The Spookiest Haunted Houses in Chicago
Try being the fun kind of scared.
While it’s hard to imagine anything more terrifying than the year 2020, Halloween is still going to put in its best effort. In case your real life wasn’t filled with enough anxiety, you can now double down on your terror fantasy with a trip to a Chicago-area haunted house. While many longtime area haunts have been shuttered for this year, a solid base of haunts remain with a few new drive-in haunted house experiences adding a new wrinkle to the experience. Here are 10 of the best haunted houses for 2020 in Chicago and beyond.
This new haunted house from the creators of Basement of Dead sets up shop in the scary-in-a-different-way Butterfield Mall, with the haunt’s parking lot adjacent to an Olive Garden and a Hooters. Details on what exactly to expect are scarce for this new haunt but if you dig what Basement of the Dead are throwing down, odds are you will like this offshoot as well. Similar to Basement of the Dead, the event includes an outdoor line with outdoor entertainment in addition to standard safety protocols such as masks, enhanced sanitation, and timed ticketing.
Cost: $30-$80 (masks on sale for an additional $9)
645 W. Madison
This new drive-through haunted house pops up in a derelict parking lot along the east side of the Kennedy near Presidential Tower, where a drive-in movie experience sets the narrative of a horrible accident that occurred on the site with views of downtown skyscrapers in the background. Be prepared for dozens of demons and zombies to jump out, rock your car, and spray fake blood as you are confined to your car for the full 90 minutes. You are not able to leave your car or roll down the windows for any reason “short of a heart attack,” but the good news is that the car-less can also rent a private BYOB geodesic dome for eight people that is sanitized in between haunts. There will also be a Broken English taco truck on site, which is never a scary proposition.
Cost: $75 per car or $100 for dome
Replay Lincoln Park
This new drive-through haunted house is similar to Highway of Horror, only this one takes place in a creepy Red Line alley outside an arcade bar in Lincoln Park instead of a downtown parking lot off the highway. Like Highway of Horror, a drive-in movie experience sets the premise before actors pop out to scare the hell out of you with the help of sound effects and (optional) sprays of fake blood. You are also confined to your car for the duration, although this haunt only lasts 30 minutes as opposed to 90 at Highway of Horror. And while there are no domes or taco trucks on hand, those without cars can rent one of Replay’s sanitized-in-between-use vehicles for an additional $25.
Cost: $75 per car (plus $25 for optional rented car)
This new drive-through haunted house meandering through the woods at Camp Big Timber pays tribute to some of Chicago’s darker historical moments. Turn off your headlights and tune into a predetermined radio station before slowly creeping along a wooded path with plenty of stops for various fright-filled haunted scenes along the way. The haunt is themed after infamous Chicago butcher and America’s first serial killer H.H. Holmes, the Devil in the White City star believed to have killed up to 200 people in the late 1800s. While we’re not sure whether or not some of the bodies were dumped in the woods around here as the haunt indicates, this slightly more educational experience should be fun for the whole family.
Cost: $65 per car
Four years since being named the “#1 Haunted House in the World” by the Buzzfeed community, this haunted house is known for taking advantage of its natural setting in the basement of a creepy 140-year-old building in downtown Aurora to scare the shit out of people who are afraid of the dark. For 2020, there will be no lights and no actors. Just your group (each group enters privately), a glowstick, and full animatronics. Masks and temperature checks are required, with all guests to sanitize their hands before entering and disposable gloves available upon request. To further encourage social distancing, there will be an outdoor line with outdoor entertainment.
Cost: $30-$80 (masks on sale for an additional $9)
Located in the old Briquette factory in a dreary industrial park surrounded by woods, it takes a full 60 minutes to make your way through the variety of scare rooms in this massive 45,000-square-foot house of horrors that bills itself as one of the longest “single-walkthrough haunted attractions” in the nation. Renovated experiences for 2020 include The Boiler Room and The Underworld, plus plexiglass shields added to allow the actors to scare the holy hell out of you... safely. Temperature checks, masks, and hand sanitation are required, with timed tickets and groups separated about two minutes apart. And instead of a line, you wait in your car.
Cost: $90-$180 per group of two or more
Known for movie-quality sets and fear experiences designed for more mature audiences, this custom-built haunted house features more than 20,000 square feet of terror across 60 rooms that include tombs, caverns, mazes, and a 360-degree 3-D haunted house. For 2020, the entire facility has been made one-way to allow small groups of six to seven to walk through, with all groups entering privately. Contact items have been removed in favor of 20+ touchless hand sanitizer stations, with added animatronics making up for a reduced number of actors. Temperature checks and masks are required, with timed entry and daily hospital-grade facility-wide sanitation.
While the themed experience at this 26,000-square-foot haunted house (located across the street from Holy Sepulchre Cemetery) no longer begins with the fun 5-minute interactive shuttle from the Metra parking lot thanks to Covid, don’t let that spoil your fun. With on-site parking and nightmare-inducing experiences such as Factory of Malum and Black Oak Grove available for private groups of two to six, this theatrical actor-driven haunt will be sanitizing its entire facility every hour. There will also be timed tickets with masks and temperature checks required, in addition to the adding of hand sanitizer stations and the removal of all hanging items.
This large, well established, and slightly more corporatized haunted house (which now operates in more than a dozen cities) is back in 2020 with a new “Deadly Reflections” attraction to be experienced alongside welcome new Covid-era additions such as smaller groups, less waiting, and more spacing. No one will touch you and nothing will be sprayed on you, with the added spacing allowing the staff to try out some new “interesting storyline tactics.” Masks and timed reservations are required, with staff temperature screenings and hand sanitizer stations available.
Cost: $26-$33 per day (add $10 for fast pass or $20 for skip the line)
The naturally decrepit setting of the 55,000-square-foot Old Elgin Casket Factory offers the perfect environment for this haunted house that is reportedly actually haunted by some of its former residents. Whether or not that’s true, there’s no denying this is one of the top haunted houses in the area with super professional crews and plenty of scares that play off the building’s sordid history. Group size is limited to five for this roughly 30-minute walkthrough, with masks and temperature screenings required in addition to online timed tickets and hand sanitizer available.
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