In the time of COVID, local haunts adopt 'scary safe' precautions
Halloween in the time of COVID-19 means safety precautions will accompany scares. To that end, most local haunted houses require reserved, timed admission. Advance ticket purchase is recommended. Facial coverings and in some cases temperature checks are required for visitors and employees. Capacity will be limited and physical distancing will be enforced.
Haunt operators have also installed hand-sanitizing stations, established enhanced cleaning protocols and in some cases adopted touchless transactions for food and merchandise.
Note, these events are typically designed for adults and are not suitable for children, sensitive people, or those with certain health challenges or conditions.
Basement of the Dead/Shattered 3D
All manner of monsters inhabit Aurora's Basement of the Dead, which this year requires patrons to purchase tickets online.
Details: 42 W. New York St., Tivoli Plaza, Aurora. Reserved, timed admission from 7-10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, Sept. 25 through Nov. 1. Also Oct. 1, 14, 21 and 28. $30, $45 VIP admission (not including service tax). (630) 896-2466 (same number as Disturbia Haunted House) or basementofthedead.com.
Dungeon of Doom
New this year to Zion's Dungeon of Doom is the outdoor drive-in dubbed Scare-Vision Theater, which alternates nightly showings of the R-rated "Sinister" and the PG-13-rated "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark."
Details: 600 29th St., Zion. Reserved, timed admission from 6:50 p.m. to 1:20 a.m. Fridays, Saturdays and some Sundays, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 31. Movie showtimes are 7, 9:30 and 11:55 p.m. Scare-Vision Theater only is $59 (four-person maximum per vehicle). Dungeon of Doom and Scare-Vision is $90 (two-person maximum); $120 (three-person maximum); $140 (four-person maximum); $165 (five-person maximum). (847) 262-3666 or dungeonofdoom.com.
Denizens of Zion's Dungeon of Doom Haunted House include Madame Gavourna, left, Little Devious Diddles, Nanna B (middle front), Maggot (middle center), CHAOS (middle back), Psykosis and Krow.
- Courtesy of Jonathan Unick
13th Floor Haunted House
New this year to the Melrose Park haunt is Deadly Reflections inspired by the "Bloody Mary" legend. "Scary safe" precautions include temperature checks, mandatory face coverings for employees and patrons, physical distancing requirements, regular sanitizing of frequent touch points, hand sanitizing stations and touchless cash transactions.
Details: 1940 George St., Melrose Park. Reserved, timed admission from 7-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from Sept. 25 through Oct. 4 and Nov. 6 and 7. Open daily (hours vary) Oct. 7-31. $22.99-$32.99. $10 extra for the fast pass allowing patrons to reduce their wait time; $20 extra to skip the line. 13thfloorchicago.com.
Evil Intentions Haunted House
Located in the former Elgin Casket Company, the haunted house spans 55,000 square feet. "Salvation" is this year's theme.
Details: 900 Grace St., Elgin. Reserved, timed admission from 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 2-31. Also 7-10 p.m. Oct. 22, 27, 28 and 29. $35. (630) 634-2858 or eihaunt.com.
Downers Grove's Disturbia Haunted House promises shocking scares when it opens Oct. 2.
- Courtesy of Ray Rivera
Disturbia Haunted House
The owner/operators of Aurora's Basement of the Dead have taken over Disturbia Haunted House promising new thrills along with favorite scares. Capacity will be limited and face coverings and social distancing is required as are temperature screenings for employees and patrons.
Details: 1213 Butterfield Road, Suite D, Downers Grove. Reserved, timed admission from 7 p.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays and 7-10 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays, Oct. 2 through Nov. 1. $30, $45 VIP admission (not including service tax). (630) 896-2466 (same number as Basement of the Dead) or hauntedhousedisturbia.com.
The Forge Zombie Apocalypse
Zombies are the enemies in The Forge's laser tag game set in a lab where scientists are working to combat the zombie apocalypse. COVID-19 precautions include timed admission, limited capacity, physical distancing and cashless transactions. Face coverings are required for employees and patrons. Full-finger gloves (with a reinforced palm) and under-helmet head coverings are also required. Guests who don't have face masks, head coverings and/or full-finger gloves can purchase them at check-in.
Details: Lemont Quaries, 1001 Main St., Lemont. Games start at 4, 5, 6 and 7 p.m. Fridays through Sundays, Oct. 9-31. $35 for 40 minutes. (630) 326-3301 or forgeparks.com/zombie-apocalypse.
Genesee Theatre hosts an after-hours walking tour of the 93-year-old theater where paranormal activities have been reported. Social distancing and face coverings are required.
Details: 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan. Tours run at 6 and 9 p.m. Fridays and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, Oct. 9-24. 20 people maximum per tour. $20. (847) 263-6300 or geneseetheatre.com.
Alley of Darkness
Replay Lincoln Park, a Chicago arcade bar, hosts a 30-minute, drive-thru haunted alley experience during which demons and zombies menace vehicle occupants.
Details: 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. 5-11 p.m. Oct. 2-31. $75 per car. Reservations are required. (773) 665-5660 or replaylincolnpark.com.