Terror Behind the Walls
Premier haunted house in Philadelphia’s historic prison
September 16 – November 5, 2016 (Select dates — View full schedule)
Note: The information below is from 2015. Stay tuned for more information about this year’s event as it becomes available.
Overview of Terror
The massive Eastern State Penitentiary — a gothic, castle-like structure in Philadelphia’s Fairmount neighborhood — is also home to one of the nation’s largest and most ambitious and top-rated haunted attractions, Terror Behind the Walls.
Once the most famous and expensive prison in the country, Eastern State Penitentiary now stands as a living ruin with long empty cell blocks and remnants of the past. The frightening setting and professional scares make Terror Behind the Walls one of the country’s top-ranked haunted attractions.
Designed to be high-startle, Terror Behind the Walls includes Hollywood-quality special effects and lighting, digital sound, animatronic creatures and custom props. Over 200 performers are needed for six separate attractions in the 11-acre complex.
Terror Behind the Walls is more frightening than ever. Expanding on a terrifying option introduced in 2013, visitors can decide if they want to be fully immersed in the action by marking themselves to be potentially grabbed, held back, taken into hidden passageways and maybe even become part of the scares.
Venture into the Machine Shop, the most interactive attraction ever devised for Terror Behind the Walls. Visitors will be led deep into the cellblocks into a space never before open to the public. Expect industrial nightmares and unique one-on-one experiences that will surely stick with you.
Additional attractions at Terror Behind the Walls include Lock Down, a riot inside Cellblock 12, said to be the most haunted spot inside the penitentiary; Detrius, a walk through an original 1800s cellblock and the overgrown prison greenhouse; Infirmary, a frightening look into the world of prison medical treatment; The Experiment, a disturbing, 3-D fun house; and Night Watch, a pitch-black, disorienting trip through the narrow hallways of the penitentiary.
Two Groundbreaking New Attractions In 2015
Each year, the creators of Terror Behind the Walls pull out all the stops for a thrilling Halloween experience. For the attraction’s 25th anniversary, two brand-new attractions will be unveiled to complement four returning attractions, giving everyone — even repeat visitors — a surprising and haunting show.
Inside Quarantine: 4D, visitors will be immersed in the experience of being exposed to an infectious outbreak — with symptoms like hallucinations, distorted depth perception and other mind-altering effects.
The final attraction of the haunted house this year brings the second new attraction: Break Out, a prison-break style adventure with inmates trying to escape every way imaginable.
Photo Sneak-Peak: 14 Reasons Why Terror Behind The Walls Is The #1 Haunted House in America
The haunted history of Eastern State makes it the perfect setting for the largest haunted house in the country, Terror Behind the Walls. Check out our photo tour of Terror Behind the Walls and discover why people flock to Eastern State every year to get scared.
Anxious to get scared? Hop to the front of the line with the Terror Behind the Walls Quick Pass available online only.
After Dark VIP Tour
You may run into the actual spirits of Eastern State Penitentiary during this hour-long, guided walking tour of the history prison. Explore the cellblocks at night with nothing but a flashlight to guide your way, then skip to the front of the line to experience Terror Behind the Walls.
Fright and a Bite
Have a scary romantic evening with dinner at one of six restaurants in Fairmount, followed by a trip to Terror Behind the Walls. The package includes dinner, a ticket to Terror Behind the Walls and a Quick Pass to skip to the front of the line after dessert. Participating restaurants will feature Halloween-themed menu items like the Bloodlust Burger or Tacos from the Baja Lagoon. Advance reservations are required. Click the button below for more information.
Eastern State Penitentiary, a grim former state prison, was once home to famous inmates Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Pained former prisoners are said to haunt Eastern State’s dark Gothic halls.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
2639 Poplar Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
- William M. Reilly Memorial
- Bastille Day Festival
at Eastern State Penitentiary
- Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building
- Eastern State Penitentiary Tour
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Stone Age in America
- The Spirit of Enterprise
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Philadelphia CityPASS
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining