Family-Friendly Frightful Fun and Hair-Raising Ways to Get Scared in Gatlinburg

Scare season is upon us, and it’s time to run for the hills, or better yet, the mountains! The Smoky Mountains are probably not even close to the first destination that comes to mind when we think of the Halloween season, but Gatlinburg is the place to be during autumn with the incredible kaleidoscope of warm colors painted across the mountains. It’s the best of nature and scares in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains during the frightful nights of Halloween, in a cozy cabin tucked away into the mountains.

Imagine: gorgeous wood interiors, breathtaking views, and pampering amenities like hot tubs and indoor pools. It’s the perfect place to relax after a day of thrilling and spooky fun along the Parkway! From the annual events to the year-round haunted attractions, here are the 6 best ways to celebrate everyone’s favorite monster-filled month!

  1. 19th Annual Fright Nights and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure
    While this year-round hair-raising attraction is open 365 days a year, for the month of October, Ripley’s Haunted Adventures kicks up the scares! Starting September 30, on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and October 31, Ripley’s hosts a terrifying show highlighting an annual “special guest” monster to headline. This year’s theme, “Contamination”, kicks off at 6 p.m. each night with a character parade before visitors come face-to-face with Dr. Streaper and his infected hoard of zombie monsters. This event is most suited for kids 12 and up (but children 6 and up are allowed). Continue the evening with a tour of all your worst nightmares in the Ripley’s Haunted Adventure and more than 10,000 square feet of horrors!
  2. Trick or Treat Kickoff Karnival
    Another Ripley’s sponsored event, but much more family-friendly for those with younger little ones, Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies Plaza comes to life from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 31 with fun contests, costumes, sweet treat hand-outs, and safety tips for trick or treating from the Gatlinburg Police Department during the Trick or Treat Kickoff Karnival. Get there early with your cutest zombie, vampire, or witty pop culture character to enter into the costume contest!
  3. Hunt for Ghosts with Appalachian Ghostwalk’s Gatlinburg Tour
    Like every old city, this beautiful town of Gatlinburg has its darker stories and urban legends, and it’s up to each visitor to decide if you believe your own eyes and ears! The tour is lantern-led by a local expert who will fill you in on the TRUE stories of murder and mayhem and the professionally investigated research findings from each one of the toured properties. Make your advance reservations to join the nightly tours and decide for yourself if the pictures and first-hand experiences are enough to test your criticisms while learning invaluable history of Gatlinburg’s haunted past.
  4. Join the Family at Gatlinburg’s Mysterious Mansion
    Hailed as one of the best by TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, the oldest haunted house in Gatlinburg kicks up their usual scares as All Hallow’s Eve approaches during each weekend of October with the presentation of the “House of Lost Souls” that ends on October 31. The poor family that inhabited, or inhabits, the Mysterious Mansion came to a fateful end and seeks to add to the family tree…it’s up to you and other party members to escape each terrifying room!
  5. Halloween Spooktacular at Mills Park
    Pumpkin carving, face painting, hay rides, trick or treating, and a parade…This is another great, family-friendly Halloween event for those with smaller children! Free to the public, on Monday, October 30 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., families and friends can join all the fun of a Halloween celebration complete with a costume contest for the kids and mouthwatering treats.
  6. Escape the Bone-Chilling Nightmare in The Captured
    Located at the base of the Gatlinburg Space Needle, The Captured is an interactive experience where you will be locked in a room and supplanted into a nightmarish horror story where you may become dinner or a “broken child’s toy” if you can’t keep your wits about you and solve the riddles, puzzles, and clues to solve your insane predicament! While this attraction is open year-round, what better time to test your courage than the scariest month of the year?!

Want a little more fun this Halloween? Host a cabin party with a couple other families in a large group cabin! Not only does splitting the cost of one these impressive cabins save guests money, but many of these cabins have awesome amenities and large, fully-loaded kitchens to bake all your kids’ favorite Halloween treats and create all the spooky décor for a spooktacular cabin party! Let everyone’s favorite frightful time begin in a gorgeous Cabins for YOU cabin in Gatlinburg!

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