Finding the Best Fright

Zoe Plattner

Scary Places Near Seattle

Nile Nightmares

Oct. 4-Nov. 12

Fri/Sat 7-11pm, Sun/Halloween 7-10pm

6601 244th St SW Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043

Nile Nightmares costs $22 per person and is about a 20 minute drive from SCC

The Good

By day, it’s a haven for men in white polo shirts; by night, it’s a haven for ghouls of all shapes and sizes. Both are frightening in their own way.

Nile Nightmares is the closest haunted house to SCC, nestled conveniently on the Nile Golf Course. While the resemblance to its watery namesake is fleeting at best, the haunted house may or may not actually administer nightmares.

Small buildings are scattered throughout the “scare zone,”’ each containing different themed areas to walk through. This allows you to pace your experience according to all your scaring desires or to take a breather between attractions. Among the themes are the 3D Circus (a personal favorite), the Dollhouse (self-explanatory) and the ever-present Slaughterhouse (there’s also a hospital thrown in for good measure, along with a couple of satanic nuns).

The sections are a bit gimmicky and pretty easy to see past, but don’t get too confident — there are plenty of opportunities to scream throughout.

The whole circuit takes about 25 minutes.

Actors in costume cruise around the space, scaring participants and posing for photos.

Live music adds color to the wait. Local bands in various states of metal/halloween regalia serenade those in line.

And the line is covered — so there is no need to worry about getting rained on.

Other booths and activities are clustered throughout the venue, including a singular food truck, a beer garden and an “elevator of frights” for the additional scare (at an additional $5 cost.)

The Bad

While not quite “tacky,” there is a lot about the Nile which may not appear totally convincing. It’s fairly well lit throughout, so it’s easier to see where designers used paint instead of blood and how monsters are really just actors wearing makeup.

Because of the large spaces between each section, its harder to maintain the illusion that you’re out there on your own. Other groups are easily visible moving between the stalls.

Another result of the attractions being spread out is that much of the haunted house is actually outside. So, though the line is dry, there is no guarantee you won’t get rained on “in” the haunted house.

Speaking of the line: It’s long. On busy nights, prepare to wait an excruciatingly long time unless you’re willing to shell out the big bucks.

While the locale may be convenient, it’s also outdoors, which means it can get muddy if you don’t rigorously stick to the paths.

Maybe because of its suburban locale, many of the people at the haunt were in their teens. So if you’re looking for a more adult-oriented event, this may not be the place to go.

The Takeaway

In terms of a scare factor, the Nile is fairly watered down. Great for those who frighten easily or are looking for a campier take on the haunted house experience.

Georgetown Morgue

Sept. 22-Nov. 2

7-10 p.m., Thursday and Sunday; 7-11:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday

5000 E Marginal Way S Seattle WA

Georgetown Morgue costs $25 per person and is about a 40 minute drive from SCC

The Good

For a place that prides itself on once being a home to dead bodies, this particular alley in South Seattle is very much alive.

A full circuit of the house takes around 20-25 minutes. A single long corridor snakes through different themed areas, and while the backdrops are familiar (hospital, slaughterhouse, etc.), it’s the execution which makes this haunt stand out. 

With a combination of mechanical and human elements, the overall result is a polished and very real scream machine.

An unexpected but not unwelcome addition is the physical aspect. Going over, under and through the set adds an immersive element beyond that of a mere spectator. Though the standard “no contact with the actors” rule applies here, maybe don’t wear heels: Losing a shoe may be bad, but it’s even worse when you’re surrounded by zombies.

In the mood for some stress eating? There are food trucks aplenty, including beverages for those over 21. And in case you feel the need to call an Uber, there is a drop off and pick up point for ride sharing apps.

While waiting in line, there are a few ways to stay entertained. Actors in full costume will occasionally make the rounds, all too willing to pose for pictures and scare the unattentive attendee. Depending on your perspective, the DJ blasting 2000’s pop artists (Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Bruno Mars) may or may not make the wait even scarier.

The Bad

South Seattle is objectively difficult to get to. Add darkness and rain, and you won’t even need a haunted house to give yourself a heart attack.

In true Seattle fashion, even thunder and lightning won’t deter the crowds. The line stretches around the block, growing longer as the evening progresses: It may take over an hour before you are able to set foot in the haunted house itself. 

On that note, prepare for a possible shower. The line for the morgue entrance isn’t covered, and if you think standing for an hour is unpleasant, standing for an hour while drenched is even worse.

The Morgue does its very best to part you with your money. Tickets are pricey and VIP tickets are pricier (they can cost up to $100 per person). There’s a mandatory photo booth (pictures are paid for separately).

Prepare to see very little as there are strobe lights everywhere.

The Takeaway

Overall it was worth the wait and the price. The morgue really does a great job at setting the mood, and the haunts are both convincing and creatively done.

Perfect for a small group of friends or a fun date night, you will leave with a sore throat and a fear of shadows.