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Last-Minute Chicago Halloween Attractions

Are you looking for a real fright this Halloween season? And no, I’m not talking about midterms. Though the month is quickly coming to a close, there is still time to get in the Halloween spirit and partake in a spooky activity. From haunted houses to haunted theme parks, there are plenty of opportunities in the Chicago area to celebrate the season, some of which will even be taking place after Halloween is over. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most alluring Halloween destinations that you’ll definitely want to check out before it’s too late. 

1. Statesville Haunted Prison – Lockport, IL

Image Courtesy of Statesville Haunted Prison

Statesville is one of the most famous haunted houses in Illinois. Though it’s a pretty hefty trek from Northwestern at just over an hour away, it won’t disappoint. Statesville is unique in that it’s modeled after a real prison, Stateville Correctional Center, which is a real maximum security prison located near Chicago and previously housed some of the most dangerous criminals, including John Wayne Gacy. The haunted prison, unlike some haunted houses that feature many differently-themed rooms, follows an elaborate storyline which fully immerses and captivates guests. Statesville also offers a lengthy one-hour experience, so you really do get your money’s worth. You will encounter some of the most sinister inmates along the journey, including a cannibal, clown, and evil doctor. Once you’ve made it through the prison, the fun doesn’t stop there, either. You descend into the “City of the Dead,” where you’ll be pursued by an army of former prisoners-turned-zombies. Reviews overwhelmingly claim Statesville to be truly terrifying and not suitable for children under 15, so enter at your own risk. It is open until Oct. 31. 

2. Six Flags Fright Fest – Gurnee, IL

Image Courtesy of Coaster101

If you’re looking for some less gory and intense scares, you can find that at Six Flags Great America, which is located about 45 minutes away from Evanston, near the Wisconsin border. By day, the park offers spooky decorations, like a giant spider perched atop one of the roller coasters. By night, the park transforms into a true “fright fest.” Costumed characters emerge from the shadows and roam the streets, ready to approach unsuspecting guests. These monsters have even been known to follow park patrons onto rides. The unique thing about Fright Fest is that it combines a theme park with a haunted house. It includes high-speed thrill rides like the famous Raging Bull that will make your palms sweaty and your heart race, a terrifying haunted maze from the movie Hell Fest and “Scare Zones” throughout the park where costumed characters wait to ambush you at any moment. Fright Fest closes on Oct. 31, but if you don’t get a chance to go before then, the park is staying open for the winter this year! It will be open on weekends until Dec. 31.

3. House of Torment Chicago – Morton Grove, IL

Image Courtesy of House of Torment

Not trying to drive far? There are a few haunted houses near Evanston. One such haunted house is the House of Torment, which is conveniently located in Morton Grove, about a 20-minute drive from Northwestern. This haunted house offers guests a multi-layered “Hollywood quality haunt” that will send you straight into a horror movie. There are several different attraction themes: Survive the Night – Patient Zero, which, as you might guess, takes place in a hospital and includes a mad plague doctor; Dead by Dawn, about a society barricaded away for years due to a deadly plague; and The Shadowrealm: Slenderman, which features a sinister character—I’ll let you guess who. On Nov. 2-3, they have a special “Blackout” feature where you go through the haunted house in total darkness with just a glowstick. The haunt lasts around 30 minutes, but needless to say, it will leave you feeling rattled. Be sure to bring a friend or two and prepare to be thoroughly haunted.

4. Midnight Terror Haunted House – Oak Lawn, IL

Image Courtesy of Midnight Terror Haunted House

A haunted house open after Halloween? Groundbreaking. This haunted house, located in Oak Lawn, is open until December. Up until Oct. 31, they will have their classic haunted house, which includes rooms full of spooky twists and turns, and culminates in a scene called “Chainsaw Alley.” The Midnight Terror Haunted House prides itself with using “old school” tactics with a balance of “new school” technology and puts extreme focus on having quality actors. As for the extended winter attraction, there are two different themes: On Nov. 3, it is “Clown Take Over” and Dec.14-16, “Christmas Fear.” So, if you are looking to extend your haunt past the Halloween season, look no further!

Hopefully, this brief guide gave you a few ideas for ways to scare yourself and get in the Halloween spirit. Halloween only comes once a year, after all. So, give yourself a well-deserved study break this week and let yourself get spooked.  

Leanna Rice

Northwestern '20

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