Get Your Eeek On: 7 Spooky Places to Go This Halloween for Free Scares

Fern Teems, left, points to what she believes may be one of the mystery lights near Marfa, Texas, as her husband James Teems looks on on June 1, 2005.
Fern Teems, left, points to what she believes may be one of the mystery lights near Marfa, Texas, as her husband James Teems looks on on June 1, 2005. AP Photo/Donna McWilliam

One of the best things (or worst, depending on your perspective) about Halloween is the abundance of haunted houses.

Some of the milder attractions play spooky music while visitors wander through cobwebby hallways. Others crank the fear factor to 11 with monsters popping out of closets.

Either way, it costs money to put on that type of production, so many haunted houses charge a fee to let you in the door.

Luckily, you can get your scare on for free if you’ve got the time to do a little homework.

Head over to your local library and have a look at the section of books on your area’s local history. There’s probably at least one guidebook on strange and haunted locations.

There might be folklore attached to a stretch of road, old bridge, abandoned building or local park that you never knew existed. (If you live near a hellmouth, there could be a lot of creepy spots in your town.)

If you strike out at the library, call your local historical society. (Trust me, they’ve been asked, “Where are the local haunted spots?” a million times.) Failing that, an internet search will almost certainly turn up something within driving distance.

A note of caution: Many cemeteries carry legends of ghost sightings or other tales. If you decide to go check one out for yourself, remember to enter only during posted hours and to respect its rules of conduct.

If this year’s Halloween plans are already locked in place, here’s a list of seven creepy locations around the country to keep in mind in case you feel like a road trip next year.

1. The Cursed Forest of Massachusetts

Freetown-Fall River State Forest is a vast and unassuming expanse of land in southeastern Massachusetts. It’s a great place to hike, fish or ride a horse.

Just don’t get to close to the Bridgewater Triangle. You might run into Bigfoot, get plucked off your feet by a giant bird or carted away by a UFO.

2. Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery

You’d think the potential for an encounter with the undead would the the scariest thing about Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery.

Nope.

While it’s true that you might see an apparition or two wandering around this Chicago-area graveyard, it’s the disappearing house that’s the real story here.

Some people report seeing a little white house on the cemetery grounds that became smaller or vanished as they walked toward it. Even creepier, the house was visible they next time they went back to the cemetery!

3. Spook Hill

How about a visit to a place so weird you don’t even have to leave your car to get freaked out?

A little spit of land on Spook Hill in Lake Wales, Florida, is said to defy gravity because of a long-dead alligator that still holds a grudge.

To find out for yourself, just park your car at the bottom of the hill and… well. You’ll just have to wait and see.

4. Pope Lick Trestle

The Pope Lick train trestle in Louisville, Kentucky, has a rather unusual story associated with it.

Apparently the Pope Lick Monster – half man, half goat – lives atop the trestle and spends his days luring people onto the tracks ahead of oncoming trains.

Whether you believe the legend or not, one thing is absolutely true. Many people have been killed on this trestle trying to catch a glimpse of Goatman. To look for him safely, stay on the main road or go into the nearby park – but stay off the tracks, please.

5. St. John’s Episcopal Church

Here’s another free scare you don’t even have to get out of your car to check out. In fact, if there’s any merit to this tale, you’re better off staying locked in your vehicle and stepping on the gas.

Legend has it that if you drive slowly past St. John’s Episcopal Church on Highway 194 in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, a demon dog leaps out of nowhere to chase your car.

Nice doggy?

6. The Marfa Lights

When you’ve had enough of land-based frights, it’s time to check out the Marfa Lights. (Sorry, readers, I rhyme when I’m creeped out.)

The mysterious light show in Marfa, Texas, is so popular there’s even a viewing park complete with picnic tables and commemorative plaques.

You might think there’s some plausible atmospheric explanation that accounts for the phenomenon, but locals will tell you that’s a lot of hooey.  

7. Goldfield Ghost Town

Visitors check out Goldfield Ghost Town, a gold mining town located on the historic Apache Trail in Apache Junction, Arizona. AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

Visitors check out Goldfield Ghost Town, a gold mining town located on the historic Apache Trail in Apache Junction, Arizona. AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey

If a simple train trestle or little stretch of road isn’t stomach-churning enough for you, how does an entire ghost town sound?

This former mining town is said to be teeming with the spirits of its former residents.

In fact, a paranormal investigator says she saw a man there come out of a tree.

Lisa McGreevy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s ready to visit all these places. After you.