13 Haunted Houses Near Chicago That Just Might Give You Nightmares

For adrenaline junkies, there’s no greater time of the year than spooky season, aka that glorious period between September and November when it’s perfectly acceptable—encouraged, even!—to scare yourself and your loved ones positively silly, just for the sheer thrill of it. Sure, you could get the job done at home with a classic scary movie or you could pretend you’re in one and experience pure terror in real life at one of the best haunted houses near Chicago.

Illinois is home to some of the most terrifying setups in the country, many of which are just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Windy City. Between the creep-tastic actors who will jump out at you from every darkened corner to the film-quality props that will have you questioning their authenticity (is that real blood?), the options for a scare fanatic are vast—there’s even one on this list that’s located in an old casket company. *Shivers*

Below, the 13 haunted houses near Chicago that are liable to give you nightmares…or worse.

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1. HellsGate Haunted House

Most Remote

  • Drive Time: 1 hour
  • Kid-Friendly?: No
  • Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

The creep factor on this one begins before it even starts. You’ll have to be shuttled from the parking lot by bus roughly ten minutes away to get to your destination: a multi-level makeshift mansion in the middle of the woods. Here, you’ll find secret passageways, slides and plenty of horrifying creatures awaiting your arrival. No wonder it was one of the only haunted houses to be rated “high” for fear by Haunted Illinois! A word to the wise? Skip this one if you’ve got a doll phobia. (Don't say we didn't warn you.)

Through November 5, from $35, 3101 Canal St., Lockport, IL, 60441;

2. Dungeon of Doom Haunted House

Best Actors

  • Drive Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 4 stars

The Dungeon of Doom, which has been a Chicagoland staple since 1997, has all the elements of a classic horror house: dark, dirty-looking sets, strobing lights and tons of gory, ghoulish characters, better known as the “killer crew” to make sure you’re good and scared. It’s far from stale, however: “We’re looking at our sound systems, we’re looking at our projection systems, we’re looking at our killer crew and our staff. We’re remolding our operation to be renewed, rejuvenated and refreshed [for 2022],” co-owner Peter Koklamanis told the Chicago Tribune in September.

The result? Several different spaces to explore, from the aptly named Slaughter House, which is full of what we hope are faux carcasses and butcher’s knives, to the popular Mercy General Hospital. “It’s a deranged hospital full of actors that are ready to give you an environment that invokes a feel of insanity,” Koklamanis explained to the publication.

If you really want to take things up a notch, you can end your visit with a “Buried Alive” experience for an extra $5. “You go into an elevated room that’s suspended 6 feet off the ground. You and your group go into what we call a crypt,” Koklamanis said. “Within two minutes, you are fully submersed in a foreign debris that is forced over your body. You are literally pinned in this debris that is safe enough to breathe … but you are definitely claustrophobic."

Needless to say, this one's not for the faint of heart.

Through October 31, from $30, 600 29th St., Zion, IL, 60099;

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3. Evil Intentions Haunted House

Spookiest Setting

  • Drive Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

This one was destined to make the top of our list for its location alone: It’s literally located in an abandoned casket company. According to Haunted Illinois, the company took over the locale, which was previously a factory, in 1940—at which point five mutilated bodies were discovered in the basement. (Are you freaked out yet? ‘Cause we totally are.) Since then, disappearances, hauntings and even cult activity are said to have been reported in the 55,000 square-foot space (real image here)—which is exactly where this haunted house has set up shop with creepy witch, medical and jail cell themes. A note that this is not the spot for you if you’ve got claustrophobia, as many of the settings are super tight.

Through October 31, from $35, 900 Grace St., Elgin, IL, 60210;

4. Basement of the Dead

Best Props

  • Drive Time: 50 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 4 stars

Billed as “America’s Scariest Haunted House,” this one offers two haunted houses in one; the updated classic dark and dingy basement experience, which promises to be the most blood-curdling yet, and the less-scary Shattered 3D, which is best experienced with the provided paper 3D glasses that make the creepy clown effects pop off the walls. (Wednesdays also offer “isolation night,” during which there are no actors present, but you’re only allowed a glow stick to make your way through.) The real draw here, however, are the über-realistic props and set designs, which, while reportedly often difficult to make out in the dark, are often easily be confused for the real deadly deal.

Through November 5, from $23, 42 W. New York St., Aurora, IL, 60506;

5. The Old Joliet Prison Haunted House

Most Historical

  • Drive Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly: Maybe. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 3 stars

Set inside a real abandoned prison, the Old Joliet Prison Haunted House is back for its second year with three attractions, two of which are brand-new. Opened in 1858, it was designed by W.W. Boyington—the same architect behind the Chicago Water Tower. According to its historical page, it was privately run and soon fell into deplorable condition, which lead to calls for its eventual closure in 1905…at least until it was overrun by the haunted house’s “abomination” and “tormentor” beings. If you’re not feeling quite brave enough to walk through the women’s old cell blocks (no judgment),  you can hit up the Commisary bar for a little liquid courage, too.

Through November 5, from $21, 401 Woodruff Rd., Joliet, IL, 60432;

6. Massacre Haunted House

Most Variety

  • Drive Time: 1 hours, 13 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: No
  • Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

The reviews are in for Montgomery’s Massacre Haunted House, and the unanimous consensus? It's terrifying. One plus here is that there are lots of different high-quality production sets to explore, so if clowns don’t really do it for you, the Chicago-themed mechanics shop, complete with an “L” train stop, just might. It also offers a decently long walk-through, giving you plenty of bang for your buck. Wrote one scare enthusiast: “It's hard for me to get spooked at a haunted house these days but this place got me a few good times.”

