Workhouse Haunt’s Carnival of Terror
Photo provided by Workhouse Performing Arts

We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Workhouse Haunt: The Collection

Do you like scary movies? If so, you’ll wanna book tickets, now, for Workhouse Haunt. Returning for its seventh year and running from Sunday, Oct. 3 through Saturday, Nov. 6, the haunt beckons with glowing lights and an oddly alluring carnival where workers invite those passing by to get lost in the fun. Hosted by Workhouse Performing Arts, this annual spook-fest has become a fall tradition in the DMV, but this season, to keep the scares unrelated to the real-life pandemic, the haunt takes place outdoors for a frightful 30-minute walk across the grounds of D.C.’s former correctional facility. Local youth actors will provide countless (and contactless) bumps in the night by transforming into monstrous ghouls and eerie beings against terrifying backdrops as visitors journey through abandoned buildings and dark woods. Not only does the fright fest deliver chills to all who dare to enter, but it’s also a fundraiser and program extension for participating teens to perfect their theatrical skills. The cultural arts center has called the grounds home since 2004—three years after the prison, which operated from 1910 to 2001, shuttered. During its 91 years, the correctional complex housed pastures, orchards, a poultry farm and slaughterhouse, a sawmill, and much more. What remains makes for an absolutely chilling experience for anyone who ever wondered what it might feel like to be in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. In the spirit of health and social distancing, tickets are sold for timed entry; beer, wine, snacks, and more will be available for purchase. The walk is wheelchair accessible, but it’s not recommended for kids under 13. For the Oct. 3 opening, first responders, teachers, military, veterans, and health care workers will receive free entry. So channel your inner Final Girl and see if you have what it takes to make it to the sequel. But don’t be a trope, wear shoes that are appropriate for an outdoor jaunt. Workhouse Haunt runs for 15 nights from Oct. 3 to Nov. 6, Friday through Sunday, at Workhouse Performing Arts campus, 9518 Workhouse Way, Lorton. $25-$35.