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Terror in the Timbers
Photograph: Courtesy Terror in the Timbers

A haunted drive-thru attraction is taking over a campground near Chicago

Terror in the Timbers supplies the scares while guests remain safely inside their vehicles.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Many haunted houses in and around Chicago are reopening in the coming weeks with new safety measures in place, requiring guests to wear masks and submit to temperature checks. But if you're not comfortable entering an enclosed space to get startled by costumed monsters this October, a drive-thru attraction in nearby Elgin, Illinois, might be more your speed.

Taking over a portion of Camp Big Timber (which typically hosts Cub Scouts and rents out private cabins), Terror in the Timbers unleashes the undead throughout the scenic area and allows groups of four to have an immersive experience without leaving their car. Organizers have devised a backstory based around historical serial killer H. H. Holmes, who confessed to murdering 27 people in Chicago during the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893. According to the attraction's lore, Holmes purportedly buried some of his victims in Elgin and his spirit has returned to haunt Camp Big Timbers.

Guests at Terror in the Timbers remain in their vehicle at all times, turning off their headlights, tuning their radio to a specific station (providing some of the sound effects for the experience) and driving slowly from station to station in the park. Drivers are asked not to exceed 5 miles per hour while cruising through the attraction, and a series of traffic signals alert them when to put their vehicle in park and when to proceed to the next scene. Actors are allowed to touch vehicles lightly, but for their safety, they'll never pass directly in front of cars.

According to organizers, the Terror in the Timbers experience lasts between 18 to 23 minutes and is not recommended for guests under the age of 10 years old. Masks don't need to be worn by guests in their vehicles, but the driver of each car will need to wear a face covering when presenting their ticket at check-in.

Terror in the Timbers will welcome groups of four on Fridays and Saturdays from October 2 through 31 for $65 per vehicle, with tickets available online. The attraction is also hosting Family Fun Trick or Treat events, where cars with up to four passengers can drive through the haunted scenes in daylight while costumed actors pass out candy on October 23, 25, 30 and 31, for $20 per vehicle.

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