind of been wanting something a little more …


When it comes to finding the best-haunted houses, Austin, Texas’ weirdest city, has some of the best in the business and none of them are the same.

Some specialize in traditional haunted houses, while others feature terrifying escape rooms, hair-raising hayrides, and innumerable other blood-curdling attractions.

And with October fast approaching, the best haunts and houses of torment are gearing up to give visitors the fright of their lives.

From live actors to animatronics, these attractions know how to turn up the scares.

So, without further ado, here are the best haunted houses in and near Austin, Texas:

Year-Round Haunts

For some of us, Halloween is to be celebrated year-round. If that’s you and you want something more visceral than a weekend horror movie, you’ll want to hit up some of these establishments that are ready to spook your socks off any time of the year.

Be sure to check their individual websites for business hours as many of them are only open on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

Helpful Tip: For those with younger children (or those who prefer a milder scare), we’ve indicated which haunts are recommended for the whole family, and which are best enjoyed by those 12 years and older.

1. House of Torment, Austin, TX

(Only recommended for children 12 and older.)

Anyone who loves haunted houses knows who 13th Floor is: one of the leading creators of Haunted Houses across the country. So, when they opened a new attraction in Austin a few years back, we knew we had to check it out.

The House of Torment is located in an old abandoned warehouse on the east side of town and features a rotating selection of terrifyingly-themed haunts that are not for the faint of heart.

Straight up: this is one of the scariest haunted houses in Austin and, according to the Travel Channel, is one of the 6 scariest in America!

Currently on their macabre menu:

The Boogeyman: This haunt is based on the urban legend of the Boogeyman, a monster who lurks in the closets and beneath the beds. Here, you’ll relive the dark demise of the Jensen family on Blackthorn Drive after they’re visited by a demon from the darkness.

The Forsaken: This haunted asylum is a Halloween classic. The battle between the living inmates and a darker, malevolent force rages around you as you jump, scream, and run through eerie industrial wards, smoldering ruins, and the prison’s machine shop.

Operation: Laughing Place: Simulating a horrific hallucination that causes you to see chaotic colors and monstrous apparitions, this haunted house is not for those with coulrophobia (the fear of clowns).

While both are great, the asylum is definitely the more intense of the three and features plenty of jump scares, tight quarters, and live actors that will have you screaming for your life.

But, if all that isn’t enough, the House of Torment provides mini escape games, axe throwing competitions, and other spooky spectacles to add to your experience.

2. Bat City Scaregrounds, Buda, TX

(This haunt may not be suitable for pre-teen children. Do your research before you buy tickets.)

If ever a true zombie city existed …

Rated as one of the “Top 10 Most Fun and Immersive Experiences in Austin,” Bat City Scaregrounds is one of the newest to Austin’s fright scene. Located only 25 minutes southeast of Austin proper.

The attention to detail in their multi-acre interactive haunted house complex is simply mind blowing! Add to that Vegas-style shows, live music, and great food … your evening will be packed with more than heart-stopping scares. The ticket price gets you everything!

Stand toe-to-toe with the evil of Castle Orlock, the primeval horror of Ancient Evil, or the Clownocalypse.

Afterwards, jam out to the hard rock of The Immortalz and be mesmerized by the flaming performance of the incredible Illumintra.

You’ll either sleep good later … or not at all.

3. Scare for a Cure, Austin, TX

(Only recommended for children 12 and older (except on Halloween … see below).)

A non-profit organization 100% operated by volunteer staff to raise money for Breast Cancer Resource Center of Texas and other local charities, Scare for a Cure was founded in 2007.

What started as a backyard haunt by local celebrity Jarrett Crippen, a.k.a. The Defuser, has grown into SCARE for a CURE, an interactive haunted adventure that mentors youth and raises money for Breast Cancer Resource Center and other local charities.

Their devoted, creative and diabolical crew of special effects artists, set builders, audio and lighting technicians, costume designers, make-up artists, and actors work year-round with community members from all around Central Texas to expand the attraction annually.

And, their haunted house … whew, what a trip! It is not for the faint of heart.

Expect to creep, crawl and duck through goosebump-inducing, obstacle-strewn environments and interact with an immersive narrative-and-actor-driven story.

Brave the Fairy Tale Nightmare, endure the Carnival of Lost Souls, and traverse the Mutant Wasteland if you dare!

