Friday, October 1, 2021

New Thrills and Chills as Eastern State Penitentiary Unveils "Halloween Nights" for 2021


This year, for Eastern State Penitentiary's 30th year of fear, they've decided to change the game up. Yep, no more Terror Behind the Walls this Halloween and while that makes me a little sad, they have a pretty unique event that may appeal to even more people lined up from the looks of it. 

Doing away with the wall to wall scares and monsters around every bend, they've decided to go with a mix of historical entertainment, a couple of mazes from the past years, and some unique experiences that you can only find within the walls of Eastern State. 

Halloween Nights is running a total of 32 nights from September 24th thru November 14th, so that should give you plenty of time go check it out if you're looking for a unique event to spice up spooky season with. Just what do they have in store? Let's dig in and find out! 

Only two of the haunted houses from previous years are returning, and while that's sad, they definitely kept a couple of their best for us.

First Stop, The Machine Shop

This was one of the more high intensity portions of past events, so it's nice to see it's return as it definitely made an impression on pretty much everyone that went through from start to finish.

If you're going to keep one haunted house from the more high impact days, this is definitely the one to do that with, no questions at all on that one.

It's also really nice that it's in the same location as  years past as well. Though, I'm not exactly sure you can really move it either. 

The second haunt on the list is, The Crypt. 

The creatures of The Crypt request your presence. Wade through the mist and into the lair of an ancient clan of vampires. They've set the table, but watch your step. If you're not careful, you might end up on their next menu.

Sadly, I don't have anything to go off of for this one as it wasn't an offering when I was last at Eastern State. 

Okay, I can get down with that! Vampires using an abandoned prison? That actually sounds like a pretty awesome idea and honestly, I'm surprised they didn't find any actual vampires in the place from when Eastern was fully abandoned years ago. 

And that wraps it up for the more intense haunted houses, which is extremely weird to say. However, there's plenty more to do.

One of the cool things about Halloween Nights it that, given the nature of many of the attractions and experiences, even more of the prison grounds are open to the public than ever during the event. Having been through on a private tour in the past, I can say that's extremely awesome! 

So, just what else can you do? Here's the list!

If you're looking for a more cerebral and kind of eerie or trippy take on things vs all out scares, then Take 13, Delirium, and Kaleidoscope may be up your alley. I will say it's interesting to see Delirium listed as "not scary" and more "Disorienting", as well as Take 13. Both of these don't sound like something less scary, but compared to Machine Shop and The Crypt, they very well may be. 

Here's the official breakdown of all three

Take 13

"Haunted House (Scary!) Lights, Camera, Apparition! Step back in time and into the golden age of Hollywood glamour. The cameras never stopped rolling on the souls that roam this hall. And now they want you to be part of the show.


What to Expect: Walk a winding, narrow, one-way path that takes you into backstage areas and movie sets from film shoots long past. Meet glamorous spirits, actors and crew, who are still working on their long-completed projects from beyond the grave."


I'm not sure why they've listed this as "scary" but also not in some other material, but it sounds like it's a less intense type of attraction. I'm not sure I fully understand the whole movie thing in conjunction with a prison, though, but there have been movies filmed at Eastern State, so maybe that's where the inspiration has come from!

Delirium

"3D Haunted House (Scary!) Take a mind-altering trip into another dimension. A parallel, neon universe where nothing is quite as it seems. Fascinating creatures emerge from seemingly nowhere as the world you thought you knew shrinks away.


What to Expect: Walk a winding, narrow, one-way path full of massive murals and special lighting effects in bright, vibrant colors. Interact with illuminating characters, and grab a pair of 3D glasses (optional) for an otherworldly experience."

Again, they're listing it as a "scary haunted house" but also saying it's not? I'm not sure exactly, but again, it's definitely not as intense and only time will really tell on if it's one or the other on that. 

The final immersive walkthrough experience that's listed as "not scary", actually isn't. 

Kaleidoscope Hall is definitely not a haunt! It's more a mental trippy kind of thing.

"Immersive Walkthrough Journey into a realm of shifting shapes and dazzling light. Watch this rainbow world unfold before your eyes as vivid hues illuminate picturesque crumbling walls and vaulted ceilings.


What to Expect: Walk through Eastern State’s most picturesque cellblock as projections light up the walls and looming, barrel-vaulted ceiling, highlighting the building’s impressive architecture with vibrant colors and shifting shapes."

That seems to be more like the non-scary experience that they're talking about here and sounds pretty cool too!

Is that all? Nope! There's a lot more going on in the form of three live performances ranging from a Smores and Lore kind of storytelling event, a found object junkyard music show with Junkyard Jams, and a live dance performance group, The Skeleton Crew. 

If you need some liquid courage, there's also going to be four bars on site that will serve up drinks for the more adventurous types in The Bloodline Lounge, a vampire themed affair as well as 3 others; The Speakeasy at Al Capone's Cell, Tricks 'n Treats for those who want something a bit sweeter, and finally the Fairchance Beer Garden...which is, well, a beer garden.

All of that, plus the educational exhibits that will be on hand as usual, and you've got yourself not just a night of fun and screams but also one that blends in history and to it as well. 

For more information, hours and tickets, head on over to official Halloween Nights website!

If any of you go to this year's event, I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! 

Until next time,

Sweet Screams and Pleasant Nightmares!

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