Plenty of people look forward to the colorful foliage that comes with fall in Chicago, but a select few anticipate getting scared by costumed monsters. Haunted houses begin opening their creaky, cobweb-covered doors once the Halloween season arrives, welcoming anyone in the mood for a scream. Most haunted houses are located outside of Chicago's city limits, but the production values are usually worth the drive. If you want to spend an evening among zombies and creatures of the night, hurry up and book your ticket to some of the best haunted houses in Chicago.
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Best haunted houses in Chicago
Regularly ranked as one of the top haunted houses in Illinois by Halloween connoisseurs, Basement of the Dead is well worth the short drive to Aurora. You'll find killer clowns, bloody nuns and other costumed creatures prowling the claustrophobic halls of this subterranean attraction. Once you've survived the maze of themed rooms, stick around to experience the Stabbin Cabin escape experience or the Zombie Carneval midway games.
Enter a multi-level mansion filled with creatures, secret passages and a gigantic slide at the HellsGate Haunted House. You'll spend 45 minutes navigating the spooky attraction—if you're able to find the fabled skeleton key during your journey, your ticket it free. All guests must park in the Lockport Metra Lot and board a shuttle, so that they can be transported to the secret location of HellsGate.
Usually, going to a haunted house in Chicago means taking a trip to the suburbs for an evening of scares, but Chase Park is trying to buck that trend by hosting an attraction within city limits. The Park After Dark serves as a fundraiser for the park's after-school program for teens, sending visitors on a spooky journey through an abandoned pool deck and more frightening locales throughout the small North Side park. Kids can stop by on Halloween for lights-on trick-or-treating throughout the park, from 4–7pm.
Located in an old briquette factory in Zion, Illinois (near Six Flags Great America), Dungeon of Doom prides itself on providing each attendee with a full 60 minutes of scares. The haunted house is best known for its Bured Dead or Alive attraction, which simulates the experience of being lowered into a grave. Because of its length and intensity, the Dungeon of Doom is not recommended for kids 12 and younger.
This South Side haunted house combines old-school startle tactics with animatronics, special effects and spooky sets. Creepy characters—from demonic workers to ghost cult leaders to cannibalistic butchers—hide around nearly every corner, waiting to terrify anyone who steps inside the 26,000-square-foot experience. Walking through Midnight Terror takes about 30 minutes, and the evening ends with a trip through “Chainsaw Alley.”
Zombie Army Productions' flagship haunted house sits 50 minutes southwest of Chicago, but serious thrill seekers will want to make the trip. Visitors enter the fictitious Statesville Prison, where they traverse 23 different cells filled with rioting prisoners. Once you've made it through the prison, you'll enter a series of caves and mine shafts filled with zombies in the City of the Dead attraction. It's a visceral experience that's not for anyone younger than 10.
With 30,000 square feet of space, the Massacre is one of the biggest haunted houses in Illinois. Once you're inside, you'll spend 40 minutes walking through the experience, which features 60 rooms and more than 100 costumed actors trying to scare you. The haunted house is split into two sections (the Massacre and Fear Factory 3D) and is updated yearly, so even if you've attended the Massacre before, it's worth a return trip.
Drive an hour to Round Lake Beach, Illinois, where you can experience the intense scare housed within the Realm of Horror. Faceoff season 9 contestant Stevie Calabrese handles the gruesome makeup effects that are used within this haunted maze. After you've made it through the attraction, blow off some steam in the on-site Haunt Bar, where you'll find cocktails, beer and some non-alcoholic drinks for sale.
This haunted experience in Morton Grove offers three experiences to visitors: an encounter with a crazed doctor, a zombie invasion of a small town and a high school that has become the home of the Slenderman. It's a three-part psychological thriller that will make you feel like you've entered the world of your favorite horror movies. House of Torment is not recommended for children under the age of 12.
Run away from a demonic nun and explore a vault populated by terrifying monsters and demons at the 13th Floor Haunted House in Melrose Park. Keep your wits about you and try not to get lost in the horrific, detailed sets that make up this seasonal attraction. 13th Floor Haunted House is not recommended for children under the age of 12.