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Philadelphia’s Most Spirited Halloween Haunts
Ask not for whom the Liberty Bell tolls, it tolls for thee. Okay, our country’s most historic ring-tone may or may not be haunted. That’s still to be determined. But that doesn’t mean you can’t scare up all sorts of spooky age-appropriate fun in the red, white and boo-tiful city of Philadelphia. At this time of year “The City of Brotherly Love” is downright frightening!
Eastern State Penitentiary “Terror Behind the Walls”
This 200-year-old prison is a testament to time—and bone-chilling terror—especially during the month of October and early November.
At ESP, CityPASS holders can take a tour of Al Capone’s cell or, for an additional fee, yell their guts out at “Terror Behind the Walls,” one of the most elaborate and most celebrated haunted tours in the United States.
This eerily interactive (and supposedly really haunted!) lock-up features over a half-dozen panic-inducing attractions including the just-opened, vine-covered labyrinth known as “Detritus.” Not for the easily freaked out. This joint is spooky!
Eastern State Penitentiary is included for CityPASS holders. There is an additional fee for “Terror Behind the Walls.” Daily through Nov. 10.
Safe within the city limits is the unsavory Fright Factory where mad “scientists” from the faux-corporation “IChem Industries” have unleashed a whole block of creepy creatures and nasty, bio-beware “experiments” on the city.
Not as scary as some other local haunts, this factory just might have you screaming with laughter as much as fear. Fright Factory attractions include The Asylum, Undercroft Cemetery and the mind-bending AMYGDALA. Weekends in October.
Spirits of 76 Ghost Tour
For those who want to combine history and Halloween with a spirited walk through the city, the 75-minute “Spirits of ‘76 Ghost Tour” might be just the tour for you.
Philly is nothing if not historic, and this nightly tour takes participants to 20 different locations in the city’s Historic District including Independence Hall, City Tavern and St. Peter’s Church and Cemetery.
You’ll walk the same cobblestone streets as writer Edgar Allan Poe and visit the locations for such fright flicks as “The Sixth Sense.”
This informative haunt isn’t designed to taunt you, unless the notion of walking in heels down cobblestone streets at night gives you the willies. Nightly through October.
Laurel Hill Cemetery Flashlight Tours
For three nights, every late October, Laurel Hill Cemetery is all about B.Y.O.F. or “Bring Your Own Flashlight” for their incredibly spooky and popular flashlight tour of the final resting place for many Philadelphians.
Truly fright-inducing, this spine-shivering tour (not recommended for those 12 and under) places visitors deep inside a cemetery where they interact with the local “spirits,” aka the actors of The Not Ready for Afterlife Players. And if you really don’t want to be freaked out you might want to make sure you packed a fresh pair of batteries in your fanny pack.
Friday, October 26, 7:00-9:30pm; Saturday, October 27, 7:00-9:30pm; Tuesday, October 30, 6:00-8:30pm
Boo at the Zoo
The little ones get their scare on, too, at the Philadelphia Zoo. For two weekends in October, the zoo goes wild with “Boo at the Zoo,” an assortment of live music, Halloween games and all sorts of sweet surprises geared for the littlest monsters.
It’s also a the perfect time for guests to take a walk through the “Extinction Graveyard,” featuring some of the most endangered species in the world.
Costumes are encouraged for those who plan to participate in the parade.
Boo at the Zoo is included for CityPASS holders, October 20-21 and October 27-28.
Nearby, in Lancaster, Jason’s Woods is a haunting good time complete with several different themed attractions—including the Horrifying Hayride, Barn of Terror, Pirate’s Revenge and Carnival of Fear—as well as live bands, laser tag and an assortment of other freaky activities.
New for this year is the Paranormal Bus Tour, which actually leaves Jason’s Woods and ventures to an allegedly authentically haunted 150 year-old mill. Freaky. Weekends through October.