After Dark Tour to Terror behind the Walls

Terror Behind the Walls, America’s largest haunted attraction, is located inside the walls of Eastern State Penitentiary, a real massive abandoned prison at 22nd Street and Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. 

Now in its 19th year, Terror Behind the Walls, ranked the No. 1 haunted house in America by AOL, runs on select evenings from September 17 through November 6. 

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Internationally known for its history and architecture, Eastern State launches a new “Eastern State After Dark VIP Tour” offering visitors a rare nighttime tour of the Penitentiary’s cellblocks, accompanied by “Quick Pass VIP” tickets to Terror Behind the Walls.

An extraordinary theatrical production, Terror Behind the Walls features Hollywood-quality sets, custom-designed props, animatronics, and digital sound effects, all taking place within the walls of the prison. 

The dark and sinister natural setting of Eastern State Penitentiary will be expanded in 2010 with new costume and makeup department. It takes an elite team of 14 makeup artists almost three hours to prepare the cast of more than 200 performers each evening. 

Terror Behind the Walls consists of five haunted attractions that create a seamless experience for visitors: Intake, Lock Down, The Experiment (in 3-D), Infirmary, and Night Watch.

Terror Behind the Walls has grown from a single-night event in 1991 to a 29-night event, says Eastern State Penitentiary.

Nearly half of the visitors who attended the event in 2009 traveled to Philadelphia for the event, coming from as far as California, China and the United Kingdom, making this event a national and international destination for thrill-seekers and Halloween lovers.

According to Eastern State Penitentiary, its “After Dark VIP Tour” is the ultimate Halloween experience. The evening begins with an hour-long, guided flashlight walking tour of this National Historic Landmark. 

Highlights include the cellblocks, Death Row, Al Capone’s cell, and the underground isolation cells under Cellblock 14. Following the tour, guests will be escorted to the front of the Terror Behind the Walls’ lines. Visitors can remember their evening with a souvenir photo, taken inside the Penitentiary, and a special Terror Behind the Walls LED flashlight.

The “Eastern State After Dark VIP Tour” is $99 per person and each group is limited to 15 people. Available dates and times are listed on the Terror Behind the Walls website at Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Eastern State Penitentiary was once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, but stands today in ruin, a lost world of crumbling cellblocks and empty guard towers. 

This gothic structure, with soaring 30-foot high fortress walls, is intimidating enough during the day. At night, the cellblocks fall into darkness, and the building becomes truly terrifying.

Tickets for Terror Behind the Walls are available at the penitentiary box office or online at 

Tickets range in price from $10 for kids on family nights, to $20 on weeknights, $25 on Friday and Sunday nights, and $30 on Saturday nights.

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Rakesh Raman