For the last 20 years, satanic cults, monsters, and the undead have been congregating at The House of Shock to perform unspeakable horrors in the name of Halloween. Envisioned by a crack team of fright experts, including Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, this seasonal haunt has been featured in the Travel Channel's Halloween's Most Extreme, Rolling Stone, Maxim, and Top Haunts magazine's list of the Top 13 Haunts nationwide. The house's exhibits are so scary that they've caused some extreme reactions. Allegedly, one patron's heart stopped beating. After she was resuscitated and rushed to the hospital, it was determined she had technically been dead for a short period.
As a live metal band strikes its first ominous chords, the fright fest kicks off with a nightly horror show of pyrotechnics, death metal, live stunts, and masochists. Adrenaline levels soar as courageous guests tiptoe through the coffins, ornate gravestones, and crumbling mausoleums of an ancient graveyard. The house's professional actors don't just slink by waving chainsaws and body parts—they tear apart bodies and scare the dickens out of guests who brave the interactive horrors of a funeral parlor, a morgue, and a butcher shop's dreadfully rotten cuts of beef. The adventure reaches terrifying new heights in a controversial satanic church, where flickering candles and hellfire cast eerie shadows on demonic worshipers and their torture victims. The onsite Hell's Kitchen churns out thematic eats and adult beverages to help frightened guests regain their senses before they revert to a mental world where the only conflict is over which Teletubby wore it best.
World Coffee keeps caffeine-consumers running smoothly with a saccharine selection of coffee, tea, espresso, latte, cappuccino, and cider drinks. Avant garde guests can break free of stereotypical brews, adding up to two shots of syrup to concoct such heady mixes as the chocolate-covered-cherries latte, seasoned with Ghiradelli chocolate and cherry flavorings. Earthy options include the trail-mix latte—infused with shots of almond, hazelnut, and chocolate— and the sugar-free zebra steamer pays homage to the world's most confusing-looking equine by muddling sugar-free white and milk-chocolate syrups in warm, frothy milk. The shop's free WiFi allows gulpers to send unlimited apology emails to former gym teachers until closing time.
Seattle: The Game is an interactive tour that sets friends and family members loose on an exhilarating, knowledge-fueled undertaking guided by text-message clues, trivia, and riddles. Players may explore one or all of the game's three zones, sampling fresh fruit at stalls in Pike Place Market, admiring monuments in historic Pioneer Square, or frowning at all of the Mark Rothko paintings at the Seattle Art Museum. Clues point the way to culinary delights such as Seattle's first bar and flagship Starbucks, and indulge eyes and ears in a chamber filled with porcelain and a record shop frequented by Santana and Eric Clapton. At least one player on the team will need a US cell phone to receive clues, and none of the self-guided tours require previous knowledge of the city. Adventurers play at their own pace—most zones take two–three hours to finish—which allows them to spend more time learning about the city and photographing vibrant fire hydrants for aqua-centric scrapbooks. From the time of activation, Venti Packages give players a year to chase through all three tours.
Winding through the cobblestone streets of various New Orleans neighborhoods, knowledgeable guides lead groups through notoriously haunted and historic spots during 2-hour walking tours. Each tour guide possesses experience with and/or passion for the occult and New Orleans history, and the fleet includes the founder of the New Orleans Paranormal & Occult society, as well as a member of the Louisiana Historical Society. With tours running daily, the meanderings whisk guests past real voodoo altars during the voodoo tour, or into the world of the undead with a vampire tour. Guests can eschew the spooks with a Garden tour or a cemetery tour that focuses on the neighborhoods’ history and inability to sleep with the lights off.
The guides of Southern Style Tours use their knowledge of local history, culture, and culinary delights to lead guests on jaunts around the city. Air-conditioned minibuses carry day-trippers on morning and afternoon trips through the French Quarter during Southern Style's city tours. Routes wind past celebrity houses and famed toolsheds as expert guides give an overview of New Orleans's history, pausing for a spooky detour that winds through the St. Louis Cemetery and its gothic aboveground tombs. Trekkers also observe the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward and find inspiration by witnessing rebuilding efforts led in part by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's initiative. Guides launch urban expeditions seven days a week, with tours running twice per day, first from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Pickup begins 30 minutes prior to each excursion.
Formed in 1989, the Louisiana Tour Company started out by organizing Swamp tours narrated by knowledgeable boat captains. Today, the company has grown to offer other excursions such as city Ghost tours on foot, visits to plantations in a van, and Airboat tours of swamp and marshland on the backs of indigenous amphibians. Three-hour New Orleans City and Post-Katrina tours invite sightseers to load up into a minibus to visit city landmarks and areas ravaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Given New Orleans' great wealth of stories, it's no surprise that the city itself would certify its master storytellers. This certification, held by every one of French Quarter Phantoms' guides, is put to good use as they lead small groups of travelers through the city’s dark alleys on historically accurate ghost and true-crime tours. The guides' expertly spun, chilling tales earned French Quarter Phantoms the accolade of second-best haunted tour in America from HauntedAmericaTours.com, as well as a certificate of authenticity from Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang.