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The Dark Art of Chad Savage
The Dark Art of Chad Savage

2019 Preseason Primer

  • Posted : September 2nd, 2019
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Welcome back, haunters and hauntees! September has returned and with it all the amazing indicators of the impeding season ahead. Just like you, we await the doors of our favorite attractions to creak open and awaken the spirits from their long off-season slumber. Soon, the air will be filled with the sound of shrieks and screams; a symphony, indeed.

As we prepare to embark on another exciting journey this Halloween season, here’s some news, updates, recaps, and a little preview of what to expect for 2019. Queue up the Fear Inoculum, grab two scoops of USS Butterscotch, and strap-in for one hell of a ride. Let’s go!

The Cake

After traveling 2,315.08 miles last season, let’s give another round of applause to all our award winners for 2018, as chosen by the Haunted House Chicago Review Team:

  • Best Haunted Attraction of 2018: Hells Gate Haunted House in Lockport, Illinois
  • Best New Haunted Attraction of 2018: The Park After Dark Haunted House in Chicago, Illinois
  • Jim Warfield Acting Award Recipients: Robert Groth as “Jebediah” from Abandoned Haunted House Complex in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin; Andrew Kline as “Dookie Dan” from Evil Intentions Haunted House in Elgin, Illinois; and an honorable mention Tiela Halpin as “Buna” from Hells Gate Haunted House in Lockport, Illinois.

Here’s the full Top 13 for 2018:

1.  Hells Gate Haunted House in Lockport, Illinois
2.   Evil Intentions Haunted Housein Elgin, Illinois
3.   Basement of the Dead & Shattered 3D Nightmare in Aurora, Illinois
4.   Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead in Crest Hill, Illinois
5.   Midnight Terror Haunted House in Oak Lawn, Illinois
6.   Realm of Terror Haunted House in Round Lake Beach, Illinois
7.   Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
8.   Abandoned Haunted House Complex in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin
9.   The Massacre Haunted House in Montgomery, Illinois
10. House of Torment Chicago in Morton Grove, Illinois
11. Niles Haunted House Scream Park in Niles, Michigan
12. 13th Floor Chicago in Melrose Park, Illinois
13. The Hill Has Eyes in Franklin, Wisconsin

Movers & Shakers

Dream Reapers-Vet, Ken Spriggs, and Realm of Terror owner, Steve Kristof, have partnered to create “The Haunting: An Interactive Halloween Experience.” However, this is not a “haunted” experience. There are no scares; just a collection of all-things Halloween to captivate all your senses! They open on Friday, September 13th, and will be open through November 3rd. For more information or to buy tickets, go to: http://www.explorethegallery.com/

Speaking of Steve Kristof and Realm of Terror, Steve was recently featured on the season finale of ABC’s mini-golf competition show, “Holey Moley.” After a slip in the very beginning, Steve bested all of his opponents to win the show, earn his plaid jacket and golden putter! Congratulations!

As hinted last year, Evil Intentions Haunted House has uncovered an older, darker wing of the casket factory! With this expansion, Evil Intentions has now taken over all of the original space inhabited by the Elgin Casket Factory. Have no fear: you can still head to the same address on Grace Street in Elgin!

Also in Elgin, make sure to catch (or avoid being caught by zombies) at this year’s Nightmare on Chicago Street festival on October 19th.

Adding additional room for screams, Soul Reapers Haunted House in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is advertising they are doubling in size for 2019!

Congratulations to a number of actors and actresses who were featured in, “Haunters Against Hate: The Book of Haunters, Volume 1.” This coffee table-style book features exposés on local haunters including: (in alphabetical order)

  • Bunny from Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
  • Charlotte from Hells Gate Haunted House in Lockport, Illinois
  • Chuckles the Clown from Evil Intentions Haunted House in Elgin, Illinois
  • Daisy from Midnight Terror Haunted House in Oak Lawn, Illinois
  • Cropsey from Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
  • Fluffy from Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead in Crest Hill, Illinois
  • François from Evil Intentions Haunted House in Elgin, Illinois
  • Jax from Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
  • Lil’ Penny from Basement of the Dead Haunted House in Aurora, Illinois
  • Reaper from Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
  • Sharky from Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead in Crest Hill, Illinois
  • Zeke from Basement of the Dead Haunted House in Aurora, Illinois

Thanks again to our friend, Paul Lanner. The book can be purchased here: https://www.hauntersagainsthate.com/the-book

On a sour note, we are sad to report that House of Torment Haunted House in Morton Grove, Illinois, will not be opening this season. We hope to see them return soon!

Although slightly outside our territory, we have been notified that this is the last year of operation for Wisconsin Feargrounds in Waukesha, Wisconsin. If you have the chance, make sure you make the journey this season to experience an epic attraction… or forever hold your peace!

Finally, congratulations to our friend, Rich Coz, on his 40th year of being Svengoolie! A legendary Chicago horror icon, Sven has been our narrator and guide through countless classic horror films, and a presence at every Chicago event. Sven has been a constant inspiration to Haunted House Chicago, and on a personal level, Kris couldn’t be prouder to be from Berwyn!

Move that Bus

We are very excited to be partnering again with Japes Palles and Terry Mannix on their Lost Souls Haunted Bus Tours! Lost Souls Chicago is Chicagoland’s PREMIER haunted house bus tour. Each tour features a bus ride to some of Chicagoland’s biggest and best haunted houses where you will have VIP Access (NO WAITING). During the ride, you can enjoy drinks (BYOB), live entertainment, contests, and FREE MERCHANDISE! Lost Souls Tours are the best way to visit all your favorite Chicagoland Haunts.

This year’s tours will each feature an after-party with your friends from Haunted House Chicago!

  • Friday, October 4, 2019: Basement of the Dead Haunted House, Hells Gate Haunted House, and Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead
  • Saturday, October 5, 2019: Fear Itself at Legend Park, and Haunted Hills Hospital
  • Friday, October 11, 2019: 13th Floor Haunted House, The Catacombs of St. Pascal’s, and Evil Intentions Haunted House
  • Saturday, October 12, 2019: Abandoned Haunted House Complex, McHenry Jaycees Haunted House, and Realm of Terror Haunted House

To purchase tickets, please go to: https://www.lostsoulschicago.com/

Midwest Haunters Convention

Congratulations to all our featured tour and Haunted House Chicago Row attractions that helped make Midwest Haunters Convention happen this past June: (in alphabetical order)

  • 13th Floor Chicago Haunted House in Melrose Park, Illinois
  • Basement of the Dead Haunted House in Aurora, Illinois
  • D.E.A.D. Rising Haunted House in Crestwood, Illinois
  • Dr. S. Cary’s Scream Park in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
  • Evil Intentions Haunted House in Elgin, Illinois
  • Haunted Hills Hospital in Lake Station, Indiana
  • Hells Gate Haunted House in Lockport, Illinois
  • Massacre Haunted House in Montgomery, Illinois
  • Midnight Terror Haunted House in Oak Lawn, Illinois
  • Realm of Terror Haunted House in Round Lake Beach, Illinois
  • Statesville Haunted Prison & City of the Dead in Crest Hill, Illinois

Also, a special thank you to Bill Hopper and Hopper’s Haunted House in Rockford, Illinois, for the extra donation of tickets and swag!

Mark your calendars now and plan to attend Midwest Haunters Convention 2020 on June 4-7, 2020. It will be held again at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

This is THE ultimate Halloween trade show event for operators, actors, fans, enthusiasts, and well… everyone! It will include over 60,000 square feet of exhibit space, special VIP haunted house tours, workshops, networking, parties, instructional demos, fashion shows, contests, and more! If you are reading this, this convention invitation is for YOU!

For more information and to purchase tickets, please go to: https://www.midwesthauntersconvention.com/

Early Birds

This year’s October only has four weekends. So, many attractions are opening the last weekend in September. But, there are a special few that are opening even earlier than that! (Especially since we have a Friday the 13th in September!) For those that already have the itch, here’s a list of those opening early:

  • 13th Floor Haunted House in Melrose Park, Illinois – Opens Friday, September 13th
  • Basement of the Dead Haunted House in Aurora, Illinois – Opens Friday, September 13th
  • Massacre Haunted House in Montgomery, Illinois – Opens Friday, September 13th
  • Niles Haunted Scream Park in Niles, Michigan – Opens Friday, September 13th
  • Six Flags Great America Fright Fest in Gurnee, Illinois – Opens Saturday, September 14th
  • Twisted Crypt Haunted House in Rockford, Illinois – Opens Friday, September 20th
  • Evil Intentions Haunted House in Elgin, Illinois – Opens Saturday, September 21st
  • And of course, Raven’s Grin Inn in Mount Carroll, Illinois – Open Year-Round!

Stages, Screens, and Screams

Have any energy left? Need something to do on those nights off? (Insert laughter) Here’s some fun ways to enhance your Halloween holiday season:

TV: if you haven’t had a chance yet, we highly recommend you to check out Netflix’s Stranger Things season 3, and the Haunting of Hill House. Both are incredible, and for different reasons! Returning this fall, we have Season 9 of American Horror Story titled “1984,” premiering on September 18th. AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead season 5 finale is September 29th, and The Walking Dead will return for Season 10 on October 6th. ABC’s Freeform returns with their annual 31 Nights of Halloween on October 1st. AMC’s annual FearFest returns on October 13th. The Simpsons 30th Treehouse of Horror episode (which is also episode #666) will premiere on October 20th. Rounding out the season, Hulu’s Stephen King-inspired Castle Rock brings season 2 on October 23rd. Of course, don’t forget to catch your weekly installment of Svengoolie, now in his 40th season!

