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The 10 Spot: Haunted Haunts

October means it’s time for spooky season! Sure, you can watch your favorite thrillers curled up on the couch, but when you’re ready to experience the real deal, choose one of these 10 local haunts—pun intended. Whether you love getting super scared, are a history buff, like a bit of putt-putt with your Halloween, or spirits are more your thing, there's something for everyone.

Heartstoppers Haunted House offers multiple rooms with various themes—ranging from Old West zombies to steampunk horror in a medical ward. Sited in Rancho Cordova, the attraction has been around for over 15 years and is truly a haunting experience—one that's not recommended for anyone under the age of 13. Speaking of 13, they’re usually open for this many nights during the Halloween season. 2300 Mine Shaft Lane, Rancho Cordova, 916-572-2733,

Heartstoppers Haunted House


Take in a haunted house experience—in an actual haunted “house.” The setting, you ask? Preston Castle—a former reform school for boys with many reports of paranormal activity. The 2019 movie Apparition was filmed here, and the property has been featured on such shows as Ghost Adventures and Ghost Hunters. Two different admission times will be held on October 13-24, 20-21, and 27-28. 900 Palm Drive, Ione, 209-256-3623,

Preston Castle


Main Street in Placerville is home to the historic Cary House Hotel where a former employee named Stan went to work and never returned home. As the story goes, Stan angered a man at the hotel and was stabbed. Rooms 406 and 208, along with the lobby, are where Stan likes to be the most. There’s been reports of piano music that can only be heard in certain locations, particularly at the top of the hotel’s first stair level—can you hear it? 300 Main Street, Placerville, 530-622-4271,

Cary House Hotel


For a bloody good time, head to Sutter Street Theatre for their performance of Evil Dead The Musical. Shows run Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through November 5, with a special show on October 31 at 7 p.m. The story follows five college students who visit an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them all into demons. Expect blood to fly, dismembered limbs, and lots of laughs—all to music! Did we mention there’s a special “splatter zone” section where the audience gets covered in fake blood? 717 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-353-1001,


Next time you’re in the mood for elevated hot chicken fare (fries, sandwiches, salads, tenders, or tacos) with a twist, dancing, and spirit sightings (doesn’t everyone want all three?), head to Folsom Hotel. According to legend, more than one spirit is still here, from a man who badly cut himself while installing a mirror for a brothel worker who took a tumble down the stairs. Multiple reports of seeing lights, feeling a presence, and noticeably chilly temperatures out of the blue have also been reported. 703 Sutter Street, Folsom, 916-985-2530,

Folsom Hotel


If you want a family-friendly activity to go with your scares, hit up Golfland Sunsplash in Roseville. Spooktacular golf is on the agenda—where their miniature golf course gets a festive makeover as the sun goes down! You can also head to The Gauntlet, which will provide more of a traditional haunted house experience. This one isn’t recommended for those under 13, so choose your adventure accordingly. 1893 Taylor Road, Roseville, 916-784-1273,

This list wouldn’t be complete without mention of Pioneer Cemetery, which happens to be home to a plethora of 49ers. There have been reports of a tall man with a beard and torn clothing walking around—we assume he might be protecting his gold claims—and a skirted woman who is unhappy that her gravesite is too far away from other family members. Mickey Free and Jerry Crane, convicted murderers, were also doubly hanged here in 1855. 310 Back Street, Coloma, 530-622-3470.

Pioneer Cemetery


Though Sequoia Mansion is now the tasting room for Nello Olivo Winery as well as a wedding venue, it once housed Marcus Bennett, a judge in the 1850s, whose son tragically died when he was only four years old. Multiple ghosts are said to roam the property, including the judge, his son, other children, and a cook. Visitors have reported flickering lights, noises, and faucets running with no one turning them on. 643 Bee Street, Placerville, 530-409-5603,

Diamond Springs Hotel, which is actually a restaurant and not an operational hotel, sits near an old crematorium. The spirits are so strong here that employees have divulged feeling their presence after they left work, as if following them home. Everything from sightings, the trash being left unlocked, the sound of children’s footsteps, and the smell of musty cigar smoke or roses and perfume have been reported. Tables 10 and 19 are notorious for the activity. 545 Pleasant Valley Road, Diamond Springs, 530-621-1730,

Cemetarium Haunted House in Orangevale offers various levels of scare. Go for the real deal, like the Cemetarium, Psycho Circus, and Zombie Heights, or opt for the still-sizable mini haunt area for something more lightweight for the littles. If your stomach is screaming as much as you are, head to their snack bar for coffee and light bites (both sweet and savory)! Check things out October 20-22 and 25-31. 6826 Hazel Avenue, Orangevale, 916-670-9662, 

Cemetarium Haunted House


by Caitlin McCulloch

Heartstoppers photo by Frank Buchanan. Preston Castle photo by Marcie Canale.  Cary House photo by Jody Franklin. Evil Dead photo courtesy of Sutter Street Theatre. Folsom Hotel photo by @916pix. Pioneer Cemetery photo by Jay Silva.