A eerie return to Old Joliet Haunted Prison

Wed. October 11, 2023 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

Allhallows Eve is quickly approaching and here is a treat found out Chicago's city limits. The Old Joliet Haunted Prison will surely wrestle up scares and screams for those ready for a bit of a road trip from the Windy City.

The Joliet Correctional Center was an active prison from 1858 to 2002 in Illinois and some may recognize it from The Blues Brothers movie.

Now featured as a haunted house that includes the surrounding grounds, patrons have a choice to explore what it has to offer this Halloween season. Brought to guests by Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, this abandoned prison now houses a scary staff dressed in costumes. This Nunn even found a nun inside after a return trip from last year!

Drive over to 401 Woodruff Road where ticket holders will be directed on where to free park behind the prison. Beware of potholes and rough terrain as the area is not paved so keep a slow pace. The ticket booth to print online tickets is the next stop then pass through the metal detector and security checkpoint. Tickets cannot be purchased on-site, so keep that in mind.

The exterior contains a commissary complete with concessions and refreshments to order. More drinks can be found at The Neon Cowboy Secret Bar, which is not really a secret.

Two mini escape rooms give partakers five minutes to solve clues and break out of the tiny buildings. This is for an additional charge for those who wish to play before or after entering the prison.

As the ominous holiday draws closer expect longer lines to wait and take a photo in front, so VIP or Fast Pass tickets might be worth it.

Prepare for pop-out scares as sporadically timed groups are allowed to explore Cellblock 13. The cast will do a good job of adding to the mechanical creatures, spooky sound effects and bloody decorations.

Two more sections remain after that house strobe lights, laser tag options and a twisty maze. The laser tag light-up collars didn't function as well as last year to battle zombies, but that might change from day to day.

At the end feel free to peruse the gift shop for fun items and memorabilia before exiting back to your vehicle. There is a long list of rules to read before visiting this Old Joliet Prison, but it is valuable information to ensure safety and a good time.

This place has a long history that adds to the experience even if not spruced up for Halloween. Summon up some courage and check out a detailed schedule posted on the haunt's website, This petrifying prison is open to the public on select nights only until November 4, 2023, Boo!