eastern state prison

The Eastern State Penitentiary Haunted House is a notoriously fun and exciting way to ring in fall and Halloween in Philly. Built in 1829, Eastern State Penitentiary (2027 Fairmount Ave.) is former prison, that at one time housed famous criminals such as bank robber Willie Sutton and Al Capone.

Nowadays, the penitentiary is open for tours daily and each year it celebrates two major events: Bastille Day and beginning in September, Terror Behind the Walls, which is far from your ordinary haunted house. Consistently ranked as one of the top haunted house attractions in the country, Terror Behind the Walls provides an interactive haunted house experience. It’s staffed by real actors who do a phenomenal job of staying in character, and trust us —it is legitimately SCARY.
This year’s haunted house consists of 6 different attractions and runs from September 20 to November 9. We don’t want to ruin too much of the surprise for you but here is a fun preview of what to expect at Terror Behind the Walls this year:

The Gauntlet:

It’s a glimpse into spooky daily prison life. Expect props and startles in a variety of settings including the prison rec yard, basketball court and mechanic shop.

Lock Down:

Lockdown is staged under the pretense that there is a riot at the prison! Let’s just say this lockdown is anything but typical.


This labyrinth of a crumbling cemetery is outdoors and it’s teeming with zombies, ghouls and ghosts-boo!


Watch on as shock therapy, hydrotherapy and other experiments go terribly wrong.

The Experiment:

Visitors to this 3-D portion of the haunted house don 3-D glasses and enter The Experiment where actors and 3D imagery seamlessly meet.

Night Watch:

Visitors must navigate this shut down portion of the prison in pitch black conditions — terrifying indeed!