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Terror in the Timbers
Photograph: Courtesy Terror in the Timbers

The 9 best haunted houses near Chicago

From spooky basements to haunted drive-thru experiences, we've found some of the scariest haunted houses in Chicago.

By Zach Long
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The world can be a scary place, so there's something strangely comforting about the controlled yet frightening environments of haunted houses in Chicago. If you prefer getting startled by costumed monsters to gazing at colorful foliage, you're in luck—some of the best haunted attractions near Chicago are open for business this year. Just like many of Chicago's best restaurants, these businesses are welcoming guests back with a host of new safety guidelines, including mandatory face masks, temperature checks and distance between groups. There are even a few haunted drive-in attractions that will provide chilling scenes that you can enjoy from inside your car. Ready to encounter zombies, killer clowns and blood-soaked nuns? Get your seasonal scares at some of the best haunted houses in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Halloween in Chicago

Best haunted houses in Chicago

Basement of the Dead haunted house
Photograph: Courtesy Basement of the Dead

1. Basement of the Dead

Things to do Suburbs

Regularly ranked as one of the top haunted houses in Illinois by Halloween connoisseurs, Basement of the Dead sends visitors on a journey through the bowels of a 100-year-old building in downtown Aurora. Naturally, you'll meet costumed characters like crazed clowns, bloody nurses and a spooky DJ along the way. This year, capacity is limited, face masks are required and all guests will be subject to a temperature screening before entering. If you prefer to enter the attraction devoid of actors and with nothing but a glowstick to light your way, snag a ticket on any Wednesday to experience "Night of Isolation." Sept 25–Nov 1

Dungeon of Doom
Photograph: Amie Hana

2. Dungeon of Doom Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

Located in an old briquette factory in Zion, Illinois (near Six Flags Great America), Dungeon of Doom has completely overhauled its experience this year, offering socially-distanced frights and a new virtual queue system that limits the number people inside the haunted attraction and allows you to enter with just the other members in your group (face coverings are still required). While you wait for your turn, you can park and enjoy the Scare Vision Drive-in Theater, which will screen horror movies every night while some costumed creeps roam through the aisles of parked cars. If you want to skip the haunted house, tickets to the Scare Vision Theater are also available. Sept 18–Oct 31

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Terror in the Timbers
Photograph: Courtesy Terror in the Timbers

3. Terror in the Timbers

Attractions Arcades and amusements Loop

You can't visit Camp Crystal Lake, but you can experience a drive-thru haunted attraction at Camp Big Timber in Elgin, Illinois. Terror in the Timbers sends visitors on a drive through the woods, where the spirit of serial killer Dr. Henry Howard Holmes is running amok. Cruising through the attraction at no more than 5 mile per hour (and aided by some nifty stop lights), you'll remain in your vehicle while the scares surround you during the 20-minute experience. Tickets allow one vehicle with up to four passengers to enter, and you'll need to wear a face covering while your ticket is being scanned. Oct 2–31

Disturbia Haunted House
Photograph: Courtesy @raysianbran and Disturbia Haunted House

4. Disturbia Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

The latest haunt from the creator of Basement of the Dead in Aurora, Disturbia Haunted House is packed with scary scenes populated by terrifying characters, including a dungeon, a grotesque dinner party and a mad scientist's lab. Capacity is limited, use of face coverings is required and temperatures will be checked before guests are admitted inside the attraction. Oct 2–Nov 1

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Midnight Terror Haunted House
Photograph: Courtesy Midnight Terror

5. Midnight Terror Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

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. Capacity is limited, face coverings are required and there are sanitation stations throughout the attraction. Oct 15–Nov 7

Replay Lincoln Park Alley of Darkness
Photograph: Courtesy Replay Lincoln Park

6. Replay’s Alley of Darkness

Attractions Arcades and amusements Replay Lincoln Park, Lake View

There's no need to get out of your car at this drive-in haunted experience, which takes place in the alley behind Replay Lincoln Park. Park your vehicle, take in a short drive-in movie and then steel yourself for 30 minutes of scares, as a cast of spooky zombies, demons and angry spirits use fake blood and realistic props to create a horrifying 360-degree show. Don't have a car? You can rent a sanitized vehicle for an additional $25. Oct 2–31

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13th Floor Haunted House
Photograph: Courtesy 13th Floor Haunted House

7. 13th Floor Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

Run away from Bloody Mary in the new Deadly Reflections attraction at the 13th Floor Haunted House in Melrose Park. With more than 30,000 square feet of space, you'll get lost in the horrific sets that make up this seasonal attraction while walking through the haunt with your private group. This year, capacity is limited, face coverings are required and only clear bags will be allowed inside. Oct 2–Nov 7

Photograph: Greg Szoda

8. The Massacre Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

With 30,000 square feet of space, the Massacre is one of the biggest haunted houses in Illinois, featuring 60 rooms and more than 100 costumed actors spread across two different experiences (admission includes access to both). This year, capacity is limited, face coverings are required at all times and you'll be entering the haunted house with only the other people in your group. Oct 2–Nov 1

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Evil Intentions Haunted House
Photograph: Courtesy Evil Intentions Haunted House

9. Evil Intentions Haunted House

Attractions Arcades and amusements Suburbs

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 this building. This year, attendees will need to take a temperature screening before entering, wear face coverings while inside the building and maintain distance from other parties. Oct 2–31

Visit some of Chicago's most haunted places

Holy Name Cathedral
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

The most haunted spots in Chicago

Things to do

We consulted with some experts to track down some of the most haunted spots in the city. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, you may be surprised by some of the strange things that have happened in the city's cathedrals and bars.

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