Every year, people flock to Peoria in droves to attend the popular haunted parks in the area. Here on Bradley’s campus, we have the benefit of being in the middle of them all. However, some are better than others, and it’s important to stay “spooky-woke” about these haunted houses in the midst of Halloween.
4) Wildlife Scary Park
This technically isn’t a “haunted house,” but I thought it was relevant enough to include on this list. As a child, I always looked forward to Wildlife Scary Park. There are tons of free candy, cool costumes and a train ride. That being said, I go to Wildlife Scary Park for the nostalgia. While the train ride takes you past incredibly-detailed, spooky scenes with committed actors, the “scary” train ride has remained pretty much the same from year-to-year. The thrill factor is missing because you’re on a train chugging along at a jogging pace. If you go to Wildlife Scary Park, go for the culture and not the haunt. Tickets are $10 and parking is $5.
3) Spider Hill at Three Sisters Park
Spider Hill is pretty much your standard haunt. They put tons of time and effort into their work, but they always leave something to be desired. This park is split into three attractions: “Massacre Mansion,” “The Trail of Terror” and “Zombie Invasion Paintball Adventure.” The mansion is the main attraction. Each room is incredibly detailed and there are several good actors. The highlight of the mansion, though, is the psychedelic and disorienting tunnel at the end. I would pay $25 just to go through it.
“The Trail of Terror,” on the other hand, is a tad lackluster. The setups are underwhelming, and I’ve seen actors break character on more than one occasion. Although you can go to the attractions in any order, zombie paintball is typically done last. You ride a hayrack through the woods and shoot unmoving actors layered in protective gear. There’s no real sense of accomplishment if you hit anything, and you run out of paintballs quickly. All that being said, Spider Hill does an excellent job with crowd control. In order to cut down on wait time, staff will often give customers “fast passes” if they go to a different attraction. You can pay $25 to visit all three attractions or just $10 per individual haunt.
2) Bartonville Haunted Infirmary
The Bartonville Haunted Infirmary certainly comes with much acclaim. It was ranked the No. 1 Haunted House in Illinois by HauntedIllinois.com two years in a row. It also has a rich history, being held on the same grounds as the notorious old state hospital. The wait time isn’t too long, especially considering the amount of actor involvement at the beginning. In previous years, the haunt included two buildings with a short wait in between. The actors at this park take their haunt very seriously, and there are tons of detail for it being such a new haunt. Tickets are $15 and the park closes at midnight.
1) Spook Hollow
Spook Hollow is the priciest haunt on this list coming in at $25 for regular tickets and $40 for fast passes, but it is well worth the price. Because Spook Hollow is the longest-running “haunted outdoor attraction” in Illinois, this park has the most set work out of any in the Peoria area, which makes the extensive wait more bearable.
“M.C. Manor,” the haunted house at the beginning, is decked out from start to finish with the perfect combination of actors and animatronics. As you walk out the doors, you start into the “Spook Hollow” trail: the scariest part of the park. The final leg of your adventure is “M.C. Nightmare,” another haunted house. In its 40 plus years of operation, Spook Hollow has amassed quite a reputation. It was ranked No. 13 in the US for scare factor according to thescarefactor.com, and it was ranked the No. 2 “must-see haunt” in Illinois. Spook Hollow has been a long-time favorite of mine, and I encourage every Bradley student to experience it at least once during their time on campus.