Keep your eyes peeled for The Haunting of Bly Manor (Netflix), Lovecraft County (HBO), as well as the return of Michael Myers and Halloween in October 2020 for Halloween Kills and October 2021 for Halloween Ends.

MOVIES: Once again, Hollywood doesn’t disappoint with the offering this season. Kicking us off (prior to this article), we had the visualization of one of our favorite books growing up, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark. (Still in Theatres as of the writing of this article.) Starting this September to remember, we have the next chapter of Stephen King’s favorite clown, It: Chapter Two bounces into theatres on September 6th. Right up our alley from the team behind A Quiet Place brings us Haunt, especially for Friday the 13th. Also released on the 13th, Freaks should also be an interesting option. Back in the saddle, Rob Zombie brings Captain Spaulding, Baby, Otis, and the Fireflies back for a third installment as 3 From Hell hits theatres September 16-18. We may all love Heath Ledger and his portrayal of our favorite Batman villain, but the trailers sure do look breathtaking for Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker on October 4th. The creepy and kooky, and now animated Addams Family, also hits theaters on October 11th. We are also hearing news of a new Crow movie on October 11th.  Ready your shotgun for Zombieland: Double Tap on October 18th. Rounding out the season, October 18th also brings us an interesting option: The Lighthouse. To help nurse your after-season hangover, look for Doctor Sleep on November 8th, and The Lodge on November 15th.

MUSIC: It is certainly Tool time! The biggest news 13-years in the making is Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum. Released on August 30th, it is without a doubt going to be THE soundtrack of our season! They will also be embarking on a headlining tour with stops in Milwaukee on Halloween, Indy on November 2nd, and Chicago’s United Center on November 3rd.

In other news not pertaining to Tool, Breaking Benjamin plays the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater on September 6th. Bush, Live, and Our Lady Peace play there on September 6th. Of Monsters and Men brawl into the Aragon on September 13th. Friday the 13th also brings us the 15th Anniversary of Riot Fest at Douglas Park. Angels and Airwaves fly into the House of Blues on September 21st. Stone Temple Pilots crash the Aragon on the 25th. Corrosion of Conformity is at the Forge in Joliet on September 27th. Chance the Rapper plays the UC on September 28th and 29th. Moving into October, Post Malone plays the UC on the 1st. Kid Rock plays the Hollywood on October 5th. Gwar destroys the Rave in Milwaukee on October 8th. Obituary at the Forge on October 12th, and Nonpoint on the 13th. Disturbed brings their bodies to the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on October 13th. All That Remains and Lacuna Coil play House of Blues on October 16th. Incubus plays the Aragon on October 18th. Machine Gun Kelly plays Credit Union One Arena at UIC on October 25th. A beautiful present to round out October, A Day to Remember returns to UIC on October 26th. To help get over your Halloween hangover, get a dose of Cannibal Corpse at the Forge on November 12th.

STAGE: Hopefully, you have had a chance to catch the Paranormal Cirque traveling circus. If you haven’t, you can still catch them in North Riverside until September 2nd, and then in Aurora from September 5th-15th. Legends Penn and Teller treat us to a live show outside of Vegas the Chicago Theatre on November 8th.

SPORTS: The Bears and Packers play in week 1 on September 5th. Cubs and Brewers play their last series of the year September 5-8. The Blackhawks start their 2019 campaign on October 4th. The Bulls and Bucks play each other on October 7th.

Although we intend for all dates and locations to be accurate, please check/research before setting off on your journey.

Hide and Seek

Haunted House Chicago is giving back to its fans and patrons even more! Throughout the season, you will want to follow us on social media channels for opportunities to win free shirts, swag, and tickets to many of the haunted attractions throughout the Chicagoland area. We will be posting our full review schedule, and encourage you to find us as we travel to over 40 different attractions. If you find us, take a picture with us, tag us, and we will reward you with free Haunted House Chicago gear! (And maybe even some free tickets to Midwest Haunters Convention!)

Follow us here:





We look forward to meeting you throughout this season!

With that, we thank you for reading. Keep checking HauntedHouseChicago.com for the latest updates and happenings to help make your holiday season the scariest and safest yet!

Frightfully Yours,

The Haunted House Chicago Staff/Review Team

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