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Hell, Michigan is Real and the Perfect Halloween Spot

Updated on January 17, 2021
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty has successfully reviewed thousands of books, films, products, and vacation/retirement cities around the world.


A Unique and Friendly Conclave

Hell is a small resort within a larger resort area, unincorporated, and largely owned by an unofficial mayor near Pinckney, Michigan. It is a welcoming community tucked away among new traffic circles, smooth highways, and large homes.

Located south of State Route 36 in the Pinckney Recreation Area, the community serves residents and visitors as a vacation getaway for camping and kayaking, but draws many newcomers on holidays like Halloween with special events.

Thanks to friends I met through online writing in Detroit and Civil Air Patrol in Bay City, Michigan I was led to visit this hideaway and take other friends to enjoy it.

Hell's Mission Statement

To be the Year Round Halloween Theme Area in the United States.

People You Will Enjoy Meeting

This community is host to thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the year and some call the restaurants on the main strip of town "biker bars." However, I don't see a difference between these two places and many other Restaurants around Michigan - even advertised "family restaurants" that happen to serve alcoholic beverages. Patrons and staff have always been welcoming and friendly when I have brought friends to visit.

Two motorcycle groups in particular are etched in my memory from visiting the Hell community. Present on the same day, one comprised riders who were collecting funds for a children's charity and another one was made up of riders from a number of churches. The second group was on a ride across Michigan that was sponsored by the donations for contributors to fund special needs youth.

The men and women in both these groups dressed in black leather and jeans, and were very friendly and gracious to other visitors who approached them to see what they were about.

I've also met a few riders from Bikers Against Bullies, Michigan Bikers Helping Veterans, and some small groups of friends just out for "a ride through Hell." They were all fun to meet, especially since one of my visiting friends was a USAF veteran.

Bridge to Nowhere in Hell. This is one of the many sites to see in this community.
Bridge to Nowhere in Hell. This is one of the many sites to see in this community. | Source

All October weekends are special Hell-O-Holloweekends with special events, music, costumes, and more.

Postcards From Hell

My favorite place in this community is the small post office inside the general store on the main strip of town. I surprised a sick friend with a scorched postcard from that post office, burnt slightly on all four sides. The postmaster even scorched the card so I could see it done.

When my friend received the card, she laughed herself silly and even felt better that day. Her husband laughed and their neighbors liked the car as well.

Living in Hell - Or Nearby

Store personnel deliver anything you want from their stock, to your campsite or any nearby motel. Many of the T-shirt designs in stock have been made by a Scream's employee I met who was on TV's Survivor (Micronesia): Eric Reichenbach, who attended Eastern Michigan University and became a graphic designer and comic illustrator for publications like People.

Eric has lived for years in nearby Pinckney, but other people live in Hell all year long. In addition, Hell, Michigan comic book series was written by Dan Jolley and Clint Hilinski; and resident and blues-rock guitar man Michael Katon (Boogieman from Hell) was recently awarded a place in the Michigan Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The center of activity on the main strip, including cafes and ice cream.
The center of activity on the main strip, including cafes and ice cream. | Source

Are you sure you want to do this?

— Matre 'D

A Spooky Eatery

My first day in Hell, I walked into a crowded and dimly-lit cafe looking for lunch.

From behind me, I was greeted by the Matre'D's with, "Are you sure you want to do this?"

A bit startled, I turned, but he was already speaking with another customer. He was was part of this popular tourist attraction during the Halloween season. I was distracted by overwhelming aromas emanating from some heavenly kitchen in the far back corner.

The gift shop beckoned with it's latest French gowns straight from a Goth fashion catwalk. The collection included a black room filled with ebony handkerchief skirts, catsuits, capes, clarinets - everything black.

Aromas from the heavenly kitchen caught me again and I wandered toward the back, where I found a grey room filled with the Headstone Representatives' Convention, followed by a totally orange corner chamber taken up with a conference of coffin-purse salesmen.

