3 local haunted houses full of scares

Terror in the Timbers presents the Trail of Terror.

Courtesy of Robert Smith

Terror in the Timbers presents the Trail of Terror.

Madelaine Vikse , Assistant Lifestyle Editor

Jump scares, skeletons and ghosts galore! Haunted houses are one of the best ways to celebrate Halloween and get into the spooky spirit. These haunts are sure to scare, impress and entertain.

Terror in the Timbers: 37W955 Big Timber Road, Elgin, IL

Terror in the Timbers allows guests to park and experience the horrors of a haunted house from their car. 

“We still enhanced the drive-thru haunt that we had last year, but then we added a walk-through element, we call it the Trail of Terror,” said Dan Barrie, one of the four owners of Terror in the Timbers.

The Trail of Terror is new this year and allows guests to take a bone-chilling haunted hike through the woods, according to the Terror in the Timbers website

“We’re based on an infamous period of time in Chicago that truly happened, the 1893 World’s Fair. Coincidentally while that was going on, probably the greatest mass-murderer in history, in Chicago history, a guy named H. H. Holmes was stalking the lands, so we kind of more than loosely based it on the H. H. Holmes story,” Barrie said.

Terror in the Timbers, about 40 minutes from campus, will be open through Oct. 30. Hours are Thursday and Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., Barrie said.

General admission is $65 per car, with the optional $25 add-on per car for the Trail of Terror Haunted Hike. It is recommended to purchase tickets ahead of time.

Basement of the Dead: 42 W New York Street, Aurora, IL

Basement of the Dead has been named the #1 haunted house in the world by BuzzFeed and the #1 haunted house in Chicago by the Chicago Tribune, according to the Basement of the Dead’s website.

About 45 minutes from NIU, this haunted house is well-known and liked by many, and there is no question as to why. Basement of the Dead has an incredible set design as well as scary actors and jump scares that keep guests entertained and on their toes.

Open through Nov. 6, the haunt’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. There are some special events that have various dates and times, including “Blackout Nights” and “Nights of Isolation,” which can be found on the Basement of the Dead’s website

It is $35 for general admission and $50 VIP admission that allows guests to skip the line. It is recommended to purchase tickets in advance and arrive 15 minutes early. Tickets can be purchased here.

Hoppers Haunted House: 11576 N IL Route 2, Rockford, IL

Hoppers Haunted House, located about 45 minutes from NIU, delivers a haunt full of jump scares and screams.

“Hoppers is an old school haunted house; you don’t walk through the rooms, you actually walk by them, which makes it a little different than everybody else,” said Catrina Downing, owner of Hoppers Haunted House.

Hoppers Haunted House will be open from Oct. 21 to Oct. 24, Oct. 28 to Oct. 31 and Nov. 5 to Nov 6. For Thursday and Sunday the hours are from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and for Friday and Saturday the hours are 7 p.m. to midnight.

“We do change the rooms up every year,” Downing said. “We have about 20 to 25 different rooms.”

Admission is $20 per person, or a discounted price of $15 for military, first responders or anyone who brings in an item to donate to the Shining Stars Organization, according to the Hoppers Haunted House Facebook page.

The best part about owning a haunted house is  seeing people’s faces and reactions and it’s great to get everybody together, Downing said.