Home haunts offer Halloween enthusiasts the best of both worlds: a nice yard display and some type of haunted house setup without the cost or time investment of a professional pay haunt. Don't let the homemade nature of these haunts fool you, though. Many of them are as good (and in some cases better) than the professional setups, and allow visitors to experience some scares without worrying about spending a bunch of money on a mediocre experience.
Many home haunts display the creativity and enthusiasm of their operators, and a number of them have very effective haunted houses in addition to any yard displays on offer. Haunts such as Midnight Terror in Oak Lawn, Dark Shadows in Orland Hills, Nightmare on Cronin in Justice, and Resurrection Graveyard in Evergreen Park offer surprisingly effective scares and make creative use of limited space, such as a garage, a driveway, or even the front lawn when constructing their haunted houses. A number of these home haunts have setups with full indoor scenes, multiple live actors, and professionally designed interiors, often rivaling the designs of the pay haunts.
While some home haunts are designed to be scary, others, such as Frankenstein's Wedding in Oak Forest, combine the scary with the entertaining, offering a more lighthearted haunted house experience. The owner of Frankenstein's Wedding, for example, even offers free hot dogs to visitors on Halloween night.
A couple of notes - While all home haunts are free, some haunts do ask for a small (non-mandatory) donation to help defray production costs or, in some cases, to give to a specific charity. Donations are not required, though they are appreciated. Also, some home haunts are as popular as pay haunts, so if you are going late on a weekend night close to Halloween, you might expect to wait in a line to get in. The closer to Halloween it is, the longer the lines get, so keep that in mind when planning your trips.
Overall, some of the best Halloween experiences that the Tourers have had have come in the form of home haunts, and a number of them are "must do's" on our haunt list each year. Many are within a short driving distance of one another, and since there is (usually) no long line and the houses are smaller than typical pay haunts, you can experience quite a few of them in one evening.
For a list of our home haunt reviews, click here. Also, if you're looking for haunts in a specific location, click here. We love home haunts and highly recommend them, if only to marvel at the creativity that goes into some of them. Don't just take our word for it, though. Go out there and enjoy them for yourself!