Through November 5, From $25, 299 Montgomery Rd., Montgomery, IL, 60538;

7. Twisted Crypt Haunted House

Most Immersive

  • Drive Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
  • Kid-friendly?: No
  • Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

This one’s a bit of a haul, but according to the reviews, it just might be worth it. Having been at it for nine years, the cast has got its scares down pat: Some even speak in tongues! More than that, however, this one invokes all of your senses: Certain rooms have even been designed to not only look, but smell, rotten, when the occasion calls for it. It’s highly interactive, giving it a higher-than-average scare factor, too, though you just might want to leave the kids at home, with reports of plenty of foul language.

Through October 31, from $13, 5420 E. State Rd., Rockford, IL, 61108;

8. Disturbia Haunted House

Most Unpredictable

  • Drive Time: 26 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

The team behind Basement of the Dead took over this haunt in 2020, which means you can expect the same realism you’d find at the Aurora locale. Unlike the basement haunting, however, which is purposefully small and cramped, this one takes advantage of open spaces and high ceilings to replicate a Gothic castle feel. You can do the same “isolation” experience on Wednesday nights (read: no actors, no lights) if you so choose, too. Wrote one happy visitor: “I've been to many, many haunted houses and always expected cheesy actors to come and scare me which was repetitive. This was definitely not that and actually put me on edge wondering what was coming next. I felt like I was in a horror movie and that hasn't happened much. Highly recommend!!”

Through November 5, from $23, 1213 Butterfield Rd., Downers Grove, IL, 60515;

9. Midnight Terror Haunted House

Easiest to get to

  • Drive Time: 35 minutes
  • Kid-friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 13 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 3 stars

Located in the Oak Lawn suburb, this one’s just outside the city, which likely contributes to its often longer wait times (though you can get a fast pass for $50 or an immediate access pass for $65 to bypass the lines). Once inside, you’ll crouch or squeeze your way along the themed set rooms, which incorporate old rusty pipes, school desks and toilets into more modern technology. One particularly creepy review? “I thought the chainsaws being so close to us was a little uncomfortable.” Gulp.

Through November 5, from $20, 5520 W. 111th St., Oak Lawn, IL, 60453;

10. The Catacombs at Saint Pascal

Best Value

  • Drive Time: N/A
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 4.5 stars

Located in the basement of a nearly 100-year-old church, the natural setting of this one, which was started way back in 1979 by volunteers in support of the Parrish school, works in its favor (though reviewers say it gets a little help in the form of some fog and plenty of actors). While its production value isn’t as high, as say, a HellsGate, most visitors say it’s “surprisingly scary” for the price—so much so that it’s not recommended for children below the age of 12. A good fright for less than the price of our daily salad? Sold!

Through October 30, from $10, 6143 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, IL, 60634;

11. Baldwin Asylum Haunted House

Best backstory

  • Drive Time: 2 hours, 13 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly?: No
  • Yelp Rating: 3.5 stars

This one, set in a mental asylum, has a backstory that takes place in the wake of a curse by a witch, who was deemed unfit to raise her daughter by a doctor at the local asylum. When the asylum's attendants stormed her home and took the girl away, she turned it into a house of horrors—which is right about where you, the visitor, enter. It’s a shorter experience than some, so if you live in Chicago, one of the closer picks may be a better option, but if you’re up for a road trip, it’s been deemed sufficiently gory by haunted house fans. There are a decent amount of strobe lights, too, which is something to consider if lights tend to bother you.

Through November 5, from $30, 2040 Lon Dr., Rantoul, IL, 61866,

12. 13th Floor Haunted House Chicago

Most Famous

  • Drive Time: 1 hour
  • Kid-Friendly?: Maybe. Recommended for ages 12 and up.
  • Yelp Rating: 2.5 stars

As one of two Illinois haunted houses ranked among the best in the country by the Haunted Attraction Association, you can rest assured that you’re in for a quiver or two here. (There’s a reason they warn you not to wear flip-flops, people—apparently, you’re liable to kick them off while you’re running from…something.) This year's main attractions include a crew of shunned clown performers who have emerged after years of living in the sewers and a cursed group of dead trick-or-treaters, both of which have gotten mixed reviews on Yelp, but the group’s attention to detail overall has been proven many times over through the years, making it one of the more popular—and above average—spots on our list.

Through November 5, from $25, 5050 River Rd., Schiller Park, IL, 60176;

13. Spook Hollow

Best Costumes

  • Drive Time: 2 hours, 51 minutes
  • Kid-Friendly: Maybe
  • Yelp Rating: N/A

This classic haunted mansion is occupied by a largely volunteer cast, which means the actors can be hit or miss, but their costuming and makeup is always top-notch. Made to look like ghosts roaming the hall of the old “M.C. Manor” or factory workers from the accompanying industrious complex (which you’ll also take a tour through), it’s easy enough to be scared when they jump out at you from their hiding spots (one of which is purportedly in a swamp-like setting). You’ll also appreciate the special effects, which range from dim trail lights to cemetery headstones. As a nice bonus, 100 percent of the proceeds from this one also reportedly go back to the community.

Through October 29, from $30, 613 Lasalle Blvd., Marquette Heights, IL, 61554;

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Commerce Director

Nicole is PureWow's Commerce Director. With a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University and more than 15 years of experience writing and editing shopping...