Helpful Tip: If you have young children, their Kids’ Trick or Treat on Halloween night at J. Lorraine Ghostown is free to all ages and features face paining, costumes, candy, and more. This is a family-friendly event that is more catered to fun than fright.

So, if you’re looking for an intense and unique haunted house experience in Austin, TX, and would like your admission to support local cancer survivors, look no further than SCARE for a CURE.

They’ll be sure to give you a good scare for a great cause!

4. Scream Hollow Wicked Halloween Park, Smithville Tx

(Only recommended for children 12 and older.)

If you want more than just scary haunted houses …

About 45 minutes southeast of Austin in Bastrop County, the sleepy little town of Smithville sits surrounded by thousands of acres of rolling farmland and old forests.

And just outside its town limits lurks a wickedly fun park and truly unique haunted attraction.

The 20 acres of Scream Hollow consists of 22 different buildings scattered through an old pine and oak forest linked by a dimly lit, winding path.

As you make your way through the grounds you will encounter a myriad of spine-tingling attractions, including three haunted houses: The Mansion of Terror, Lost Pines Asylum, and the Sinister Circus.

Each haunt provides a starkly unique world, that will immerse you in dimly lit passages with stained walls, horrifying creatures, hidden torture rooms filled with screams, and a full spectrum of macabre experiences.

If that’s not enough, grab a seat on the haunted hayride, Hell on Wheels, as it snakes through the dark forest of the Wendigo spirits, or brave the Wicked Darkness Maze, a diabolical labyrinth where the lines between our plane of existence and that of an evil dimension are blurred.

Trust me: those chintzy haunted corn mazes have nothing on this!

And, when you’ve scared yourself up a good appetite, drop by the on-site Cackling Witch Cafe or the Dragon’s Breath Tavern for some fuel for your next frightening escapade.

5. Austin Ghost Tours, Austin, TX

(While not super-scary, younger children may get bored on these tours.)

Over 20 years ago, when Jeannie Plumer decided to start an Austin-based walking tour company, she had no idea that her business would end up specializing in ghosts.

A native Austinite, Plumer’s original intent was to create a tour focused on the history and architecture of downtown Austin. But as she began to research the buildings and sites her tour would cover, she kept hearing stories about the “ghosts” that supposedly inhabited them.

“I started hearing all these stories about ghosts and I thought, ‘Well that’s kind of weird,’” Plumer said. “I had never really thought about it before. But the more I heard, the more I realized that a lot of people believe in ghosts. And then I started thinking, ‘Well, maybe there IS something to this.’”

Plumer began to do her own research on the subject and soon realized that there was a wealth of information – and stories – about ghosts in Austin.

She decided to focus her tour on the city’s “haunted” history, and Austin Ghost Tours was born.

Her team of “spiritual” guides currently provide four unique and mesmerizing walking tours that span from 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on your preference.

From exploring ghostly cold spots of downtown Austin’s most haunted places to abandoned buildings of Bartlett and stories of love, murder, and suicide along 7 sprawling Austin city blocks.

Feeling up for an epic paranormal investigation? Explore the historic buildings from the late 1800s and mingle among the disembodied ghosts of those who came before.

6. Fatal Fear Haunted House, Austin, TX

(Only recommended for children 12 and older.)

A volunteer-based home-haunt (meaning, it’s located in an actual neighborhood) is dedicated to raising money for local charity organizations …

… and scaring people senseless.

If you enjoy a horrific haunted mansion or a proper sadistic sanatorium, you’ll want to venture into Mortis Mansion and Hillside Sanatorium, their flagship haunts.

With an ever-changing layout, this home haunt is sure to keep you on your toes – and maybe even send you running for the hills.

While it’s not as intense or gory as some of the other local haunts, Fatal Fear does a great job of providing a truly creepy and atmospheric experience.

And, if you’re looking to add a little extra scare to your life, they offer a special “Fright Night” event on select nights where the lights are turned off and you’re given a glow stick to find your way through the darkness.

Just be warned: while it’s for a good cause – it’s not for the faint of heart.

7. Haunted ATX, Austin, TX

(While not super-scary, younger children may get bored on these tours.)

It’s a horror of a haunt … on wheels!

Welcome to Haunted ATX, the only mobile haunted tour in Austin!

Join them as they visit historic locations in and around Austin that are rumored to be haunted or have confirmed paranormal infestations.

Their van tour is great for larger groups, and our private tours (in an actual hearse!) offer custom pickup and other perks.

