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America's Best Haunted Houses (PHOTOS)

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13TH GATE
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Americans love a good scare as long as it doesn't involve the debt ceiling.

That may be why the Halloween industry has gone from a $1 billion a year industry in 1996 to a $10 billion one, according to HauntWorld.com, a trade magazine covering the boo biz.

HauntWorld editor Larry Kirchner says the owners of haunted attractions have learned that what used to be a seasonal activity can now be run successfully all year-round.

"When I started out, basically haunted houses in a given area were competing with local businesses," he told the Huffington Post last year. "Now, thanks to YouTube and Travel Channel, the competition to be the best has gone national."

Kirchner has kept up with the trend by publishing a list of America's top 13 haunted attractions.

"[The public wants] live, in-your-face scares combined with high tech scares for the utmost in lifelike scares," Kirchner wrote in a press release announcing the list. "They want what a roller coaster can’t deliver no matter how high or fast they’re built."

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