13th Floor Haunted House, located about 20 minutes from Capital’s campus at 2605 Northland Plaza Dr., opened this year for its first Halloween season in Columbus.
Previously known as the ScareAtorium, this haunted house features two mazes, Darkest Dreams and Dead-End District, and is located in a strip mall next to CSL Plasma and Discount Fashion Warehouse. The location is now owned by 13th Floor Entertainment Group and reopened as 13th Floor Columbus for the 2018 Halloween season. The parent company operates over 15 haunted houses during the season, as well as other year-round entertainment, such as escape rooms, all over the United States.
I have to be honest, I’m easily scared and hated the iconic Haunted Hoochie in Pataskala, Ohio, but I’m happy to say that I was extremely impressed by the 13th Floor. The houses were good for a whole range of people; they were bearable for someone who doesn’t love spooky stuff, but they weren’t corny or boring. They gave a good scare without being raunchy or extremely violent. I would feel comfortable bringing my 12-year-old brother to this haunted house, and I wouldn’t worry about him being scarred for life.
Another incredible part of this house was the theming. When I realized this house was in a strip mall, I braced myself for disappointment in the realism of the scenes, but there were times that I totally forgot where I was. In the second zombie-themed house, there was an outdoor scene where the creatures were chasing after you and climbing over real cars. It truly felt like you were outside on a zombie-infested street.
This house is different than the others I’ve been to because you go in with just your group, whether it be two people or 10. This made the scare experience more personal because the scare actors are able to focus on a small group rather than a continual line of people.
There were some things I didn’t like about 13th Floor Columbus, though. For instance, the houses were a little confusing and scare actors would have to point us in the right direction at times. For example, in the last scene of the second house, we were stuck for a few minutes because the exit wasn’t obvious, and the scare actor didn’t help us.
Another odd thing about the 13th Floor was the number of lines we had to wait in. To get in the first house, we waited in three lines: one outside on the sidewalk of the strip mall, one just inside the doors of the strip mall, and one before we went into the first house. We also had to wait in line to get into the second house, which made for a total of four lines. I realize that it was probably set up that way to control crowds, but it seemed a little over-the-top.
Overall, I definitely recommend the 13th Floor Columbus because of how unique it is, how great the theming was, and how close it is to campus. You also get a pretty good bang for your buck; admission to both houses varies between $20 and $30 depending on the day. This is comparable to the price of other Columbus haunted houses like Carnage and Haunted Hoochie. There is also the option to purchase fast lane tickets for $10 extra and skip the line passes for $20 extra, but I don’t think these are necessary if you get to the house by the time it opens for the night.
For more information on when the attraction is open and to purchase tickets visit 13thfoorcolumbus.com, and click here for information on other haunted houses close to campus.