Haunted Carnivals in Illinois

by Shelly Barclay

Haunted carnivals are spooky attractions with a carnival theme. No matter your age, time of year you want to visit or "scare" level, you can find the haunted carnival you're looking for in Illinois. Some are only open during the Halloween season, but at least one operates year-round. One has rides, while another has ghostly sideshow actors. Some are scary, and some are for guests of all ages.

Carnival of Curiosities

During the Halloween season, Chicago's Navy Pier is home to the Haunted Carnival of Curiosities, an old-fashioned carnival with such attractions as fortunetellers and medicine doctors. There is also a haunted house at the pier during the carnival's open season. The Haunted Carnival takes place outdoors and is for people of all ages. There are no scary attractions at the Haunted Carnival.

Carnival of Curiosities Attractions

The main attractions at the Carnival of Curiosities (navypier.com/Halloween/carnival.html) are characters who entertain the guests. There are 16 characters in total: the host, a collector of curiosities; a half-cat lady; the ghost of a young woman; the ghost of her lover; a medicine doctor; a bride; a groom who is stuck to the bride; a monkey boy; his best friend; a pair of Siamese twins; a fortune-teller and her partner, a disembodied-head; and a puppet master and her two puppets. Some of these characters are two in one, and some work as teams to amuse the guests.

The Karnival of Karnage

The Karnival of Karnage (karnivalofkarnage.com) is a carnival-themed haunted house. The Karnival Karnage website says that the event is "so scary that we do not recommend anyone under the age of 12." The haunted carnival takes place seasonally at the Boone County Fairgrounds in Belvidere, Illinois.

Karnival of Karnage Attractions

The Karnival of Karnage is more of a haunted house than a carnival. The actors within the haunted house dress up like carnival workers that are crazy, murderers or victims. There are blood, gore and scares. The actors in the Karnival of Karnage are there to scare guests but will not grab them or hold them. At most, they may brush up against guests or tap them.

Haunted Trails Theme Parks

There are two Haunted Trails (hauntedtrailsfun.com) theme parks in Illinois, one in Burbank and one in Joliet. Though they are theme parks and not carnivals, they do have haunted carnival attractions. These parks are not specifically for Halloween. They are open year-round.

Haunted Trails Theme Park Attractions

There are currently two carnival rides at the Burbank Haunted Trails theme park. There are also an arcade, karaoke, go-karts, miniature golf and batting cages. The costs for these activities and attractions are not part of the admission price.

About the Author

Shelly Barclay began writing in 1990, focusing on fiction. She has been writing nonfiction articles since 2008. Her work appears on various websites, focusing on topics such as history, cooking, scrapbooking, travel and animals. Before she began writing, Barclay was a line cook for 10 years.