Though Nebraska isn’t the best place in the world to find awe-inspiring landscapes, it does shine at Halloween. Maybe it’s because this is where the Wild West really takes shape, or maybe it’s because there’s so much corn and so many pumpkins (for corn mazes and pumpkin patches, of course). If you’d like to get out and really experience Nebraska in its full glory, fall is definitely a good time to do it, as this is when farmers are harvesting their corn fields and the wind blows with a fury before the sun sets. Fall is one of the best seasons in the state and a good time to take in the Nebraska corn mazes, a few pumpkin patches, and various Halloween attractions featuring uniquely Nebraskan fare.
Nebraska is a big state and for those who come from other areas of the world, it might surprise you to know that the culture on the eastern half is quite a bit different from that in the west. In eastern Nebraska, the weather is different. There’s more rain and more hills and the only truly urban areas in the state are in Lincoln and Omaha. As a result, the economy in eastern Nebraska is different. Western Nebraska, on the other hand, is all about cows, corn, and the Wild West. It’s a much more rural culture with an economy that’s learned to deal with a lot less rain than the east. This is where irrigation is a way of life. The land is flat and dry. As you travel along I-80, you’ll find different ways of doing things from west to east and east to west in Nebraska including the way Halloween attractions are operated.
There are a variety of haunted houses in Omaha and the surrounding areas including places like Haunted Hollow, Mystery Manor, the Shadow’s Edge, and Scary Acres. These particular Omaha haunted houses are staples in the area. They’ve been around a long time and each one is different from the others, catering to different tastes and different crowds. The most dedicated Halloween enthusiasts visit each of them every year.
In Central Nebraska there are haunted houses in Kearney, NE and the surrounding areas. Most of them are fundraisers. In fact, there’s a haunted house in Gothenburg, NE as well as in Kearney that both do fundraising for local theaters. The World Theatre in Kearney puts on a haunted house each year and the Theater of Terror in Gothenburg does as well. Kneeknocker Woods in Gibbon (an animatronic haunted house in Kearney vinicity) is like a museum of scary animatronic Halloween machines.
Moving toward the western end of the state you’ll find School District 13, the biggest haunted attraction in Nebraska that encompasses the entire town of Brule (population 400) plus a haunted corn maze just outside of town. It may seem weird that the biggest haunted attraction would be in western Nebraska, but you have to remember that land in western Nebraska is cheaper and… this is the Wild West, after all! It’s a good place for unconventional things like a haunted town overrun with zombies and monsters! School District 13 is only about 3 hours from Denver, CO along I-80 so people come from all directions to do the 5 haunted houses (including one of the few far western corn mazes in Nebraska), ride the bus, walk the haunted streets. Also in western Nebraska is the North Platte pumpkin patch and corn maze at the Golden Spike Tower. There’s a little bit of railroad-oriented fun mixed in with this venue which makes it unique in this area too.
So if you’re trying to find places to go for Halloween in Nebraska, consider doing a road trip across the state to see everything Nebraska has to offer this time of the year. You might be surprised at the diversity of things that are going on here in the fall.