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A group of clowns and zombies stand in front of a rickety-looking haunted house
Photograph: Tiela Halpin

The 12 best haunted houses near Chicago

If you need to be frightened in October, head to the scariest haunted houses in Chicago.

Written by
Samantha Nelson
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Halloween in Chicago provides plenty of opportunities for spooky fun such as horror movie marathons, costumed parades and themed cocktails, though serious thrillseekers will want to visit one of the area’s many haunted houses. You could look for real restless spirits at one of the most haunted places in Chicago or guarantee an encounter with the demons, evil clowns, zombies and other monsters that man these seasonal attractions. Actors work to get you screaming in spaces featuring sophisticated sound and video systems and detailed sets, so if you’re afraid of the dark you might want to stick to lighter fall fun like a pumpkin patch. But if you are brave enough, buy a ticket now to visit one of these haunted houses near Chicago.

Best haunted houses in Chicago

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Regularly ranked as one of the top haunted houses in Illinois by Halloween connoisseurs, Basement of the Dead has been providing seasonal scares since 2000. Explore the dark, sinister confines to encounter demented doctors and nurses, creepy dolls, and a cult. Admission also includes entry to Shattered 3D, a circus-themed space lit by blacklights and filled with mesmerizing art and creepy clowns. If you want to avoid jump scares, visit during the Night of Isolation Wednesdays in October, when you can explore the scenes without the actors using only the illumination from a glowstick. For an extra spooky experience, go on closing day when the lights are all out but the performers are still there. Sept 23–Nov 5

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Dungeon of Doom added a new surround sound system and digital screens this year to immerse visitors with 3D images and audio from more than 100 speakers. The 42,000-square-foot warehouse features sets like Mercy General Hospital, the Underworld, and Slaughter House Mania, all manned by a “killer crew” working hard to provide you with nightmare fuel. For an extra $5, you can also add on the claustrophobic “Buried Alive” experience. Come on October 31 for Slasher Night, a tribute to horror icons, or from November 4-5 for the blackout experience, where you’ll navigate the attraction with just a single glowstick. Sept 23–Nov 5

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The latest haunt from the creator of Basement of the Dead, Disturbia Haunted House is packed with scary scenes including a haunted pumpkin patch, medieval crypt and ancient graveyard populated by terrifying characters including demons, pig monsters, and an extremely creepy Raggedy Ann doll. It’s a grotesquely gorgeous attraction. Like Basement of the Dead, Disturbia also offers blackout dates and visits without the actors, so choose the level of scare that’s right for you. Sept 23–Nov 5

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Featured in The Blues Brothers, the Old Joliet Prison closed in 2002. Now it’s become the Old Joliet Haunted Prison, transformed into a research facility by mad scientists trying to uncover the mysteries of the afterlife. You’ll also navigate the prison yard, machine shop, laundry room and other spaces populated by ancient abominations and violent, undead criminals seeking vengeance on the living. Extend your visit with mini escape games and drinks at the Commissary. Sept 24–Nov 5

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Navigate haunted trails and a zombie-infested cemetery to reach HellsGate, a mansion filled with secret passages and a slide that takes you to the basement. Statesville Haunted Prison may have closed, but their prisoners have escaped to HellsGate where they’re lurking in the woods and the mansion’s halls. Want to surprise your horror-loving friend? Get them a special Hell Pass and the haunt’s staff will single them out for some special scares during their VIP tour. Stick around after to visit the Monster Midway, which offers games, bonfires, food and drinks and a five-minute escape room. Sept 30–Nov 5

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This South Side haunted house combines old-school startle tactics provided by a cast of costumed actors 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. Travel through the Black Oak Gear Factory, whose brutal owner summoned a demon lord that transformed his workers and nearby townsfolk into twisted creatures. Navigate a nightmare realm and face your phobias to escape the twisted space. Sept 23–Nov 5

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Filmmakers, set designers, sound designers, engineers and makeup artists collaborated to build an immersive haunted house meant to scare you even if you close your eyes. Before you step into the monster-infested maze-like structure, you’ll be greeted by skeletons in the parking lot and can compete for prizes in a carnival. If you need a drink to work up the courage to go in or to steady your nerves after, Realm of Terror also has a bar serving themed cocktails in souvenir cups. You can also find booze-free seasonal treats like apple cider. Sept 30-Oct 30

The team behind holiday Santa Baby, Charm’d and other holiday pop-ups gets spooky by turning Deuce’s into a fully interactive haunted house spread over three floors. Before or after you get your scares, you can book a table or grab a spot on the tented patio to enjoy some themed cocktails and snacks surrounded by Halloween decor like skeletons, witch hats and tombstones.  Oct 1–31

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13th Floor Haunted House operates two haunted attractions in a 40,000-square-foot space. Explore sewers populated by rabid sideshow performers in the Outcast Carnival and celebrate All Hallows Eve with a band of cursed trick-or-treaters out for candy and blood. For an extra fee, you can test your wits with a five-minute mini-escape game where players have to solve riddles and find hidden clues. Sept 10–Nov 5

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Ride through Dellwood Park encountering forgotten spirits and mysterious forces, then journey underground to explore the new Curse of the Bayou attraction. Navigate a maze with uneven trails and low ceilings as you explore a swamp that a voodoo priestess has filled with monsters from the realm of the dead. Watch creepy movies playing on a 20-foot screen while waiting in line and banish your chills by warming up around a bonfire. Kids are welcome for a Not So Scary Hayride on October 10 featuring games, face painting and s’mores. Sept 30–Oct 29

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Everything at Massacre Haunted House is indoors, including the lines to get in, so don’t let bad weather scare you away. You’ll encounter creepy dolls, scarecrows and demons in dark elevators, a haunted El train, and mini mazes spread across more than 20,000 square feet decorated to resemble horror movie sets. The venue also features escape rooms and ax throwing so you can make a full night of your trip to Montgomery. Sept 24–Oct 30

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Located inside the abandoned Elgin Casket Company, the Evil Intentions Haunted House plays up the "unexplained occurrences" that have been reported within the building throughout the years. The multi-level, 55,000-square-foot attraction offers a 30-minute experience, during which you'll encounter some of the decayed residents and frightening spirits that haunt the space. Sept 30–Oct 31

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