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Does Onionhead Ever Get His Revenge at the Mall of America’s New Haunted House?

We sent our favorite MOA expert/idiot to find out.

RiAnna Butler|


Once upon a time, the Twin Cities metro had a thriving haunted house scene. The Soap Factory. Valley Scare. Trail of Terror. Spookyworld. That house on Dowling & Lyndale with all the crazy-ass graffiti. These places struck terror in the hearts and minds of Twin Cidiots around this time of year. But alas, they all either ran out of funding, pivoted to a more family-friendly model, or closed due to management being a horrific piece of trash

With such a gaping, haunted house-sized hole in our community, where’s a simpleton such as myself supposed to get a good old-fashioned, pants-shitting scare? At the Mall of America, of course! 

When MOA announced its new haunted house attraction for the 2023 Halloween season, Onionhead’s Revenge, it promised "one of the top haunt attractions in the country" with "45,000 square feet of terror" and "elaborate set designs." But does the “first of its kind immersive haunted attraction” live up to that PR hype? Could there be anything more terrifying than the usual late-stage capitalism that already happens daily at America’s Mall? I decided to see for myself.

Now you might wonder: What the hell is an onionhead, and why is it so vengeful? And those are fair questions, considering onionhead sounds vaguely like an old-timey ethnic slur. According to the official Onionhead’s Revenge website: 

“​​Onionhead” is the cruel nickname forced upon a young man from Slidell, Louisiana, who was brutally murdered by a vigilante mob after being wrongly accused for the murder of a young woman. Consumed by rage, the assailants hacked his body into 13 pieces and scattered them in a nearby cemetery.

Swearing vengeance, his mother put a hex on the townspeople who took her son. In the months following, those responsible for Onionhead’s murder were each victims of gruesome deaths.

Locals still report sightings of a monstrosity, hideously stitched together, stalking the cemetery… and out for revenge.”

Chilling stuff!

Onionhead’s bayou sits in the former MOA COVID-19 vaccination site. As our party approached, a light fog surrounded us. The plain-clothes employee at the entrance informed us that there’d be a drag show at 9 p.m. that night. When asked if there was a theme for the show, they replied that it was $10 to get in, but we’d get in free with our ticket to the haunted house. I have to assume they misheard the question. That, or it was a really bizarrely themed drag show. Either way, we headed deeper into the bayou for a drink at Vern’s Moonshine, the bar just outside the haunted maze entrance.

Joel Swenson

Now, it’s not every day that you stumble across a haunted house with a bar. It’s even more unheard of that you come across a bar (haunted or otherwise) with all four flavors of hard Mountain Dew, but Vern’s delivered handily on that front. Not only that, but they also had hard Lipton Iced Tea, which my trashy ass didn’t even know existed, so kudos to Vern and the Onionhead’s Revenge proprietors for educating me. In addition to those fine offerings, the Vern’s menu includes some canned wine and cocktails, a few local brews, and a smattering of Zapp’s New Orleans-style kettle chips flavors, naturally. Notably missing from the beverage selection were any THC products, so drink those beforehand—if you dare.

The vibe at Vern’s is more swamp-themed than haunted (setting aside all the screaming from next door in the maze). Fake moonshine bottles line the walls, a clothesline hangs from the ceiling, and the tables are all big whiskey barrels. You know, swamp shit. While we were there, Beetlejuice was playing on a comically small TV. Personally, I think Deliverance would’ve been more on theme, but who am I to question Onionhead’s cinematic curation?

No drinks are allowed outside of Vern’s, meaning it was time to chug if we were to make our 7:30 p.m. reserved time slot. After a quick trip to see how spooky the bathrooms were (could have been scarier), we lined up for our turn to let Onionhead have his revenge on us.

We waited. And waited. And waited some more.

It was a little after 9 p.m by the time we finally reached the front of the line. Guess we weren’t making that $10-themed drag show after all. We waited just over an hour and a half despite buying a ticket for a 7:30 entry. They offer a Fast-Pass for an additional $15 that lets you cut the line, but considering the general admission is already a fairly steep $35, it didn’t seem worth it when we bought our tickets. Turns out we probably should’ve invested the extra money. The wait wouldn’t be so bad if they at least let you enjoy a crispy hard Mountain Dew in line, but apparently, a vengeful, murderous psychopath like Onionhead draws the line at public consumption.

Joel Swenson

Once we finally made it into the haunt, it was… fine! Some rooms were incredibly detailed and moved the story along while being legitimately creepy. Others were just black rooms with glow-in-the-dark paint on the walls and a spooky guy in the corner. That inconsistency made the experience feel pretty disjointed.

Early on in the maze, you happen upon the cemetery where Onionhead’s hacked-up body parts were scattered. While the scenery was appropriately eerie, the scary characters (or “scarachters”) just followed us around making “grrr” noises. The resulting effect was just not as intended. 

There were a few notably creepy spots in the maze, including a living room scene with a TV set in the corner playing a newscast about a missing girl. It was haunted by a very spooky individual in a dress and sweater who just stood in the middle of the room and stared, lost in the newscast. We found ourselves in the missing girl's room with another ghoulish individual a few sets later.

The strangest part of the maze by far came toward the end when a chainsaw-wielding Onionhead, the man himself, chased us through one of those inflatable hallways that feels like a giant womb. I don’t know, maybe the theme of the drag show was “Rebirth” or something.

All in all, considering Onionhead’s Revenge is really the only haunted house option in the immediate area, it was a great way to spend a Wednesday evening. Despite my pants remaining unshitted, I’d give the entire experience three out of five onions. It would be two and a half, but that hard Mountain Dew selection is definitely worth half a star.

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