Haunted houses are now open for business in October. Enjoy. Check back often because we’ll be updating this with more houses and new reviews as we get closer to Halloween. New for 2019, we’re also including a few non-haunt seasonal attractions.
13th Floor Haunted House
1940 George Street in Melrose Park (http://13thfloorchicago.com)
The 13th Floor haunt in Melrose Park has deep pockets, it’s part of the nationwide Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group. New for 2019, the haunt themes are Creature Feature and Other Side. In Creature Feature, classic movie monsters come back from the (dead/undead/undecided) in an abandoned theater. Inside the doors, expect the kind of Hollywood movie set-quality rooms you’ll know from past years. A few highlights: A candlelit hall of druids, all absorbed in chanting and praying until one takes an interest in you. Another space has a simple-but-genius scene of open coffins, with tricks of perspective that make your eyes and feet disagree as to which way is up. All you’ll know if you’re falling into the coffins. The Other Side has been lovingly ripped off from a certain Netflix series you may know. Expect creatures in the forest and, um, stranger things. This second haunt has the newest rooms for 13th Floor this year, with scenes from science labs and roving actors that do justice to the theme.
What else: Be aware Thirteenth Floor is not operating its House of Torment location in Morton Grove this year. Also, I took a young-but-brave haunted house first timer and we arrived right at opening time, which was a great move — shorter lines and less bunching and crowding inside.
Open Friday-Sunday, adding more weekdays in October, open daily by Oct. 21. Through Nov. 9. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., open until 11 p.m. on Friday-Saturdays and Halloween night. Tickets are $19.99-$32.99, depending on day of the week. Fast Pass is $10, Skip the Line is $20.
Dungeon of Doom
600 29th St., Zion (https://dungeonofdoom.com)
This sprawling haunted house in north suburban Zion will take at least an hour to get through, and always has something new up its bloody, rotting sleeve. Buried Dead or Alive mimics the experience of you lying in the grave as they shovel the dirt back in. New for 2019, says owner Peter Koklamanis, is Condemned. The backstory is a prequel, of sorts, to the house’s Tomb of Doom. Ill-fated missionaries who first came to the area made camp in a dead forest — and were consumed by its inhabitants. “You’re immersed in a jungle as you walk into the new section,” he said. “That’s unique for a haunted house I think.”
What else: The Buried Dead or Alive experience is guaranteed for VIP tickets, others as time and space permits (and if you’re claustrophobic you can skip and rejoin your group after). Also offering Edge of Escape Room Challenge (extra $17). The Dungeon of Doom location add to the atmospherics, down at the end of an isolated road, but be aware the parking is a couple blocks away. If it’s raining, at least the waiting area is inside.
Open Friday-Saturday, then open Sundays beginning Oct. 13, plus Oct. 24 and 31, through Nov. 2. Blackout Nights Nov. 8-9. Hours vary by date; Sept 27-28 is 7 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturdays for most of October is 7 p.m.-midnight, Sundays to 10 p.m. Tickets are $30 (general admission) to $55 (VIP Front of Line on the prime nights of Oct. 18-19).
Hellsgate Haunted House
1300 South State St., Lockport (www.hellsgate.com)
Among the crowded field of haunted houses, this place is something different. To reach Hellsgate in Lockport, you park at the Lockport Metra lot (at 1300 South State St.) and a shuttle will take you deep off the beaten path toward a mansion in the woods. The scares start before you get to the front door.
What else: For a $99 “Hell Pass,” says Hellsgate, “we will mark your friend or family member as our personal target for the entire tour.” So that could be fun. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a parent.
Open Thursday-Sunday beginning Oct. 3, plus Oct. 30. Through Nov. 2. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and Sunday, until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $30 (general admission), $40 (VIP line skip), $65 (instant entry).
Jack’s Pumpkin Glow
2751 Navistar Drive, Lisle, on the east side of Naperville Road (https://glowpumpkin.com/chicago)
Put away your scares for a moment. New this year in Lisle, Jack’s Pumpkin Glow promises to be an all-ages, after-dark wonderland of thousands of carved pumpkins, pumpkin sculptures and other light displays. It’s new in the Chicago area this year — there have been Pumpkin Glow displays in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Nashville — and put on by the nationwide Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group. Watch for a full review in the Tribune soon.
What else: On Sunday, Oct. 6, there will be a special sensory-friendly night titled Autism Glows.
Open Thursday-Sunday beginning Oct. 3, running through Oct. 27. Hours Thursdays 6:45 p.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 6:45 p.m.-10 p.m., Sunday 7 p.m.-9:30 p.m., with longer hours later in October. Tickets are $16.99 (ages 3-12 with timed admission) to $29.99 (adult anytime), on sale now, some dates and times have already sold out.
