Each year when I was growing up, my dad would create the most legendary haunted houses for our annual church Trunk-or-Treat.

One of my favorites was when he covered a room, lit only by a strobe light, with aluminum foil from ceiling to floor. My brother, also covered in foil, would peel himself off the wall and earn the screams of the haunted house patrons.

My dad could transform a hallway or room into a different universe using decorations and illusions he made himself, and the whole family would take part in putting on the event.

I thank my dad for my love of all things spooky, supernatural and mysterious. Haunted houses are still my favorite way to enjoy the season, so I want to share the best our area has to offer.

Here is a countdown of my top five recommendations if you are looking for some sinister scares in the Rexburg area this Halloween.

1. The Haunted Mill

Friends pose with creepy characters at the Haunted Mill.

Friends pose with creepy characters at the Haunted Mill. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

The Haunted Mill is located about 15 minutes from Rexburg in Teton, Idaho. The haunt takes place in a four-story retired flour mill, home to dozens of local legends.

The Teton Flour Mill was originally built in 1890 and even the decor of old flour mill equipment demonstrates that.

The attraction’s website features a log of the legends the property is known for and its ghost sightings. The most recent sighting was recorded in 2018 when workers reported hearing a woman weeping in the mill’s basement, and have even allegedly recorded the phenomenon.

The tour of the mill takes guests through all four levels of the mill, passing through rooms with nightmarish themes and characters that propel you upstairs and through crawl spaces. After exiting the mill building, there’s still a heart-pounding trail through the grounds outside and a suspension bridge over a waterfall to cross before reaching safety. This attraction has surprises hiding behind every corner, making it my number-one choice for the Halloween season.

To purchase tickets or see more information on the Mill’s history, visit The Haunted Mill website.

2. Doom Haunted Attraction

The doom dance team entertains attendees waiting to enter the attraction.

The doom dance team entertains attendees waiting to enter the attraction. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

Doom Haunted Attraction received a makeover in the last year in preparation for a new theme and an even more terrifying maze than years past. Previously known as Planet Doom, this non-profit attraction located in Idaho Falls has been scaring for the community for almost 20 years.

Before it was Planet Doom, it was Dr. Slaughter’s House of Terror in 2000. Though it has undergone name and ownership changes, this location has been the home of various haunted attractions that donate their profits to the county D.A.R.E. program. Doom is run by volunteer scarers, crew members and even dancers who perform for the lines of people waiting to enter the maze.

The best thing about this attraction is the artistry and detail that goes into the scares. Doom is a 32,000-square-foot indoor maze that features over 35 animatronic monsters and creatures. It takes about 30 minutes to complete and consists of multiple horror themes such as insane asylums, experiments gone wrong and demonic nuns.

For more information on the Doom Haunt or to purchase tickets, visit the non-profit’s website.

3. The Haunted River

Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

The Haunted River experience begins as you walk on a dark path through the tree line to a station where you are given a lantern and instructions to cross the river. Once you make it across the bridge, terror ensues as you walk along the river through the forest, finding sinister hiding spots and secrets along the way.

According to the attractions website, the concept of this haunt was created around the legend of Reverend Elias Beane, a Christian zealot who caused a divide among white settlers and a Native American tribe that previously shared the land in harmony. In response to the settler’s hatred poisoning the land, the tribe set a boundary and warned that if it was crossed, the settlers would face the wrath of Wanetaqua or “The Soul Taker.”

Attendees of the Haunted River face the consequences and unravel the mystery in the history of this witchy attraction. Without giving too many spoilers, I will say one of my favorite parts of this haunt was voluntarily taking part in one of the religious-themed rites along the trail.

Visit the attraction’s website for more information on the Haunted River.

4. Idaho’s Haunted Hospital

Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

Although it gets dressed up for Halloween, Idaho’s Haunted Hospital is one of the most unique attractions in the area because it’s known to have ghosts year-round.

Located in Saint Anthony, the attraction is a part of the Idaho State Industrial Reform School that was built to house and school troubled youths in 1903. The hospital used to serve as the school’s infirmary but is now specially reserved for the Haunted Hospital attraction during the Halloween season.

Past residents’ stories of seeing ghosts and strange occurrences have fueled the property’s reputation for being haunted. There are stories of violent behavior and even suicide on the property from its days as a reform school. According to their website, the owners have confirmed “22 unmarked graves of children who died under suspicious circumstances” on the grounds.

The hospital gained most of its notoriety when the ghost-hunting show “Ghost Adventures” performed a paranormal investigation on the property in 2018. In the episode, the ghost hunters claim to have caught evidence of paranormal activity in both the hospital and the school buildings.

Another perk of this attraction is that while the Haunted Hospital is open only for the few weeks leading up to Halloween, there are tours of the reform school available year-round. For more information, visit the hospital’s Facebook page.

5. The Junkyard of Terror

Friends pose at the exit of the Junkyard of terror.

Friends pose at the exit of the Junkyard of terror. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

The Junkyard of Terror is the newest attraction in the area — and it opened this year. Set in a real auto salvage yard, the attraction features creepy characters that like to follow crowds through the junkyard, talk to them and even watch them from above. If the constant clangs of metal on metal aren’t unsettling enough, crawling through dark tunnels and dodging clowns might do the trick.

Located in Rigby, the junkyard started as a concept to fill an empty space and was inspired by the building’s already eerie atmosphere. It also offers a snack booth, fire pit and cornhole area to patrons as they exit the haunt. They serve regular concessions such as chips, candy and hot cocoa. On certain nights they have also offer “blood bag” drinks, red Gatorade for $2.

Visit the Junkyard of Terror Facebook page for more information.