Eastern State Penitentiary’s Epic Haunted Attraction Terror Behind The Walls Returns

The legendary prison transforms into the country’s biggest haunted house....

Eastern State Penitentiary can be a pretty scary place, but this time of year, the Center City attraction is especially macabre.

From Friday, September 16 through Saturday, November 5, the former prison transforms into America’s largest haunted house.

It’s time for the hugely popular – and utterly scary – Terror Behind the Walls.


  • Terror Behind the Walls returns to Eastern State Penitentiary on select evenings September 16-November 5.
  • Six scary attractions are designed to thrill and chill.
  • Tickets start at $19 and prices vary based on the day and time.
  • VIP and add-on experiences are available.

Each evening, the immersive show features more than 200 performers, Hollywood-quality sets, animatronics, and custom-designed soundtracks, all set within the walls of the prison.

Terror Behind the Walls is America’s largest haunted house, and it’s ranked number in the nation by Forbes.

This is one Halloween destination that’s not for the faint of heart.

(Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
Eastern State Penitentiary has been called the most haunted place in the world and Terror Behind The Walls ups the ante with intense frights and scares.

The Visitor Experience

Before starting on the eerie adventure through the historic prison, visitors must decide whether they want to watch the spookiness take place around them or if they’d rather up the scare factor by being grabbed, held back, led through hidden passageways and more throughout the night.

All visitors have the choice between a regular or interactive experience. Those who opt to amp up the fright are given a glow stick to alert the spooky characters that hands-on haunting is okay.

What’s New and The Attractions

This year’s monster-osity includes six haunted attractions, all designed to attain one simple goal: to scare the bejeezus out of you.

New for 2016, Lock Down: The Uprising replaces rioting inmates and panicked guards with otherworldly creatures hungry for flesh. Make it through unscathed and head to the long-forgotten prison Machine Shop. Here, prepare to be startled and shocked by creatures lurking in the shadows.

Just past the prison greenhouse, enter Detritus, an overgrown outdoor maze where weapon-wielding zombies rise from the graves of a creepy nearby abandoned cemetery.

You’re not out of the woods yet. In The Infirmary, visitors get a peek into the primitive world of experimental prison medical treatment, including shock therapy and other tortures gone wrong.

If you think you’re hallucinating when you pass through Quarantine: 4D, you’re not alone. Mind-bending effects make the room appear distorted, all while monsters seem to come from nowhere to give you a fright.

Just when you think you’re about to make it out alive, Break Out presents a snag: there’s a prison riot! Watch out for danger in every direction as crazed inmates attempt to escape all around you.

(Photo By: M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
There are six different attractions inside Terror Behind The Walls, each one scarier than the last, including:

  • Lock Down: The Uprising
  • Machine Shop
  • Detritus
  • The Infirmary
  • Quarantine: 4D
  • Break Out

Terror Behind the Walls Extras

If all of the heart-stopping action described above isn’t enough, consider adding a little more spookiness to your experience.

New for 2016, visitors can opt to participate in the Hex Challenge, which includes Quick Pass (no waiting in line).

At the start of each of the six attractions, challengers will enter a secret room, become part of the story, and maybe even partner with zombies. The Hex Challenge is available every show night for an additional fee and tickets are only available online.

After-dark VIP tours begin with an hour-long, guided flashlight walking tour of the penitentiary, complete with true tales of riots, escapes, and other scandalous incidents throughout Eastern State’s history. Participants get a souvenir photo, a Terror Behind the Walls LED flashlight and Quick Pass tickets. Prices vary based on your selected day.

Food, Drinks and More

After you’ve had the fright of your life, stick around for a drink at The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell. Enjoy tunes from a lounge singer, fortune telling by a tarot card reader, a contortionist and fun table games, plus receive a complimentary cocktail, beer or soft drink.

Tickets are available online or at the door for $10.

For those who have a stomach for dinner, the Fright and a BITE dinner package includes a Halloween-themed meal at a local restaurant as well as Quick Pass tickets to Terror Behind the Walls. Visitors simply make a reservation at a participating restaurant, and their tickets will arrive with dessert. Check out the frightening fare available at eateries like Fare, Hickory Lane American Bistro, London Grill, Jack’s Firehouse and more.

(Photo By M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)
In addition to the six attractions, visitors can check out the after-dark VIP tours for an hour-long, guided flashlight walking tour of the penitentiary.


Terror Behind the Walls runs on select evenings from September 16 through November 5. Hours vary by the day, so check online before planning your outing.

Prices range from $19 to $45, depending on the date you choose to visit. To ensure your spot, your best bet is to buy your ticket online. The price goes up by $5 if you buy at the door.

All proceeds from Terror Behind the Walls benefit the preservation of Eastern State Penitentiary.

Do you dare?

Terror Behind The Walls

When:September 16-November 5
Where:Eastern State Penitentiary, 2027 Fairmount Avenue




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