On both tours, you’ll venture from the safety of your vehicles frequently and go inside the actual haunts, but walking is kept to a minimum.

The spooky hearse limousine and van trips are exciting, engaging, frightening, and hilarious! So come on board if you dare… Haunted ATX promises a fantastic experience for everyone!

Seasonal Haunts

The following haunted attractions only pop up once a year. These are generally more community-centered and conducive for families with small children.

While we’ve linked to the websites that typically provide information on these attractions, be aware that the info may not be available until the Halloween season approaches.

8. Pioneer Farms: Haunted Halloween Trails

(Appropriate for kids of all ages.)

A living history museum that preserves the history and way of life in 19th century Texas, the Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms is a great place for families to celebrate Halloween.

The Haunted Halloween Trails are perfect for getting into the spooky spirit and offer a unique and educational experience at the same time.

On Friday and Saturday evenings in in October, Pioneer farms puts on their Grimm’s Ghostly Tales” that provide three unique trails: a fun-oriented trail for young children, a mild jump-scare oriented trail, and an intensely scary pathway for the bold and adventurous.

Learn about the history of Central Texas while you’re being scared out of your wits – it’s the best of both worlds!

Helpful Tip: As October approaches, keep an eye on Pioneer Farms site for up-to-date Halloween event information. Sometimes, their themes and schedule change.

9. Boo at the Zoo, Austin, TX

(Appropriate for kids of all ages.)

The Austin Zoo is open every day of the year, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And in October, the Zoo gets a creepy face lift.

Boo at the Zoo is a Halloween event for families with younger children that features kid-friendly activities like pumpkin painting and a hay bale maze. Older kids will enjoy the Haunted Trail, which is not too scary.

This is a great option for families with younger children or for those who would rather not go into cardiac arrest at the more intense haunts in Austin.

Plus, the Austin Zoo is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue of retired or ill treated animals including those from research laboratories, the conservation of exotic species, and the education of the general public.

Have a spooky fun time, and do some good with your entrance fees. That’s time well-spent!

10. Terror on Two Jacks, Round Rock, TX

(Appropriate for kids of all ages.)

On the west end of Round Rock, TX, a short drive north of Austin, an unmarked grave rested unknown to the folks that purchased the old home of Hairy Man of Brushy Creek.

It wasn’t until after they had moved in and strange things started happening that they realized what they had disturbed.

The family decided to make the best of it and turned their home into a shrine for Hairy Man and other evil spirits.

Since then, the family has worked tirelessly each October to create an ever-changing garage labyrinth for local children (and adults!) to come and pay homage to the Hairy Man.

Proceeds from admissions benefit the Round Rock Serving Center. They also accept donations of canned goods, as well.

The Terror on Two Jacks is open to the public from October October 11 – November 2. Check the Round Rock city website for times and details.

11. Nightmare on Jail Hill Haunted House, Georgetown, TX

(Appropriate for kids of all ages.)

If you were a fan of the popular show “Ghost Hunters, then you know why the Historic Williamson County Jail in Georgetown, TX is a Halloween haunting hot spot.

Forty-five minutes north of Austin, over a century after it was built in 1889, the imposing stone walls of the Williamson Jail housed outlaws and murderers of the worst breed.

Here, the state of Texas brought down the hand of justice with all its fervor through brutal executions which, some say, is the reason that the retired jailhouse isn’t as empty as we suppose it to be.

Join the community in Georgetown Texas during the month of October for Ghosts on the Square Tours and a myriad of Halloween events. Some tours are scarier than others; so, be sure to ask when purchasing tickets.

Keep an eye on the Georgetown city website as October approaches for up-to-date information and prices.

A Haunting Ending

There you have it, some of the best haunted houses in and around Austin, TX!

Whether you’re a thrill seeker looking for a good scare, enjoy learning about local history and legends, and want to create so great memories, these haunted houses are sure to please.

Keep your eye on their sites for up-to-date info on general admission and special events, especially as October approaches … that’s the time of year they kick things in high gear!

So, what are you waiting for? Gather your friends and family and head out for a spine-tingling good time!

Now, get out there!

Joshua Davis

Being outdoors is freedom! Being outdoors with my wife and two boys is LIVING! Whether in my backyard or getting lost in a National Park, there’s nothing I’d rather do than explore, discover, and experience the paradise that surrounds us. Give me my family, a backpack, and a trail and my life is full!