The Old Joliet Haunted Prison scares up the past

Sun. October 2, 2022 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The Old Joliet Haunted Prison may be the perfect place to create a spooky atmosphere for horror fans to latch onto. The surrounding area of 401 Woodruff Road in Joliet, Illinois is certainly a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.  

The Joliet Correctional Facility closed in 2002 but is now brought back to life by the people at Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group for 2022 once again. This year the pop-up haunted house is fully staffed and ready to rustle up some screams during this Halloween holiday season.  

The lines to wait are already frighteningly long and it is only the beginning of October. Plan on being patient and any kind of VIP assistance will most likely be worth it. The great thing about this location is there is plenty of room to create an experience outside of the three haunted houses before guests even enter. Friendly bar staff and yummy food vendors are all onsite to take care of the ticketholder's cravings. There are free bag games to play and additional escape rooms for a separate charge once customers make it through security and metal detectors in the front of the attraction. 

Once inside the gate of the prison, there are outdoor spaces as well as the indoor fright fest to navigate. The separate popups that wind around the carefully curated jailhouse leads to a very active monster right smack dab in the center. Looking down over the proceedings from the upstairs railing really shows the work and thoughtful game plan brought back to life in this venue from last year. 

Having a full staff really made a difference this year as ghosts jump out of dark cells and leave explorers guessing what will happen next. Just the idea of past prisoners living in these dank rooms will chill people to the bone once they ponder these horrific conditions from the past. 

There is a second and third installation nearby titled The Abominations and Tormented, which describes a brief story about the inhabitants within. The Abominations give attendees a chance to fight back with a laser tag type of gun offered at the onset by workers inside the haunt. Zombielike creatures will chase after people as they seek out the exit to this section of scares. There's even a creepy nun in one open courtyard so I will pray for all adventurers to survive my sister's scary appearance!

 Tormented is the final maze that has some powerful strobe lights, loud banging and chainsaw-wielding ghouls smelling like gasoline running around. It was a feast for the senses and may definitely be challenging to some. Emergency exits are provided along the way if the experience is too much, especially for those under 12. 

Tickets are on sale now starting at $19.99 and are available at Prepare for a wickedly good time in an iconic venue that may haunt your dreams for a long time to come after visiting!