This was better than a European tour.

Screaming at the Main Store

Inside Scream's at the country store, you find many items not available since Spencer's Gifts went out of business.

One particularly amusing item is a bottle of soil from Hell with an explanatory poster that explains the chemical content of Hell's Half Acre - of course it contains sulfur!

A smartly packaged bottle of dehydrated water is also available, although it looks empty. If you like magic tricks, there are several spinning racks of tricks that you can take home.

Remember those little sponge figures that you put in water and they expand? At the store, you can choose any from a dinosaur to Wonder Woman or a new husband (whom you can take down to the tiny Wedding Chapel next door).

Hell holds an annual hearse festival called Hearse Fest. It was cancelled in 2018, but members of a hearse club had it anyway to celebrate a wedding at the wedding chapel.

Community Businesses

  • Hell Canoe and Kayak Rental: at Scream's Ice Cream/Country Store
  • Screams Ice Cream and Hell in a Hand Basket Country Store & Spirits: 4025 Patterson Lake Road
  • Souvenir Shop sits next door to Dam Site Inn (and Hell Saloon): 4045 and 4095 Patterson Lake Road. Jim Mills and John Soelz purchased the Inn in 2009.
  • Hell Creek Ranch and Campground: 10866 Cedar Lake Road. Motorcycles and Horses are welcomed.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
At Scream's Ice Cream, small children and little people have used this door next to the big blue one, which is a tradition that is used to ward off demons.  Look for Screams Creamatory, Holy Cow Dairy! Dam Site InnDam at the Dam Site InnThe Hubcap Shack
At Scream's Ice Cream, small children and little people have used this door next to the big blue one, which is a tradition that is used to ward off demons.
At Scream's Ice Cream, small children and little people have used this door next to the big blue one, which is a tradition that is used to ward off demons. | Source
Look for Screams Creamatory, Holy Cow Dairy!
Look for Screams Creamatory, Holy Cow Dairy! | Source
Dam Site Inn
Dam Site Inn | Source
Dam at the Dam Site Inn
Dam at the Dam Site Inn | Source
The Hubcap Shack
The Hubcap Shack | Source

Additional Attractions

  • Pinckney Recreation Area: 8555 Silver Hill Rd, Pinckney MI
  • TMZ Farm Buffalo Ranch Tours: 2324 Patterson Lake Road, Pinckney MI -- Just one mile away from Hell.

I don't ever remember to celebrate Halloween except when I visit the small community of Hell among high quality campgrounds, lakes, and rivers in a beautiful part of Michigan. There is nothing but wholesome fun here and nothing to fear.

Hell in a Hand Basket Country Store:
4025 Patterson Lake Rd, Pinckney, MI 48169, USA

get directions

Dam Site Inn/Hell Saloon:
4095 Patterson Lake Rd, Pinckney, MI 48169, USA

get directions

Distance From Hell to Other Points

Place Name
Miles Distant
Detroit MI/Windsor ON
60 SE
Detroit Metro Airport
45 SE
Garden City
40 SE
Ann Arbor
15 NW
5 N
Lansing, State Capital
46 NW
Tri-City: Saginaw, Bay City, Midland MI
80 to 90 N
Soaring Eagle Resort (owned by Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation), Mt. Pleasant MI
112 NW
Toledo, Ohio
76 SE


  • Chavez, C. Former Eastern Michigan runner Erik Reichenbach takes us through his ‘Survivor’ experience. Citrus Mag; March 30, 2017.. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  • Hernandez, N. After year on market, still no buyer for Hell, Michigan; Detroit Free Press, March 11, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  • Inglish, P. Visits to Hell, Michigan in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2017.
  • King, R.J. North Star Reach Camp in Pinckney for Children With Health Issues Set to Open in July; dbusiness; June 17, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  • Michigan Rock and Roll Legends. MRRL Hall of Fame: Michael Katon.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2009 Patty Inglish MS


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