prison cell

We Dare You to Enter This Haunted House in a Real Prison

If being terrified brings you joy during the Halloween season, head to Philadelphia immediately to experience one of the scariest seasonal haunted attractions in the country. Terror Behind the Walls invites thrill seekers into the abandoned Eastern State Penitentiary, believed by some to be haunted by many of the prisoners who died there, to experience six separate scary attractions – all for one admission price.


Once inside the Fairmount neighborhood’s gothic-like prison built in 1829, brave guests will find themselves wandering through 10 acres of the old penitentiary for six different nightmare experiences.

  • The Lockdown: Rioting zombie inmates have taken over the penitentiary. The zombie guards have lost control. Visitors may just become the next zombies.
  • The Machine Shop: This interactive attraction takes visitors into cellblocks that the public has never been in before. Hidden deep inside the cellblocks is a long-forgotten machine shop. Evil pervades this space – an evil with one mind but with many bodies.
  • The Infirmary: The Infirmary takes the fear of hospitals to a whole new level. Visitors discover the world of prison medical treatment, including shock therapy, hydrotherapy, and other torturous experiments gone wrong.
  • Blood Yard:  Visitors go deep within the prison to find a colony that leaves behind a trail of gnawed bones and decaying flesh. It’s hunt or be hunted. The carnage sends a clear message: you could be next.
  • Quarantine 4D: This attraction takes a look into the world of prison medical treatment. Visitors experience mind altering effects and blurry vision. Flat walls appear to have depth, creatures emerge from nowhere, and fears will be faced.
  • Breakout: Visitors find their own way out of Terror Behind the Walls, surrounded by inmates who may use them in any way imaginable to gain their freedom.

Prison History

One of the scariest things about Terror Behind the Walls may be learning about the treatment of the former prisoners. After finding their way out, visitors have complimentary access to the no-contact visiting rooms for inmates where they can watch a video about the penitentiary’s history and also read about its past.

To Touch or Not

Everyone who enters Terror Behind the Walls gets the option to go through the attraction untouched by the actors or to get marked as someone who is willing to be fully immersed in the experience. Those who chose the mark may be grabbed, taken into cellblocks, separated from their group, and possibly become part of  the show itself.

VIP Experience

Those who want to be treated more importantly while they’re having the pants scared off of them can pay for one of these extra experiences.

  • The Quick Pass: Gives guests front-of-line access at their appointed time. Without the quick pass, the wait me be half an hour to get in.
  • The Hex Challenge: Before entering each of the six attractions, Hex challengers enter a secret room where they step further into the story, become part of the action and join forces with the zombies. It’s a physically challenging extra with requirements to crawl and fit into tight spaces. Those who aren’t up to the physical challenge or pregnant women are not permitted to participate.
  • Fright and Bite Dinner Packages: Make a reservation at one of the participating neighborhood restaurants for a Halloween-themed meal, and the Terror Behind the Walls tickets are delivered with dessert.
  • After Dark VIP Tour: Before entering the attractions at the front of the line, the tour is an hour-long, guided flashlight walk through the penitentiary that may include cellblocks, underground punishment cells and the operating room.


All proceeds from Terror Behind the Walls goes to the Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit that helps operate and preserve the penitentiary – a  National Historic Landmark.

Terror Behind the Walls runs on select evenings between September 22 and November 11, 2017. Tickets vary depending on the day and time. General admission tickets range from $19-$45 online ($25-$50 at the door). Weekends are more expensive with the three weekends leading up to Halloween are the most expensive and mid-week visits the least expensive.