Basement of the Dead
42 W. New York St., Aurora (https://basementofthedead.com)
Basement of the Dead in Aurora has both Basement of the Dead and Shattered Haunted House for your ticket. It’s in Aurora, walking distance from the Metra stop in Tivoli Plaza, west of Hollywood Casino Aurora. Owner Todd Baraniak says they’ve invested six figures in the haunts, with new props and rooms for 2019.
What else: Zombie Carnival has ax throwing and other games of skill ($5, ages 18+) and the there’s new Kraken Casino and Pirates Revenge to join Stabbin Cabin in the five-minute escape rooms ($7 per player).
Open Thursday to Sunday, plus Oct. 30. Nov. 1-2 are Blackout Nights, you just get a flashlight to find your way. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Sundays, open to 11 p.m. Friday-Saturdays, and earlier 6 p.m. Saturday opening later in October. Tickets are $30 (general admission), $45 (VIP Fast Pass) and $99 (Ultimate Package with all skip-the-line admissions and some souvenirs). Buy your ticket online and use for any day they’re open; discounts for online purchases and for Thursdays.
299 Montgomery Road, Montgomery (http://fearthemassacre.com)
The Massacre in Montgomery is celebrating 10 years of scaring people this year. From its expansion last year, it again has Massacre and Freak Show 3D for your ticket (the latter including 3-D glasses). Now boasting 60 rooms and more than 20,000 square feet.
What else: There’s a whole menu of Mind Trap Escape Rooms, most of them hour-long experiences and open year-round. Plus Bull & Bear Axe Throwing; your $34.99 ticket to the public range will get you 90 minutes of target throwing as well as an on-site Axe Coach.
Open Sept. 28, then Fridays-Saturdays in October, adding Sundays and Thursdays beginning Oct. 13 plus Oct. 30. Through Nov. 2. Hours from 7 p.m. most days, check the website as hours vary by date, as late as 6:30 p.m. to midnight later in October. Tickets are $25.99 (general admission), $35.99 (Fast Pass), $49.99 (VIP Immediate Access with an escort, plus 5-Minute Escape Room). Some prices higher at the door; check the website for discounts. (Our favorite: $5 off with ticket stub from any other haunted house.)
Statesville Haunted Prison
17250 S. Weber Road, Lockport (https://statesvillehauntedprison.com)
This longtime haunted house out near Joliet has Statesville Haunted Prison and City of the Dead. The red-and-white checkered heavy metal clown room is still the standard by which others must be judged.
What else: Ages 11 to 15 must be accompanied by a paid adult, discounts available when buying tickets online.
Open Thursday-Sunday beginning Oct. 3, plus Oct. 30. Through Nov. 2. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and Sunday, until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. (If you are in the parking lot by closing, you will be admitted.) Tickets are $30 (general admission) to $45 (line-skip VIP). Prices $5 more at the door. Open Thursday to Sunday, plus Oct. 31. Hours 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays and Oct. 31.
Fright Fest at Six Flags Great America
1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee (www.sixflags.com/greatamerica/special-events/fright-fest-night)
Come for the scares, stay for the rides, or the other way around. Fright Fest has been steadily expanding its options over the years and now includes themed rides (nine in all including the Whizzer) and live shows along with the haunts. New for 2019 are the haunted mazes 13th Order and Infected. Plus Manslaughter Manor, Infestation Gates of Hell and Big Top Terror.
What else: Costumes and masks are not permitted. The park is family-friendly until 6 p.m., then the monsters come out.
Open Friday-Sunday, plus Oct. 14 and Oct. 31. Through Nov. 3. Hours are 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Fridays, from 11 a.m. Saturdays-Sundays, closing as late as midnight later in October. Tickets are $47.99 and up for general admission, as high as $79.99 at the gate. Plus $35-$50 for haunted house wristband. Fast-passes are $55-$155. Parking is $30-$45.
Realm of Terror
421 W. Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach (www.realmofterror.com)
Thirst for Blood is a drink the Realm of Terror bar, it’s also a mission statement for the Round Lake Beach attraction. Realm of Terror likes to brag about its effects; the look of the dedicated scare staff is by “Faceoff” Season 9’s Stevie Calabrese.
What else: Realm of Terror boasts the Haunt Bar (ages 21+), the only haunt we know of with a bar.
Open Sept. 28, Oct. 4-5, then Friday-Sunday for the rest of October. Through Nov. 2. Hours are 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. most Fridays and Saturdays, to 10 p.m. Sundays. Tickets $25 (general admission), $35 (Skip the Line) and $45 (VIP Front of Line plus a Haunt Bar drink pass).
626 177th Street, Hammond, Ind. (http://reapersrealm.com)
Reapers Realm is in an out-of-the-way spot near the expressway in Northwest Indiana. There’s a three-level mansion, plus Reaper’s Woods out back and carnival rides along a bend of the Little Calumet River. This haunted attraction proved to be the most tactile experience I’ve had to date; it will get in your psyche and have you grasping the walls. Expect farmscapes (a la “Children of the Corn”) and animatronics that will have you doing triple-takes on the approximately 30-minute adventure. (2018 review)
What else: Some folks come just for the Carnevil (neon-lit midway games and carnival rides that drop and spin).
Open Fridays through Sundays beginning Oct. 11, plus Oct. 30-31. Hours 7 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 7 to 10 p.m. Sundays. If you’re in the parking lot by closing, you can get admission. Tickets are $10 (Reaper’s Woods or Reaper’s Revenge admission only), $20.00 (Reaper’s Mansion only), $25 (Mansion + Woods or Revenge), $30 (all-access plus carnival ride) and $40 (all access + unlimited rides. Speed Pass is an additional $25.
900 Grace Street, Elgin (https://eihaunt.com)
Located in the home of the former Elgin Casket Co. (really), Evil Intentions has extra experiences such as ghost tours. Instead of big-budget, off the shelf props, this place makes everything lovingly by hand. Is the building really haunted? Evil Intentions invites you to “be terrorized at this multi-level 55,000-square-foot paranormal hot spot.”
What else: The Ghost Tours are 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. and include a tour of the building and a “live investigation” ($50).
Open Fridays to Sundays, plus Oct. 24, 29, 30 and 31. Hours 7:30 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays, 7:30 to 10 p.m. Sundays and weekdays. Tickets are $30 (general admission) to $40 (VIP Fast Pass).
Arts in the Dark
State Street in Chicago from Lake Street to Van Buren (www.ArtsintheDark.org)
Your surely don’t have to travel to the far suburbs to celebrate Halloween. Arts in the Dark is the annual Halloween nighttime parade in the Loop, put on by the nonprofit LUMA8 (Light Up My Arts), in collaboration with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct.19; free.
Pier Pumpkin Lights
Chicago Navy Pier (www.navypier.org)
For the first time, Navy Pier is getting dressed up for Halloween, with pumpkin designs and other art installations by Ivan Carlson Event Design.
What else: Free trick-or-treating on Oct. 26-27, plus the inaugural Cosplay on the Pier: Halloween Fest 2019 for 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Oct. 26.
Open all day but best after dark, Oct. 1 to Nov. 2; free.
Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland Ave., Chicago (www.desolateentertainment.com)
The haunted house right here in Chicago is The Attic. Formerly known as the Park After Dark, it’s been dug up from its shallow grave and reborn for 2019 by Desolate Entertainment and the Chase Park Advisory Council. Don’t let the “park” in the credits fool you, this is a fake-bloody PG-13 experience, not a day camp, described as a “macabre playhouse overrun by the orphaned children trapped inside.”
What else: The Lawrence Red Line stop is the closest on the CTA. And there are discounts to be found online, including a Groupon.
Open Oct. 18-20 and then Oct. 25-26. Hours are 7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturdays and 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays. Tickets $10.
The Silence in Harrow House
Chopin Theatre, 1543 W Division St. (www.RoughHouseTheater.com)
Part theater experience, part haunted house, “Harrow House” debuted in 2018 in the basement of the Chopin Theatre and sold out its whole Halloween run. Rough House Theater Co. has brought it back for 2019. Audience members wander through the surreal environs of “the secluded home and studio of Milton Harrow, the world’s most influential and reclusive architect.” Conceived and directed by Mike Oleon, written by Mark Maxwell and Claire Saxe.
What else: Expect puppets that will scare the stuffing out of you; recommended for ages 14+.
Now open, runs through Nov. 10 with performances Thursdays-Fridays (7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m.), Saturdays at 6 p.m., 7:45 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and Sundays at 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Tickets are $15-$32.
More places to look: Some folks live Halloween year-round. Maybe you’re one of them. (And we’re also looking at you, “Krampus: A Haunted Christmas” at 13th Floor last December.) Some of those folks have website and guides to Chicago-area haunted houses, with haunts as far away as Rockford and Michigan.