The 5 Best Haunted Houses in Philadelphia

By Jill Gardiner , last updated October 13, 2011

Any town that has a lot of history is bound to have a few skeletons in its closet, and few places in the United States have more history than Philadelphia does. Come October, the “City of Brotherly Love” becomes the “Site of Terrific Terror” with some of the best haunted houses and gruesome attractions the East Coast has to offer. Take a sinister stroll through an abandoned asylum, penitentiary, or warehouse, join a spine-chilling candlelight tour of the city’s most haunted landmarks, or take a gruesome trip down medical oddity memory lane. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Philly this Halloween, you need to check out at least one of the five best haunted houses in Philadelphia.

Eastern State Penitentiary

A mild mannered historical tour by day, starting late in September this former penitentiary turns nightly into ‘Terror Behind the Walls,’ a massive haunted attraction. For between $20.00 and $30.00 per person, depending on whether you go on a weeknight, Sunday, or weekend evening, you can tour the crumbling corridors of this once great prison. Opt for their “Fright and a Bite” package, wherein you make a dinner reservation at one of the participating restaurants in the area, enjoy a fun, Halloween-themed dinner, and receive your “Terror Behind the Walls” tickets with your dessert, or choose the “After Dark VIP Tour” where groups of twenty or less receive a private guided tour of the penitentiary with no waiting in line. Families with children under 12 should try “Family Night,” a slightly less terrifying experience with half-price tickets for children. Learn more at http://www.easternstate.org/halloween.

Fright Factory

Every year around Halloween, 2200 South Swanson Street undergoes a strange transformation. Secret scientific experiments, a torturous asylum, and a lonely cemetery all open up to share their secrets. For $30.00 general admission tickets or $40.00 “RIP” tickets, you can be witness to all the atrocities in the four attractions Fright Factory has to offer. Discounts are available to students, those with a bridge or tunnel receipt, and police, fire, EMT, or military personnel. Check their website, http://www.frightfactory.tv/index.html, for schedules and times.

Pennhurst Asylum

Located on the grounds of the Pennhurst State School, which was closed in 1986 for patient abuse, the grounds and buildings now serve as the authentic backdrop for a terrifying haunt. Starting late in September, visitors can tour four attractions designed to terrify the bravest heart. Choose to visit one for $15.00, or view them all with a combo pass for $40.00. Buy tickets online at http://www.pennhurstasylum.com/.

Ghost Tours of Philadelphia

Why settle for just one haunted site when you can have several? Ghost Tours of Philadelphia offers a guided candlelight walking tour of the cities most haunted historic sites, or opt for the Haunted Trolley Tour for even more locations. Paranormal seekers-in-training will love the interactive Ghost Hunting Tour that includes both information and hands-on searching for evidence of ghostly activity. Call ahead for reservations: http://www.ghosttour.com/philadelphia.html.

Mutter Museum

Though not technically a “haunted house,” no creepy visit to Philadelphia would be complete without a trip to the Mutter Museum, which houses one of the largest and most interesting collections of medical oddities. View interesting attractions, such as a giant colon, Grover Cleveland’s secret jaw tumor, and a collection of objects that were swallowed and then removed, as well as the tools designed to remove them. Open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s; call for additional information, (215) 563-3737.

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