Frequently Asked Questions
Below you'll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary.
Halloween Nights is a brand-new immersive experience brought to you by the creators of Terror Behind the Walls. The event transforms Eastern State’s ten-acre complex into a sprawling festival featuring haunted houses, historic tours, immersive walkthroughs, themed bars, and more. Halloween Nights draws inspiration from Terror Behind the Walls, Party at the Pen: The Masquerade, and Night Tours while incorporating other new and exciting elements.
Choose your own adventure by exploring any or all 15 available attractions, ranging from outright scary to playful and even educational. Halloween Nights is perfect for anyone looking to get into the spirit of the fall season.
It can be… but that’s up to you! You are welcome to pick and choose from a variety of attractions to create your own experience.
Three of the 15 attractions are scary. Our two haunted house attractions – The Crypt and Machine Shop – are both scary and feature intense imagery and startling jump scares. In addition, The Bloodline Lounge caters to people looking for a scary themed lounge experience.
Several of our attractions, like Take Thirteen, evoke an eerie atmosphere, but are not startling. And many experiences are playful or even educational. Halloween Nights has something for everyone. Visit our attractions page to learn more about each experience.
No. (In past years, we’ve offered the choice to opt in for true interactivity, allowing actors in our haunted houses to grab you, send you down hidden passageways, or remove you from your group.) We are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our visitors and staff. With this in mind, there will be no option to “opt in” at Halloween Nights this year.
Halloween Nights is recommended for kids 12 and older. Children under the age of seven are not permitted at Halloween Nights.
We will always meet or exceed all COVID-19 guidelines issued by the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
At this time, as required by the City of Philadelphia, all staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask in indoor spaces during Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary.
Halloween Nights was designed with health and safety in mind. Our 2021 season will operate at a reduced capacity and all tickets are sold in half-hour entry times. The festival takes place across all ten acres of the penitentiary, which will allow ample space for physical distancing.
Because the official guidelines may change, we encourage you to check back here for the latest, up-to-date health and safety information before your visit to Halloween Nights.
Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary runs select nights from September 24 to November 13, 2021. Opening and closing times vary. Tickets are sold in half-hour entry times, and many slots may sell out. You can check real-time availability here.
Ticket start at $34 and vary by night. Visit our schedule & prices page for ticketing options.
Follow @HalloweenAtESP on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and sign up for our Halloween Nights eNewsletter here to be the first to hear about any special discounts or coupons available throughout the season.
General Admission tickets include entry to the festival, and 12 of our 15 attractions – all attractions except for The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell, The Bloodline Lounge, and the After Dark CB3 Tour.
VIP Admission includes Express Entry to the festival, 14 attractions (all attractions except the After Dark CB3 Tour), and two complimentary drinks: one in The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell, and one in The Bloodline Lounge. VIP Admission tickets are available online only.
Add-on admission to The Speakeasy at Al Capone’s Cell can be purchased online in advance ($13) or at the door ($15). Add-on admission to The Bloodline Lounge ($15) and the After Dark CB3 Tour ($10) can only be purchased at the door, subject to availability.
With Express Entry, you’ll skip the main queue outside the penitentiary. When you arrive, just present your ticket at the Express Entry tower, and you’ll be granted fast and easy access to security screening and our welcome and photo capture area. Please note that Express Entry does not allow you to skip any attraction queues inside the festival; however, because entry is timed and there are so many attractions to experience, attraction wait times will likely be minimal.
Halloween Nights tickets are valid for a specific date and time. All sales are final. The festival runs rain or shine. There are no refunds or exchanges, including for unused or partially used tickets.* If you arrive late on the date of your ticket, it will still be honored.
*If Halloween Nights must be canceled or postponed due to COVID-19, we email all ticket buyers with instructions for requesting a ticket date exchange or refund. The health and safety of our staff and visitors remains our top priority. We will continue to monitor trends carefully and will always meet or exceed all guidelines issued by the City of Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site, Inc. is a charitable nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All proceeds from Halloween Nights help us preserve and operate this National Historic Landmark. Our annual Halloween fundraiser is the single largest source of revenue for the historic site. Thank you for your support!
Yes! Eastern State members get a one-time 20% discount on general admission tickets (membership level dependent), and don't pay online service fees. Members should buy their discounted tickets using our member ticket portal. In addition, members receive benefits all season long, including Express Entry, free admission to the After Dark CB3 Tour, discounts in both stores, and invitations to exclusive events.
Visit our Membership FAQ page for more information.
Halloween Nights at Eastern State Penitentiary is located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19130.
Use Google Maps for customized driving, walking, cycling, or transit directions to the penitentiary.
If you’re driving, please note that there is no parking available at the penitentiary. Halloween Nights parking is located at the Philadelphia Zoo’s parking garage at 3500 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. A shuttle will take you from the zoo to the penitentiary and back. Parking and Shuttle is $15 online, $20 at the door.
Visit our Directions and Parking page for more information.
Halloween Nights parking is located at the Philadelphia Zoo’s parking garage at 3500 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104. A shuttle will take you from the zoo to the penitentiary and back. Parking and Shuttle is $15 online, $20 at the door.
If you are driving to Halloween Nights, you should plan to arrive at the offsite parking lot (3500 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19104) 30 minutes before the time printed on your ticket.
If you are arriving via public transit, ride share or being dropped off, you should arrive at the penitentiary within the half-hour entry time printed on your ticket. Do not arrive before the time printed on your ticket; this will only extend your wait time.
Beginning at 6:00 pm, there is a drop-off / pick-up zone located directly in front of the penitentiary on the north side of Fairmount Avenue at 21st Street. Guests wishing to use the drop-off / pick-up zone should approach the penitentiary from the east on Fairmount Avenue. This zone is for active loading and unloading only. No cars or buses will be permitted to wait in this area.
Because you’ll pick and choose which attractions to explore, every Halloween Nights experience will look different. On average, you should expect to spend two hours at Halloween Nights, but your evening may be longer or shorter. Closing times vary by night, based on demand, and the festival closes 90 minutes after the final entry time that evening.
Halloween Nights runs rain or shine. Please dress for the weather and be sure to wear appropriate footwear. Sandals, flip-flops, open-toed shoes, and high heels are not permitted. Parts of the event take place inside; however, some attractions are outdoors, and the penitentiary is not climate controlled.
Eastern State Penitentiary was abandoned for more than 20 years, and, while stabilized, the building remains in a state of semi-ruin. Visitors should exercise caution and stay within the clearly marked public areas. For your safety, the penitentiary complex is monitored by a closed-circuit surveillance system.
During Halloween Nights, our customer service team, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), Philadelphia police officers, uniformed security officers, and plain-clothed security officers are on duty to assist visitors.
Eastern State Penitentiary has a zero-tolerance policy for troublemakers. Troublemakers will be ejected from the penitentiary complex without refund. We want everyone to have a safe, fun time.
Visitors who are pregnant, prone to seizures, or who have certain health conditions should consult their physician before attending the festival.
Parts of Halloween Nights are high-startle and high-intensity, most notably our haunted house attractions Machine Shop and The Crypt. In addition, some attractions may feature strobe lights, fog machines, and loud noises. Most attractions, including both haunted houses, can be bypassed easily.
Visit our attractions page to learn more about each experience.
We offer a wide range of services for our patrons and strive to provide an excellent experience for everyone attending Halloween Nights.
Many people in wheelchairs visit Eastern State Penitentiary each year. That said, the penitentiary complex is not fully ADA compliant due to its historic nature. There are several sections of Halloween Nights that require 3-15 steps. These sections of the attractions can easily be bypassed. The rest of the route is equipped with ADA compliant ramps and meets most ADA guidelines.
More information on ADA accessibility, service animals, and other accommodations, will be available on our website very soon.
If you have to ask, it’s best that you leave it in the car or, better yet, at home. We are dedicated to providing a safe, fun event for every visitor. Therefore, weapons of any kind, pepper spray, pocketknives, lighters, flashlights, outside food and beverages, and any potentially dangerous objects are not permitted inside the penitentiary.
We have a strict "no guns" policy, which means that even persons licensed to carry a firearm, including off-duty law enforcement officers, will not be permitted to bring their weapon into the penitentiary complex (and we can't hold them for you, either). Our security team checks all bags for potentially dangerous objects and conducts random pat-downs.
Cameras are permitted, but tripods, monopods, easels, and other photography equipment are not permitted. Drones are not permitted. Lighting equipment is not permitted, nor is flash photography.
Yes! We offer a variety of food and drinks for purchase at Halloween Nights. Wine, beer, cocktails, mocktails, cider and soft drinks are available for purchase throughout the event. We also feature a selection of food vendors who offer both fun, seasonal treats and more substantial food for purchase. More information on food and drinks at Halloween Nights can be found on our Food and Drinks page.
Yes! Halloween Nights provides several opportunities to learn more about the history of Eastern State Penitentiary.
First, check out “The Voices of Eastern State” Highlights Audio Tour. This 20-minute, abbreviated version of our audio tour was recorded especially for Halloween Nights with brand-new narration by actor Steve Buscemi. It also features the voices of people who were incarcerated or worked at Eastern State. Then, visit exhibits The Big Graph and Prisons Today to learn more about the impact of modern-day mass incarceration. These attractions are all included with your General Admission or VIP Admission ticket.
Want to learn more? Add on an After Dark CB3 Tour! Take a 20-minute, guide-led, flashlight walking tour of Cellblock 3, the Hospital Block. Learn more about Eastern State’s medical history and get a look at the Operating Room and other fascinating spaces. Admission is $10, available at the door only, and includes a souvenir flashlight.
There’s still so much more to explore. We hope you’ll come back for a daytime tour! We’re open year-round, Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Add a daytime tour ticket to your Halloween Nights ticket purchase and save $5!
Yes, with a few restrictions. We encourage you to take photos and videos when visiting Halloween Nights - and tag us on social media @HalloweenAtESP - but we ask that you honor the following policies.
- Tripods, monopods, easels, lights, and other photography equipment are not permitted.
- Drone photography, or use of drones for any purpose, is not permitted.
- No flash photography.
- Do not touch or move any objects or artifacts.
- Models (professional or amateur), costumes and props are not permitted.
- Photography and videography is NOT allowed in either haunted house attraction (Machine Shop or The Crypt), but is allowed in all other attractions.
- Please do not disrupt the experience of other visitors and follow all staff instructions.
Paranormal investigations (including the use of EVP recorders or other pieces of paranormal investigation equipment) are not permitted at Eastern State Penitentiary. Thank you for your understanding!
For information about joining our team, please visit our jobs page.