Screams in the Park Haunted House for HalloweenHow can a teenager who loves horror movies, is not turned off by gore on the big screen and thinks zombies are pretty cool (even when Brad Pitt is not fighting them) be too freaked out to want to go into a haunted house in October? I have no idea. But all of those things are true of my 17-year-old daughter.

The haunted house in question is Screams in the Park, now in its third year. The terrifying attraction sets up shop each fall in the basement (or dungeon) of a parking garage in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.

I have gone twice. The first year I was joined by my teenage son, his best friend and my husband. So I had lots of large male mass to hide behind.

Screams in the Park Haunted HouseThe next year, it was just my daughter and me. She had never been to a haunted house and there were no men available to protect us. When she realized how terrifying it was, she hid behind me. And I had no one to hide behind. We made it through in record time and with only minor damage to our psyches.

Based on Real Life Terror

Screams is based on the real life terror reign of H.H. Holmes, the serial killer who operated in Chicago during the 1893 World’s Fair and the subject of the terrific book, Devil in the White City, (ironically, one of my daughter’s favorite books). Holmes tortured, killed and hacked up his victims in scenes that are gruesomely recreated by the warped folks who put together Screams.

Ever up to date on the latest in creepy craziness, this year the creators have added zombies (thanks, Brad Pitt), in the form of Holmes’ victims returned from the grave and hungry after 120 years. They also have “devised 45 new tests of bravery including 13 all new chambers of terror guaranteed to have shudders running down any spine.” Or so the press release says.

Screams in the Park Haunted HouseWhy am I quoting a press release rather than telling you about my own experience? Because I’m coming down with something and didn’t feel quite up to a haunted house. Really. It’s not because I’m a chicken. OK, so maybe I am a chicken. But it feels like I just stopped having nightmares about everything we saw last year.

Details on Visiting Screams in the Park

Screams in the Park is housed in the basement of the parking garage at the MB Financial Park entertainment complex in Rosemont.

It’s just a couple of blocks from a Blue line subway stop if you’re heading out from the city. Or, if you have a long layover at nearby O’Hare International Airport, jump on the subway, go one stop and walk to Screams.

Advance admission is $15 (if you drive, parking is free if you have your ticket validated by the not-so-scary ticket sellers). If you would rather not wait in line thinking about the terrors that lie ahead of you, opt for the $25 VIP ticket that will let you skip the line and get right to the gore. Buy your tickets online before you go to save $5. General admission tickets at the door are $20 and VIP tickets are $30.

The terror begins on Oct. 4, 2013, and runs through Nov. 2.