From peek-a-boo to horror movies, we like to find ways to surprise and scare the bejesus out of ourselves.
Fright specialists in Chicago and the suburbs aren’t shy about setting up mazes, castles, barns and rides to help up the fear factor. Some are designed for even the youngest Halloweenie.
For all ages
Where: 17250 Weber Road, Lockport
The lights stay on during the tour of Farmer Frank’s Haunted Barn and there are no live actors, making it as family friendly as anything with the word “haunted” in the title can be. Tours stop at 6 p.m.
Where: The Children’s Farm at The Center, 12700 Southwest Highway, Palos Park
The Spooky Wood Shed at Pumpkin PlayLand is designed for fans of fright as young as preschool. Older kids might find it more humorous than scary. The farm also boasts barn tours, a petting farm, u-pick pumpkin patch and a maze. 10 a.m.-4 p.m on weekends.
For elementary-aged children
Where: 42W813 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove
Thrills and chills through the haunted house is just right for school-aged youngsters. This is a great trip for haunted house fans with littler siblings, who can take a camel ride or hop on the Pumpkin Express at the farm while older kids are enjoying the scare scene.
Where: 199 E. Woods Drive, Lockport
Cost: $15 and up
Based in Lockport’s Dellwood Park, a 20-foot outdoor movie screen keeps riders entertained while they wait, and an ongoing bonfire warms the toes. The hayride also includes walks across the terrain, which might be cumbersome for younger riders.
Where: 1940 George St., Melrose Park
Cost: $19.99 and up
Located in Melrose Park, the “haunted building” includes actors that walk out, jump out and creep out to the max. Great for those who like to be scared.
Where: 13341 W. 151st St., Homer Glen
Cost: $11.99 and up, free 2 and under, see website for full ticket packages.
The barn at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Fest is rated PG-13 for its scares and chills, so if you think your younger kiddos can handle the fear factor, you’ll have to walk through with them. The farm also boasts pig races, a selfie booth, a kids’ village and carnival rides.
Where: Sonny Acres Farm, 29W310 North Ave., West Chicago
Sonny Acres actors join riders on the wagon and hop out in the woods in a trip geared toward teens and adults. During the day, the ride is more appropriate for a younger crowd, when there aren’t “extras” on the wagon and the fright can be seen from afar in the daylight.
Where: Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park
Cost: $75 and up, Oct. 4.
The murder mystery starts with appetizers at the Oak Park Conservatory, includes dinner at Cheney Mansion and ends at a “speakeasy” at Austin Gardens. Period costumes are encouraged.