We’re not chicken! We would definitely trick-or-treat at any one of the 10 houses on this list. It’s just that, well, you should go first.
It’s not the fault of these homes that they appear haunted. It’s just that old and run-down homes, especially Victorians, have been used in popular culture for decades as ground zero for all things scary and macabre.
According to Smithsonian magazine, haunted houses became popular during the Great Depression as a way to keep kids from vandalizing the neighborhood on Halloween. Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion helped to sear the creepy image of a large, ornate haunted house into our minds.
And these creepy cliches are exactly what kids have projected onto homes in their own neighborhoods for decades—the crumbling, corner house with an overgrown yard, mysterious occupants, and a spooky (yet dubious) backstory they heard from a friend of a friend of a friend.
But on Halloween, these somewhat scary places truly shine. In honor of all the scary-looking houses on the block across America, we bring this list of properties on the market right now that may not actually be haunted, but might require a double-dog dare before ringing the doorbell.
Berkeley boneyard: Here lie the bones of a Victorian home that hasn’t been occupied in 20 years. The location of this ramshackle home is primo—across the street from a Trader Joe’s grocery store—and the lot also includes a second unit. But both are in sorry shape, and a new owner will need to work with the city to determine renovation or development plans, which could present a nightmare all its own.
Zoning zombie: Built in 1905 next to the city’s Veterans Memorial, this four-bedroom fixer-upper has a faded little fence that all but screams, “keep out.” According to the listing, the home is in livable condition and is being sold as is. It also mentions applicable “zoning restrictions,” which could make for a frightful rehab or rebuild project.
Do not enter: This 1-acre lot filled with oak trees could be the start of something beautiful—an idyllic site for a vacation home just 11 miles from the beach. Currently, there’s a dilapidated shack built in 1945 that isn’t safe to enter—and where no one can hear you scream.
Killkenny, or kill Kenny? Once known as the Killkenny home, this residence from the 1950s is rotting in the Northern California sun. The surrounding 3.34 acres are beautiful with a brook and tucked in a private valley. One day, it will be the perfect spot for a dream home, but for now it looks like the stuff horror movies are made of.
No guarantees: Could you even make it to the front door? Overgrown and being reclaimed by nature, this Victorian is headed to auction in mid-November. Built in 1890, the three-bedroom home sits in what the listing claims is a good neighborhood. The home is being sold as is, with no “warranties, or guarantees as to the accuracy of the information provided.” Yikes!
Castle on the Vine: This lonely Victorian was built in 1892 on a half-acre lot. The home is part of Poplar Bluff history and protected by the Missouri Preservation Society, making its restoration a tax-deductible, if not bone-chilling, proposition.
Scary attic: Do you dare go up the stairs? This 3,000-square-foot Victorian has six bedrooms. Built in 1898, this place is in obvious need of repair, but it’s the listing photos of the severely angled attic that made us feel claustrophobic and creeped-out.
Surgeon needed: The listing for this seven-bedroom home calls for a buyer to perform “cosmetic surgery” on the property. This request could be taken all sorts of ways. Cue Dr. Frankenstein’s operating table! The price also includes a third-story apartment with two bedrooms, a deck, and separate entrance.
Gothic manor: Known as the Orr manor, this home was built by Judge Orr in 1865. We’re reasonably sure that there aren’t any eyes peeking at you from the window in the turret. The four-bedroom home still features many original touches, from the hardwood floors to the grand staircase.
Barn & boos: An enterprising and unafraid buyer could live in this 1890 home while it’s being restored. Custom details such as the chestnut staircase pocket doors are evidence of the four-bedroom home’s original beauty. There’s also a three-story barn on the half-acre property, which we would gladly visit during daylight hours.
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